6 dog-friendly car features pups love

I’m a pet parent. Should I get a minivan? Read on…

The classic vehicle of choice for the parents of little humans is the minivan. But what about pet parents? What do we do? Pet parents have responsibilities, too, like remembering dog car safety. But does that mean we have to trade our swag for complete, total minivan practicality? Well, we probably don’t have to go that far into the world of adulting – a minivan is some serious, hardcore adulting – but like any parent you want a vehicle that keeps your little one safe and comfortable. And doesn’t stress them out.

Since we at Toggle® are enthusiastic providers of auto insurance for people and their pets (we even have Pet Passenger™ coverage should they be injured in an accident), we thought we’d throw you a bone – in the form of some useful tips to think about to get maximum pet parenting function from your next vehicle.

Dog in Car - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by Wade Lambert on Unsplash

1. Dog size matters when it comes to dog car shopping.

Did you know the dog breed English Mastiff can weigh over 200 pounds? For real. We’re going to get to cars in a second. With the size of pets ranging from little pups you can fit in a handbag to big boys with body weights rivaling a full-grown man, the first thing to consider is how much space you need. They may be cute and cuddly today, but they could be the size of a Subaru tomorrow. Confine your search to dog friendly SUVs and crossovers for the very large canines. The best SUV for dogs will have three rows that can fold down to give them space and accommodate crates. Going with a dog SUV is great if you have little people that you need to have space for too. Here is a breed size chart on AKC.org if you’re not exactly sure how big your little guy is projected to get. 

Age also matters. For older dogs, search for cars with built in dog ramps. Separate dog ramps for cars are also available. The other thing you must think about is whether your pet family is going to grow. Many people develop a dangerous puppy addiction and find themselves, over time, with a large brood of forever home companions. Make sure your vehicle choice gives you plenty of space now, in the future, and forevermore. Think about all the great road trips to come.

Dog Laying in Car - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by AngelaBuserPhoto

2. Hatchbacks: the minivan of dog parenting.

You know what they small-talk about at all the best dog parks? Hatchbacks. Yep, hatchbacks top the list of best cars for dogs. Because the great thing is that they give your pet a space to call their own. With a nice, flat cargo area to put their bedding, blankets, toys, and other pet paraphernalia, hatchbacks are close to the ground, allowing for easy entry. Also, there’s the large, luxurious rear window that lets your pet check out what’s happening out there. First-class travel, for pets. 

For you, a hatchback separates distractions from your pet and you. They’re situated way back there, while you’re focused on driving, helping you to maintain those good driver rates on car insurance. Yet, they’re still close enough to you to keep them from experiencing any separation anxiety. While your pet will love any car with a spacious cargo bed, hatchbacks are magical in this way. 

A hatchback also keeps mud and dirt and sand and pet hair in the hatchback section and out of the people section, so it’s easier to keep your vehicle looking sharp. But hatchbacks aren’t just for dogs. Pretty much any pet will like the #hatchbacklife. They have a nice flat surface for any pet to stretch out and take a snooze on. Keep your eye out for hatchbacks that come equipped with cargo tie-downs that can be used to secure their crate or dog harness. BTW, for discounts on pet accessories like these, visit our Toggle Perks page and filter to “Pets.”

Dog in Minivan Hatchback - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by Daniel Gonzalez 

3. Leather: the pinnacle of luxury for pet parents.

When it comes to the interior of a dog car, nothing beats leather or, just as wonderful, faux leather. Pets get dirty after a day at the beach or having a good, ecstatic roll in the mud. Cloth fabrics get demolished and start to smell if they get wet and stay damp. So, look for a car with surfaces that are easy to clean. It’s also a great idea to get rubber mats to cover the carpeting on the floor. And if you have a really, really enthusiastic outdoor breed, there are even dog friendly vehicles available that have rubberized rugged interiors you can clean with a garden hose.

Dog Sitting on Leather Seats in Car - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by BanksPhotos

4. Child lock? Ha. That’s a pet lock. 

Never seen a furry crash test dummy? That doesn’t mean the safety features on your car aren’t important for your pets. Features like window and door lock controls will prevent your dog from stepping on the lock, unlocking the door, and falling out of the vehicle. Smart airbag features mean you don’t have to worry as much about an accident while traveling with a dog. They’re able to detect if deploying the airbag feature would help or be more harmful. 

To make the safety features less essential, review this safety while driving with pets fact sheet. The safer the car and the safer you drive, the safer your pet. 

Dog with Car Door Opened - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by Photoboyko

5. Silver is the new black (for the exterior). 

Does car color matter for pet parents? Yes, it does. And that flashy red and classic black paint might not be the best choice. Dogs are known to get excited. They jump on cars. They jump in and out of cars. Dog claws can do damage. A silver exterior can help hide minor nicks and scratches. For the interior, black is good since it will help hide the many dog hairs. Unless, of course, you have a light-colored pet, in which case you should choose your interior color accordingly. Meaning beige, of course. 

Dog’s Inside Car with Tinted Windows - Toggle Insurance Pet Passenger CoveragePhoto by Gary Samaha on Unsplash

6. Tinted windows, dawg.

Window tints give your car that cool edgy look. They also keep the interior of your car cool by blocking harmful UV rays and extra heat. Don’t let their fur fool you. Dogs can also get sunburnt. It’s true. We must preface, though, that tinted windows do not make it okay to leave your dog unaccompanied in the car on a hot day for any period of time. Here is more info on keeping your pet safe in the heat. Window tints are simply an extra level of comfort while both of you are inside your running car. 

Rear air vents are also a cool feature to look out for. They will provide ventilation and keep your pet cool and comfortable during the hottest of days. You’ll want to remember to keep them open and directed at your dog. If they keep pawing at you, well, that may be why. 

Happy pet passengers make for happy drivers.

It’s hard to be sad when your pet is downright, hot-diggity, tail-wagging happy. The right vehicle goes a long way toward keeping them feeling great. Also, choosing your vehicle with these tips in mind will help you maintain your resale value by minimizing wear and tear. So, find the right vehicle and you’ll have many awesome adventures ahead. Life is better with an insured pet by your side in the car. To make your adventures even more awesome, Toggle On℠ our Toggle Auto Pet Passenger coverage. We will pay reasonable amounts of up to $1,000 for veterinary care and other pet-related expenses in the event of a covered accident. 

Now that you know how to find the right ride for your dog, check out our “Ditch the faux paws: pet proofing ideas” blog. Keep them safe when you’re at home chilling instead of cruising. 

Links to third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. Toggle has not independently verified any of the information provided therein and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of such information or any content.


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