Pets are part of the family in many households. Many of us love to take them on long vacations and short trips as well, because it’s just not the same without them around. For some families, taking the dog along is also a matter of economics. Boarding your dog for a week at a reputable kennel can be extremely expensive; besides, won’t he be more comfortable with the family?
In order to have our furry friends along without jeopardizing our safety or theirs, some consideration must be given to the best way to transport them. Unrestrained, an animal can become a dangerous projectile in an accident. They can interfere with driving, fall out of vehicles, and may even prevent emergency workers from doing their jobs in the event of an accident. An upset animal has to be restrained and removed before emergency workers can step in to rescue your family.
Bark Buckle Up, a pet-safety advocacy group, and Edmunds.com, worked together recently on a Pet Safety Program. One facet of this program was their joint development of a list of the top ten vehicles that are considered by them to be the safest and best suited for pet travel.
The Dodge Journey led the pack, with its in-floor storage bins that store pet-related gear and rear-view camera. The camera helps drivers see behind the vehicle while backing up, which reduces the chance that the driver might run over a pet that is behind the vehicle. Many pets are hurt or killed by this type of accident every year, and the camera is an extra safety measure that can prevent such tragedy. Other features of the Journey include an in-dash cooler (can be used for water, medicine and pet food), an LED rechargeable flashlight and steering wheel mounted controls that reduce the driver’s need to look away from the road.
Second on the list is the Ford Flex. The Flex offers a lot of room and comfort for owners of larger dogs who need to be in oversized crates during travel. It also has a refrigerated console, large door openings and rates 5 stars in crash tests.
Third is the GMC Acadia, which has the tri-zone climate control that is vital for pet comfort in the back of a large vehicle. The rear seats fold flat to allow room for large pet crates, and its OnStar system has a direct link to poison control, which is vital if your pet ingests something harmful while you’re traveling.
Other excellent vehicles ranked 4th through 10th. In descending order, they are the Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Liberty, Kia Borrego, Mazda 5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Tribeca and Volvo XC70.
These cars have great pet-friendly features such as five-star crash test ratings, sliding rear doors, tethers, anchors, rear back up cameras and stowable third-row seats for extra room. The Volvo XC70 also comes with an optional pet barrier designed by Volvo that has been crash tested, is securely bolted in and can be installed by the dealer.
Even if the trips you take with your pets are short ones to the neighborhood dog park, please consider that many accidents take place just a few miles from home. Even at low speeds, improperly secured pets can be harmed or can injure passengers. If you travel with your pets, take a look at some of these pet-safe vehicles that can add to your family’s comfort, safety and peace of mind.