3 min read • By Wyatt West, Staff Writer & Outdoor Fiend, Timberdog®
Does your dog rack up the miles with you as your highway co-pilot? If so, this blog is a must-read. We’ve put together five must-have car accessories for you and your pooch.
DOG BED FOR CAR TRAVEL
I’ve written an entire blog on this topic, but personally, I like to tuck a few large towels (a cheap and sustainable option) in the back seat. I have a pretty hardy pooch who doesn’t need anything too soft or orthopedic just yet, and the towels handily double as absorbent cleaners on those wet lake days. However, if you’re looking for something better looking and with wider coverage, I recommend the Giomoc Dog Car Seat Cover, an inexpensive, popular seat cover that even comes with large pockets to stow your extra things.
WATER BOTTLE FOR DOGS
When searching for a good dog water bottle to toss into your car, make sure you find one that won’t leak or spill, and is BPA-free. I love the Malsipree Dog Water Bottle, as it covers my requirements and is compact and lightweight, to boot. Some reviewers complained that it cannot be washed in the dishwasher, so we recommend hand-washing this, and other dog water bottles, with a dedicated doggy sponge.
Let’s face it, big dogs (and some medium ones) can be smelly. Even if your car has a leather interior, dogs can funk it up in no time flat. My car has a cloth interior and I like to deodorize it occasionally by sprinkling baking soda on the upholstery and letting it sit overnight, vacuuming it out the next day. While the soda is doing its work, I clean the dash, doors, mats and other parts of the car with a spray of equal parts white vinegar and water. It stinks something awful, but the smell dissipates within an hour or so, leaving your car naturally sanitized and fresh.
To keep the car smelling fresh between cleanings, I keep a bamboo charcoal air-purifying bag in the cupholder. I don’t recommend using things like Febreze or any commercial car freshener, as they are full of chemicals which are bad for you and your dog. I’m not even a fan of using natural essential oils in the car, as essential oils can be endocrine disruptors for humans, while both dogs and cats are sensitive to many of them (some essential oils are even poisonous/fatal to pets if they breathe them in).
DOG SEAT BELT AND HARNESS
A seat restraint is the most critical car accessory you can have for your dog. I trust Kurgo’s Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness, as it’s one of the only dog seat belts out there that has been crash-tested. Please do not go for seat belts that have bungee-type features, as those allow the restraint to stretch too far, which can have a potentially fatal effect in an accident. My Kurgo dog harness keeps Angus fairly close to his seat, with enough room for him to sit up, turn around, or lie down, and I cinch it fairly close to his body for a snug fit. If I wanted him to walk all over the back seat, I would not have purchased a seat belt at all.
WINDOW SHADES OR COVERS
One critical item that is strangely-missing from other blogs and articles that cover dog car accessories are window shades. If you’ve ever traveled with your dog, you know that they typically avoid the sun, and will move around in your car to do so. If your dog is belted, he won’t be able to change seats to get out of the sun, and your dog can overheat. We recommend keeping a cool temperature in your car, as well as covering the back windows (where he should be seated) with window shades. Enovoe makes an affordable and highly-reviewed 4-pack that’s worth looking into.
PRO TIP AND EXTRA MENTION: HAIR REMOVER TOOL
If you opt out of a backseat cover, there are a few things that feel more unsanitary than having a car full of dog fur. Using a hair remover tool is one of the more satisfying things I’ve done on a road trip. When nothing else is going your way (Murphy’s Law has an uncanny way of striking while you’re out on the road), long strokes with a brush across your car’s upholstery has a funny way of giving you a sense of accomplishment. Here’s a link to a search on Amazon that should give you a choice in which sort of tool works best for your dog’s type of hair and your car’s upholstery.
What else do you find essential to take on road trips with your best friend? Let me know below!
Image by Freepik
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