According to the American Pet Products Association, there's an estimated 77.8 million dogs wagging their tails in US homes. In many of them, owners don't view their pooches as just pets, but instead see them as members of the family. Similar to kids, dogs often need to be chauffeured all over to places like the vet, park, pet supply store, doggie day care and road trips.
While moving a single dog generally doesn't require too much from a car, households that own two pups (or more) have a few more things to think about when picking a vehicle. Space and interior seating configurations become considerations, while ease of cleanup is more of an issue with not one, but two furballs shedding during rides.
Here are five great vehicles that folks with two dogs may want to check out the next time they are in the market for a new set of wheels.
Roadshow pro tips
- Pet safety restraints keep dogs and other passengers more protected in event of an accident. Be sure to research options before making a purchase, because not all harnesses are created equal.
- Fold-flat rear seats give pups more space to stretch out.
- Running boards on taller vehicles help with ingress and egress for both humans and dogs -- especially aging ones.
- Cars outfitted with stain-resistant fabrics can curb the lasting effects of pet accidents.
- Rubber cargo and floor mats are a good investment for easy cleanup.
As a supporter of pet organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and Center for Pet Safety, it's little wonder that Subaru's lineup features a few dog-friendly vehicles like the Outback.
A compartment separator is an available factory accessory to keep the doggies in the cargo area, but if you're willing to give them free rein in the back (ideally when the vehicle is stationary), the rear seatbacks fold to provide plenty of space for Fido and Spike. An optional plastic cargo tray and rear seatback protectors enable easy cleanup of fur.
With the dog-friendly Honda Element no longer available, consumers have to look elsewhere in the Honda lineup to move a couple of four-legged friends. While the Odyssey minivan is ideal given its space and available built-in vacuum, the HR-V is a surprisingly good compact option.
Like the Fit, the HR-V features Honda's slick Magic Seat system. Folding the rear seats flat opens up generous space for lounging when the car is parked, and also keep pets off the upholstery. When owners need to carry humans, the rear seats quickly fold back up to provide a fur-free seating surface for passengers.
In addition to all of that, the HR-V was the winner of our recent Roadshow Rivals small SUV comparison test!
The benefit of a big SUV like the Mercedes-Benz GLS is that everything is, well, big. Large door openings and rear hatch, along with available running boards give dogs easy access to a cabin that's spacious whether configured with all seats up, just the third row down, or both second and third rows folded.
With all rear seats stowed, there's enough room in the GLS to accommodate a couple of monster pooches, along with any other dog supplies, including warehouse club-size bags of food, crates, beds and toys. Heck, there's enough room in the GLS to shuttle your dogs and a couple of their friends to the park for a play date.
With dual sliding rear doors, a low step-in height and tons of interior space, it's difficult to argue with the practicality a minivan like the Kia Sedona brings to the table. With its third-row seats folded and second-row Slide-N-Stow seats folded forward and upright, you'll be able to let a couple of large K9s lounge in first-class comfort when not moving.
If you're willing to let the pups sit on the furniture, the Sedona comes standard with YES Essentials fabric upholstery that's stain-repellent, antimicrobial and antistatic.
"Dogs love trucks" is an old Nissan tagline that still holds true today. Roadshow editor-in-chief Tim Stevens' two pups are thoroughly enjoying a cameo appearance in our new long-term Titan XD Platinum Reserve. Side steps help them get in and out of the tall truck, while the crew cab's backseat space is more than adequate to keep the big dogs comfortable during car rides.
For more flat space in the rear, the seat bottoms flip up, opening space for dogs to lie down when the truck isn't on the move. Being a pickup truck, moving other dog-related items can go into the bed, and being a diesel, you or your dogs' bladders will need a pit stop long before your truck will.