I like websites and sources of authority that are not getting paid to promote a certain vehicle, but instead tell the truth; sort of a Consumer Reports of what is safe, what isn’t, and why. Pet safety, as it applies to this list, is in the eye of the beholder. For some, safety means UV rays being blocked from bothering Fido (dogs can get sunburned in a car) to tethers and anchors in both the second and third rows — helpful since pet safety seats need to be secured in the same way as a child’s seat.
We are in the market to purchase a new car this summer, so I’ve been researching vehicles with pet safety in mind. According to Edmunds.com, here are 10 vehicles to consider along with their reason(s) of what makes the vehicle pet safe. I am still waiting for the ultimate vehicle that has it all, looks good, and keeps my dog safe without breaking the puppy bank:
- Dodge Journey — Available features include an in-dash cooler that can be used to store beverages, medicine or pet food.
- Ford Flex — The crossover offers ample legroom and wide door openings for your pet’s easy ingress and egress.
- GMC Acadia — The Acadia’s tri-zone climate control helps monitor temperature in the rear of the vehicle, thus ensuring that pets secured in back aren’t exposed to extreme heat
- Hyundai Tucson — This Hyundai offers privacy glass that helps block the strong rays of the sun.
- Jeep Liberty — The Jeep brand offers specialized pet travel gear, including crates, carriers and a ramp.
- Kia Soul — The Soul comes standard with side curtain airbags that can keep both two-legged and four-legged passengers safe in the event of a collision.
- Mazda 5 — The Mazda 5 has tethers and anchors in both the second and third rows — helpful since pet safety seats need to be secured in the same way as a child’s seat.
- Mitsubishi Outlander — The SUV also boasts fold-flat seating and stowable third-row seats — both of which increase the amount of room available for larger pets.
- Subaru Tribeca — Pet owners will appreciate the Tribeca’s five-star crash test scores, steering-wheel-mounted auxiliary controls and rear back-up camera.
- Volvo XC70 — The XC70 is available with a Volvo-designed pet barrier, created to remain intact during a collision.
On a side note, according to the 2011 AAA/Kurgo Pet Passenger Safety Survey, 84 percent of respondents bring their dogs on car trips but do not use a restraint. I want my dog kept safe and secure in a moving vehicle since an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a wreck going 30 miles per hour equates to 2,400 pounds of projectile force, per the AAA/Kurgo study. Last July, the Center for Pet Safety ran a series of videos from its pilot study of the “crash-worthiness” of canine automotive restraints. They report a third-party independent test lab, MGA Research Corporation, tested a variety of pet harnesses to the conditions of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 for child safety restraints. The results were a complete failure — for ALL restraints tested.
With that in mind, having a vehicle that I feel I can rely that has a harness I feel safe in using are two key points for this well-traveled dog mom. Here’s more about the top 10 pet safe vehicles from Edmunds.com and take note: some vehicles are now being equipped with in-dash and refrigerated consoles to keep Fido’s water and food cool.
Question: Do you or have you ever purchased a car with your dog’s comfort and/or safety in mind? Bark at us below in the comments.