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Top 10 Pet Safe Vehicles Revealed

dog travel

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.

cocker spaniel Dexter

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, 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.

dog travel

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 and take note: some vehicles are now being equipped with in-dash and refrigerated consoles to keep Fido’s water and food cool.

fidose of realityQuestion: 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.



  1. Michelle Olsen says

    My 2001 Toyota Tundra, I bought specifically because it was a high safety rated vehicle, very reliable and had the ability to shut off the airbag on the passenger side with the flip of the switch, if I was transporting 3 dogs inside, and one dog had to ride shotgun, or the dogs had to be separated for some reason. The harnesses attach easily to the seatbelts, with a small clip on attachment that I bought at Petco, and we are good to go. In 2006, during an ice storm the dogs and I slid off a very icy road, on to a steep side hill, inches from rolling and the dogs were hanging from their harnesses, when the fire truck pulled us backward away from the edge…the fire captain and the patrolman said the harnesses had saved the dogs, and me…since if they were loose, or injured down against the bottom windows we would have rolled over and down….truck was undamaged, we were undamaged, so my answer is yes…I always look to getting the safest vehicle possible for my dogs 🙂

  2. Jodi says

    Keep us posted when you make your decision.

    I have a Hyundai Tucson and I hate it. It is too small for two big dogs, leaves no room for storage. FYI, just in case you wondered. 😉

  3. Elizabeth Bergesen says

    I have owned a Mazda 5 (hatchback) and really enjoyed it very much. Our dogs fit nicely into it. I currently own a Subaru (Forester) and think it’s really great for transporting dogs. It’s not as big as the Tribeca, but can fit a few dogs in the back comfortably.

  4. Carol Bryant says

    Thanks for stopping by, Kim. I am very much looking forward to hearing you speak at BlogPaws. In the meantime, I am now looking at these vehicles with in car refrigerated consoles. I oughta have a “guess what car I got” contest because I soooo don’t like car shopping!

  5. Kimberly, The Fur Mom says

    Wow! I’m so surprised to see Mazda on the list and really surprised not to see a Toyota. I’m in the process of getting ready to go car shopping. It’s not my favorite thing. I’m looking at the Jeep Liberty (concerned about size and gas mileage), the Toyota 4Runner, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, and the Ford Flex.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about!


  6. Dawn says

    Great!!! I’ve got to look into this. We’re considering a new vehicle, preferably an SUV instead of a car. I think the anchor points in the cargo area would be the most important so my dogs can still wear their seat belts when riding in the back (an anchor point will provide a place to attach the tether of their dog car harness since there are no seat belts in the cargo area.)

  7. Clowie says

    Whether I fit in the car and whether it’s safe for me is an important consideration. They had a strong cage built into the back of our Jeep for me.

  8. Stealth Spaniel says

    I’m a late poster! I have a 2006 Honda Element which will probably need replaced at some point. I’m sorry they aren’t making them anymore as removing the back seats leaves a ton of room for crates or big-big dogs. I have always used the cargo anchors to safety lock dogs. I am impressed that newer cars have coolers built in for food or water, and I wish my Element had air in the back. One thing to think about-ALWAYS get rock & tumble seats that disappear into the floor. My Element’s back seats are heavy, clumsy, and darned near impossible to remove/get back in!! I love minivans for that reason-easy peasy vanishing seats!

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