Your Pets, Your Car

2010 Dog Friendly Honda Element. Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor, Inc.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor, Inc.

Dogs are a human’s best friend! We love them! We adore them! We do anything to make them happy, as they make us happy.

When it comes to pets, we humans would most likely take one with us in our vehicles. How we take them varies from making them feel at home with a water dish, a food receptacle, specific seat covers, and so forth. Otherwise, we let our prized pets roam free, sticking their heads out the window to experience the feel of the road.

For the past few years, automakers and aftermarket suppliers have been dancing around the notion of making our dogs comfortable inside our vehicles. Of course, our dogs run the gamut from pit bulls, to bull mastiffs, dachshunds, spaniels, bulldogs, pugs, poodles and chihuahuas—and everything in-between.

In Japan, Honda wanted to bring awareness to pet owners on how they can have their car friendly enough to carry their dog. They are presenting options for over a dozen local market vehicles to accomplish this. On the site [http://www.honda.co.jp/dog] (in Japanese), Honda shows how a dog can ride in one of their vehicles safely, comfortably, and with the highest of hygiene in mind.

For each vehicle, Honda shows what materials will be friendly to dogs as they ride inside, what seat configuration a dog can ride without being obstructive with other occupants in the vehicle, dimensions of space area along with what size of dog can ride comfortably inside. They also offer options, such as Travel Dog, where a dog can ride in the back seat with a cover over it or a little bag they can hang out in while riding along. If you prefer to use a carrier, Honda discusses which carrier sizes will work with each model.

Two of the biggest tips Honda gives are the best ways to deal with shedding dog hair on their upholstery and how to have your dog properly step inside the vehicle. The former could be a huge issue with any vehicle, as we know dogs will shed some hair on the rear seat. The latter is something to consider in determining the best way to board and off-board your dog from the vehicle without causing any injury to your pet.

Through photos, Honda demonstrated an understanding that not all dogs are equal. They provide tips for dogs of various sizes as to how they can load themselves onboard a vehicle. This is not something you learn at puppy pre-school, but good tips, nonetheless.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor, Inc.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor, Inc.

In Japan, Honda offers their dog-friendly accessories to various models in their home market. The ones that would work for us would be the Insight, the CR-Z, the Fit, the CR-V and the Accord. In 2010, American Honda offered a completely dog-friendly model for the Element crossover with an interior that is protected against lingering hair and damage a dog could do. Though they no longer offer this specific package anymore, Honda dealers might still be able to order a complete dog-friendly kit for your Element through their parts department. If available, the kit runs about $1,000.

If you do not own a Honda Element, you are still in luck. You can go to Petco, PetSmart, or any pet store to get aftermarket accessories for your vehicle. These are universal accessories that work with almost every vehicle.

The bottom line is simple: The site may have some tips for even non-Honda owners to find solutions for having pets ride onboard their vehicle. The old dog-out-of-the-passenger window may not cut it anymore…not with passive safety equipment and newer interior materials that may not be sensitive to all dogs.

If you love your dog, equip your vehicle the best way to make sure they enjoy the ride, too.

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