In another blog post, we look at ways to pet-proof your entire home. Here, we move the magic to the car, and explore ways to keep your vehicle from premature ageing under the claw, tooth, drool, poop, and paw of your animal family.
So, you’ve pet-proofed the home space, and you’re ready to take Rover to the park, or Mitzi to the vet for her shots (which our Superior pet cover will subsidize). But how to do it without getting hair or body fluids everywhere, or inadvertently incurring damage to the seats, speakers, hand-break etc?
The long-term answer is to train your pets to travel in the car in a way that suits everyone. This takes time, practise and in the meantime, body fluids and hair will have their way. What to do to make the whole experience less of a mess?
Any animal who eats, feels and loves may leave deposits in your car – fur, scales, feathers, and worse…
Contain the chaos
Depending on the distance and your pet’s temperament or mood, you will want to travel with each animal in its own secure pet box. This is because a pet should never be loose in a moving car. Yours might be used to driving with you, but all it takes is one sudden scare from nowhere (imagine another car clips your bumper by mistake) and you might have a kitty flying under your feet while you’re trying to break, or a hound in your face blocking your line of vision while you’re trying to see. Not a funny story at anything over 10 km/hr, is it? A pet carrier not only contains your loved one to a safe space, it protects upholstery from nervous chewing and excited scratching. What’s more, the more robust, stress-tested, ones can further protect your pet in the case of impact from a car accident. If there are ‘spills’ (vomiting or defecating due to motion sickness, stress or tension) it’s also easier to clean up if your pet is contained in a dog box or a cat carrier. Pretty please do it promptly, though; pets can smell very well and could get bacteria on their body from touching this (poop is one way disease can be transmitted between individuals). Also, some dogs eat poop. You wouldn’t want to travel in your own vom, would you?
Say you have a pack of pooches, and your back seat won’t fit that many pet boxes. There are other options. You can attach a purpose-made doggy harness to the seatbelt for safety and security. The harness allows some movement but not free reign for Fido in the car. “Simply feed your car’s seat belt through both webbing handles on top of the harness,” advises EzyDog, “and let your dog travel safely in their seat to your destination” as this video demonstrates . This might be surprising and upsetting for a pup who’s never been led on a leash, so practise at home first. Over time, and with positive reinforcement, a dog adjusts and even welcomes the limited movement of being safely secured in a vehicle (because beach!), and the peace of mind it gives the driver is invaluable.
Protect your interior with a car hammock, a pet car-seat cover or a detachable wet-dry blanket (with one fleecy side and one waterproof side to protects the car from hairs and wet). You can flip it over to suit the weather or the state of your dog’s fur coat. Just don’t flip it if the other side is already soiled…! They’re easy to install, secure and remove, quickly. The best ones are also machine washable. Just watch out for metal buckles on this one and stick to a cold wash if there are plastic clasps/attachments. This way it’ll last longer.
Hair, hair, (not) everywhere
Fur and hair deserve special mention for their amazing ability to get basically anywhere. If some escaped the pet carrier and dog hammock (they will), we have a few tricks to help lift them off the inside of your car:
Avoiding and Removing Odours
Nothing like a car that stinks of wet dog, eh? Apart from a pet blanket, you may want to vacuum surfaces after heavy soiling to reduce lingering scent.
Now you’re ready to roll with Rover and Sushi. Remember that animals can escape, so a good rule of thumb is never to open the windows more than a nose-width. This way they can’t jump out of the window in alarm at high speed. We have other clever tips for safe road trips with your pets here.
Anything to add? Tag us on Instagram with a pic of your pet and your tricks to keeping the car clean and fresh for you and your passengers.