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How to travel with your pet and not destroy your ride

If you’ve got a slobbery dog, active cat, or didn’t quite catch the non-shedding pet craze (Boxer owners I’m looking at you), there’s a good chance your car needs some protection. In fact, anyone who drives with their four-legged pal could do with a few tips and accessories to pet-proof the ride and create an anxiety-free vibe for you and the bestie… after all, the law requires it.

Most Australian states have rules in place that basically say you can’t drive with a pet on your lap anymore. You also need to have control of the vehicle, so your pet can’t be a significant distraction. For ute drivers, there’s also a little gem saying your dog must be restrained when traveling on the ute bed. All measures are much needed since those in the know say over 5,000 dogs die in Australia every year due to not being properly restrained. And what’s worse is that number is likely to be even higher when you factor in other pets!… That’s the bad news!

The good news is that we have 14 ways to create a safer, distraction-free, mess resistant car. It covers everything from restraints and barriers to covers, bumper protectors, and UV shields. So check it out… your pet and car will thank you for it!

Ways To Pet Proof Your Car

Dog Car Harness
Dog Car Harness
  1. Harnesses, Restraints & Seat Belts. These days, us humans know we need to wear a seat belt. When it comes to our furry friends it’s important to remember the same deal applies. Let’s look at a few available options:
    1. A Harness. It straps over the chest, arms and back of the pet. The end of the strap then locks into the seat belt buckle, restraining them in place. The best thing about this method is your dog is restrained from multiple points along their upper body. In an accident, this is quite important as it should (to our non-scientific eye) reduce the severity of any impact or sudden stop i.e. it’s not just pulling on their throat.
    2. A Pet Seat Belt. It will also keep your dog restrained in the vehicle. They work by looping around your dog’s collar and clicking into the seat belt buckle. This is great because it will restrain your dog and ensure they don’t jump all over the place. The downside is that they don’t offer the same level of comfort as a pet harness.
  2.  

    Pet Barrier for Cars
    Pet Barrier for Cars
  3. Car Barriers. You know you shouldn’t drink & drive or use your mobile phone behind the wheel. But we don’t often think about the distraction caused by our pets. Experts in the field say 65% of dog owners get distracted while taking their comrade out for a drive. That’s scary, right?! So take a look at this method to reduce your risk.
     

    Pet Barriers. They keep your small or big dog in a designated space i.e. the cargo area of your Wagon or SUV. This option is especially good for drivers who already have passengers in the back seat and want to use the space out back for the bestie.

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    Pet Seat Cover
    Pet Seat Cover
  5. Pet Seat Covers. Leather, fabric, or vinyl interior? Whatever type of car seat you rock, it needs protection from drool, hair, and scratches. A pet seat cover is a solid option to solve this problem as it will shield the space from whatever mess your best mate can throw at it.
     

    There are a few pet seat cover options on the market so if you’re going to hand over your hard-earned, we suggest choosing one with the following features:

    1. Heavy-duty upper. This will your pet doesn’t burrow through the cover on the first outing.
    2. Soft underside. For comfort we suggest opting for a soft, rubbery underside. It will provide a degree of under-paw relief and help to stop the mat moving around on your leather seats.
    3. Adjustable. Why buy 3 types of cover when 1 can be configured just the way you need it? Choose one that can be setup in a ‘hammock’ (protects seat and creates barrier between rear and front seats), bench, and cargo cover position.
    4. Easy to install. Consider a seat cover that will clip on and off if the cover is only occasionally used.
       

      Here’s an option we have and constantly hear good things about from customers: pet seat cover

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    Felt Blanket
    Felt Blanket
  7. Felt blanket. If you don’t want to spend the money on a pet seat cover, try a felt blanket over the seat or boot/trunk space. The beautiful thing about felt is that it can act a little like a magnet when picking up pet hair. When you’re done, just pull it out and chuck it in the wash. Voila.
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    Pet Ramp Ladder For Cars
    Pet Ramp Ladder For Cars
  9. Pet Ramp / Ladder. A pet ramp or ladder is the perfect way to help the little (or old) legend jump in and out of the car safely. That last thing you want is for them to misjudge their jump and hurt themselves. Equally, you don’t want them using your paintwork as their launch or landing pad. A pet ramp is good, but slightly more expensive way to overcome this problem.
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    Bumper Protector
    Bumper Protector
  11. Bumper Protector. Similar to a Pet Ramp, a Bumper Protector shields your rear bumper from scratches and damage caused by your four legged friend (or fiend!). A big difference between a ramp and bumper protector is the cost and speed of use. A Bumper Protector is a bunch more affordable and will provide solid protection for your car. It can also be setup in a matter of seconds which is great if you’re on the go. For more info on a Bumper Protector, see our website and enter your make & model.
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    Window Sox
    Window Sox
  13. Window Sox (Shades). Normally used for young children, a good quality Window Shade can block out over 80% of UV and reduce the overall heat level in the car. For pets, a set of fitted window sox will make for a much more comfortable ride and reduce the level of distress experienced by your pet. A word of caution though… by NO means should you use this method to leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle.
     

    Check out our website for a set of Window Sox that will fit your make & model down to a tee.

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    Non Spill Pet Water Bowl
    Non Spill Pet Water Bowl
  15. Non-Spill Water Bowl. You didn’t know these existed, right? Either did we until recently but we’ve fallen hard for them. Imagine this: you prepped your pet for a long drive by giving them a bowl of water to drink. Unlike other trips, though, you’ve given them a bowl that can take a knock and not tip. And even better, is shaped to stop their long hairs from picking up water.
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    Ute BedRug
    Ute BedRug
  17. Ute/Truck Liners. Own a ute or truck? No doubt you’ve seen your better half slipping and sliding around on the tray. The surface is just too shiny for their paws to get a grip. To remedy this, the two best options we can recommend would be the Rubber Ute Mat and BedRug. Both options will fit your Australian UTE bed perfectly and would add extra grip.
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    Cargo Liner
    Cargo Liner
  19. Boot Liners (Wagon Body Style). A boot liner is the perfect way to protect your cargo area from spills (let’s be blunt, dog wee) and hair. It will work best with a blanket in the back, tucked over the edge of the cargo mat. Doing this will add extra grip for your dog and ensure they don’t slip around so much.
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    Cling / Plastic Wrap
    Cling / Plastic Wrap
  21. Cling / Plastic Wrap. This is a little left of centre but, if 100% correct, should be a Godsend for anyone with a slobbery dog that gunks up the windows.
     

    The tip is to place cling wrap (plastic wrap) on the inside of the car window. When said slobbery beast does its worst you simply peel away the wrap and, voila, a clean window. Sceptical? Give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to lose.

  22.  

    Lint Roller
    Lint Roller
  23. Lint Roller. Even the best-behaved pet hair will fall off. It’s inevitable; some will even go where you didn’t think of. For situations like this you’ll a lint roller to pick up the hair. It’s small, will tuck away in a nook in your vehicle and ideal for picking up the stray hairs not caught by any one of the options above. Side note: if you’re dog is shedding an unusually large amount of hair, there could be something. Take them to the vet for a check-up. 
    Pet Chew Toy
    Pet Chew Toy
  24. Toys. If you’re heading on a long trip, plan out how you’re going to entertain your pet. A well-entertained dog is less likely to dig for a bone in your cargo area.
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  26. Clean Up Quickly. This one is a bit of no-brainer. If there’s a mess, clean it up quickly to avoid any funky smells and stains.

About FitMyCar

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Luke Samuels

Luke is the Marketing guy at FitMyCar. He's been writing & selling stuff online since the day he got his licence to drive and despite a lack of taste in cars, he's managed to work in one automotive role or another for half his working life.

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