By Contributing Author on Tuesday, July 28, 2009
My first memorable experience of driving with an animal came while I was in college. I was hired to pet sit for a miniature poodle named Coco. Coco’s owners were going to be going out of town for a week and had made the agonizing decision to leave her home. The couple said Coco loved to go for car rides and encouraged me to take their beloved pet along. One evening having only a few errands to run and I thought this would be a good opportunity to take my protégé out for an adventure.
It was a cold Midwest winter. The temperature hovered around a balmy 5 below zero wind-chill factor. I warmed up the car, bundled Coco up, put her in the backseat and we headed out for one memorable car ride. We were no more than a couple miles from home, when the warm car air combined with the most unpleasant smell and I began to gag. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Coco pacing in the backseat. Being overwhelmed by the smell, I had no choice but to vent the driver’s side window and let some fresh air in. I tried to calm and reassure the dog with my words. Helpless to figure out where the smell was coming from I continued on until I finally hit a red light. Peering over my shoulder I turned just in time to see a small soft pile of dog feces on one side of the seat while simultaneously watching in horror as Coco heaved the contents of her stomach over the remaining side of the backseat.
Pet parents who are experienced travelers know that, like humans, their animals need to be comfortable when they travel (otherwise the trip can be unpleasant for all involved). Aside from the potential for unexpected bodily accidents and that many states have laws requiring a pet to be secured when traveling in a vehicle; unsecured animals pose both a danger to themselves and their owners. A pet’s feeling of safety comes in part from a feeling of stability. Your car’s continuous stop and go movement may result in your pet feeling anxious, nervous or restless which can lead to unpredictable animal behavior.
Previously pet owners have had limited options for traveling with their beloved four-legged family member. Things have changed and today’s automakers are answering the call offering choices and products for both new and existing models. Pet owners can purchase travel equipment which fits their vehicle and keeps their pet comfortable and safe. Features and accessories are available for most makes and models these include; pet beds, booster seats, harnesses, ramps, ventilation fans, cargo mats, barriers and even toys and travel dish sets.
Other available features include; space dividers, fold-up backseat cushions, fold-flat front passenger seat, washable and stain-resistant upholstery. While some features may be part of an option package or cargo management system, others may be sold separately. To learn which car models offer the features you’re looking for, we encourage you to speak with one of our Parts Associates at any AutoNation Dealership near you.
~~ Opinions Of A Backseat Driver