Your dog is likely an important part of the family, as it should be. That means taking them in your car for trips to the vet, dog park, pet store, play dates, vacation, and more. With all of the in and out your dog does, you’ll want to make sure your car is as “pet-proofed” as possible. Here are ten ways to do just that.
Start by cleaning your car
Before your dog even gets in your vehicle, give it a good cleaning. A quality wet or dry vacuum will help you pull out all the dirt and debris that is already in the fibers of the seats and on the floors. Always make sure your wet/dry vac is strong enough that all the moisture in your car comes out. You can also spray your seats with an upholstery protector to protect spots that messes may find.
Keep your pet’s nails trimmed
Your pet’s nails grow quickly and can easily puncture, tear, or scratch surfaces in your car. Keep this from happening by keeping their nails trimmed on a regular basis. Your vet or groomer can do it for you, but you may want to do it yourself to save time and money. Your dog’s nails shouldn’t protrude over their pad and shouldn’t touch the floor when they are standing. Keeping their nails trimmed will save your upholstery from being torn and ruined. Check out The Pampered Pup for a list of best dog nail grinders and for more tips on dog grooming.
Buy waterproof seat covers
Your dog will absolutely shed and drool all over your vehicle, some more than others. Waterproof seat covers are 100% the way to go when you want to pet-proof your car! They are also great for unwanted and unexpected accidents from your pet. Look for one that is waterproof and scratchproof. A car hammock is one great choice that attaches to both the front and back seat headrest and will cover your entire backseat.
Keep a fabric guard interior cleaner and protector
Cleaning the car interior will increase its life expectancy. So it’s always good to clean any accident quickly as it prevents stains from setting. To further protect the fabric of your car or upholstered furniture and furnishing, it helps to keep a bottle of fabric or upholstery cleaner to remove the stains. Also, pretreat your interior with a fabric guard protector that is designed to resist any spills or stains. Adding a fabric guard protector will ensure no permanent stain will set in your interior. Just make sure to immediately clean a dog mishap when it occurs or quickly wipes off pet stains on the surface of the fabric.
Use a buckle or a harness
You may not want your dog to have free access to your entire backseat, especially on longer trips. A seat belt buckle or harness will keep them safely in place the entire way while keeping your seats just a little bit cleaner. Look for a brand that is strong, durable, and easy to use. Many harnesses also double as a leash and clip on and off your seats easily.
Install quality floor mats
The easiest way to protect the floor of your car from dog hair and drool is to install quality floor mats and liners throughout the entire car. Look for non-slip rubber mats with grooves that catch and hold accidental spills. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have good floor mats, cover the floor of your car with a large piece of disposable plastic until you can replace them with actual mats.
Cover your windows
Dogs love to stick their heads out of the window on a car ride. They also press their noses up against the closed windows, leaving smudges. Even a five-minute car ride can leave your windows a sticky mess. To avoid this, simply cover up your windows with disposable plastic wrap for the drive. Plastic wrap won’t impede your vision, but it will keep your windows from getting dirty! When you’re home, simply pull the wrap off and dispose of it properly.
Put up a barrier
If you have a larger vehicle and are going for a long car ride, putting your dog in the rear hatch of the car may be a good idea. This helps keep younger dogs from jumping around and creating a distraction as you are driving. If your vehicle doesn’t come with a barrier in the back, you can easily find an aftermarket part to install instead. Look for one that is easy to install and remove when needed.
Keep a cleaning kit handy
No matter how hard you try to keep your car clean, we can already guess that your pooch will still create a mess once in a while. Being prepared for such a mess is your best bet. You don’t want to be caught on the road with nothing if your dog suddenly becomes sick all over your backseat! Even if you have installed waterproof covers to catch the mess you’ll still want to pull over and clean it up fast. Keep the following in your car at all times: spray cleaner, paper towels, rags, disposable rubber gloves, garbage bags, and a pet deodorant spray for odors.
Properly remove dog odor
After you treat the accident in the car, get the necessary deodorizer to avoid any odor that might linger in the car. Your dog, as they are furry and naturally shed, is home to yeast and bacteria and these molecules are often culprits for the stubborn pet stench.
These molecules evaporate in the air or burrow into the seats and carpet which give us the dog musty scent. That is why it would not be enough to just cover the smell with an air freshener, you should clean the surface first, remove any dog’s fur and vacuum all the areas of the car from time to time. If you don’t clean and just spray a deodorizer, the perfume will just sit on top of the musty dog scent and that smell can be offensive and unhealthy for you and your dog.
Keep your car dog-proofed with the above tips, and enjoy your time on the road. We hope every car ride with your pet is a safe and happy one!