Dogs are a man’s best friend, so they deserve to travel in safety and comfort. And that got us thinking… what makes a new vehicle truly “dog friendly.”  Well, our Stephanie Hart rides along with dog owners and their pals to find out.

ANNE STITCH: My dog’s name is Gus and he’s 2 years and five months.

STEPHANIE HART: How would you describe Gus’ personality?

ANNE STITCH: A love. Just adorable. We call him wonder dog.

ALLI MENDEZ: My dog’s name is Lilly and she’s 2/12 years old. She’s funny, she’s smart, she’s mischievous and unconditional love for sure.

STEPHANIE HART: If you’re a pet owner than you get it - you know pets are like children to us. They’re part of the family. So we want the very best for them. Automakers realize this.

That’s why engineers, now more than ever, are designing cars with dogs in mind.

A dog friendly vehicle is typically a vehicle with a low ride height, seats that fold down and a roomy interior. Just ask these guys.

STEPHANIE HART: All cars and SUVs now come with active and passive safety features designed to help protect everyone on board…two and four legged. Most vehicles are built with high strength tensile steel and many brands, like Subaru, make pre-collision emergency braking a priority feature. But, that’s just for starters.

MATT RITTER:  Also in 2019 we introduced “driver focus” which was first debuted in our 2019 Forester and “driver focus” is a system that alerts you if you become a distracted driver unintentionally or otherwise – if you’re checking the backseat for your beloved animal or looking outside the window too long this system will alert you to keep your eyes back on the road.

STEPHANIE HART: Many of the best features of family friendly cars are elements of the best dog friendly vehicles - easy to clean interiors, multi-zone automatic temperature controls, air suspension, tinted rear windows, conversation mirrors and camera systems. Plus, after-market accessories - like dog ramps.

JOE WAJDA: Our customers bring their dogs in to look at cars. They bring their dogs in when they service their cars. So you can walk out of your office at any point and see a German Shepard and a Greyhound sitting at a sales consultant’s desk just doing their thing while they’re buying a car.  

STEPHANIE HART: Auto manufacturers realize pets help build meaningful connections with their customers... which translates to sales. Perhaps why we’ve seen so many dog-focused marketing campaigns over the last few years. Besides Subaru…Honda, Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and others have made the dog friendly pitch.

ANNE STITCH: C’mon Gus in, beautiful…

STEPHANIE HART: Does your dog love or hate riding in automobiles?

ALLI MENDEZ: It’s a love hate relationship. When she’s in the car she gets excited to go somewhere, but once she’s in there she gets a little scared but she just wants to know you are near her.

ALLI MENDEZ: On the weekends we like to take a drive down to the water, we’ll walk along the boardwalk at the beach. We walk on the sand. She likes to dig in the sand or run on the sand.

ANNE STITCH: We go to the park. We go to his friends’ house. We go to the beach. We go everywhere really.

STEPHANIE HART: Whether you’re traveling near or far... Safety and comfort is #1 when choosing a fido friendly car... That way you can enjoy the journey... Just as much as the destination.