What Car Does a Dog Want to Drive?

  • September 25, 2009
  • By

Ok, dogs might never drive cars, but car manufacturers do now understand that dog lovers do think about their dogs' needs when deciding which car to buy.

element 4.JPGOne of the best examples of this is the recently announced 2009 Honda Element with optional Pet Friendly Features. The US built Honda Element will soon be available with canine specific enhancements to make it one of the most dog friendly vehicles available, according to a recent announcement by Honda Motor Co at the New York International Auto Show. No announcement has yet been made about an Australian release date.

Scheduled for release to the market this (North American) Autumn, the Honda Element's optional features for car travel with dogs will include:
  • a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform;
  • second row and cargo area pet restraint systems;
  • an extendable cargo area load-in ramp;
  • a 12V DC rear ventilation fan;
  • second-row seat covers with a dog pattern design (matches the bed fabric);
  • all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern;
  • a spill-resistant water bowl; and
  • Dog Friendly exterior emblems.

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With nearly half of all Australian households owning at least one dog, no one doubts that there is a growing market for these sort of dog specific features in cars, but I hope no one tells my Spaniels that Honda's purpose designed "Dog Friendly Equipment" will accommodate the transportation of dogs in the second-row passenger seats (as well as in the cargo area). I already have enough trouble getting my "girls" in the back. If they know there is an option to ride up front, I'm in real trouble! On the other hand, the rear loading ramp will be a great help for smaller spaniels and all other little dogs that have trouble getting in to the cargo bay of most SUVs.

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It is good to see car manufacturers building in features which makes car travel with dogs safer and easier. For full specifications and more pictures and photos of the Honda Element you can read the Honda press release about the 2009 Honda Element and its Dog Friendly features .

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I'm not sure the Dog Friendly Exterior Emblems would convince me to buy the car, but I love the load-in ramp and the rear ventilation fan and of course, dog restraint systems are a must for anyone traveling with dogs in the car. The idea of a "spill-resistant water bowl' is interesting, but I would like to see it in action before I pass judgment on how useful that is.

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