New Zealand has the second highest rate of pet ownership in the world. Many more households than not share their space with a furry or feathery friend. If you’re in this group you know firsthand the physical and psychological benefits that come from their companionship.
We love our pets like they’re part of the family.
Considering there are more than 5 million motor vehicles in New Zealand, you can assume a huge number of people are wanting to take their pets on driving holidays. Or at least include them in their everyday on-the-road activities and errands.
Assume no longer – our latest research found 26% of New Zealand’s pet owners take at least one pet on holidays. When asked which pet/s they take away with them, 88% said their dog and 18% said their cat. That’s a lot of fur flying around our cars!
Of course, pets and cars don’t always mix. Things can get messy (and smelly), making your time in the car unpleasant. That’s why we’re sharing our best car pet protection tips, so you can start enjoying the extra time with your pet, stress-free.
How to Pet Proof Your Car
Pet ownership might have a positive impact on our health, but that’s not to say it’s always easy. When travelling in the car with a dog or cat we often learn the hard way that our cars aren’t designed with our pets in mind.
Protecting Your Car Seats from Your Pets
There are so many things to see and smell on the road, that sometimes the thrill (and fear) of travelling in your car can cause even the most well-trained pet to forget their manners.
All of a sudden, you’re cleaning up vomit from a carsick cat or wee from an excited puppy who couldn’t stay still to ‘go’ on your planned pit stop.
Yet toileting isn’t the only thing to consider with your car interior. Pet hair has the uncanny ability to embed itself in your car seats – and your clothes. The great news is, there’s heaps of inexpensive ways to avoid the pet hair on your black work pants.
So, rather than wondering how to get dog hair out of car seats, tackle the problem before it occurs with these suggestions:
- A felt blanket is a cheaper, hair-attracting alternative to a pet seat cover. It’s easy to install (remember to tuck it into the creases to avoid it moving around) and quick to remove and wash. Simple.
- Having said that, a water-proof pet seat cover will keep both your back and front seats hair (and dirt) free, protect it from slobber and accidents. Plus they are made to be super comfy. We love this convertible seat cover that doubles as a pet hammock and has openings for your seatbelts so you can attach a harness.
- Boot liners and padded cargo covers will protect the floor of your boot from any nasty surprises. We recommend one with a raised back, sides and a fold out flap to protect your material and surrounds from scratches too.
How to Protect Your Car From Slobber and Scratches
While a boot protector with an apron is a great way to protect your bumper from scratches as your pooch as gets in, another worthwhile option is a pet ramp.
Let’s look at these and other types of protectors.
- Pet ramps are perfect for small pets or those who are older and might have trouble jumping into your car without using your bumper as
- leverage. Sure, they’re more expensive, but how much will it cost to repair those scratches?
- Car door covers prevent pets from damaging your car’s trim with their nails and teeth as well as from dirt, slobber and hair. And they’re easy to remove when you don’t need them.
- Magnetic window shades are the perfect way to protect your glass from scratches and slobber while protecting your pet from the heat of the sun. Remember you should never leave your pet in the car, even for just a few minutes. Our pets can’t regulate their body temperature like humans and a few short minutes in a hot car can be fatal.
- A spill-proof pet bowl (or two) keeps your pet fed, hydrated and happy during your trip, without the water sloshing all over your car.
Car Pet Protection 101: Harness Your Pet
Is your pet getting up in your grill while you’re driving? You can reduce driver distractions, chances of being fined, and unwanted damage from your roving pet with these products:
- Install a pet barrier to prevent your dog from roving through the car and scratching the interior while you’re on the road.
- Buckle your pet in with a safety harness (like this crash tested dog harness) – secured with a seat belt. Or keep your cat from clawing your car (and your lap) with this seatbelt safe, crash tested carrier. We love how these feature a water repellent cover and machine washable padding that’s easy to clean. Safety and protection? What’s not to love.
Remember that as the driver, you won’t be covered if you’re traveling illegally with your pet. Securing them safely will help you ensure you’re driving within the law, so you’re covered in an accident.
Keep an Emergency Pet Care Kit in The Car
If the unforgivable happens in your car, it pays to be prepared (and minimise the lasting stains or smells). We recommend you keep this list of essentials in the boot to help you clean up quickly and safely:
- Portable vacuum and lint roller to remove any excess hair on cushions, blankets, seat covers or clothes.
- Cling wrap to shield unprotected windows from unwanted dog snot or slobber (if you’ve resisted buying magnetic window shades). Just peel away when finished and recycle.
- Disposable poop bags for those in-car accidents, but also for those times when you’re walking your pet.
- Pet nappies (machine washable of course) for long trips
- Wet wipes for wiping dirty paws. Want a more environmentally option? Keep a filled water bottle and washer instead.
- Three towels. One for cleaning of dirt, one for drying wet fur and one for mopping up accidents.
- Grooming supplies and brushes to remove excess hair during warmer months.
- Chew toys or familiar blanket that smells like home to reduce your pet’s stress (and the results of that) during travel.
- Extra leads in case you need to take your pet out of the car and secure them so you can clean up safely.
- Pet odour spray or baking soda to help remove stubborn smells.
- Portable litter tray and their normal litter in case your furry friend just needs to go.
Stress-Free Car Travel with All the Creature Comforts
We hope these car pet protection tips take the stress out of sharing your car with your furry friends. Now you should be able to spend more time with them while avoiding the mess that follows!
Speaking of protection – have you done the responsible pet parent thing and looked into pet insurance? Take a couple of minutes to read about cat insurance and dog insurance. We provide both, and it covers a range of treatment for illnesses, accidents and even when your pet is well.
What’s the funniest/worst thing that’s happened to you on the road with your pet?
Do you have any tips on protecting your car? Let us know below.