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A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas

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A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas

Geoff Maxted
December 23, 2013

Dog in Car Window
There’s an old story that Volvo estate cars were once only designed for wealthy country folk to ferry Labrador dogs up and down motorways. To an extent this was true. Volvo’s of the time had a reputation for solid dependability that was admired by people who spent a lot of time in fields wearing waxed clothing. They needed somewhere to put the pooches.

These days, such is the quality and desirability of many auto offerings - especially with leather clad interiors - that we are loathe to let our four-legged friends anywhere near the upholstery. Thought must be given to resale values for example. Used car buyers need to know that the vehicles they are viewing are in pristine condition. Stale, wet dog odours and dubious looking stains are a definite turn-off.

So what to do? Some pampered pets tend to get their own back seat blankets that smell of wet canine undercarriages but protect the furnishings; but many of these animals, by and large, live such coddled lives that they are never allowed anywhere near mud. Hardened dog owners may use old vans as a compromise but they are hardly family friendly. So what’s the answer?

Owning a dog means adding another dimension to your car buying decisions. Clearly a large flat boot area is mandatory, particularly for larger dogs. It’s also necessary to assume that saloons are out of the question as the need for a large top-hinged or side opening door is essential.

Unsurprisingly, estate cars are most popular. SUVs are great but the rear door sill height is higher and less convenient for the more vertically challenged hound or infirm animals. The same goes for 4x4s but the all wheel drive may be more acceptable in rural locations. Convertibles are probably not ideal, especially if the creature is feeling a little depressed.

It’s not just existing dog owners. Anyone seriously considering adding a dog to the family unit needs to consider this, especially when buying a new car. There’s a need to take into account the requirement of complete separation for the ankle-biters in the back seat. What happens if a further dog or child is added later and so on. As ever, fuel economy and insurance costs must be considered. A bigger car will cost more to run. Finally, what about long journeys? The comfort and safety of your family is paramount but don’t forget faithful Fido’s needs at the back of the vehicle.

We spend a lot of time in our cars and our pets are often with us. We enjoy the comfort and convenience so there’s no reason why pets shouldn’t also. Remember, dogs have human rights too.

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