Dog Friendly Vehicles by Ann-Marie Fleming

25 April, 2009


By Stuart Fleming

Finally a vehicle that Mackenzie our 13 year old can get in and out of with ease. As with most aging dogs getting anywhere with ease becomes harder as they get older. Their bones are frailer and joints less shock absorbing. Arthritis limits their flexibility and hip issues start to develop.

I know with Mackenzie, just getting out the front door requires the help of what I like to call the “Human Hydraulic Lift” – picture two mechanical arms scooping and raising an animal over the edge of a doorstep and gently lowering. In a twisted way I think he now enjoys watching me slave over this task and even more so as we approach our Mazda 3. Putting Mackenzie in the car is a 3 step process each time.

Firstly, there is the task of physically lifting him in and out of the car; secondly, given his stability issues, I have to fasten him in with a wall of blankets so that he isn’t taking a tumble on turns; finally, I have to always bring a bowl of water that inevitably spills all over the place because in his old age he is thirsty all the time....I mean ALL THE TIME!

Thankfully, there are some car companies out there that recognize these issues and have come with some great accessories to help owners like myself out. Now this will seem like a plug and in many ways it is but the intent is more about awareness of products aimed at improving dog and dog owner experience.

Honda’s new line of Elements’ (Multi-Purpose SUV) has the option of adding the following dog friendly features:

• A collapsible ramp in the back for less agile dogs

• A raised pet bed

• Pet restraints in the cargo • Second row areas, removable seat covers for easy cleaning and washing,

• Ventilation fan and a spill resistant water bowl.

These are all very useful features that help provide peace of mind while travelling with your aging dog. Now when I am earning enough money to afford a Honda Element I will be sure to visit the nearest dealership..hahaha.

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