One of the many reasons people choose to purchase an SUV is to make traveling with their dogs more convenient. For those with bigger dogs, the extra space of an SUV allows for a safer ride for you and your dog, or dogs, as the case may be. For those who have tried to put a big dog in a small car, it is typically not a pleasant experience for anyone. With the boom in SUV sales comes a boom in SUV accessories and some of them are designed just for the SUV owner with pets. Traveling with a pet is almost like traveling with a child, they need to eat and drink, they need to be entertained, and above all, they need to be safe. The following five products are must haves for any SUV owner with pets.
#1 First Aid Kit
A first aid kit, for you and for your pet, is something that no SUV owner should be without. Most pet owners have first aid items for their pet at home and it is just important to have some simple items on hand when you travel. You can purchase a pet first aid kit for your SUV online or save money and put one together yourself. A pet first aid kit has essentially the same items that a human first aid kit has such as ice packs, gloves, gauze, tape, tweezers, and tape, there are a few additional items you will want to include.
If your pet has a microchip or other ID, you want to put some type of documentation in the first aid kit so in the event of an accident, your pet can be quickly identified and if lost, returned to you as soon as possible. It is also helpful to have a pet version of the old “Baby on Board” sign in the form of a card or sticker to let people know that there is a pet in the vehicle. You can find them online or be creative and make your own. If you have a human first aid kit on board, you can simply add additional supplies to ensure that you have enough in case an emergency occurs.
#2 Pet Barrier or Pet Harness
While you never want to think about getting in an accident with your furry family member on board, it can happen. You wear a seat belt to keep yourself safe, so why not keep your pet just as safe. There are a number of different ways to restrain your pet safely with the two most common being barriers or harnesses. A barrier is placed behind the front seats and is similar to the barrier you see in police cars. A barrier keeps your pet safely in the back seat and in an accident, will keep them from being launched into the front seat and being injured, or worse.
If you do not like the idea of a cage between you and your pet, you can choose to keep your pet safe in your SUV with a harness. Harnesses designed for SUVs typically give your pet enough room to roam, but will keep them safely restrained inside the vehicle in an accident. Most harnesses fit like a vest and have a lead that you can attach to the existing seatbelts or attach to another secure point. For large dogs, there is also a harness set available that features a strap similar to a clothesline. You simply hook the harness lead to strap and your pet can roam in all areas of the back of your SUV and still be safe.
#3 Cargo Mat
A cargo mat can serve a dual purpose for SUV owners with pets. It can provide a flat, stable surface for your pet to walk on as well as keep your cargo area clean. Simply add your dog’s favorite travel bed, blanket, and toys and your pet has a home away from home. Depending on your personal preference, you can choose a hard plastic or carpeted cargo mat. A hard plastic cargo mat is perfect if you take your dog swimming or for when they may be walking in mud or snow. The hard plastic cargo mat for your SUV will contain the dirt and debris and keep your SUV clean. If you travel with your dog and no swimming or mud is involved, a carpeted cargo mat will help your dog keep their traction when walking around as well as give them an insulated place to relax in the winter and summer. When your pet is not in your SUV, you can simply remove the cargo mat and use it as you would for everyday purposes like shopping.
#4 Collapsible Food and Water Dish
You get hungry and thirsty on the road and so does your dog and while you SUV gives you more room, you do not want to take up any more space than you need to. Unless you feed your dog a fast food diet, which we do not recommend, you need to bring a supply of food and water for them. Any SUV owner with pets knows that road snacks always include those for humans and for your furry companion. A collapsible food and water dish allow you to have everything you need for your pet’s meal on the road without having to find extra space to store them while you travel.
Keeping all your travel foods, including your pets, in a plastic container with a lid saves space, keeps items secure, and makes them easy to store. You can also throw in bottles of water for your pet and for yourself in case of an emergency. Bottled water has a long shelf life and if you have any leftover after your trip, simply add a couple to your first aid kit to keep on hand at all times. When choosing snacks for both you and your pet, be sure to include a few items that do not require refrigeration and have a long expiration date. If you have any of these leftover, keep them in your SUV in case of emergency, you never know when you might be stranded on the side of the road, with or without your pet.
#5 Hitch Step or Dog Ramp
Adding a hitch step or dog ramp to your SUV can make entry and exit easier for your pet and in some cases, easier for you. A hitch step simply slides into your existing hitch receiver and folds up when not in use. Not only is it a convenient way to access the cargo area of your SUV for your smaller or older dog, it can also help you access the roof if you have a luggage rack or cargo box. Hitch steps come in a number of styles and finishes and can make an attractive, functional addition to your SUV. If you have a very small dog or older dog, investing in a dog ramp can make travel easier on your pet and easier on your back. Most styles of dog ramps are made of durable, easy to clean plastic, can support both you and your pet and fold up for easy storage when not in use.
For SUV owners with pets, you want to be sure that traveling with them is as safe and enjoyable as it is for you. With more people choosing SUVs, the number of SUV accessories is growing as well. For SUV owners with pets, it is getting much easier to find SUV accessories designed specifically for you. If you enjoy traveling and you are an SUV owner with pets, these items are a must have to make every trip safe and more importantly, fun for you and your furry companion.
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