Autotrader finds one in four dog owners take pet on test drive

(August 27, 2015) ATLANTA — More than 54 million American households own a dog, so it's no surprise that 56% of dog owners actively seek out cars and trucks that can accommodate their four-legged friends. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 22% of Autotrader visitors have taken their pet, or would consider taking their pet, on a test drive.

For the second year in a row, the editorial team at Autotrader is celebrating National Dog Day by naming the Best Cars for Dog Lovers. Autotrader says these cars offer comfort and convenience features that make any road trip enjoyable for both human and dog passengers: Audi allroad, Ford Edge, Honda Fit, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sedona, Lincoln MKC, Mazda3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Subaru XV Crosstrek.

"We know car shoppers take every aspect of their lifestyle into account when shopping for their perfect ride, and four-legged friends are no exception," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. "The cars on our list provide key features for pet owners, such as fold-flat rear seats, rear lift gate, low ride-height, airy cabin and under-floor storage."

We all love our pets, and it's fun to have them along for the ride. But whether you're driving to the grocery store or taking a cross-country road trip, the experts at Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters, remind pet owners to ensure the safety of their pets first and foremost. 

"Pets are more than just our companions — they're members of our families — and it's important to take extra caution when traveling with them," says Gregory Castle, co-founder and CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. "An unsecured dog, even a small dog, can be hurt or killed and cause harm to others in the car if an accident occurs even at slow speeds."

Castle recommends the following safety tips for traveling with dogs:

    • When in a car, dogs should be secured with a harness/restraint, to protect the pet, prevent them from distracting the driver, and for the safety of the other people in the vehicle.

    • Small dogs and cats can ride in a secured pet carrier to keep them safe and to prevent them from getting around the driver's feet.

   •  Pets should not ride in the front seat in a vehicle, as they could be severely injured by the windshield or the airbags in an accident.

    • Dogs seem to love to ride with their heads out the window, but it's safest not to allow them to. Bugs, rocks or flying debris can hurt their eyes or ears.

    • The back of a pick-up truck is never a safe place for a pet to ride.