How to Dog Proof Your Car for Holiday Travels

Dog-proof your car
Bring your four-legged friends along for the holidays.

Man’s best friend makes a great travel companion, but to make the most of your travels together, it’s a good idea to dog-proof your car. Here are five easy steps to doing that:

Clean Your Car First

Cleaning your car thoroughly prior to dog-proofing it is key. A wet/dry vacuum can help you get all kinds of matter, from dirt and fur to dried bits of fluid that you don’t want trapped in your carpet or cloth fibers. Make sure your vacuum is strong enough to pull all the moisture out of the fibers – if not, it’s worth taking the car in and letting a professional clean it.

Get a seat cover

If you have a dog in the car, it’s going to be impossible to keep the seats and floor completely free of dog hair. Rather than giving up, look at investing in seat covers that will catch the hair and make for easier cleanup. If you don’t want to invest in fitted seat covers, you could just buy an inexpensive felt blanket to catch the hair – and take it out and shake the hair off after every visit. (Keeping a lint roller in the car’s console can also help you pick up bits of hair that end up in the car between vacuuming times.)

Cover the windows

One of the telltale signs there’s a dog in the car are those nose prints and slobber streaks on the windows. Eliminate these by covering the window with clear plastic wrap before you hit the road with your dog. It won’t impede your vision, and when the trip is over you can simply peel it off and toss it in the trash – nose prints and all!

If your interior has leather or vinyl, you’ll want to make sure Fido’s nails don’t scratch the seats or car doors. A seat cover will help, but you can also put plastic wrap over the leather or vinyl on the doors for while you’re out and about.

Clean any accident quickly

Even with all the necessary precautions, you’re bound to have an occasional accident. Taking care of these quickly will keep any stains from setting, and it helps to keep a spray bottle of high-quality leather or upholstery cleaner on hand to remove spots. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle’s interior to make sure you’re using the right materials.

Cover up odor

Consider using essential oils to keep your car smelling fresh; they don’t simply cover up odors, they actually eliminate them and many are anti-microbial.

The best way to protect your car’s interior is to plan ahead and prevent the damage from occurring in the first place. If you’ve already experienced some problems, make sure you clean up any unwanted odors before you start. If you just cover them up rather than eliminating them, they’re going to resurface.

Have a set spot for your dog

Finally, giving your dog a designated space – such as a place on the back seat where he’s secured with a harness attached to the seat belt – will keep him or her from moving around the car, which not only makes it easier to confine the area that needs to be “dog-proofed,” but is safer for both of you. Before you hit the wide-open road, check your state’s laws and see if there are any restrictions about how your dog is transported.