JoAnna Lou
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Wheels with Dogs in Mind
Honda unveils a dog-friendly version of the popular Element.

Whether it’s a visit to the park or a trip to an Agility trial, I mostly drive with the dogs in tow. So when I’m in the market for a new car, I always keep them in mind. 


When it comes to the perfect canine vehicle, the Honda Element always comes up in conversation. From rave reviews on dog sport blogs to being named DogCar.com’s Car of the Year, the Element’s washable floors and spacious interior make it the clear winner among pet owners.


Earlier this month, Honda unveiled a dog-friendly version of the Element at the New York International Auto Show that will be available for purchase in the fall. The car features bone-patterned floor mats, a built-in crate, a load-in ramp, a rear ventilation fan and a spill-resistant water bowl. 


Honda has long recognized the need for dog friendly travel options and became a front runner in the market when it designed a minivan with built-in crates for the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005. 


Although the dog-friendly Element seems like more of a marketing ploy, since it’s really just the Element with dog-themed add-ons, I’m happy to see one of the big car manufacturers cater to pet owners.


To learn more about finding the perfect car for your perfect pup, check out “Dog & Driver” in the current issue of The Bark.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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Submitted by Rex | April 27 2009 |

No way. Subaru Outbacks are the dog car!! At my dog park these wagons outnumber practically all the other cars put together. Room for crates, with views for dogs. Easy to clean cargo area. Great for dirt roads and access to trails. And no phony "dog-car" advertising pitch.

Submitted by Lois | May 1 2009 |

For the past twenty years I have owned 3 successive Dodge Caravans. For me, they are the ultimate dog carrying car. I remove (and store) the middle seat and place my dog crates in a row behind the driver's seat. For 15 years I had two dogs (a Toy Fox Terrier and a Mini-Schnauzer) who traveled everywhere with me in my Caravan. I now have three dogs (2 Toy Fox Terriers and a Chihuahua/Terrier mix) who share the Caravan with me ... so I have a pyramid of crates (held tightly together) behind me . My dogs LOVE the ride ... they readily go into their own crate as they jump into the right-side sliding door opening for each trip "abroad." The dogs are comfortable and can see what we pass by through the right middle window. They are safe from sudden stops and pose no problem when I need to park and open the doors for loading in groceries or passengers. On long trips, my dogs curl up under their blanket and sleep, lulled by the motion of the car, but ever alert when we slow down to stop at a Rest Stop or Park for a walk in a new place with lots of "Doggie News" in the form of interesting sights and smells.

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