After sheltering in place for a year, if you didn’t have a dog going into the pandemic, there’s a good chance you have one now. And your dog probably hasn’t spent much—if any—time alone, since you’ve been home most of the time. So you’re going to want to take your best friend with you everywhere. Or at least as much as you can. Here at TRED, we love dogs. And of course, we love cars. So here are our picks for best cars for dog lovers, models that are likely to make your journeys together the most comfortable and convenient.
Tesla (any model)
If you’re interested in an electric car, Tesla is definitely on the short list for dog lovers to consider. They’ve put a lot of thought into the needs of your pup, and how to help keep them safe and comfortable, especially when you have to leave them in the car.
Tesla’s Dog Mode is the most clever and useful solution we’ve seen to the normal challenges of leaving your dog in the car—in warm or extremely cold weather, you have to leave the car running to keep them safe. But it is, of course, not a good idea (and illegal in some states) to leave your car running and unattended.
If you buy a Tesla, all of these worries are behind you. In Dog Mode, you can leave your car off and locked, but with the heater or air conditioner running. And to prevent any bystanders from perceiving a pup in distress and smashing your window, Tesla’s large in-car touchscreen displays ‘My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry! The heater (or A/C) is on, and it’s ___ degrees.’
The Wrangler is just a classic dog car. It has a great, comfortable back area for your pup to ride in. And the rear window lifts up so he can take in all the smells when you’re parked.
If you take the top off, your dog can get the full wind-in-his-face experience. And if your dog is as spoiled as mine, you might be interested to know that many late-year Wranglers have heated seats to make sure he stays warm on the chillier top-down days.
You can also get a range of Wrangler accessories including a foldable dog crate that straps to the floor of your Jeep, and all-weather floor and cargo mats to protect your interior from muddy paws.
Nissan Titan Crew Cab
If a pickup truck is your style, our top pick for you and your pup is Nissan’s Titan Crew Cab.
One of the key features of the Titan Crew Cab is an incredibly versatile set of split-folding seat options. You can fold down all or part of the rear seats. There are also fold-up floor panels to create a nice flat area for your friend that is higher than the floorboards, and level. It’s a great space for a big dog to comfortably lie down. There are also numerous anchor points to secure a harness.
Honda’s CR-V is a great compact crossover with plenty of room for your family and a dog or two. The back cargo area is spacious for the car’s demure size, and the liftgate makes it easy to access.
The real game-changer is that with the touch of a button, you can lower the load height—the suspension will drop a couple of inches to make it easy for your smaller or older dog to get in and out.
Land Rovers are basically synonymous with luxury. They’re comfortable for humans, so they’re comfortable for dogs.
The most interesting dog-centric offering that Land Rover has is their ‘Pet Packs’. They include a quilted cargo area liner, a foldable pet carrier, an access ramp, a no-spill water bowl, and a rinse system to wash off muddy paws after a walk.
The access ramp solves the problem of having to jump in and out, but like the CR-V, most Land Rover models can be lowered for easier access.
Once you decide on the right car, check out our guide on the best dog accessories to take on a road trip with your best friend.