Fur the love of pets

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How Pets Influence Auto Design

As part of our families, pets hit the road with us more often now than ever before—to the park, the store and on vacation. It's a trend among automakers these days to cater to the needs of drivers with pets. When shopping for a vehicle, look for designs that consider their comfort and safety, as well as convenience.

Whether it's a hatchback, SUV, crossover, minivan or pick-up that fits your taste and lifestyle, car companies from Subaru to Jeep and Volvo offer pet-friendly features to make traveling with cats and dogs more fun—and safer.

Safe havens

Millions of drivers with pets are concerned for the security of their four-legged passengers as much as humans. Vehicle engineers have responded to pet lovers' growing demands by providing added protections:

• Tie-downs keep pets harnessed to seatbelts and crates in place
• Rear vents and tinted windows offer climate control
• Pet barriers prevent jumping into the front seat
• Cargo dividers stop carriers from sliding

Creature comforts

When travel is relaxing for pets and the car is easy to clean everyone is happy. Look for vehicles with these features and accessories:

• Fold-flat seats for pet carriers
• Waterproof cargo liners, all-weather mats and washable seat covers
• Storage compartments for toys and treats
• Big windows to enhance pets' views

Consider pet size

The size and number of pets determines the right cargo area. Small dogs and cats fit in 55 cubic feet, but large and medium-sized dogs require more space. Low-to-the-ground doors make climbing in and out easier for small or short-legged dogs, arthritic or older pets.

Extra extras

Automatic gate lifters feel essential with a rescue pet in your arms. The Honda Odyssey minivan's built-in vacuum seems like a must-have. Now Nissan has created a doggie's dream vehicle—Rogue Dogue, a fantasy-filled SUV with foldout ramps, food and water bowl stations, hose sprayer with heated water, blow-dryer, treat dispenser and even a waste container. This ideal petmobile may reach your garage someday soon.