When you're shopping for your next car, will you be looking for a dog-friendly vehicle? If you're like a lot of Americans, your dog is one of your favorite travel companions. So, it makes sense that you might take your pet's needs into consideration when choosing a car.

According to a recent study conducted by Autotrader, 77% of dog owners report that their dogs enjoy car rides. Also, over half of survey respondents say that their canines ride with them at least once a week. So, if you're playing chauffer to your pooch, getting a dog-friendly vehicle is a good idea.

What to Look for in a Dog-Friendly Vehicle

Dog Friendly Vehicles

In this same Autotrader study, it was revealed that 66% of dog owners think about their dog's needs when deciding on a car to buy. About one fourth of puppy parents admit to changing the body style of their vehicle when they adopted their pet.

Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader seems to agree with this considerate quarter of respondents, stating:

"Car shoppers need to take every aspect of their lifestyles into account when searching for their perfect ride. If you enjoy driving around with your pet in tow, it's important to have the right car to keep you and your companion safe and comfortable."

For drivers that often travel with Fido as their co-pilot, a truly dog-friendly vehicle should have several features. These canine-lovers look for vehicle body styles that provide extra utility and ease of access. They also prefer cars that come with easy-clean fabric, all-weather floor mats and pet-friendly seatbelts.

In order to make sure that you're getting a dog-friendly vehicle, you may want to consider taking your dog along on the test drive. 87% of dog owners surveyed say that they have not taken their dog on a test drive, but 45% of them would consider doing so.

Some dealerships will allow pooches to tag along on test drives, and they may offer other doggie perks including toys and/or treats. Dog lovers clearly appreciate the gestures. In fact, four out of five dog owners report that they would be more likely to do business with pet-friendly dealerships.

Dog-Friendly Pre-Owned Vehicles to Consider

All drivers have different needs and so do their canine sidekicks. However, these four vehicles come highly recommended as dog-friendly options. These 2013 models are also budget-friendly. Each can be purchased for less than $20,000.

  • The Toyota Prius c: This (EPA-estimated) fuel-efficient hybrid is small, but it can comfortably fit a medium-sized dog and three humans. Also, the hatch door makes it easier for your pup to jump in and out of the car.
  • The Kia Soul: The Soul is another small car, but it has a lot of headroom for its size, so a big dog will fit. Like the Prius c, it features a pup-friendly hatch door. Also, the Soul's panoramic sun roof provides an interesting view for furry passengers.
  • The Hyundai Tucson: The cargo area of the Tucson should be large enough to accommodate all but the largest dogs. With the hands-free liftgate, loading and unloading carriers will be much easier. Some of these compact SUVs even come with privacy glass which will keep your doggie cool and comfortable.
  • The Mazda Mazda5 Sport: This minivan features doors that latch in the open position, so it won't close on your pup when he or she is getting in. Also, the automatic climate control will keep Sparky or Princess from overheating. And, don't worry, there's room in the Mazda5 for a Mastiff.

If one of these vehicles seems like it would be dog-friendly enough for you and your tail-wagger, check online for local pricing and availability.

People-Friendly Financing

If it's time for you to buy a car, but you're worried that credit issues will prevent you from getting financing approval, Drivers Lane can help. Even if you have bad credit, we can match you with a dealership in your area that can give you your best chance at getting approved for an auto loan. You may even be able to purchase your vehicle with little or no money down.

Our service is free and our process is fast. We will do everything that we can to get you back on the road as soon as possible. There's no obligation attached when you fill out our simple and secure online application, so go ahead and get started today.