With market research showing that more households have pets than have children, the folks who designed DogCar.com
know they're not alone in considering the needs of their dogs when
shopping for a car. Created by "Good Morning America" veterinarian Dr.
Marty Becker and his writing partner, the syndicated columnist, book
author, and PetConnection.com blogger Gina Spadafori, the pair decided
to start reviewing dog-friendly vehicles and pet products designed for
You can find any number of Web sites that review cars for all the usual reasons, which is why this one doesn't spend a lot of time dwelling on horsepower, handling, and other things that get the usual car fanatics all excited. This site's reviews are focused on dog-friendly info like: How well does a car hold dogs and their gear? How easy it is to get crates into the back or otherwise restrain a dog for safety? Can you get air in the back? Do the seats fold flat? And how economic is the vehicle? Vehicles are given "paw ratings" to measure how well they rank across these categories. Very cute -- and especially useful for animal lovers.
So far their database includes more than 40 dog-friendly vehicles, but the site's piece de resistance was the recent pronouncement of the 2007 Honda Element as the winner of the first-ever "DogCar of the Year" Award. Ranking it best overall among the vehicles they reviewed, the review says, "The Element is as good a DogCar as could possibly be imagined. From its versatile interior to its anti-noseprint windows, everything about the Honda Element has dog-lovers howling with happiness. The easy-to-clean Element is a near-perfect DogCar with just the right canine chemistry." DogCars.com also gave high honors to the Suzuki Forenza wagon as the Best DogCarsValue among 2007 models, saying "The Forenza (immediately nicknamed the "Fur-enza at DogCars.com) offers a comfortable, spacious interior, European styling and a posse of premium features, making it perfect for budget-conscious consumers."
The DogCars.com team also noted four vehicles to watch for 2008: The
all new Scion xB, Volvo XC70, Dodge Grand Caravan and Buick Enclave. In
the closely watched Green category, DogCars.com marks the 2008 Ford
Escape hybrid as worth a test drive for dog-lovers who want a cleaner
"Surveys show about half of all car-buyers consider the comfort of the family dog when buying a new car - and 65 percent take their pets on errands," says Dr. Becker, New York Times best-selling author and co-author with Spadafori of the new "BowWow: Curiously Compelling Facts, True Tales and Trivia Even Your Dog Won't Know."
In addition to vehicle reviews, the site also includes a number of pet-friendly product reviews, covering the gamut from clean-up supplies, to crates and carriers, to ramps and restraint systems. And you won't want to skip their dog-centric blog that features conversations on everything from roadtrip journals to tips on how to travel safely with your canine companions.
by Brandy Schaffels