On the Hunt for a Dog-Friendly Car? We’ve Got You Covered

On the Hunt for a Dog-Friendly Car? We’ve Got You Covered

If you're a dog owner, you're well aware that your furry friend isn't just a companion but also a genuine, beloved member of the family. 

Forever a faithful sidekick, these canines are keen to experience your family's lifestyle in the best of ways. You want them to experience everything alongside you, too, including your weekend trips and offroading adventures, along with less desirable but necessary checkups at the vet. 

Unfortunately, finding dog-friendly cars isn't necessarily the easiest. While all vehicles are designed with comfort in mind, the options can seem limited when transporting animals. If you own a dog, you'll want certain features, like flat-fold seats to make room for your pet when you're traveling. Automatic lift gates can keep your animals contained and less of a distraction, too.

At the same time, rear climate controls with all-weather mats will ensure that your dog stays comfortable and your car clean.

When purchasing a car for dogs, additional features you may want to consider are vehicles that run quietly in the cabin, cutting back on noises that may startle your animal. Leather seats are preferable to cloth, as leather is easier to vacuum for fur. Tether hooks in the cargo space to attach your dog's harness will keep it steady while driving, and a low ground clearance means that your animal can enter and exit the premises with ease.

As such, we've put together a list of the best cars for pet owners, keeping these features in mind.

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1. Honda CR-V

1. Honda CR-V

First, let's take a look at the Honda CR-V, one of the most popular compact SUVs. It's also one of the best vehicles for dogs. As a five-seater with fold-down back seats and moderate ground clearance, the CR-V's newest versions also have more cabin space than previous models. Add that to an already-roomy interior to allow an animal to rest inside.

Leather seats are an optional upgrade for this Honda model and one that we recommend for pet owners. Decent-sized windows throughout the vehicle combined with a quiet ride means that they'll be able to enjoy the view without being spooked by the noises around it. 

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1. Honda CR-V

First, let's take a look at the Honda CR-V, one of the most popular compact SUVs. It's also one of the best vehicles for dogs. As a five-seater with fold-down back seats and moderate ground clearance, the CR-V's newest versions also have more cabin space than previous models. Add that to an already-roomy interior to allow an animal to rest inside.

Leather seats are an optional upgrade for this Honda model and one that we recommend for pet owners. Decent-sized windows throughout the vehicle combined with a quiet ride means that they'll be able to enjoy the view without being spooked by the noises around it. 

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda CR-V

2. Subaru Outback

2. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback has a long-standing reputation for excellence. Its wide range of extensive features also makes it perfect for many purposes, ranging from car camping to teaching teenagers how to drive.

After its last major redesign in 2020, the Outback’s large, rugged interior has 75.7 cubic feet of cargo space in newer models. It also has a rear hatch that is wide enough to accommodate a large dog climbing in and out of the cargo bay. 

Each model has flat-fold back seats and tethers in the cargo area to securely fasten a dog’s travel carrier. Cloth seating is standard, but you can upgrade to synthetic leather if you choose a higher-level trim.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
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No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Outback
2. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback has a long-standing reputation for excellence. Its wide range of extensive features also makes it perfect for many purposes, ranging from car camping to teaching teenagers how to drive.

After its last major redesign in 2020, the Outback’s large, rugged interior has 75.7 cubic feet of cargo space in newer models. It also has a rear hatch that is wide enough to accommodate a large dog climbing in and out of the cargo bay. 

Each model has flat-fold back seats and tethers in the cargo area to securely fasten a dog’s travel carrier. Cloth seating is standard, but you can upgrade to synthetic leather if you choose a higher-level trim.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
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No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Outback

3. Toyota Sienna

3. Toyota Sienna

Maybe an SUV or a station wagon is not the sort of style of vehicle you're wanting. Perhaps you want a kid-friendly minivan that can accommodate your children's sports lessons and Fido's visits to the vet. If that's the case, we recommend the Toyota Sienna as one of the best vehicles for dogs. 

Redesigned in 2021, the three-row Sienna features a quiet, comfortable cabin that sits low to the ground, which means that your dog can climb in and out with ease once you open the door. 

The Sienna's power-sliding doors also make this entry and exit more accessible. When you fold down the third row of seats, you end up with 75.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which is perfect for the family pet. Additional features relevant to your canine companion include climate controls and rear seat sunshades, ensuring your dog stays comfortable on a long drive.

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3. Toyota Sienna

Maybe an SUV or a station wagon is not the sort of style of vehicle you're wanting. Perhaps you want a kid-friendly minivan that can accommodate your children's sports lessons and Fido's visits to the vet. If that's the case, we recommend the Toyota Sienna as one of the best vehicles for dogs. 

Redesigned in 2021, the three-row Sienna features a quiet, comfortable cabin that sits low to the ground, which means that your dog can climb in and out with ease once you open the door. 

The Sienna's power-sliding doors also make this entry and exit more accessible. When you fold down the third row of seats, you end up with 75.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which is perfect for the family pet. Additional features relevant to your canine companion include climate controls and rear seat sunshades, ensuring your dog stays comfortable on a long drive.

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Shop Used Toyota Sienna

4. Ford Explorer

4. Ford Explorer

Next on the list is the Ford Explorer, another midsize SUV and one of the best cars for big dogs. 

The Explorer has enough cargo space to carry a dog kennel, with the ability to fold down both the second- and third-row seats. Its tri-zone climate control system lets you transport your pet to and from events without worrying about their comfort. 

The last redesign for the Ford Explorer happened in 2020. Even in previous models, however, ample cargo space is standard. Suppose you’re interested in saving some money on an earlier model. In that case, be it an Explorer or other pet-friendly vehicle, Shift can help you find the perfect car for you. 

At Shift, certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and collect vehicle history reports for each model. This way, you know that your used car feels as good as new, even if your beloved pet can’t tell the difference. 

If you’re looking to save more on long-term costs, especially at the gas pump, consider reading up on the best electric cars to buy.

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4. Ford Explorer

Next on the list is the Ford Explorer, another midsize SUV and one of the best cars for big dogs. 

The Explorer has enough cargo space to carry a dog kennel, with the ability to fold down both the second- and third-row seats. Its tri-zone climate control system lets you transport your pet to and from events without worrying about their comfort. 

The last redesign for the Ford Explorer happened in 2020. Even in previous models, however, ample cargo space is standard. Suppose you’re interested in saving some money on an earlier model. In that case, be it an Explorer or other pet-friendly vehicle, Shift can help you find the perfect car for you. 

At Shift, certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and collect vehicle history reports for each model. This way, you know that your used car feels as good as new, even if your beloved pet can’t tell the difference. 

If you’re looking to save more on long-term costs, especially at the gas pump, consider reading up on the best electric cars to buy.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Explorer

5. Honda Fit

5. Honda Fit

Honda is one of the reigning kings of cargo space and with excellent reason. This vaunted cargo space extends to all their models, making the Honda Fit a perfect, dog-friendly car.

Sporting a whopping 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space, this hatchback sits low to the ground, allowing you to quickly pop the trunk and load up your dog for a fun weekend adventure. In fact, the model is so popular that you may already know someone who owns this vehicle, specifically for its pet-friendly features.

The downside? The Honda Fit is not the smoothest ride on the road, at least in comparison to the other vehicles on this list. Honda discontinued the Fit stateside in 2020, meaning that no new models will be forthcoming. Again, Shift can help you search for – and save on – earlier models of the dog-friendly Fit.

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Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
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Shop Used Honda Fit
5. Honda Fit

Honda is one of the reigning kings of cargo space and with excellent reason. This vaunted cargo space extends to all their models, making the Honda Fit a perfect, dog-friendly car.

Sporting a whopping 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space, this hatchback sits low to the ground, allowing you to quickly pop the trunk and load up your dog for a fun weekend adventure. In fact, the model is so popular that you may already know someone who owns this vehicle, specifically for its pet-friendly features.

The downside? The Honda Fit is not the smoothest ride on the road, at least in comparison to the other vehicles on this list. Honda discontinued the Fit stateside in 2020, meaning that no new models will be forthcoming. Again, Shift can help you search for – and save on – earlier models of the dog-friendly Fit.

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Shop Used Honda Fit

6. Honda Odyssey

6. Honda Odyssey

Last but not least is the Honda Odyssey, one of the most widely used and well-regarded minivans currently available on the market. And, like the other options we mentioned above, it’s one of the best cars for dog owners that you can buy at a reasonable price.

The Odyssey has consistently yielded fantastic stats in recent years. The 2020 and 2018 models are especially noteworthy. Although you have 39 cubic feet of space with the third row of seats up, you can fold those seats flat to bump your cargo space up to 158 cubic feet. The Odyssey’s low clearance and wide doors mean that your dog can safely enter and exit the vehicle, too.

Additional features that make the Odyssey a pet-friendly winner are a tri-zone automatic climate control system, the option to upgrade to leather seats, and – no doubt one of the most useful features for any dog mom or dad – a built-in vacuum.

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6. Honda Odyssey

Last but not least is the Honda Odyssey, one of the most widely used and well-regarded minivans currently available on the market. And, like the other options we mentioned above, it’s one of the best cars for dog owners that you can buy at a reasonable price.

The Odyssey has consistently yielded fantastic stats in recent years. The 2020 and 2018 models are especially noteworthy. Although you have 39 cubic feet of space with the third row of seats up, you can fold those seats flat to bump your cargo space up to 158 cubic feet. The Odyssey’s low clearance and wide doors mean that your dog can safely enter and exit the vehicle, too.

Additional features that make the Odyssey a pet-friendly winner are a tri-zone automatic climate control system, the option to upgrade to leather seats, and – no doubt one of the most useful features for any dog mom or dad – a built-in vacuum.

30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda Odyssey

Buy One of the best cars for dogs in a couple easy steps

Shopping for a dog-friendly vehicle can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. So long as you know your options and are fully aware of the features you’ll need, you can figure out a quick list of potential purchases. 

If you want your vehicle to last a long time, you may also want to consider reliability stats. For those, read up on the most reliable used cars to buy and cross-reference the models there to narrow down your options further.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team