WallStreet Journal
Giving Your Pet a Joyride
Wednesday July 11, 2007 10:39 pm ET
By Elva Ramirez

What It Is: Summer marks the start of road-trip season, where driving with your head -- and tongue -- out the window would tempt any dog. But pets roaming free in cars face the same dangers as passengers who don't buckle up. There are a number of pet-restraining options, including miniseat belts and harnesses, and even booster seats for small dogs. There are also products for drivers worried about pet hair and scratches in their cars.

How to Get It: Little dogs and cats will benefit from booster seats that are secured with straps and seat belts. Snoozer Pet Car seats have washable lambswool interiors and some models come with a built-in food tray. MidnightPass Inc.'s Pet Cruiser Auto seat is an enclosed mesh carrier that includes an attached luggage space for food or pet toy storage. The car seat can turn into a rolling portable suitcase. Doolittle's Pet Products offers a Universal Travel Kit and Travel Harness that fits all dogs. AllPetsConsidered.com offers several seat covers and pads, such as an extra-large cover to fit in the cargo space of an SUV. Covers come in washable nylon that keeps pet hair (and fluids) off your seats. Canine Covers Pet Door Shield is a cloth that attaches to the side window glass and protects inner doors from scratches and other accidents. To prevent pets from running laps inside your car, Outward Hound offers an adjustable cloth barrier for between the front and backseats.

Upside: Making pets comfortable is probably the first step toward a stress-free vacation. There's also one less distraction on the road.

Downside: Most of the products are canine-centric, which is just as well, as anyone who's tried traveling with cats can attest. There may be an adjustment period for pets as they warm up to the straps and confinement. Seat covers and pads take up the entire back seat so passengers will have to share space with pooches. At high speeds, with the windows down or with zealous dogs, the door shields tend to fall off or fly out the window.

Cost: The Snoozer Pet Car Seat Lookout comes in two sizes, for pets up to 18 pounds and pets between 18 pounds and 25 pounds (they run around $60 to $80 on Petco.com). The Pet Cruiser Auto seat is suited for small pets up to 15 pounds and 13 inches tall at the shoulder. It costs between $90 and $130 at http://www.midnightpass.com. Universal Travel Kit ($37) and Travel Harness ($25) are sold separately at http://www.doolittlespetproducts.com. Seat covers and SUV pads in various colors run between $25 and $65 at AllPetsConsidered.com. Canine Covers Pet Door Shields are $30 at http://www.autoanything.com/seat-covers/. Outward Hound's cloth barriers are available on http://www.pet-dog-cat-supply-store.com for $6.

Write to Elva Ramirez at elva.ramirez@wsj.com



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