Honda Element to be Discontinued After 2011 Model Year
The Honda Element is arguably one of the best dog cars around. It's boxy body accomodates the maximum number of crates in the minimum amount of space. But it will soon be no more. So if you have been waiting to buy one, best not to wait much longer!
The Accura TSX: The Newest Honda Accord Wagon
I love my Honda Accord wagon, but it's 13 years old, and while I'm hoping to get it to 200,000 miles, someday it will need to be replaced. But with what? I thought maybe the Honda Crosstour might an Accord wagon replacement, but with it's low roof line, crates just aren't going to work. I've been told by people who should know, that the REAL Honda Accord wagon replacement is a car that's been available in Europe for several years, and is now coming to the US. I took a looks, and the Accura TSX has definite possibilities! I'm looking forward to seeing one in a showroom close to me!
What They Say About Carmel is True - A Dog-Friendly Destination
First, there was the motel. We stayed at Carmel Valley Lodge, which was just about as dog-friendly as it could be. The rooms aren't fancy, but they're quite comfortable, and we had plenty of space for two crates in addition to all of our other stuff. Dogs are allowed everywhere, including poolside, though understandably not IN the pool itself. There was a park right across the street, where dogs are allowed to meander off-leash and hiking just a few miles down the road.
We were within walking distance of several wineries and restaurants. The Talbott Winery allowed our well-behaved dogs to come into the tasting room. We kept them on downstays while enjoying their chardonnay and pinot noirs. The other winery we visited allowed us to have the dogs in the outside patio area. Restaurants with outdoor dining welcomed us every time.
We spent one morning on the 17 mile drive. I expected NO DOG signs at the beaches, but didn't see any such thing on any of our stops.
I can't wait to go back next year.
Bark Buckle Up Pet Safety Kit - Free!
Honda Element Becomes Even MORE Dog-Friendly!
When Honda first produced the Element, do you suppose they realized what a dog-friendly car they had created? If they didn't then, they do now, And they're looking to capitalize on its reputation by making it even MORE suitable for hauling around the canines in your life.
According to Reuters, the car will come with a built-in water bowl, fan, and a ramp, as well as easy-wash seat covers. Sounds lovely, but all of these things can easily be accomodated in any car, so this sounds a little like a gimmick to me. My definition of a good dog car includes things that can't easily be changed about a car, such as the ability to house large crates, and good ventilation. The Honda Element already has those things, so the rest is just icing on the crate.
The Honda web site lists the Dog Friendly Element as a concept car coming in Fall 2009.
In the meantime, if you'd like to have a ramp, dog seatbelt, fan or easy wash seat covers, visit the CarGoDogs Store. That kind of stuff is out there for cars of just about any size or shape.
Hyundai Entourage: The Vanishing Minivan
Minivans aren't quite an endangered species yet. But with the car manufacturers feeling the effects of this little downturn we're experincing, they're taking a close look at their line up, and shedding some "underperformers."
The Hyundai Entourage is one such casualty. According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai is dropping the Entourage.
The Kia Sedona is almost identical and will remain on the market for the time being.
Travel Tips from the Westminster Kennel Club
Watching the Westminister Kennel Club Show is a nice way to spend a Monday evening. But my ears really perked up when, during a commercial break, viewers were referred to the Westminister Kennel Club web site for tips on traveling with your dog.
Sponsored by Toyota, you'll have to watch a commercial before getting to the meat of the matter. Except, well, there's not much meat there, just a few short segments about relatively obvious options, such as cargo barriers and seat covers. Seat covers? Jeesh. Tell us something we don't know!
Dog Bowls to Go
While there we spotted this imaginative creation, guaranteed to keep your water and/or food bowls from tipping over. The base is made from dish holders you can get at Petsmart, welded to the car's trailer hitch.
You sure don't have to worry about these bowls tipping over!
ABO Gear does it again!
ABO Gear has a new dog crate that folds like a camping chair! Leave it to ABO Gear to come up with another creative design. They're the ones who have the great "Instent Dog Haus" that I love. This new "Dog Digs" crate isn't cheap, but sometimes the ease of set-up/tear-down is worth a few extra bucks. Would love to hear from anyone who has one of these or who have seen it in person!
Dog Box For Sale (SoCal)
A friend is selling her "Dog Box" - that truck attachment for crating dogs in the back of a pickup truck. (She had it on her 2003 Toyota Tundra.) This looks like a nice one. It's a 2003 "Shamrock 4 kennel Dog Truck Topper" from Tyler Manufacturing. She's used it for Hunt Tests, Dock Diving and Flyball as her "Command Center" as she's traveled all over the west, training and trialing with her Chessies.
Overall measure approx 6' 2" wide x 6' 7" long and 26" tall
Interior kennel measurments are 36" long x 24" wide x 24" tall ( ideal fit for retriever breeds)
- White aluminum exterior for maximum cooling and attractive appearance
- White aluminum interior for ease of cleaning
- Lift-up rear door with window for added ventilation
- Fully insulated; cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather
- Locking kennel doors (keyed alike) with large adjustable louvered vents, screens and protective grills
- All interior walls between kennels have separated bars allowing for excellent airflow
- Stainless steel floor in all kennels flush with exterior for ease of cleaning
- Rear storage area with shelf on each side
- 12 volt interior dome light in rear
- Third exterior brake light
Here are the ADDITIONAL features:
Evaporative cooler (needs water pump)
Gull Wing Style lift up doors
Water bucket mounts and heavy duty Rubber mats in 2 of the kennels
Auxilliary battery to run all coach power
Power box with 3 plug ins for anything that plugs into cigarrette type plug such as fan, heater, floodlight, car cell phone charger, etc...
5 gallon H2O tank for evaporative cooler water supply
5 gallon Igloo drinking water cooler
Wireless thermostat system so you can keep track of temp in box from the cab while you are driving
LOTS of storage! There is ample room inside back of the dog box to fit an additional 400 crate, blinds, launchers, wheels, x-pens, canopy, gear bags, collapsable crates, luggage, ice chest, etc.
Includes 2 drawer storage system custom made to fit under the kennels that are full length of the truck bed for all your tournament/training gear as well as 1 long compartment for bag chairs, long umbrella or other long items
If you're interested in purchasing this item or have further questions, please contact Lisa directly at email@example.com. The DogBox is currently in Ontario, California.
(CarGoDogs is posting this as a favor only. No monies or other compensation are involved and we offer no warranties, written or implied!)
The Honda Fit Gets Bigger!
Dog Driving Postal Van
How to Get Your Pet a Passport
But those who have mastered the ins and outs of air travel with your pets may be interested in PetTravel.com. Not only to they include information on pet-friendly accomodations, they also provide updated airline pet travel regulations and advice.
For example, they recently published updated information on the official USDA certification that is required when your pet travels to Europe.
So if you're off to Paris this summer with your pet, you may want to consult the PetTravel.com Pet Passport Page for everything you need to know.
How Much Will It Cost to Drive to.....
After reading Steve Bass' article "Estimate the Fuel Hit Before You Travel", I decided to determine a more exact cost of driving to agility class. First I start with Google Maps to get the exact driving distance, 38.9 miles. Then I visit DollarTimes: Cost of Gas Taking a Road Trip and fill in the blanks. And there I have it...the cost of driving to an agility lesson is $14.00. I don't mean to brag, but I came pretty close doing the math in my head! Either way, it's not a happy thing.
So, the cost of driving to agility, $14, running a course flawlessly with my dog, priceless. Okay, so the flawless part doesn't happen very often, but still...
The Most Fuel Efficient Minivans
It's a lovely spring day, and I'm you'd think I'd be out somewhere having fun with my dog, Instead I'm at home, afraid to even venture out because of gas prices that in my area are averaging $4.30 per gallon.
So my mind turned to fuel efficient cars, and I wondered...what are the most fuel efficient minivans?
First stop for information on mpgs is always fueleconomy.gov. Ah, they've read my mind with their link to the most and least gas efficient vehicles in several categories. Here's the most fuel efficient trucks, vans and SUVs. Of course, hybrids lead the pack for the SUVs. Hmmm, best minivan is the Mazda5. I saw one of those at the L.A. car show, and they're not exactly a full-size minivan. I guess you could call it a mini-minivan. But who am I to quibble with 28 mpg highway?
Okay, on to other search results and the little pieces of information that have floated to the surface. For example, did you know that Toyota markets a hybrid minivan in Japan, the Toyota Estima? Hey guys, send a few of those our way!
If you drive the Honda Odyssey EX-L and Touring models, you could be looking at mpgs as high as 20/28. That's looking pretty good for a full-size minivan!
Ah, according to Consumer Reports, the Toyota Sienna XLE also gets as high as 28 mpg highway, putting it right on par with the Odyssey. Not bad.
Of course, to save money on fuel you have to spend money on the more expensive models of both the Sienna and the Odyssey. <sigh> Back to the drawing board.
Do you have a minivan that gets good gas mileage? Then share the joy, and tell us about it!
Dan Neil Reviews the New Subaru Forester
We haven't seen the new Forester yet, but we're definitely starting to hear about it! Dan Neil reviewed the recently released 2009 model in this week's Rumble Seat column in the L.A. Times.
The good news for CarGoDogs readers is that the size has increased a bit. I've never seriously considered a Forester simply because the old model had so little cargo space. But the 2009 version is 3 inches longer and about 2 inches wider. That may not sound like much, but it may allow you to squeeze a crate where you weren't able to squeeze a crate before!
The downside to the Forester is gas mileage. All models are 4 wheel drive, which doesn't help. The non-turbo version gets 20/26 mpg and the turbo gets 19/24. That's not all that much better than a minivan, and though it has more space, it doesn't have THAT much space.
We'll try to take our measuring tapes to this one very soon.
Corolla Loves Dogs!
Finding Pet-Friendly Accomodations
Top 10 Leasing Booby Traps
But sometimes, when I'm perusing the newspaper, those monthly payments that the car dealers tout look very appealing. If you're tempted to lease rather than buy, read Bankrate.com's "Top Leasing Booby Traps" before you sign on the dotted line.
After reading this article, I decided I'm right. It is complicated.
How Do You Get 3 Eskies in a RAV4? - New Photos
"I have three American Eskimo Dogs (Eskies) and just
bought a RAV4. It's an awesome dog mobile! I'm thinking about getting Hubby to make me a riser for it!!!
I've attached a few photos of my new RAV4. One shows how the second rows seats fold down. In this photo, you can also see the rear bumper protector that I got (black). The dogs can jump in and out, and I don't have to worry about any scratches! The other two photos show the two Side-By-Side SUV crates (and I can easily put another crate in between the front seats and the cargo crates.) "
Thanks for the pictures and feedback, Andrea!
Top 10 Deeply Discounted 2008 Cars
Toyota LandCruiser 2000 - New Picture
Pam Anderson/ Indy & Avus (Groens)
Cape Elizabeth, Maine USA
Good News for Dog Owners - Wagons and Hatchbacks are Back!
After being in disfavor for more than a decade, wagons are becoming more popular because they tend to get better gas mileage than a mini-van, but still offer some cargo space. If that sounds appealing, watch for the terms "crossover sedans" and small SUVs. Rumor has it that Honda is bringing back the Accord wagon (my personal favorite), calling it the "Honda Accord Tourer."
Small hatchbacks are becoming much more common; think small, wagon-like cars, including the Honda Fit and the Nissan Versa. According to the L.A. Times (Sept. 1, 2007, Business Section, p.C3) "Many Americans want alternatives to gas-hungry sport utility vehicles that will provide more storage space than a sedan while costing less and getting better mileage than the car-based crossover utility vehicles that have hit the market in recent years."
Just more for us...
Get that Used Car Inspected Before You Buy!
In the end, I found my perfect car at a car dealer in Santa Monica, and they offered to hold the bill of sale until I could have the car inspected by my local mechanic. Still, this may not always be an option.
There's services out there that just fit this niche. While wandering the web I found Used Car Check of California and SGS Inspection. You don't have to take the car to them, they come to you, provided that you're in their area. It seems like a perfect solution. (Disclaimer: I've never used this service, or one like it. If you have, let us know how it worked out for you.)
Another option is to find a mechanic close to the seller. If you don't know anyone in the area, try the CarTalk Mechanics Files to locate a reputable car guy.
Whatever you do, make sure to have any used car you're interested in purchasing inspected. Who knows what might be found underneath the hood.
Finding Starbucks: Google Maps v. Live Search
It's easy to get in a rut, using the same old site just because you always have. For example, I typically use Yahoo Maps and Google Maps. I often try both, because their directions do often differ. I've NEVER used Microsoft Live Search, which was the highest rated mapping site by Steven Bass in a PC Magazine article, "Kings of the Road. (Oct. 2007) So I thought I'd take a look. Hmm, it does have a nice clean look to it. Type in an address, and you can browse lists of hotels, banks, restaurants, etc.
I decided to try a real life test. I often go to agility trials at Woodley Park. Assuming that I want to stop for Starbucks, and that's a fairly good assumption, where are the Starbucks near Woodley Park?
I struggled with this on Live Search. It couldn't find Woodley Park, so I zoomed in and used a push pin to designate the area, but I couldn't figure out how to find Starbucks in the area of the push pin.
Google Maps was a breeze. Google found Woodley Park without a problem. Then all I had to do was click on "Search Nearby" and type in "Starbucks" in the search box. Wow. The place is surrounded. A little detour down Burbank Blvd. should do the trick.
So Google Maps wins this round. Nonetheless, it's always good to use more than one mapping site, so I may give Live Search another chance.
Find a Bargain on a Leased Car, Truck or SUV
These "lease transfer sites" bring together those that want out of their car leases with people who want a better deal on a leased car than they can get from a dealer. I searched both sites for Toyota Siennas in Southern California and found several good options.
Think of it as the Match.com of car leases. You can browse around for just the right car and terms for you. Maybe the best part is you never have to talk to a car salesman!
Car Window Pet Vents
Keyless Entry Made Easy
Upon perusing the owner's manual, I saw that the 1997 Honda Accord Wagon EX model came standard with keyless entry. Great! Just what I needed....push button locking and unlocking. BUT, I didn't have the remote transmitter.
That's when I found KeylessRide.com. Instead of going to the dealer and paying $150 for a remote transmitter and "programming", I picked out a $40 transmitter which was 1 of the 3 models that KeyLessRide said would work for my car. They promised it would be easy to program. Dave was skeptical.
It arrived last Saturday, complete with programming instructions. They were right, the programming took just a few minutes. So I saved $100 and now I can lock and unlock my car to my heart's content!
Why You Should Crate Your Dog in the Car
None of us like to think about the possibility of an accident and the potential for injury to our dog-passengers. But it's important to keep your dog's safety in mind, as well as your own. This web page is a perfect illustration of why a Vari-Kennel type crate can be a good way to improve the chances of your dog walking away from a serious accident.
Crates will also prevent your dog from ending up on the freeway, something that can happen even in a much more minor accident.
It's All About the Wheel Wells
For example, The Toyota Matrix is a small car, but the feature that gives it dog car potential is the generous 38 3/4 inches between the wheel wells. Sure, that's not enough for two crates side by side, even special SUV crates, but it IS big enough to allow you to squeeze in a 3 foot deep wire crate with a side opening door. With that configuration, you actually CAN manage to get two large crates into the back of the Matrix!
I recently went to our local Toyota dealer to check out the older RAV4s (pre-2006) , mainly to determine whether they should go on my used car shopping list. Auto sites sometimes suggest the RAV4 as an alternative to the Matrix, noting that they have a bit more cargo space. But there's cargo space and there's cargo space. With only 35 inches between the wheel wells, it looks like two large crates just won't fit.
Cargo capacity is all relative!
Look into the Mind of a Car Salesman
Used or New?
Of course, the salesman had an answer. The warranty on the used, certified cars is actually longer (100,000 miles) than the new ones! (60,000 miles). Go figure.
I don't really care, though. I still want the used car to cost less.
I was doing some research on BSL (breed specific legislation) and came across this website by Understand-a-Bull that gives a list of their 10 worst places to travel with your dog. What makes them so bad? Because traveling through these cities could subject your dog to confiscation and destruction (read: euthanized=killed) based soley on the Dog Warden's say-so. Scary.
Trucks and Tethers
Years ago I was driving thru town and about 3 lanes over noticed a very unhappy dog squished in the back of a truck amongst a bunch of furniture. The driver came to a sudden stop and the poor dog was pinched uncomfortably as the furniture shifted foward. Being in the left-hand turn lane, I was unable to get over to get the driver's attention but someone a lane or two closer motioned he was going to do just that. I never knew what happened to the poor dog but the owner was clearly clueless and it's haunted me to this day.
Confirm Active Airbags Before You Buy
To try to avoid a nasty surprise should you get in an accident, make sure to do some research before you buy. I always run a CarFax report on any used car I'm considering purchasing before I even go out to take a look in person. CarFax also offers a free airbag report that details any record of airbag deployment. But ultimately the best way to make sure the car you want to purchase as an airbag that's functional is to have your mechanic take a look. And you're going to have your mechanic check out any used car with dog car potential before you buy anyway, right?
Traveling with Your Pet from AAA
A new edition of AAA's guidebook to pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds is now available at AAA BookStores in Auto Club offices.
Beware When You Travel!
Search for Car Photos
It's no secret that dog owners have their own special needs when it comes to cars. That's what CarGoDogs is all about. So you may want to see pictures of cars you're considering from a variety of angles. Of course, you can to to the manufacturers web site, but their photos may not include a crucial element.
If you'd like to peruse a wide variety of photos of a car you're considering for purchase, try Google Image search. Just type in the make and model, and you'll have more pictures, from more angles, than you'll know what to do with!
Flickr is another good source of photos. In this case you're looking at personal pictures. Try a search for Toyota Matrix. I also tried adding dogs to the search, and I must say these guys look satisfied with their Matrix!
Wire or Plastic Crates?
The plastic "Varikennel" type of crate is said to be more impact resistant in an accident, so some people feel they are safer. However, the do block your visibility. Having wire crates allow you better visibility to avoid the accident in the first place. It all boils down to personal choice.
Each have their advantages and most people have a preference.
Where to Rent a Hybrid
Renting a car you're considering for purchase makes perfect sense, though finding the make and model you want at your local car rental isn't always so easy. It's even harder if you're looking at hybrids as they've quite rare on car rental lots.
The good news is, EV Rental Cars, via Fox Rental Cars, offers a selection of hybrids including the Prius, Highlander, Ford Escape & Honda Civic. The bad news is that they hybrids are available only in select locations.
USAWeekend (TravelSmart: Where to Rent a Hybrid, Jan. 26-28th, 2007)
Find the Best Gas Prices in Your Neighborhood
PetExpo 2006 - Something for Every Dog
Here's just a few selected examples. You can browse HGTV for a complete list of the products shown on their inside look at the PetExpo 2006.
- Ruffwear Mt. Bachelor Pad
- Climate Controlled Kennel
- Approach II Dog Backpack
- Cooling Mats (click here for similar products from Amazon.com)
- Growler Cinch Top for easy feeding of your pooch while on the road
As much as I like the idea of an automatic dog washer, I don't think I could bring myself to fluff and fold my pooch. I mean, does that dog look happy? On the other hand, none of my dogs look particularly pleased when I personally bathe them, so what the heck. The price tag is high, but of course, it's not really intended for home use, but rather as an option for groomers and veterinarians. However, we do use the flexible pet sprayer, which hooks up to a shower head, and was also shown at the Expo.
At any rate, it's nice to see the wide range of products being developed for the pet market!
Riding in Cars with Dogs
Window vent guards may help you keep your dogs cool and comfortable when you have to leave them in the car.
Here's a REAL Dog Car - Honda's Vamos
Consumer Reports Top Picks are In
Consumer Reports has announced their choices for the best auto models in 10 categories. Almost all of these cars have dog car potential depending upon the size of your dog! Except for maybe the Miata.
So who won? Here's a selected list:
Toyota Rav 4 (Small SUV)
Toyota Sienna (Mini-Van)
Toyota Highlander (Mid-Sized SUV)
Do you see a trend here? Toyotas did do very well, especially in the potential dog-car category. Honda also dominated the list, but their wins were more sedan-like. The Honda Fit was named in the budget car category. We're not sure how many dogs you can "fit" in a Fit, but we'll take a look at that very soon!
Car Makers Offer Pet-Friendly Features
Among the pet-friendly features offered are custom metal dividers and vertical grates that can divide a cargo area into sections.
Other car manufacturers offer car barriers, but not much else. Luckily there are a lot of aftermarket products available, such as pet hammocks.