Bark Buckle UP
By Sandy Robins, msnbc.com contributor
People put a lot of emphasis on car safety. But do they consider the safety of their pets in their cars?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, more than 29.1 million Americans travel with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more every year. Not to mention those that accompany their human companions everywhere on a daily basis. Keeping pets in mind, here are several cars that are well-suited for furry passengers.
These cars, ranked for the third-straight year by Bark Buckle UP and Edmunds.com, kept several features in mind for the list, including climate control, side air bags, rear back-up cameras and, of course, plenty of room.
Click on “next” for the 10 safest cars for pet travel.
The pet-friendly features on the Dodge Journey include in-floor storage bins to secure all objects that could be potentially harmful in an accident and a rear-view mirror camera to prevent pets being run-over. There is also a built-in cooling compartment in the dashboard ideal for storing pet food and medicine.
In the Ford Flex, there is a very roomy rear section for larger pets and wide doors for easy coming and going. The vehicle also as a refrigerated console and received a five-star crash test score.
Pets riding in this car will enjoy its tri-zone climate control, while their human companions will have peace of mind with OnStar service’s direct link to Department of Health and Human Services’ poison control center. It also has rear fold-flat seats that comfortably accommodate larger pet crates.
This car made the list because of its special features such as remote keyless entry, which is helpful when managing multiple pets. It also has automatic climate control, privacy glass to help keep temperatures cool in back, and fold-flat rear seats.
The Jeep brand offers specialized pet travel gear, including crates, carriers and a ramp. The ramp is useful for larger dogs, as well as older and/or arthritic pets. This gear may be used with the Liberty and all vehicles in the Jeep lineup. Other features include a split-folding rear seat and keyless entry.
This vehicle has full-length side curtain airbags with rollover sensors to keep both pets and owners safe. The SUV has a back-up warning system and rear-camera display. It also has five D-rings allowing up to five pets to be secured at once.
This vehicle’s best pet feature is its one-touch dual sliding rear doors that simplify pet access. The minivan also has side curtain air bags in all three rows. And the low cargo floor facilitates easy pet access. There are pet tethers and anchors in both the second and third rows.
Here, there are many pet safety features, including side airbags, a five-star crash-test rating, fold-flat seating and stowable third-row seats, which increase the amount of room available for larger pets.
This vehicle received a 5-star crash test score and also has a rear back-up camera.
The XC70 is available with a Volvo-designed pet barrier that has been designed to remain intact in a collision. A pet in back can sometimes impede visibility and this vehicle also has a blind-spot warning system.
Updated: 1:50 p.m. ET Aug. 21, 2009
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