Dogs - Granite Ford

Image via Flickr by Lulu Hoeller

Dogs make great driving companions. Rover will never beg you to change the radio or complain about your performance behind the wheel. But your pooch can destroy your car’s interior if you’re not careful. Read on to discover some easy ways to stop dog-inflicted damage to your car’s interior.

1. Keep Your Dog’s Nails Short

The shorter your dog’s nails are, the less damage they’ll do to your vehicle. When you hear them clicking on a hard surface, it’s time for trimming. Most dogs need their nails trimmed every week, although your dog may need less maintenance if he runs on hard surfaces.

Use clippers or a nail grinder to trim your dog’s nails above the quick. It’s easy for owners to manage, but if your dog misbehaves, a vet or groomer is a safer choice for the job.

2. Eliminate Seat Damage with a Dog Blanket

Sharp doggy nails can easily tear through leather or fabric car seats, but a dedicated doggy blanket can stop this problem. Simply lay the blanket onto the seat before your pooch sits down.

A felt blanket is an ideal choice, because the material is a magnet for dog hair. Label one side with a marker pen so you never lay it “hair side” down. Shake off the blanket when you arrive at your destination to make sure most of the hair never finds its way back into your vehicle.

3. Restrain Your Pooch

That blanket won’t be much good if your dog runs wild in your vehicle, though. An unrestrained pooch can do plenty of damage to your car, from scratching the seats to chewing the door handles. Unrestrained dogs can also distract drivers and are prone to serious injury in a crash. But you need not worry about those problems if you choose a good dog car restraint.

Car harnesses and dog car seats are great ways to restrain your dog without impairing his vision. Alternatively, you can put your dog in a crate or kennel. This is an excellent option if your dog is prone to chewing seatbelts and other vital components of your vehicle. Look for crates with additional straps or seatbelt compatibility to keep them secure.

4. Bathe Your Dog Regularly

Dog expert Cesar Milan insists there’s no need to bathe a healthy dog, but if he’s a keen passenger it’s a habit you’ll probably want to adopt. Smelly dogs make for smelly cars. Unpleasant dog odors can linger long after you’ve reached your destination. They won’t damage your car’s aesthetics, but they can destroy its appeal.

Bathe your dog at least once a month with specialized dog shampoo. If he starts to get stinky before his next scheduled bath, wash him with a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to protect his skin.

5. Choose a Car with Leather Interior

Cars with leather seats and detailing are much more pet-friendly than the cloth alternatives. If you want to minimize any doggy damage, this premium option is worth the splurge. Leather will wipe clean and absorb far less of those tell-tale canine smells than fabric. It also won’t stain like cloth will.

If you’ve followed the advice above you shouldn’t have to worry about scratches. However, if your dog does misbehave, scratches on leather seats can be easily re-dyed.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your dog’s company on the road without worrying about the damage he might do.