As a nation of car and dog lovers, it’s inevitable that the two worlds will overlap. There are an estimated 12.5million dogs in the UK — meaning one in three households has a pooch. Compare that with more than 30million cars on the road.
Family estates and SUVs are favourites with dog-loving families, but practical smaller cars like MINIs have their place, too. Car firms are making sure families can care for pets in transit.
A recent study by website CarGurus revealed that UK motorists spent nearly £2.1billion during lockdown on purchases related to new dogs, following a 115 per cent increase in demand for puppies.
I’m ready fur the journey: Dog waits by SEAT Arona for its owner
They shelled out an average of £7,594 on getting a larger or more practical car.
The survey of 2,000 drivers revealed a fifth (22 per cent) bought or adopted a dog after the start of lockdown. Some 64 per cent of those questioned admitted getting a dog was more difficult than expected.
When it comes to what dog owners are looking for in a car, the research found 38 per cent wanted wipe-clean surfaces, while 31 per cent said durable materials were an important feature.
A total of 43 per cent said easy access was important, with the same percentage saying that a large boot made all the difference.
CarGurus has created a Best Car For My Dog online tool and worked with the National Animal Welfare Trust to provide advice when travelling with your dog.
Here’s our guide to the best hound-friendly motors around.
With the Queen’s dog-loving grand-daughter and Olympic equestrian Zara Tindall behind the wheel as a brand ambassador, you’d expect Land Rover to be setting a royal standard for canine care.
The daughter of Princess Anne and husband of former England rugby star Mike Tindall transports her dogs Pepper and Storm in the firm’s 4x4s — previously a Land Rover Discovery (priced from £53,150) and now a Range Rover Sport (£64,685).
Well used to mud and outdoor pursuits, Land Rover offers special pet packs across its rough and tough 4×4 range which are suitable for all models including the new Defender, Discovery Sport, Discovery, Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Sport. Accessories include a spill-resistant water bowl, an access ramp, portable shower, foldable pet carrier, tailored quilted load space liner to protect against paw-prints and a luggage partition.
Known for its compact and zippy runarounds, MINI recently announced a partnership with the Dogs Trust (dogstrust.org.uk), the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, in a bid to become the first official dog-friendly car retailer by 2022.
The brand will work with the charity’s canine behaviour experts to help educate motorists on best practice for car journeys for dogs.
Dr Jenna Kiddie, head of canine behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: ‘It’s really important that your car is right for the whole family, including your four-legged passenger, whose needs and safety requirements are slightly different to ours.’ David George, director of MINI UK said: ‘We are so excited to be partnering with Dogs Trust, an organisation that is close to my heart after we adopted our lurcher, Harry, from them three years ago. With more dogs in families now than ever before, we want to help make sure they travel safely and enjoy the ride.’
MINI stocks a range of dog travel products, including a guard and rear compartment mat. Generous boot space in the MINI Countryman (from £24,805), the convenient split rear doors of the MINI Clubman (£23,005), ease of access, smooth handling, high-quality interiors and the new dog pack mean that every hound can be matched with a MINI partner.
For more details, visit the website mini.co.uk/en_GB/ home/mini-dogs-hub.html
By royal appointment: The Queen’s dog-loving grand-daughter Zara Tindall (pictured) transports her dogs Pepper and Storm in Land Rover 4x4s
PRIDE OF PLACE
Research by Spanish car giant SEAT found drivers are just as likely to let dogs sit in the front as their children.
SEAT offers a range of pet accessories including protective seat covers and harnesses for dogs in passenger seats, with cargo separation grilles and luggage compartment covers for those in the boot.
Nearly one in five motorists say their dogs get to sit in the front — almost the same figure for drivers’ children. Londoners are twice as likely (40 per cent) to treat man’s best friend to the seat with the best view.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Priced from £32,430, the ‘Disco’ Sport is available with a host of dog-friendly extras from the ‘Pet Pack’ accessory range, which can be used on all Land Rovers and Range Rovers.
Volvo V60 estate
Generations of dog owners love their traditional Volvos. Latest models include the new V60 estate (from £34,835) complete with dog-friendly accessories.
MINI Clubman and Countryman
The MINI Clubman, with its twin rear doors (from £23,005) and Countryman (from £24,805) are practical compact cars.
Half of motorists drive more carefully with a dog on board, says research from SEAT, whose Tarraco SUV (from £30,080), like all SEATs, can be fitted with pet accessories.
If you have a quarter of a million pounds to buy the luxurious allterrain RollsRoyce Cullinan, then pampering your pooch while it’s travelling with you won’t be a problem.
SUPERMARKETS WITH THE SHOCK FACTOR
Shoppers are facing a ‘supermarket sweepstake’ when it comes to finding a charging point for their electric cars — with ‘huge disparity’ in availability at stores.
Tesco is the UK’s best supermarket for electric car charge points, according to a study published today by consumer website Electrifying.com.
Almost half (45 per cent) of Tesco sites have charge points — while only 1 in 14 (7.2 per cent) of Sainsbury’s supermarkets have at least one charge point.
Charging check: Ginny Buckley is founder of Electrifying.com
But others such as Waitrose, Iceland, the Co-op and Marks & Spencer appear to have none, according to the poll.
Runner-up is Morrisons with just over 40 per cent of its stores offering customers the ability to charge, followed by third-placed Asda with one in five (19.71 per cent). Tesco has a total of 1,660 charge points, followed by Morrisons (230), Asda (225), Aldi (180), Lidl (130) and Sainsbury’s (106).
The study surveyed the UK’s largest supermarket chains, excluding ‘express’ or ‘local’ stores.
Live wire: A recent poll revealed that 72 per cent of drivers would feel more confident buying an electric car if there were more places to plug in at supermarkets
Ginny Buckley, founder of Electrifying.com, said: ‘Congratulations to Tesco and Morrisons, which have both invested heavily to provide customers with good charging facilities.’
A recent poll by the website revealed that 72 per cent of drivers would feel more confident buying an electric car if there were more places to plug in at supermarkets.
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING
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