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Monday, July 28, 2014

How to Keep Your Canine Car Clean

guest post by Paris Permenter

Keep Your Cargo Area Free of Dirt and Sand
We love to travel with our large, mixed breed dogs, Irie and Tiki. Their excitement over a new adventure adds so much to every trip that we can’t imagine leaving them at home unless it’s absolutely necessary.

But traveling with dogs, much like traveling with small children, means a certain amount of mess in the car. No, you might not have spilled cereal or empty juice containers, but dogs in the car will result in pawprints on the back of the seats, noseprints on the glass, and fur just about everywhere. We’ve found some easy ways to minimize the mess, however, with just a few simple steps before, during, and after the getaway:

Before the Trip:

  • Brush your dogs. We all want to look our best on a trip—and that includes our dogs. Basic grooming before a trip can greatly reduce the amount of fur flying around your car.
  • Protect the car. Protect your car’s upholstery with car seat protection, whether that means seat covers, a dog hammock, or a cover for the cargo area. We keep our back seat folded down so the dogs have use of the rear portion of the Jeep; we use a Kurgo Cargo Cape to protect the carpet from fur, muddy paws, and liquids.  If your dog likes to paw at the door, consider a car door guard as well.

During the Trip:
Don't Forget the Seatbelt
 When Loading Fido
  • Use paw wipes. A quick cleanup before getting back into the car can prevent muddy pawprints. Along with commercial paw wipes, you can make your own with wet washcloths or strips of fabric in a zippered plastic bag.
  • Pack puppy pads and old towels. Absorbent puppy pads can be great for adult dogs as well. Pack a few in case you’re faced with a carsick dog, a potty accident, or even a muddy mutt.
  • Restrain your dog. Both for your dog’s safety and your own, keep your dog secured in the car, whether that’s with a booster seat, dog seat belt or crate. Keeping your dog confined to one portion of the car will also corral the mess.
After the Trip:
  • A clean sweep. Use a hand broom to sweep out the loose dirt and fur. If you have mud in the car, let it dry then vacuum with a high-powered vacuum such as those found at a commercial car wash.
  • Window washing. We always find noseprints on the back windows. A quick spritz with a vinegar and water solution dissolves the print; squeegee, then wipe it down with a lint-free cloth (or even a coffee filter).
  • Pumice to the rescue. Even with seat protection, stray fur often finds itself into parts of the car. Gently brush the upholstery with a dry pumice stone (sold in the toilet cleaning section of the grocery store) to roll up loose fur. No pumice at hand? Use an old dishwashing glove, slightly wet, to quickly brush that fur into easy-to-pickup rolls.

Keeping your car clean may require a little more effort on a trip with your dog—but the payoff is a lifetime of memories!

Tiki is Travel Ready

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are a husband-wife team of pet and travel writers. The authors of 33 books including DogTipper's Texas with Dogs share their lives and their travels with their mixed breed dogs, Irie and Tiki.

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