10 Squeaky Clean Car Tips for Pet Road Trips

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Road trips with your dog can be fun – but keeping your car clean during and after your trek can leave you feeling flat. But our 10 tips to keep your pet-friendly car clean will have you planning your next road trip!

We all know our pooches love nothing more than to hop in the back of a car for a ride to the store; claws gripping at seats, nose-prints on windows, hair weaving its way into carpets and upholstery and if he’s a queasy traveler… well that just adds to the excitement. And while pets should ideally be transported in crates, that isn’t always possible with today’s compact cars so here are 10 simple tips to keep your vehicle as clean as possible during the dog days of travel:

  1. Brush Your Dog Before Travel

Take five minutes to give him a good going over. Some dogs are naturally heavy shedders, others are seasonal and some just shed if they become nervous. Clean him up before he hops in to minimize hair transfer.

Related: Brushing Your Dog

  1. Stick to One Vehicle

If you’re a multi-vehicle family, designate one of them to be Rover’s ride. You’ll limit the after-journey clean-up grief to just one back seat and immediately know where to find his favorite tennis ball after a morning at the dog park.

  1. Commando No More

If your pooch is a heavy shedder consider throwing a t-shirt on him for car travel. Cotton is light-weight, easy to wash, doesn’t interfere with a fitted harness and you can easily pack a few shirts in the glove compartment. Gather and tie the loose ends loosely to prevent fluff from flying.

  1. Minimize his Room to Roam

Restraining your pooch won’t dampen his enthusiasm for car rides but it will help to protect him should you be in an accident and will definitely prevent hair and drool from working its way into the front seat… where all dogs aim to sit!

Related: Six Easy Ways to Pet Proof Your Car

  1. Cover Up

Whether you fork out for a custom fitted seat cover or simply throw down a blanket or drop cloth, protecting your car seats and carpets is a must-do before taking the little guy for a ride. If he tends to get a little queasy, plastic or rubber floor mats will make messy clean-ups that much easier.

  1. Fluid Proof your Upholstery

Whether it’s drool, snot or urine, bodily fluids happen and depending on quantity, can soak through a cover. Spray coat your seats, doors and carpet with a quality water- and stain-resistant fabric guard. Just make sure applications are done well before travel so you and pooch aren’t inhaling air-borne chemicals.

  1. Clean Regularly

Pup-mobile or family car, stay on top of hair and dirt by cleaning your pet’s seating area regularly. Wipe down windows and hard surfaces after each trip to ensure they don’t harden, use a damp rubber glove, chamois or lint roller to remove hair from fabric and a powerful vacuum with a crevice attachment will get into those hard to reach places.

  1. What’s that Smell?

Doggy odor is distinctive and tricky to eliminate. For just a whiff of pooch, try spreading baking soda on your seats and mats, leave overnight to absorb the odors and vacuum. For the knock-you-over smells, use carpet and upholstery shampoos and a steam cleaner. If you’re cleaning urine, vomit, or heavy drool be careful about using a sponge and water. Without suction to remove the moisture, the bacteria will spread and make the smell and stain worse.

  1. Be Prepared

Stuff happens and when messes occur away from home-base, you want to have the right cleaning tools at hand. Paper towels, deodorizing pet wipes, plastic bags, bottled water, dog brush and comb, microfiber towel and hand sanitizing gel (for you) will get you through the worst of it.

  1. The Long Ride Home

After a day of dog park play your muddied and hyped-up pooch is now ready to head home. Take a few minutes to clean him up before he dives onto your back seat by removing loose dirt, rinsing paws with bottled water and toweling dry. A quick brush removes leaves, twigs and loose hair while combing can spot tics picked up from brush or wooded areas.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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