Paws for Thought: Is That Vehicle Pet-friendly?

Space, safety and convenience options can help you and your four-legged friend


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NEW YORK – They’re warm, cuddly and put a smile on the face of their owners. As they become a bigger part of their owners’ lives, pets also should be top of mind when buying a new automobile.

Nearly six in 10 respondents to a 2011 AAA/Kurgo survey said they had driven with their dog in the automobile at least once a month in the past year. As thousands of consumers check out the latest automobiles this week at the New York International Auto Show on National Pet Day, they can make life easier for them and their pets by taking a closer look at what works best for their four-legged friend.

“From subcompact hatchbacks to full-size SUVs, Chevrolet vehicles today provide plenty of choices to meet the needs of owners and pets of all shapes and sizes,” said Charlotte Reed, a pet lifestyle expert and First for Women pet solutions columnist.

“To avoid stress, do your homework in advance and make note of your specific pet’s needs and review safety features,” Reed said. “Whether you need space, special safety features or convenience technologies, today’s automobiles offer a range of options that can make traveling more enjoyable.”

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for finding a pet-friendly vehicle:

  • Safety features. According to the 2011 AAA/Kurgo study, three out of 10 pet owners admit to being distracted while driving.  One in five admits to driving with a pet in their lap. The Chevrolet Equinox, for example, has lane-departure warning systems, stability and traction control and forward-collision alerts that help heighten driver alertness to possible danger. Owners can reduce distractions by keeping pets restrained in the back seat or in a pet carrier.
  • Exterior and interior features. Look for vehicles that are wide, tall and slightly square at the back. This will make it easier to get pets and pet equipment into and out of vehicles. Cargo room and additional cup holders are useful to stow pet food, water and accessories.

The Chevrolet Traverse  crossover sport utility offers best-in-class roominess and class-leading cargo space. It has flexible and fold-flat seating, as well as a rear cooling system that is ideal for pets on a hot summer day.

  • In-vehicle technology.   The Chevrolet Equinox, Traverse and Tahoe SUV offer power lift-gates that make it easier for pets to access the vehicle. They also have fold-flat seats offer more space for transporting pets and crates. Additional safety and security technology such as remote unlock, vehicle location and crash-detection services from OnStar can provide live help at a touch of a button during pet-emergency situations.

All Chevrolet vehicles come equipped with OnStar that uses GPS and cellular technology to provide help during emergency situations -- such as finding the nearest veterinarian's office while travelling in unfamiliar locales.

  • Fuel efficiency. Gas-saving vehicles can save money, leaving more to spend for pet treats and toys. In addition to extra space, the Equinox crossover offers the interior room of an SUV along with the improved handling and fuel economy of a car. With its rear hatch and fold-down seats, the Volt extended-range electric vehicle is an option that’s good for both your pet and the environment.


About Chevrolet:
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

About National Pet Day:
National Pet Day is sponsored by the Animal Miracle Foundation & Network, to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives and to create public awareness about the plight of many different kinds of animals awaiting a forever home in shelters all across the nation. For more information, please visit and


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A group of dogs check out the Chevrolet display from the back of a Chevrolet Volt during a Pet Day event at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Pet owners seek out vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle that's good for both your pet and the environment. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Chevrolet)
Charlotte Reed, a pet lifestyle expert, checks on her dog Hannah, a Golden Retriever, who is wearing a safety harness, in the back seat of a Chevrolet Equinox during a Pet Day event at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. According to the 2011/12 AAA/Kurgo survey, 84 percent of pet owners don’t use pet safety restraints, as recommended. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Chevrolet)