I often see online reviews of vehicles from mums with kids trying to determine if car seats fit etc but there are very few reviews of cars for those who travel a lot with their dog. Probably because there isn't too many of us who treat their dog like a child when they're in the car!
George comes out with me more often than anyone else so it seems only right that the car caters for him just as much as it does me. I've had a trusty Toyota hatchback for the last 10 years that has served us well but it was recently time for an upgrade. I've had my eye on the Mazda CX-5 for a while and pleased to say this is our new adventure vehicle.
It's a 2015, 2.5L petrol AWD model and is everything we need to travel up and down the country and enjoy more adventures together. On our walk today at the Lake I took some photos of just how functional this vehicle can be with a dog, especially a very muddy one.
George and I went out in some very heavy rain and walked through some rather large mud puddles in the forest on today's walk so by the time we got back to the car we were both wet and muddy.
In the boot there are two pockets conveniently located to each side of the boot. I store spare towels in the left, and George's water bottles and bowl in the one to the right. A few extras like a spare raincoat and poop bags are in the small container, yet it still leaves plenty of room in the boot for storage.
With George covered in mud but it still pouring with rain, I lay a towel down in the boot and gave him a rub down keeping us both dry in the process. Its a great size boot to do this for small dogs, but also should you travel with your dog in the boot on journeys, its very spacious to give them enough room to move around. There are also clips on the backs of the seats that allow you to clip your dog in for safety.
George has always travelled in the front passenger seat, so even in the Toyota had a foam booster seat that gave him enough lift to be able to see out the window. With the CX-5 a little higher, ive had to adapt the seat a little further. A bit of DIY and ive managed to create the perfect size travel seat.
For the booster seat, I combined two pieces of foam (available from the likes of Payless Plastics), got a cheap car seat cover and found a microfibre dish drying mat from Spotlight. Wrapping the car seat cover around the foam a few times keeps the foam contained, and as the car seat cover is elasticated, it fits snugly. The microfibre dish mat was the perfect size to sit on top, and absorb water when George gets wet on walks. I attached it to the car seat cover by a few velcro tabs I sewed on, meaning I can remove it to clean it without having to remove the whole foam setup. To secure it to the seat I applied some elastic to the bottom and side to wrap it under the seat and around the back which keeps it secured in place, but easily removable if a human needs to occupy the front seat for a change.
Both front seats have car seat covers to keep the seats clean, and means George can rub his wet face on the back of the seat as much as he likes without me cringing that its ruining the seats! To keep George secure, he wears a seatbelt which connects into his harness, allowing him to do what dogs love - sticking their faces out of windows but keeps him safe in the process.
If your dog doesn't travel in the front, the back seat is a large area that allows for even the biggest of dogs to travel comfortably. Alternatively if you put the back seats down, your smaller dog can also travel in the back with the seats down which gives them the extra height they need to see out of the back windows.
There's really only one downside to a CX5 for a small dog owner and thats the fact that it sits so high its not easy for your small dog to get in and out. I now have to lift George into the car each time, which I didn't have to do with the Toyota. Although he could jump if he tried, its a concern that he could hurt himself in the process so getting my hands a little dirty to lift him in is a small price to pay.
George and I are loving our new adventure vehicle and highly recommend it for other fellow dog owners as the ultimate adventure vehicle.