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How To Dog Proof Your Car

- Brought to you by the Pack walk girls and thoroughly tested by our awesome four-legged clients!

Dog in a car

Everyone loves that “new car” smell, clean seats and a polished dashboard. You wish your car could stay this way forever, but despite your best efforts to keep it pristine, you realize you are a dog owner and your efforts are futile. Some how even when you try to clean your car, there is still fur, dirt and debris everywhere. If you are anything like us here at Complete K9, your dogs are spoiled with fun off leash hikes where they find mud, burrs, sticks, etc. and make sure to bring it with them for the ride home.

So how do you keep your beloved car clean when your furry family member gets shot gun? Luckily through years of trial and error, we have perfected the “dog mobile”. When my little 1998 Honda Civic finally died on me, I realized I had let the interior of my car deteriorate beyond recognition. When I purchased my Toyota Matrix, I knew I had to do everything in my power to keep it from turning into a “dog car”. Luckily, we had tried various products and invented our own barriers over the years so I had a pretty good idea of what worked, and what did not work.

Here are some tricks of the trade:

Cleaning up the mess

If your car is already a “dog car”, do not panic, as there is still hope! If you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, we use EZ Car Care for interior car cleaning and detailing! They are affordable and do an amazing job making your car look almost new again. It is definitely worth having the professionals give your car a good scrub to remove all the hair and dirt that has collected.

If you would like to do it yourself, renting a Rug Doctor from your local grocery store is a great alternative. Although advertised as a carpet cleaner, you can rent the “upholstery arm” that works great for shampooing your fabric seats and sucks up all the dirt and fur! Both options will leave you with a clean smell and a lot less hair!

It is also helpful to keep baby/Lysol/Armour-all wipes handy so that you can give your car a quick wipe-down if needed, especially if you have leather seats!

About once a week after having approximately 50-60 dogs in their cars, the girls will stop by the self-serve car wash Valet Car Wash, to use the vacuums to keep the hair and mess under control. It is much easier to maintain a clean car than to try and recover a car that has gone to the dogs!

Protection and prevention

We have tried so many car protectors, tarps, mats, and carpets and most either were destroyed by the dogs or did a poor job protecting the car’s interior.

Most of the individual walkers at Complete K9 have had good luck with Treat a Dog car protectors, as they are durable, machine washable and they stay where they should. They offer various products but the ones we recommend are the PupProtector Trunk Cover and the PupProtector Car Door Guards. Their prices might seem steep but they usually offer 50-60% off. Currently, they are offering 60% off with the promo code: LOVE.

If you are looking for something that has withstood the abuse of pack walks (6-8 dirty dogs in one car at the same time) we also highly recommend Kurgo Car Covers, which you can buy at Ren’s Pet Depot. They have taken a beating and are still in tiptop shape. They are easy to remove, transforming your dog car into a normal human car.

Some of us have gone the extra mile and purchased front seat covers (Costco/Kurgo), back seat barriers (Kurgo) and backseat bridges (Kurgo) as well. Although the ones at Costco are nothing pretty, they do the trick really well and are reasonably priced. We also throw blankets and towels down for an added layer or protection and that way when things get dirty you can just wash the towels.

Avoiding the “wet dog” smell

After hours of looking through Pinterest for ideas about making sure my car smells pleasant and spending an embarrassing amount of money on various perfumed car plug-ins and green trees to hang on my mirror, I’ve avoided a stinky car even though more dogs have been in my hatchback than people. Most plug-ins give me a headache as they have a very strong and overwhelming scent and never last longer than a few days at best. The Febreeze brand plug-ins tends to be subtler and lasts about a month in my experience. They sell them in large quantities at Costco, so I usually stock up and simply switch them as they run out. I have tried more natural methods as I prefer not to use harsh chemicals but I found that essential oils and such do not last long and cannot compete with the smell of whatever my dog just rolled in at the dog park.

Usually if I do not have a great deal of time to clean my car but I’m very aware of the dog smell starting to catch up on me, I use the natural pet friendly odour-removing sprays meant for carpets and furniture that you can purchase at pet stores. A quick spray of the pet odour remover on my fabric interior helps control the smell until I am able to wash my car cover. When it comes time to wash my Treat a Dog Trunk Cover and my Costco Seat covers, I use Unstoppable Scent Boosters for that clean laundry smell that lasts WEEKS! I’m impressed every time I get in my car long after I’ve washed my cover and I can still smell those scent boosters!

Here are what the covers look like in our cars!

The black cover that Annie is modeling off is the Treat a Dog trunk cover and door covers and the beige cover in Kayla’s car is the Kurgo Car cover, back seat bridge and back seat barrier.

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