Dog Owner? Here’s How to Keep Your Car Clean!

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on July 23rd, 2020

If you travel with your dog in the car, you’ve probably struggled with all kinds of canine messes. As lovable as those furry friends are, they sure can leave an unbelievable amount of dog hair, slobber, and muddy paw prints in the backseat. Not only is it difficult to clean up after a dog in the car, but the lingering smell can be almost impossible to mask.

Luckily, there are plenty of cleaning tips and hacks to help you get the car mess under control. With this BreezeGuard car cleaning guide for dog owners, you can have Fido in the back without a moment’s hesitation! 

Why are dogs so messy to begin with?
As a dog owner, we don’t have to tell you that life with a dog means constant shedding, crumbs, dirty paws, and the rest. It’s just part of the deal. But why is it that your car, which just so happens to be one of the more difficult places to clean, tends to suffer the most from doggie messes?    

One reason is obvious. The more you take your pup outside, the more opportunities they have to roll around in puddles, catch spurs and pollen dust in their fur, and trap all kinds of scents that the fabric in your car will gladly soak in.

But there’s another explanation for why your car may get dirtier than your home, and it has to do with your pup’s biology. For one thing, your dog may shed more in your car out of excitement or anxiety. If you noticed that your car backseat is absolutely coated in loose fur after a trip to the vet’s office, it’s probably because your pup was a bit stressed out. 

And, how about all of the drool that you might be cleaning off the inside of your car windows and leather seats? This is another example of your dog’s natural response system going into overdrive in the car. Whenever your dog is excited, whether because they’re on the way to the dog park or because you’ve been practicing positive reinforcement training in the car with treats, they’ll start to salivate. A bit of slobber on your seats, then, is pretty normal.

We should also mention that excessive drooling can also be a sign of car sickness. If you think this is the case, you should get in touch with your vet for some solutions.

Finally, you might notice that your dog tends to pant more in the car. Whether this is because outdoor temperatures are high, your dog has been running around, or they’re simply feeling happy, all of that panting is inevitably going to stink up your car. 

A dog in the car is as messy as it gets, so what can you do?
Now that we know that dogs really are dirtier in the car than they are at home, keeping things clean can feel like a huge task. But there are some great car cleaning secrets that all dog owners should know:

#1: Prevention 
There are a couple of things that you can do to ensure that your dog’s messy habits don’t lead to destruction in your car. Take a look:

  • Work on making car trips a calm experience. In our recent article, How to Prepare a Puppy to Ride in the Car, we shared some simple tips to make driving more relaxing for you and your dog. And a relaxed doggo won’t shed or drool quite as much.
  • Brush your pup before they get in the car. This won’t stop them from shedding completely, but it will take out some loose fur that will be the first to drop when they get excited or nervous.
  • Stay on top of your dog’s dental hygiene. Even with the windows down, bad dog breath in an enclosed space is hard to ignore. Regular teeth brushing can help with that and improve your dog’s overall health.
  • Always have helpful cleaning tools in the car. This might include a clean towel to wipe them off after a dip in the lake and dog-safe wet wipes for their muddy or dusty paws.

#2: Good air flow
One thing that cars have going for them is that you can always keep them well-ventilated, which is key for managing doggie odor. And, a constant breeze can also help to filter out some of the loose fur that Fido will shed during the drive.

Remember, that while you want to keep the windows down, you don’t want to allow your dog to stick their head outside while driving. With BreezeGuard Screens, you can keep the windows open to whisk away some of the loose fur while keeping your pup safe and sound in the car.

#3: Clean as you go
You might have noticed that the longer you wait to clean out the mud and slobber from your car, the more difficult the task. And, the more your car fabric has had a chance to absorb those unpleasant odors. 

Instead of putting it off, you might try to make it a habit to give the interior of your car a quick wipe down after every trip with your pup. A few minutes of cleaning here and there will save you a ton of time and frustration later on.

#4: Don’t fear the fur!
Cleaning dog fur from inside a car is one of the most daunting tasks on the list. Vacuums are often useless, and lint rollers, while good in a fix, can feel wasteful. 

Here’s a simple solution: wet rubber gloves. This is one of those rare cleaning hacks that actually works, and you’ll be amazed at how much hair you can pick up with this technique. A squeegee, like you might use on your windshield, will give you a similar result.

The key, of course, is to remove dog fur as often as possible so that it doesn’t have the chance to get pushed down further into your car fabric fibers.

#5: Find your favorite cleaning products
You can find dog-friend cleaning products at your local pet shop or online for when you’re ready to do a deep clean. Or, rely on natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar if you’re looking for a DIY solution.

#6: Use fresh scents that won’t bother your dog
Scent sprays won’t cover up a dog dirty car, but they can be the perfect finishing touch for a clean car interior. 

Keep in mind that highly concentrated scents, like essential oils, can cause discomfort and sometimes pose medical risks to dogs. You will also want to steer clear of artificial scents or other chemical-heavy products.

You can create your own all-natural car spray by infusing water with fresh herbs or plants. Adding a bit of alcohol can help to preserve the potency. 

Alternatively, you can place sachets of dried herbs, like rosemary, lavender, and thyme, in your car seat pockets to help combat doggie odors.

You can have the cleanest car at the dog park!
With these easy cleaning hacks, your car will sparkle no matter how many fluffy pups you drive around in your daily life. For more canine-friendly car tips, take a look at the BreezeGuard Blog!


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