A walk isn’t a walk without a dog, and many of us will use our cars to transport our pets to the start of that walk. Of course, the first part of the journey is the easy bit because no one minds a clean, dry, fresh-smelling dog in the boot, do they?
But the car journey home can be very different. I love my dog dearly, but in the car, when she’s wet and foul-smelling – and still hyperactive with energy to burn, no matter how long she’s been out – I can’t help thinking there’s a better way to clean her off than a quick rubdown with an old towel.
Of course, what I really need is Nissan’s latest concept car designed with dog-owners in mind, the X-trail 4Dogs.
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The starting point is a conventional dog guard behind the rear seats, which keeps Pooch in the boot where she’ll be pawfectly safe.
To keep her even safer, the concept car also features a series of floor-mounted restraint points on to which you can clip the harness; a sort of ISOFIX child seat arrangement for dogs.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that dogs should be suitably restrained in the car whilst you’re driving so they can’t distract you or injure themselves if you stop quickly. If you are in an accident and the animal is thought to have played a role in it, your car insurance may not cover you; if you breakdown knowing the dog is safely restrained in the back will give you one less thing to worry about, making the restraint points even more invaluable.
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A car wash… and blow dry?
Wet and muddy dogs could be a thing of the past if the X-Trail 4Dogs ever goes into production because Nissan has done the impawsible and fitted the car with a clever 360o shower, which is kept in a neat underfloor drawer when it’s not being used.
Nor have they furgotten the need to dry her off afterwards; they’ve managed to squeeze in an integral dog hair dryer too.
Barmy? Not a bit of it; who doesn’t love to freshen up after a romp in the countryside?
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Whining and dining
Somebody in the Nissan design team was obviously a huge fan of Scooby-Doo* as they’ve kitted the X-Trail out with a ‘smart’ snack dispenser that even features paw-recognition to unlock it, a clever security feature that’ll stop those pesky cat burglars in their tracks.
The car also features a non-spill water bowl, which should make slops and spills a thing of the past, and keep your dog well hydrated on long journeys.
*Did you know that the name ‘Scooby-Doo’ came from the melody ‘doo-be-doo-be-doo’ in the Frank Sinatra song Strangers in the night?
Ramping up the action
If your old friend is starting to stiffen up with age (and who of us aren’t?), she’ll appreciate a slide-away ramp that allows him to carefully make her way back into the boot without having to jump up.
And if he’s feeling a bit cold in the back seat, you can keep her warm with the car's built-in heating and drying system.
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The 4Dogs concept car even features a two-way, in-car CCTV system that lets you keep an eye on your dog – and lets your dog keep an eye on you!
You can even talk to her, which might help if your dog doesn’t like travelling in the car.
Finally, the whole boot has been lined in easy-clean leather, making it a doddle to keep your boot clean and smelling fresh.
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So where can I get one?
Of course, the X-Trail 4Dogs is just concept at the moment, and there are no plans to put it into production.
But, that would probably change if there was enough interest in it…
You can see the Nissan X-Trail 4Dogs concept car in action on youtube.com
Next article: 10 tips for taking your dogs to the beach >>>
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