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Old 09-17-2018, 06:04 AM   #1
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Front seat dog options?

Scenario is two-seater Airstream MH (van), for which I'd really like to create a platform so that my dog could lie down in the passenger seat space.

She keeps trying to find a way to settle in there, but she's too large for the existing seat space, plus she's an older dog with the beginnings of arthritis in her spine (can't bunch up tightly). If I could somehow extend the seat area as suggested in this photo collage below, she would be much more comfortable.

I know I'm going to elicit "that's not safe" comments, but I'm not really interested in pursuing that line of thought. Whether she's on the floor between the two cab seats, or 18 inches to the right in the passenger seat, both options are "not safe" at some level of analysis. But one of those options would have her being far more comfortable as she is "not safe". We routinely drive cross-continent, so this is important.

Our vehicle has no room for a proper crate, and the ride is hella rough in the rear anyway, so this is what I'm left with, this idea.

I reckon I'm probably going to have to build a device myself. I doubt that there's anything on the market due to the potential airbag liability. For small dogs, sure, there are soft devices available which strap to the passenger seat. But we need something larger.

Before I start hashing out designs on paper, I thought I'd check to see if anyone else has developed anything along these lines. Thanks. Woof.

Edit: Fold flat as I note below in the photo, OR, potentially if I could adapt some kind of an inflatable device, that could also have potential.

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Old 09-17-2018, 06:10 AM   #2
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Lily prefers riding in the passenger seat, too.

I store some things in the foot area there, covering them with a small rug, which she then uses as extra stretching-out space.

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Old 09-17-2018, 06:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Lily prefers riding in the passenger seat, too.

I store some things in the foot area there, covering them with a small rug, which she then uses as extra stretching-out space.

Maggie
Got pic? I'd like to see it.

We will probably continue to iterate on the scenario of me driving solo and working from the road, and then my husband LB_3 (who has a regular fixed full-time job) flying out to join me for vacations. Therefore, whatever I put in that passenger space must be dismantle-able and stow-able so that he can sit there after he arrives.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:28 AM   #4
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Obviously this kind of device would be awesome. But all the ones I've found extend across either the whole back seat or the whole front seat.

It would be cool if I could somehow cut one down to single size and heat-seal the cut edge so that air would not escape, but I'm not sure how that would be accomplished from a technical perspective.

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Old 09-17-2018, 06:28 AM   #5
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I don’t, but can tell you I have charcoal and grill items in a soft canvas bag, also other assorted, seldom used items in another soft canvas bag...both black...with a rag rug over the top to catch dust and dog hair.

Might think along the lines of making a cushioned platform, with two foldable legs that can rest in the foot area.

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Old 09-17-2018, 06:59 AM   #6
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We had an accident years ago, never again without a crate, you have no room in the coach?

Seat belt.

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Old 09-17-2018, 07:09 AM   #7
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No room for a crate. Plus the ride in the rear is so harsh that the dog has historically vomited if she spends too much time there.

And I don't mean vomited once. I mean ten times an hour. It's a Sprinter van. They are notorious for unbearably harsh rides in the rear.

And I don't see strapping my 50-pound dog to a seat for 40 to 45 driving hours at a stretch. That's very trendy right now, but I question whether it's healthy for the dog.

If we crash our Interstate on the freeway, we are probably all done for no matter how much torture has been inflicted upon our old dog. Therefore I'd like to keep the torture to a minimum.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:24 AM   #8
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Sometimes when I get "stuck" mentally, I post a new thread and it re-activates my brain so that I can start thinking outside the original box.

Different key words: foot rest instead of car mattress. A product like this might solve half my issue. I need to make some measurements. I wish I had thought of this yesterday when the Interstate was at our house.

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Old 09-17-2018, 09:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Sometimes when I get "stuck" mentally, I post a new thread and it re-activates my brain so that I can start thinking outside the original box.

Different key words: foot rest instead of car mattress. A product like this might solve half my issue. I need to make some measurements. I wish I had thought of this yesterday when the Interstate was at our house
INTERBLOG - My daughter put one of those inflatables in my AI. I can attest that it works for us, in as far as when fully inflated, it is at same height as 2nd row captain's chair. Not exactly same height as front seats, but still doable. So as you say, hope the height works for you.

We also carry 2 of these collapsible Cube storage ottomans. They are 15.7" Cube and collapses into a 15.7"x15.7"x2" when stored. I am 145 lbs. and it supports me very well without feeling flimsy. They rate it for 400 lbs. as a seat (probably a bit overstated) but I feel it is capable of more than my weight. As far as contents, it is only rated for 30 lbs. It is invaluable as our patio furniture in campgrounds. Used as seat or table or storage. Comes in an infinite number of materials, colors, finishes. Ours is a low maintenance faux wicker. Some are expensive leather, cloth, you name it. Seen them at Wallyworld, BB&B, Container Store, Amazon, etc. Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:19 AM   #10
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60 pounder similar problem

I found a seat height cooler that fit perfectly by sliding seat all the way back, then moving forward to cooler to create platform. Then topped with dog bed with an edge for bolster and cush. Traveled thousands & thousands of miles with my American bulldog happy as can be.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:39 AM   #11
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Another thought would be a hammock type setup. A ‘beam’ in front to hold shape, then straps to the seat back?
I guess the ‘corridor’ side wouldn’t work that way, since It would interfere with access for your dog. Maybe telescoping legs with a ‘tripod’ going back to the seat to hold it out?
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lotus54 View Post
Another thought would be a hammock type setup. A ‘beam’ in front to hold shape, then straps to the seat back?
I guess the ‘corridor’ side wouldn’t work that way, since It would interfere with access for your dog. Maybe telescoping legs with a ‘tripod’ going back to the seat to hold it out?
She is one of those dogs who won't accept a wobbly solution. For instance, she will get into my camping hammock and settle down, only to bolt when the first sign of a breeze makes it sway however gently. If I use an inflatable underpinning, I'll have to make the top part fairly rigid to make her happy.
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:13 AM   #13
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I did something like this many years ago when I roadtripped with my dog in my Saab 900. Some plywood, pocket screws or dowels, and a dog bed would work wonders. You could even make it collapsible or build in a means to store stuff (water bowl, jug of water, snacks etc.) under the platform.

I won’t give you a lecture on safety (I also did this) but I know they now make some harnesses that would attach to a seat belt.
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:18 AM   #14
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I made this bed in the back of my truck for my Italian Greyhounds. Same principle could be used for the front. I wanted them to be safe, comfortable, and be able to see out of the windows. It was a project but the boys seem to be happy with it. The platform and cushions are split and hinged at the ⅓ pointover the seats. That way I can flip up the single seat side so I can carry big item that need to sit on the floor (basically for a 40lb propane tank that needs refilling) while the dogs can still travel on the other side.
The platform has legs on the front larger section so I still have use under it for tons of storage. I also have a few rarely used items on the seat itself under the platform where there is about 3" of space all the way across. I sewed a fleece sleeve to cover the platform (which is also edged with pipe insulation) to protect my car's interiorior.

On top I used foam cushions with a layer of memory foam and sewed covers that can be removed for washing. I notched the cushions around the center console so the air vents are not blocked. I also added a heated bed pad (the type you buy at a truck stop) that plugs into the cigerette lighter on the back of the console. Extra fluffy blankets added too. Spoiled little buggers.

They wear heavy duty travel harnesses (padded chest and low around the neck so no esophagus trauma if there is an accident). This have buckled straps that go directly into the truck belt recievers. They can move around well comfortably but the straps are not long enough that they could hit themselves on the front seat or become projectiles during an accident. I have a doggy travel water bowl that lives in the cupholder at the back of the center console.
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