“ Brand: Pets At Home / Animals Equipment Type: Cat Equipment „
*What is the Pets At Home Car Boot & Rear Seat Cover?*
This piece of protective car equipment for dog owners is produced by pet shop giant Pets At Home and is part of their huge range of own brand products which includes food, treats, toys, grooming equipment, health and safety products, training aids amongst many other things and caters for most domestic animals such as cats, dog, rabbits, birds and fish.
*The product itself*
I like to get Grace and Benson out to as many different places as possible, it gets boring for both me and the dogs walking the same old routes surrounding the house day after day, so on my days off work, I like to take the dogs out somewhere different for their walk like the beach, country park or down to their favourite lake for a good run about.
However, as mentioned in previous reviews- Grace and Benson are quite possibly the maddest canines I have ever met in my life. Everytime they are let off the lead they charge around together as if it is the first taste of freedom they have ever experienced, even though they get off lead for a run about everyday! Also, just to be awkward, they like to find the muddiest route possible, splash about in every water source we come across and run constantly through the undergrowth. This therefore means at the end of a walk, they aren't looking too smart! They are often caked in mud or sand, absolutely soaking wet and Benson has a rather large collection of twigs, leaves and clumps of mud entangled in his coat.
Now, this is where my poor car suffers. Up until recently, the dogs travelled in the boot and I didn't really mind how dirty they made that as it was never really used for anything other than the dogs, but after a fright in which a lorry nearly went into the back of us on the motorway, I changed the way the dogs travel and they now sit on the back seat with special doggie seatbelts to keep them safe. Now, they are on the back seats which are occasionally used for passengers when the dogs aren't in the car, I obviously wanted to keep the seats as clean and dry as possible and free from dog hair.
Enter this Car Boot & Rear Seat Cover by Pets At Home. The name is pretty self explanatory really isn't it? This simple product has been designed to provide car upholstery with strong, water proof protection from pet hair, dirt, mud, foul odours and of course general wear and tear from your dogs claws and will fit in most vehicles.
It is made from a dark green durable fabric, with the Pets At Home heart logo in yellow at the top and is universally fitting, making it suitable for most cars- you'll just need to make sure your vehicle has rear head rests as this is how the cover secures and it is reasonably large, measuring 141 x 127 cm so will provide a good amount of coverage whilst being extremely thin at just 0.2cm, so it is easy and simple to fold up and store when not in use.
For ease of cleaning and hygiene purposes, the cover can be machine washed.
The cover comes packaged in a thick cardboard box which fits in with the dark green colour scheme of Pets At Home and a cut out section is present on the box so you can have a feel of the fabric before purchase. On the box we are told all the relevant information you'd expect to find such as intended purpose of use, fitting instructions, cleaning information and of course, contact details for Pets At Home should you require any questions about the product answered. Handily, the box can be recycled once no longer needed.
*Price & Availability*
Being an own brand product, this Car Boot & Rear Seat Cover is only available from Pets At Home and can be purchased in one of two ways- either from one of their stores or online from their website, where there are often many good offers and deals on delivery, which is something to bare in mind if you are looking to purchase other items too.
I purchased my cover from one of their stores on a half price offer, although the normal selling price is £11.99.
When I changed the way Grace and Benson travel from the boot, to on the back seat, I knew I would have to get something to protect the seats pretty sharpish or else they'd be ruined in a matter of minutes. I never knew products such as these covers existed to be honest so I ordered a large waterproof sheet from a camping website, with the intention of using that. It was only by chance that I came across these covers in my local Pets At Home one afternoon whilst picking up supplies for the gang, and of course, seeing as they were half price, I had to purchase one!
When I got back home, I set about fitting it into my car straight away as I was planning on taking the dogs to the beach that evening and I knew they'd be returning soaked to the skin, and with half the beach stuck in Benson's coat! Fitting was really easy, instructions were provided on the box, but to be honest, they really were not necessary- all you need to do is lay the cover on the back seat (or in the boot if that's where you want it fitted) and then use the black straps at the top to loop around the rear head rests and then tighten them, it's as simple as that.
Once secured, it looked quite nice, I have to say. The dark green colour was unobtrusive and went well with the car upholstery and the little yellow heart logo looked quite cute and attractive. The material felt quite thin, which I was initially a little concerned about, but giving it a little tug, I discovered it was pretty strong and although the cover is waterproof, so therefore you'd expect it to be quite cold and plasticy, it is actually pretty soft to the touch and I liked the fact the dogs would be able to cosy down on it to get warm and sleep on the way back home.
There, unfortunately, is where the good things stop though. Once I'd fitted it into the car, I soon realised a problem- there were no slits cut away in the material for the seat belt holders to go through- if your dog just sits unrestrained on the back seat, then this obviously isn't a problem, but Grace and Benson wear car safety harnesses which attach via the regular seat belt and holder and there is no way to access these. I had to resort to cutting small slits in the cover to pull the seat belt holders through, although this solved the problem, I've got to admit I was a little bit miffed about having to do it in the first place and I thought it should already have been done- to encourage the use of car harnesses and safe travel with dogs.
Anyway, once I'd sorted that out, it was soon time to set off to the beach. Grace and Benson were not bothered at all by the presence of the cover, they sat on it quite happily and I liked the fact that it prevented any of Benson's slobber from reaching the seat. It stayed in place pretty well- I've got a Land Rover Discovery, so a rather large car but the cover still gave adequate coverage which I was pleased about- offering protection to both the seat and the back rest part.
Once at the beach, I unloaded the dogs and we set off for our walk. My car is relatively high, so the dogs do have a bit of a jump to get in and out, but I'm pleased to say their claws didn't rip or tear the fabric at all when they jumped from the back seat out of the car, which was one of my initial concerns. An hour or so later, we returned and it was time to load the dogs back in. At this point, they were a lot muddier and wetter than when we arrived, so the cover was about to be put to its real test! The straps had came a little loose so I went to tighten them, only to have one snap completely off- I wasn't impressed!
Regardless, the dogs jumped in (again, no damage to the fabric), I secured them with their harness and off we went. Glancing back at the dogs a couple of times, whilst Grace was curled up fast asleep, Benson was sitting up looking out the window and he had managed to pull up the bottom of the cover, so his front paws were directly on the seat, it had also bunched up under him at the side, leaving a large part of the seat exposed. This was obviously incredibly annoying as it wasn't doing its job at all- it would be handy if there were a second set of straps at the bottom of the cover to keep it secure and covering the entire seat.
Continuing on with our journey, the cover bunched up under Benson even more and when Grace awoke and sat up, the same thing happened with her, leaving both dogs pretty much sitting entirely on the seat. The only thing the cover was doing was protecting the back rests. This wasn't Grace and Benson's fault, I think any dog would have the same problem, unless they sat dead still on the seat. Arriving home and removing the dogs from the car, I had a look at my back seat and was pretty gutted- it was absolutely soaked, covered in sand and mud and full of dog hair- the cover really hadn't done a very good job at all.
Overall, not recommended in the slightest. I battled on with our Pets At Home cover for a couple more trips before I got completely fed up with it and threw it in the bin, we now have a much better one with proper holes for the seat belt holders and that secures at the bottom too which protects my seat entirely. This would probably be a bit more acceptable for use in the boot, but even then, you'd still have the problem of the cover bunching up as the dog moves.
A real let down from the Pets At Home own brand range, which generally excels on all counts. I'm just glad I brought it for half price or my beloved Pets At Home would be receiving a letter of complaint, had I paid full price for it!
Protects car from pet hair / dirt / odour / wear and tear.