I’m Betting AGAINST My Dog!

My dog Honey has super powers—of friendliness, good manners, and shedding. Oh, the shedding.

No matter where I am. No matter what I do. I’m accompanied by little golden hairs.

I drop them in my food. I staple them into my papers. I wrap them into gifts.

I’m looking for the kryptonite that will defeat her super power of shedding. And that’s why I’m betting against my dog. I’m hoping that in the battle of the century, Honey has met her match.

Honey the boxing golden retriever takes on The Hammock.

Dog Hair Keeps Us Housebound

I’m stupid. I decided to go car-free in a town that makes it hard to have fun with my dog.

Ithaca doesn’t have dog-friendly public transportation like Seattle. Ithaca doesn’t allow dogs on their outdoor, pedestrian mall like Burlington. Ithaca doesn’t even allow dogs in its lakefront park!

When we had a car, we got out-of-town. We drove up the lake to one of the lovely state parks to spend the day. We did this every warm weekend.

Honey the Golden Retriever poses beside Cayuga Lake.

Shhhh, don’t tell. Dogs aren’t allowed at Ithaca’s park on Cayuga Lake. I guess they’re trying to protect all the goose poop.

But without a car, it’s very hard to escape Ithaca. We aren’t allowed to do much with Honey here. So we just stay home.

It’s okay. It’s the price we pay for making an ethical choice in a world that worships cars. But I worry that being car-free in Ithaca might be dangerous.

Dog Emergencies Without a Car

Our regular vet is about half a mile away. For wellness visits, we just walk.

And if we had a weekday emergency, I could carry Honey if I had to. Thank goodness I don’t have a Newfie.

But what if we needed an emergency vet in the middle of the night?

Cornell Vet Hospital is three short miles away. If Honey was unconscious, she wouldn’t object to the bike cart. But those three short miles are straight uphill. It would probably take me an hour to get there towing Honey on my bike.

We’re members of Ithaca Car Share. There’s a car I can borrow just 3 blocks from my house. But dogs must be crated inside cars or we’re charged a $250 fine. And most of the cars are tiny.

I’d have to walk a mile to the nearest mini van that could hold Honey’s crate.

What if there was an easy way to transport Honey in a rental car without using a crate that still managed to keep the car clean?

Golden Retriever is ready for a road trip

Why did you rent a car with a black interior? Do you know much shedding I’ll have to do to cover it completely?

The Dog Hair Rental Car Shuffle

When we have to go long distances, we rent a car at the airport. As long as we return the car clean, they’re fine with us having a dog.

So we cover the front and back seats with old sheets—yep, it looks ridiculous—and bring the car home early so we can vacuum the carpets thoroughly before returning it.

What if there was a way to contain dog hair in a rental car (because the sheets thing really doesn’t work) so we could rely on Ithaca Car Share in an emergency? Or if we wanted to bring Honey to a training class or other activity nearby? Or even to pick up a larger foster dog at the SPCA?

Enter Honey’s opponent, the Wander Hammock.

Kurgo (affiliate) was kind enough to send me one to review and another one to give away to a lucky S’Wagger. I haven’t tried it yet. But I’m hopeful that it will make renting a car much less messy. Especially since we have a sailing trip in Ontario planned with Honey this spring.

The Wander Hammock by Kurgo - will it keep our rental car hair free?

We’ll be renting a car this weekend and putting the Hammock through its paces. Who will come out ahead? Honey and her hirsute handsomeness or the Hammock?

If I’m right to bet against Honey and for the Hammock, I’m going to make a pitch to Ithaca Car Share. Perhaps they would be willing to offer a pilot program where one car is available for dogs to ride uncrated, as long as the driver installs the Hammock first and leaves the car clean. If it works, maybe they’d be more flexible with their dog guidelines.

It would certainly make me rest a little easier to have more transportation options. And I might even get to enjoy some fun dog activities with Honey like nose work classes or the pet festival at the indoor mall (go figure, the indoor mall allows dogs twice a year but the outdoor mall forbids them).

Betting Against My Dog

So that’s why I’m betting against Honey. I’m hoping that the Hammock will be powerful enough to contain most of the dog hair on a trip. And that we’ll have more travel options.

I’ll share the results next week. And I’ll be giving away a Hammock to one lucky winner.

Honey the Golden Retriever as seen in the rear view mirror of the car.

Fun times are closer than they appear.

What do you think? Will fluffy golden fur be victorious? Or will the Hammock lock down most of the fluff and contain it before it covers the carpet, front seats, and cup holders?

For our sake, I hope Honey is a big fat loser. So we can all win something better.

Your Turn: How do you cope with dog hair in the car? Or have you given up? Do you have any suggestions for traveling with your dog in a borrowed car?

Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you buy something from Kurgo after clicking the link, I will earn a small commission. But your item won’t cost you any more. Thank you for supporting Something Wagging.



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  1. I have a question I’d love for you to cover in the review. How does safety work in the hammock? Is she loose back there?
    I crate, and I own a small SUV so I can do that. It’s not perfect, but I’m probably more guilty of hairing up the front seat than the dog is, since she never rides there. Fleece, which I’m wearing a lot in the Midwest winter, is a dog hair magnet, until some other fabric attracts it.

    • Great question, Margaret.

      Based on my reading, there are gaps in the hammock so you can clip your dog into the seatbelts. Kurgo also carries harnesses and tether systems that I believe will integrate with the Hammock.

      But yes, I’ll definitely be checking the safety options when we test out the Hammock.

      And yes, fleece is horrible. My scarf has an entire layer of dog hair I’ve just stopped bothering with. :)

  2. In our SUV we have a thing that goes around the sides and bottom of the back where we sit, so it keeps the fur and dirt off the actual car. We rent a car when we go to FL. The company has a no pet policy but we just rent and go anyway. We use a thing like you have on the back seat and it works pretty well. Katie the Kuvasz is a massive shedder. Trust me, in comparison, Honey is non shedder. So, the hair does blow around the car a bit, but the majority of it stays in the hammock. We also have the car kit for our critterzone for dog odor. Before returning the car Mom runs a vacuum through and Windexes the windows. We have never heard a thing from the rental company and have done it several times now.

  3. I have a hammock. My dogs don’t much like it, but then again, my dogs don’t shed much either. They would rather be on our laps in the front seat but it isn’t allowed either. If Honey is content to lay in the back without wanting to be in the front, it just may work. You need to keep in mind… the air movement factor. You open and close the door, creating a whoosh inside the car, which will levitate the shed hair will whirl it around and that hair will settle where ever it wants. Still. A hammock is a much more comfortable alternative to a crate, I’d say. I was going to say, does your town allow you to invest in a golf cart? I know my dad’s town does, and he loves it. His big snickerdoodle sits in the seat next to him where ever he goes.

  4. I commend you, both for your environmental choices and for your optimism in winning the battle. I have succumbed on both levels. Living in SoCal it would be impossible without a car. Our nearest grocery is about 8 miles away. I’ve also given up the battle of dog hair…and my dogs are short-haired. I’m just too lazy :)

  5. I long since gave up trying to keep the car clean. What with the dog hair, the nose smudges and muddy paws, I just call it a utility vehicle. On the rare occasion I have someone in the back seat, I vacuum the car. :-)

    Good luck with the hammock, I loved to try one of those myself!

  6. Two double-coated corgis are a lost battle, plain and simple! The house, my clothes, and my car are covered in enough hair to make a third corgi! In my car, I don’t even try containment. Since my dogs go in the car on a weekly basis to get to class, I just let it build up until I can’t take it anymore, and then do a good clean-out. At peak hairiness, opening a window will result in a tornado of dog hair!

    On the rare occasion I’ve had a rental car, I’ve just put the dogs in anyway, and used a tape roller and the vacuum to clean it up. I would certainly never take the dogs swimming and then put them in a rental car, but “a few” (yea! right!) hairs are OK.

  7. I had the hammock. I still technically have it, but on a couple of occasions I forgot about it and put the back seats all the way to rear of the car and it resulted in some, uh, tearing. So now it’s mostly just a cover. But while the hammock thing lasted it did one thing well and that was keep B in the back seat. She’s so used to being back there now instead of wandering to the front, and then back again, etc, that not having the actual hammock in place isn’t an issue.

    As for the dog hair – yes, it gets through those seat belt holes. I have dog hair everywhere in my car. I am like most others that commented – I will clean it when it gets really out of control and of course, before I have passengers in my car. Otherwise, it’s just a never-ending battle and the dog hair always wins. Of course, if you are using the hammock for for just a short time – it should be fairly helpful. I wish I had the discipline to clean the car every week to keep the hair under control, but sometimes other things take precedence.

  8. Oh, I want that hammock like nobody’s business!

    Right now, in the new car, we have the back seat covered with a cheap seat cover and we have a divider that goes in the back, so they can stretch out and be comfortable back there on a dog bed, but I want one of those harnesses like nobody’s business!

  9. I think the product you’re showing here should help in the borrowed car.

    We have dog hair pretty much everywhere and we don’t really care. It’s not that our guys shed so much, there are no piles of hair but there is always at least couple of them, including on our plates 😉

  10. I have given up about dog hair in the car. However the hammock does help some and it also helps from Maggie rolling into well between the front and back seats. But I’m betting that your dog will still find a way to leave a little fur behind!

  11. It feels funny saying this but I hope Honey looses! It’s a shame that companies have such strict rules when it comes to dogs. Is there any way you could build up a relationship with a particular rental car (forgive me for not completely understanding how it works) so that they know you always return it spotless and so may be a bit more relaxed when it’s you?

    Does that make sense??

    • With a conventional rental car company that rents the car for a day or week at a time, we’ve never had a problem. And when we rent a car for a week or so, it’s not a big deal to spend an hour vacuuming at the end. Although if I could cut that chore down to a few minutes, I’d be thrilled.

      The Ithaca Car Share program is for short-term rentals. They have cars parked all over town and we can rent them for half an hour or more at a time. They’re for short trips, like shopping or (Dog Forbid) a trip to the vet.

      And it’s Ithaca Car Share that has the strict anti-dog policies.

      On one hand, I can’t blame them. Every time I use Car Share I find half-filled coffee cups, wood chips, and even straw in the car. So I know why they’re reluctant about dog hair. But that’s why I hope that proposing a trial with a seat cover like the Hammock to see if it works.

  12. Love the Kurgo hammocks! You might consider their door guards too. And other than a few stray hairs floating around, the car is probably going to be relatively Honey-hair-free.

    I don’t worry about my own car because it is almost exclusively used to transport my dogs Maya and Pierson around. But we had to use my husband’s car on our last road trip. I used a sheet instead of a hammock to cover the seats. I moved the Kurgo Backseat Bridge from my car to my husband’s so that Maya and Pierson had more space. And I moved the Kurgo door guards over as well. As a result, it was very easy to clean out my husband’s car after the trip. The only place there was hair was around the seat belt buckles because of the holes made so that Maya and Pierson could still be buckled up.

  13. You think it’s tough keeping up with ONE shedding Golden Retriever? Try keeping up with two! I gave up, let’s see, 8 YEARS ago — after having had both girls for a full year. Back then, I had a dark green Blazer with a tan cloth interior. I had a hammock-style seat cover, which I later transferred to my current car. Yes, I have a light-colored cloth interior again, but it doesn’t matter. All the dog hair that sticks to the seat of my jeans somehow becomes stuck to the driver’s seat and every other surface inside the car. After all these years, I just don’t care any more. People who don’t want dog hair on their clothes are welcome to bring their own towel or just not ride in my car. At 60, I no longer care what people think of me and I’m enjoying life a helluva lot more than I did even 10 years ago.

    But, like Kate, I totally commend you for your environmental choices, etc. As they say “YOU GO GIRL!!!”

  14. Wow, Pamela, I used to think Ithaca was one of the best places on earth (outside of Colorado). As you may recall, I’m from upstate NY, raised near Buffalo and a long-time Rochester area resident. My son went to Ithaca College for four years and Yvonne’s family centers a bit south-east of there, so I’ve spent many good times on the pedestrian mall you mention. Never crossed my mind that those granola-loving ex-hippies would be anything less than dog friendly!

    Crossing Ithaca off my list! ;-P

    • Don’t just cross Ithaca off the list, Tom. Send a quick email to the tourism board. Apparently they get a lot of complaints about not being pet friendly. Another one couldn’t possibly hurt.

      Especially from someone who coordinates a conference that brings hundreds of people and their pets to a town. :)

  15. I’ll be very interested to see who wins :) Currently, our little peanut is riding in her crate. She is an absolute dream to travel with . . . as long as she is crated! Good luck!!