phynedyning

Phyne Dyning evaluates: Pet Rider (as seen on TV)

In Reviews on August 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Dogs love riding in cars and the Pet Rider seat protector seems like an as seen on TVproduct that just couldn’t miss. After all, dog hair is scientifically designed to, unlike Super Glue, stick to anything forever. If only the heat-resistant tiles on the space shuttle were attached by using dog hair.

The trunk of the car is where old bed sheets go when they die. They are periodically resurrected for a trip to the vet or whenever one of the hounds gets a car ride. A sheet, draped haphazardly on the seat, offers some protection from dog hair, slobber, and the gobs of “stuff” greyhounds can pack between their toes.

When I saw the Pet Rider, late one evening on the tee-vee, I thought it would replace the 30 (or so) sheets we’ve kept for dog use. Its $10 price made it a candidate for a Phyne Dyning test ride.

The results were…meh.

Pet Rider is not a bad product and it’s not a great product either.

The packaging says the Pet Rider “fits every car and SUV”. This is true.

What the package (or the tee-vee advertising) doesn’t say is, “Pet Rider may not attach to the seats of every vehicle.

Unless your car has rear seat headrests, or some other do-dad to loop the Pet Rider securing straps to, you end up draping it over the seat in identical fashion to those deceased bed sheets.

Not good.

The material seems sturdy and the workmanship (probably Chinese slave labor) is adequate. The zipper zips and the hook and loop closures (for seat belt fasteners) work well. The securing straps seem underpowered and it’s possible that the weight of a very large dog would simply tear them loose.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Pet Rider is…

…Oooo, that smell!

The fabric has an overpowering chemical odor that is akin to the smell of melted rubber with a few mothballs thrown in.

As I worked for about an hour to find something to affix the Pet Rider’s securing straps to, my throat began to burn and I got a slight headache. The doors were open and there was a decent, little breeze. I can only imagine the strength of the odor in a hot car with the windows rolled up.

In fairness to the Pet Rider, the smell is not unique to it. We bought a collapsing wagon at Costco for use at area farmer’s markets. The cloth on the wagon had that same smell. So, despite our intent to store the handy cart in the back seat of the truck, we ended up storing it in the garage.

After discounts and coupons, I paid about five bucks for the Pet Rider. My truck has rear seat headrests and the A/C quit working years ago. The open windows should help with the smell and the Pet Rider fits and fastens perfectly. And, unfolded, it lines the trunk of the car nicely for those annual trips to redeem beverage bottles. Its usefulness (barely) outweighs the benefits of returning the thing for a refund.

Would I pay $10 to $25 for the Pet Rider? Nope.

But if you can find Pet Rider for five bucks or less, buy one.

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