F.I.D.O.: Keeping your car safe around your dog.

I love my dog, but she's stinking up my car worse than Marlon Brando on a Stairmaster. What can I do?

You are not alone! Try one of these products suggested by fellow Car Talk listeners (and dog owners):

My car seats are covered in dog hair. How can I get it off?

Good question! We hadn't heard of any great solutions, so we asked for your ideas. Here's what fellow Car Talk listeners (and dog owners) recommended:

Of course, if you can remove the seat cover, you can always wash it in your washing machine with a cup of vinegar and no detergent.

Okay, how can I keep dog hair off my car seats?

Have your dog sit in your mother-in-law's lap when you go out for a ride. If your mother-in-law objects, threaten to put them both in the trunk.

If that doesn't work, simply keep a large, old blanket in the back of your car, and toss it down before your dog gets anywhere near the seats. Be sure to cover the seat backs, too, as dog hair gets everywhere (as if you needed us to tell you that).

Our best advice, however, is to have your dog travel in a secured crate or kennel -- which can also help keep down the mess. Other confinement options, such as gating the back of the car to limit pet access, also work very well.

Incidentally, there are very cool, special blankets made by a company called Kozy K-9, specifically to keep dog hair off of car seats. They have elastic loops to hang them from the headrests, and Velcro to keep the edges where they're supposed to be. They also are rubber backed, so they don't slide around. We use them inside all the new cars we test drive. (Note to Mercedes and Jaguar: Not that we have ever let our dogs in your resplendent automobiles.) A word of warning, however; they're not inexpensive.

Bad news. My dog just stained the seats. If you catch my drift. How can I get the stain out?

Dog stains are not just unsightly. They also manufacture some terrifically awful odors. The best solution is to burn your car to the ground, then call your insurance company.

If you're worried about petty concerns like insurance fraud, however, we'd recommend the following technique for cloth seats:

1. Act quickly. The longer a stain has a chance to soak in, the more serious your problem.

2. Remove all solid and semi-solid material. (Don't you love having a dog?) Put it in your neighbor's car, or in the trash.

3. Clean the spot with carpet shampoo.

4. Soak the area with club soda, allowing it to stand for 5-10 minutes.

5. Blot up any remaining moisture.

If you can remove the cover, wash it in your washing machine with a cup of vinegar and no detergent.

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