It’s second nature for most of us – as soon as we get into the car, we instinctively put on our seat belt. It stands to reason that we instinctively want to secure our canine companions too.
Whilst many owners are happy to harness their dog when travelling, this doesn’t always suit all four-legged friends.
Larger dogs will generally be secured in a crate in the back of the car, but some smaller dogs may settle much better in dog car seats.
They can curl up and go to sleep and you can keep feisty dogs from catching their nails on the perfectly upholstered leather seat!
Interested to know if a dog car seat may suit you and your dog?
Let’s take a look at what dog car seats actually are, how to choose one and which are the best ones to buy!
Table of Contents
How To Choose The Best Dog Car Seat
Dog car seats come in a range of shapes and sizes:
- Some are fixed by straps around the seat
- Some are secured to the car seatbelt
- Some seats have internal tethers to attach the dog, some do not
The type of dog seat you choose will largely depend on your dog:
- Are they older and less mobile?
- Do they get car sick?
- Do they have frequent accidents?
- Do they get muddy out on walks?
The whole point of the car seat is to keep your dog safe should you be involved in an accident, you therefore need to know exactly what you’re looking for before you buy.
Features To Consider
Start by considering how big your dog is. The dog seat should allow for easy movement, your dog shouldn’t be stuck in one position.
Also, remember that dog car seats are only appropriate for small to medium dog breeds.
Think About How Easy The Seat Is To Fix To Your Car
Does it have independent tethers, or can it be secured using the seatbelts in the car.
Consider How Much Room It Will Take Up On The Seat
Some dog car seats have an immense amount of padding, so despite it only fitting a small breed, it would take up most of the back seat.
Consider How Easy The Seat Is To Keep Clean
Should your dog have an accident or get car sick, can you easily clean it out during a journey? Padded fabric will hold on to the sick smell for the rest of the journey!
Consider Your Dog’s Temperament
Be realistic about your dog’s temperament. Will they cope being in a car seat?
Think About The Size Of Your Car
Is it big enough to accommodate a dog car seat?
Or would a harness system be more appropriate? You need a seat big enough for your dog to easily change position.
Now you have considered the logistics of using a dog car seat, let’s take a look at some of the best on the market.
7 Dog Car Seats Reviewed
Perfect for small dogs ()
- Perfect for puppies or small dogs up to 15 pounds in weight.
- Available in a range of designs and colors.
- The adjustable design means it will fit most car seats.
- Mesh sides don’t fully protect upholstery from in-car accidents.
- Not suitable for any dog larger than 15 pounds.
The Fancy Deli pet seat is simple and does exactly what you want it to.
It is functional and well-priced.
This deluxe dog seat has internal tethers which means you can secure your dog with confidence. Its waterproof material will keep your car seats safe should an accident occur (providing it’s not on the mesh side)!
It is super easy to fit and can be neatly folded when not in use.
Good for small dogs ()
- Comfortable for small pooches up to 15 pounds.
- Its booster design gives small dogs a better view out of the window when travelling.
- Its raised design means the weight limit is vital, nobody wants their dog falling through the bottom!
- Not waterproof or accident proof.
- Not suitable for any dog larger than 15 pounds.
The Devoted Doggy Booster is constructed of metal, meaning it keeps its shape no matter what.
This design sits slightly higher up the seat, giving your small pooch a better view out of the window!
Inside the booster you will find a tether which means you can safely fix your dog for any journey.
The frame is wrapped in canvas and padded cushioning meaning the booster is super-comfortable for your four-legged friend; the liner is completely removable, making it easy to keep clean too.
Totally collapsible, you can conveniently store it when not in use.
Great for older less mobile dogs ()
- Can double up as a bed when you arrive at your destination.
- Internal tether keeps your dog safe and secure during transit.
- Not waterproof or accident proof.
- It can’t be dismantled so will take up more storage space when not in use.
The Bloblo is a super-comfortable dog car seat, perhaps a better option for older or less mobile pets?
Its oxford cloth design keeps your dog warm and comfy on those longer journeys. The mat is completely removable making it easy to keep clean too.
The adjustable design makes it an option in most cars, simply lengthen or shorten the straps to suit.
It keeps your dog safe and also prevents rogue nails from scratching your car interior.
The side storage is perfect for keeping some poop bags in, we’ve all run out before now.
Perfect for medium sized dogs ()
- Internal tether to keep your dog secure.
- Waterproof, stain-proof and easy to vacuum! Perfect for active families.
- Its design provides more of a seat cover than an enclosure.
The Losy Pet is perfect for both small and medium sized dogs.
It is made from quilted oxford fabric, being waterproof, wear-resistant and stain-resistant.
This dog car seat also protects up the back of the seat; great for those puppies who you are introducing to travelling.
Its non-slip design keeps the seat firmly in position, perfect for those more excitable pups.
The Losy Pet is machine washable so it really doesn’t matter how muddy you get out on that walk.
Coming in a range of sizes, this is the best option for those medium sized breeds.
Great compact bucket seat ()
- Boosts smaller pets higher so they can see out of the window.
- Comfortable for older or less mobile pets.
- Cream interior will instantly show muddy paw prints – nothing that can’t be solved with an added blanket.
The Amazon Basics Booster Bucket Dog Seat is a neat and compact bucket seat, keeping your furry friend in one comfortable place.
Its internal tethers ensure he’s safe and sound; the padded sides provide cozy comfort.
Recommended for smaller dogs, they can hide behind the tall sides – perfect for the warier traveler!
The internal mat is removable, making it easy to keep clean too.
Fixed with the car seatbelt, it can be fitted to the front or back seats. Its compact design keeps your car sleek and tidy too.
The Best Safety Vest Harness ()
- The best solution for larger dog breeds.
- Simple X design harness, distributing the load across multiple contact points.
- Overhead harness design may not suit some dog breeds.
- Doesn’t protect your seats from accidents, hair or nail scratches!
You have got a large dog, who won’t fit in any of these seats, what can you do?
If a crate in the boot isn’t an option for your dog, you are best sticking with a safety harness.
The Pawaboo is an affordable safety harness and comes in a range of sizes, perfect for all shapes and sizes of dogs.
Fit the harness to your dog, place the lead clip into the seatbelt plug and attach to your dog’s harness.
The Pawaboo has an X design which distributes load across many points of contact should an accident occur and the mesh design ensures ultimate comfort.
When attaching your dog, he should still be able to change position easily in the car.
Good adjustable dog seat belt harness ()
- Budget-friendly if you’ve already invested in a harness.
- Adjustable and universal.
- You’ll need a separate seat cover or blanket if you want to protect your seats from mess or scratches.
If you already use a harness with your dog, it may just make sense to invest in a seatbelt.
These adjustable tethers will clip to your existing harness and then into the seatbelt plug.
Their universal design means they should fit most cars and trucks.
The swivel clip will also allow for ease of movement if your dog wants to change position in the car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Dog Car Seats Safe?
Providing you buy from a reputable manufacturer; dog seats are perfectly safe for small-medium breeds.
Ensure you check the size and weight limit for the seat you choose.
Ideally, choose a seat with an internal tether, this gives you the best chance of keeping your dog safe.
If you purchase a dog seat without an internal tether, you should securely attach your dog with a harness to the seatbelt plug separately.
How Do Dog Car Seats Work?
Seats with internal tethers work similarly to the harness and clip design.
They prevent your dog from catapulting around the car in the event of a crash.
Some seats have a metal framed design which would provide some buffer should a crash occur.
How To Get A Dog In Their Car Seat Safely?
How you introduce your car seat would largely depend on the design.
If you choose a more comfortable style which could double up as a bed, you could introduce it in your home and encourage your dog to use it as a bed before you transfer it to the car.
This way they’ll understand they need to rest in the seat.
Fix the seat into your car and let your dog explore. Because car seats are only appropriate for small-medium breeds, you will likely find it easier to lift your dog into the seat and fix him in.
Why You Should Use A Dog Car Seat
If you were to crash at 50mph, a 10-pound unrestrained dog would generate 500 pounds of projectile force. If you had an 80-pound dog and crashed at 30mph, they would generate 2,400 pounds of projectile force.
Makes you want to restrain your dog doesn’t it?
Whilst car seats are not appropriate for larger dogs, they are often the best option to keep your small or medium sized dog safe and secure.
Not only do they prevent serious injury, they are also a great way to keep your seats protected from mess and scratches.
The Verdict: Best Dog Car Seats
|Dog Car Seat||Our Rating||Price Range|
|Best For Small Dogs||Pet Dog Booster Car Seat||$$|
|Best For Medium Dogs||LOSY PET Dog Car Seat||$$$|
|Best Alternative||PAWABOO Dog Safety Vest Harness||$|
Dog car seats can be a great option for keeping your small dog safe when travelling.
They can provide extra comfort for those aging pets or some additional hiding for those more wary travelers.
By design, the booster seats can raise your dog higher in the seat, which can be helpful for those extra-nosy dogs who want to look out the window!
Your dog should be able to change position easily but not move around greatly.
If you have a larger dog breed, who won’t fit into a car seat, opt for the harness and clip option, if you are worried about your seats then invest in a seat protector or just pop a blanket across them.
Make sure you always secure your dog, no matter how long the car journey.
Let us know which seats you think are the best in the comments below.