There’s nothing better than being able to enjoy travel adventures with your friends, including the furry ones. But since many dogs don’t like frequent car rides, road trips often turn into nightmares. And it’s no wonder why – not being able to comfortably look out the window or freely move around for long periods of time would make anyone feel cranky, and your pooch is no exception. Not to mention, driving with a rambunctious, hyperactive dog next to you is actually dangerous. To keep yourself and your furry companion happy and safe while traveling, it’s important to use a proper pet car seat.
To help you find such a seat, we’ve spent days researching and reviewing some of the best car seats for dogs on the market. The result? Our list of 10 quality, comfortable and actually affordable car seats and booster seats for dogs.
Best Car Seats for Dogs Guide & FAQ
If you like to take your dog on frequent road trips or you just enjoy traveling with your furry friend wherever you go, investing in a quality car seat for dogs is a must. A dog car seat, whether a booster or not, will secure your pet and keep him comfortable during the travel, while giving you a piece of mind to focus on the road ahead of you.
Finding a good pet car seat, however, is no simple task. With so many different products on the market, it’s easy to become confused about what you and your dog actually need in order to be safe and comfortable when traveling. To simplify things and help you pick the best car seat for dogs, we’ve created this buying guide. Here, we cover all important info on how to choose a quality dog car seat/booster, including the different types of seats and features you should consider when buying a seat. We also answer some of the frequently asked questions down below, so make sure you stay tuned until the end.
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Features to Consider When Buying a Dog Car Seat
When choosing a car seat for your pet, finding the best model among many others can be time-consuming and difficult. However, if you know what you’re looking for, the search process becomes much easier. To help you figure out what model you need, we’ve outlined the most important features you should pay attention to.
When picking a car seat for dogs, one of the most important things to consider is its size. Even the best seat won’t be good enough if it’s too small or too big for your pup, so look at the product’s dimensions and weight capacity before making any purchasing decisions. The perfect seat should be big enough to keep your dog securely inside, comfortable so she can nap in there, and elevated to allow free viewing outside the window, although the last bit entirely depends on your dog’s size and preferences.
- Safety Features
To keep your pet safe while traveling, a dog car seat needs to be able to attach itself to the car seat in one way or another. Some pet seats allow your car’s seatbelt to pass through and lock themselves safely, while others come with an extra safety belt that you need to attach to the headrest. There’s no right or wrong here – what’s important is to pick the seat that you can easily work with. Another important feature is the safety leash – a proper dog car seat needs to have a security leash that can be attached to the dog’s harness to ensure she remains safely seated throughout the entire car journey.
- Installation, Usability, Storage
The thrid thing to consider is how easy or difficult the pet seat is to install, use and store. If you plan to purchase a seat, install it once and always keep it in your vehicle, you have it easy. But if you plan to move the seat frequently, it’s crucial to pick a product that comes with the least hassle. Pay attention to the installation (the quicker, the better) as well as the general usability of the seat, including whether or not it’s easy to store it. Generally speaking, if the seat is going to be moved a lot, it’s best to pick a product that is lightweight and foldable or collapsible, so you can carry it with you with ease. Bear in mind that super-lightweight pet seats tend to be less sturdy and durable though. Finally, don’t forget about the cleaning part – always look for seats with removable covers that you can wash whenever needed.
- Design and Fabric
Although not the most important feature, the design of the pet car seat also matters. To purchase the best car seat for dogs, you need a product that not only your pet will like, but you will too. If you buy a seat that clashes with your car’s interior, you’re less likely to use it, so stick to those that you find aesthetically pleasing. Also, if you have a sensitive pet, pay attention to the fabric of the seat’s interior. Some materials can irritate very sensitive skin, especially if the seat has thin padding.
Why Use a Dog Car Seat for Travel?
There are several reasons why you should purchase and use a car dog seat whenever you’re car-traveling with your pet, but the three most important ones are safety, comfort and protection/health.
- Road Safety
When traveling with a pet, it’s crucial to avoid distracted driving, a dangerous practice that increases the likelihood of injury and death for you, your dog and other people on the road. To ensure your furry companion is securely seated throughout the entire car ride and you’re focused on driving, a dog car seat is a must-have.
- Comfortable Travel
Dogs are curious creatures who like to know exactly what’s going on around them. Unfortunately, smaller pups can’t just look out the window easily, which can result in their jumping and bouncing, barking and general pestering of you, the driver, who needs to stay focused on the road. If you have such a curious, energetic pet, a proper dog car booster seat will make your life easier.
- Healthier Pet
Most dogs love car rides with their owners, but there are some who suffer from motion sickness, similarly to humans. To help you help your pet become healthier and more comfortable in the car, purchase an elevated dog car seat that allows him to freely look outside whenever he wants to. A secure pet car seat can also alleviate some of the anxiety symptoms, so it’s a win-win for sensitive, fearful pets.
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Choosing the Right Type
With so many different models on the market, picking the right dog car seat can be difficult. However, if you pay attention to all the things we talked about in the previous chapters, you’ll find the best car seat for dogs in no time. To round up, here are the most important things you should consider before buying a dog car seat.
- The size of the seat: first and foremost, make sure the dog car seat can actually fit your pet comfortably inside. Equally important, the pet seat should also comfortably fit inside your vehicle, so make sure you take measurements of both your dog and car before making any purchasing decisions.
- Safety features: look for seats that easily attach to the car seat, whether through a car seatbelt or through a safety tether that goes over the headrest. Also look for an extra belt that you can attach to the dog harness.
- Usability and design: finally, make sure the seat you like is acutally easy to operate, including installation, general usage and storage. Pick seats that are sturdy but also comfortable for the pet so that he likes spending time inside.
Best Car Seats for Dogs FAQ:
Q: How Do Dog Car Seats Work?
A: From a quick commute to the park, to long rides to the vet, occasional car rides with your pet are unavoidable. No matter where you’re going though, it’s important to keep your dog securely restrained in one place during the entire car ride. Since you cannot do that and focus on the road at the same time, a dog car seat is essential. By attaching to the car seat and your dog’s harness, these useful seats can comfortably restrain your dog and keep him safe in the case of a crash.
Q: Where should I install a dog car seat?
A: Some dog car seats can be installed on both the front and back seat, so if you end up buying such a product, it’s just a matter of preference. Saying that, it’s always better to install the seat on the back seat of your car because the airbags can seriously harm your pet if you end up in an accident. The best place is in the back passenger’s side of the car as you can check on your dog in the mirror easily and frequently.
Q: Should I buckle up my dog?
A: Always buckle up your dog while car-traveling but make sure you attach the safety belt to the dog harness, not the collar. This is crucial to remember because a tether attached to the dog’s collar can cause severe neck injury in case of a crash.
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Q: How can I train my dog to sit in the car?
A: If your dog is not a fan of new things, especially things that restrain him, try introducing the seat slowly. Start by bringing the seat inside the house so your dog can get comfortable around it. Then, put her favorite treats in the seat so she can get close to it and start getting inside. After a while (a day or two, depending or your pet), place your pet in the seat and secure her for a few minutes. Then, reward her good behavior with a treat or two. Do this until your furry friend goes in the seat willingly and don’t forget to reward her every time she does. Finally, bring the seat in the car and do the same. If the first ride is tough, don’t give up – just make sure you have the treats with you!
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Our Top Pick
All products featured on our Top 10 list are quality dog car seats, but when it comes to the best value for money, the K&H Pet Products Booster Pet Seat takes the crown. Budget-friendly, comfortable and secure, this is one of the best car seats for dogs currently on the market. Because it installs with the help of a car seatbelt, it provides a very safe spot for your pet during car rides. It’s also elevated for better view out the window and thickly padded, providing ultimate comfort. Equally important, it’s sturdy and made of quality materials, so it should last a very long time.
- Dog Car Seats and Seat Belts: Can They Keep Your Pup Safe?, PetMD
- Pet Car Seats 101, HowStuffWorks