The Best Dog Car Barriers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2019

If you’ve ever driven anywhere with your pooch in tow, you’ll know how able they are to weasel their way into the front. This kind of behaviour might be entertaining, but an excitable dog is the last thing you need in the cab when you’re trying to drive. According to a AAA survey, 29 percent of pet owners who drive with their animals admitted to being distracted by them. In 2009, the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 20 percent of all crashes resulting in injury were triggered, at least in part, by distracted driving.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom – you can easily improve your focus and reduce the risk of driving for both yourself and your dog by ensuring they’re properly restrained in the car.

One simple but effective solution is to install a dog car barrier. These devices are installed between the front and back seats of your car, or between the trunk and the back-seats, and make sure your canine companion stays put. There are plenty of options on the market right now, and we’ve selected the top 10. We hope that this selection, along with the handy FAQ section, will help you choose an auto pet barrier that’s right for you and your dog.

best dog car barrier
Bushwhacker Paws n Claws Deluxe Dog Car Barrier

Bushwhacker Paws n Claws Deluxe Dog Car Barrier

Zoo Keeper Auto Dog Car Barrier

Zoo Keeper Auto Dog Car Barrier

Reese Explore Adjustable Dog Car Barrier

Reese Explore Adjustable Dog Car Barrier

Best Dog Car Barrier Buying Guide & FAQ

And there you have it – these 10 barriers represent the best you and your pet can get. But which one is right for you? And how can you get the most out of these useful safety devices? We attempt to answer these questions in our handy buying guide below.

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What to Look for in a Dog Car Barrier

Which barrier you eventually select will depend very much upon the individual needs of your and your canine companion. Below are a few key factors to bear in mind when picking out the barrier that’s right for you:

  • Your Vehicle

The first thing to consider when buying a dog car barrier is whether it will fit your vehicle, usually by attaching to the headrests. The majority of barriers are adjustable, at least to a certain extent, but it’s a good idea to take a measuring tape to your car before you make a final decision. Manufacturers will be able to provide sizing guidelines if in doubt.

  • The Size of your Dog

Many barriers are more suitable for medium and large dogs than their smaller counterparts. The smaller the dog, the more easily it can worm its way through any barriers. If this sounds like your pooch, we recommend choosing a mesh barrier that covers as large a surface area as possible, such as the first option on our list.

  • Bars or Mesh?

When choosing a dog car barrier, you’ll have two main options to select from: mesh, or bars. Mesh barriers tend to blend into your car’s interior more easily, offer improved visibility, and eliminate even the smallest of gaps. However, the mesh won’t be as rugged as metal bars, and you may find that larger, more powerful dogs can damage it. Bars, on the other hand, are more sturdy, but may leave gaps or affect rear view mirror visibility slightly.

Golden retriever dog

Why You Should Use Pet Barrier for Car

Using a car or SUV pet barrier has a number of benefits:

  • The barrier prevents your pet from getting to the driver’s seat and becoming a distraction
  • Pet barriers encourage your pet to stay still during travel, minimising distraction and keeping them safe
  • Using a dog barrier prevents dogs from leaving hair and dirt on the seats
  • Dog barriers are a versatile safety solution

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How to Install a Dog Guard for Car

How each barrier should be installed will depend on the make and model, and you should always consult the instructions included.

There are two main installation methods:

  • Via Headrests – Many dog car barriers are held in place with straps, clips, or clamps, that are attached to the headrests of either the front or back seats. Often, these barriers are also secured at additional points (such as the center console or seat belt mount) to maximise their stability.
  • Wedged in place – Other guards are simply wedged in place – usually between the back seats and cargo space. Telescopic tubing extends or retracts to fit the space you’re working with snugly. Often, rubber or plastic caps provide additional friction to prevent any slippage.

Best Dog Car Barrier FAQ:

Q: What is a dog car barrier?

A:  Dog car barriers are simple devices designed to keep dogs off of the front or back seats of your car. They consist of either a mesh frame, or series of bars or wires, and are either wedged in place or attached to anchoring points such as headrests.

They keep dogs where they should be, and prevent distracted driving. These barriers can be used in isolation, or with additional safety precautions such as a dog cage for car or seat belt harness.

Q: Do vehicle barriers work in any size vehicle?

A: Dog car barriers tend to be a one size fits all solution as far as most cars are concerned. They’re usually adjustable, allowing them to fit:

  • Vans
  • Sedans
  • Hatchbacks
  • Crossovers
  • SUVs

However, you should avoid using these barriers with soft top convertibles – the profile of these cars is often too low to accommodate these barriers. To be sure the barrier will fit your car, get out your tape measure and check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Q: Can any of these barriers be used in an RV or mobile home?

A: For most RVs, no. The space between the driver’s seat and the rest of the vehicle is too large for these barriers to fill, and you’ll need to find another way to keep your dog where they should be on the move.

This solution will likely be a crate or harness. However you travel with your dog, be sure to take regular breaks to keep them comfortable.

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Papillon dog

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Q: Will barrier leave an indent in my headliner?

A: With barriers that are wedged into place between your car’s ceiling and floor, marks in the headlining are a risk. Many models are designed to minimise this effect, however, with cups or caps that spread the pressure the bars exert more evenly.

If you do find irritating indentations on your hearliner, is can usually be replaced for between $180 and $200.

Q: Can I use the pet barrier with a panoramic sunroof?

A: In short, yes. However, you’ll need to purchase a vehicle-specific model rather than the adjustable versions on our list. This is because non-specific barriers have the potential to put undue pressure on the sunroof, and could even scratch the surface, or fail to grip properly.

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Our Top Pick

For us, the best dog car barrier available right now has to be Bushwhacker’s deluxe model. The barrier combines the strength of metal tubing with the aesthetics and improved visibility of mesh, providing an option that truly is the best of both worlds.

It’s easy to attach to front seat headrests, making for quick and simple installation. Additional straps that can be attached to the seat belt mount or car seat frame offer extra security, so you can rest assured your pet won’t be able to squeeze through to the driver’s seat. The barrier is lightweight, simple to install and remove, and can stand up to the assaults of virtually any energetic pet. With this handy device, you’ll never have to worry about your pooch riding shotgun uninvited again.

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