Whether you’re driving to the neighborhood dog park or planning a family road trip, your pup needs a safe place to ride in your car. For some small and medium-size dogs, you might find a dog car seat does the trick, keeping your canine safe and secure while you’re on the road.
For the money, the Pet Gear Lookout Pet Booster Seat is the best overall choice for small and medium dogs up to 15-25 pounds. Let’s take a look at choosing the right car seat for your furry best friend.
Your first consideration is the size of your dog. There are a wide variety of car seats for small dogs up to 15 pounds, and medium dogs, up to 30 pounds. If you have a larger dog, you may want to consider a safety seat harness, although there are seats designed with big dogs in mind. There are also some car seats suitable for two small dogs, but they’re best used if the two dogs are calm and comfortable together.
One of the advantages of a good dog car seat is providing your canine with a more comfortable ride. Some car seats are visibly soft and cushy, while others have a more bare-bones design. Depending on your dog’s comfort preferences, either could be appropriate. Comfort is also a consideration when choosing the right size since you don’t want your dog to feel cramped and anxious.
Every dog has an accident once in a while, so it’s important to find a car seat that’s easy to clean. If your dog sheds quite a bit, its hair can suddenly appear everywhere. Look for a dog car seat with a removable cover and cushion, preferably machine-washable.
The most important factor to consider is your canine’s safety. You never want your dog to roam freely about your vehicle. They can quickly turn a quiet car ride into chaos, especially if they jump into the front seat unexpectedly.
Your dog car seat should have a high-quality harness and tether that secures your pup from having free rein. Also, it should have a locking system that involves your vehicle’s seat belt to keep the car seat tightly secured.
Your dog’s car seat should be easy to set up, install into your car and remove from your vehicle between rides. Some are collapsible for easy storage, but most will take up a bit of space either in your trunk or storage area.
For smaller dogs, some car seats feature a booster seat that allows them to see out the windows or feel the breeze. Your dog should feel relaxed and their attention should be occupied, and sometimes a booster seat can provide both.
It’s convenient if your purchase has more than one function. Some dog car seats make for a great travel bed. Travel carriers can sometimes act as a portable crate for some dogs as well.
Dog car seats for small dogs usually range from $30-$60, whereas seats for larger or multiple dogs can cost in excess of $100. Some high-end models can reach $200 or more.
A. Yes, car dog seats are designed for different breeds and may have a weight limit. Using a seat that’s rated for a smaller size than your dog can cause ride problems for you or your canine. Large dogs are better suited by crash-tested harness and tether combos.
A. No, you should never tether your dog to a car seat by its collar. Your pet should only be attached to a seat while wearing a car-safe harness that won’t choke or otherwise hurt their neck in case of an accident.
A. Sometimes, yes. Many owners find that a booster seat can prevent car sickness, especially one that’s soft, comfortable and cozy. Booster seats may provide extra stress relief for small dogs who would not otherwise be able to look out the window or catch fresh air.
Pet Gear Lookout Pet Booster Seat
What you need to know: This seat checks all the boxes, from safety and comfort to cleaning, making it ideal for small and medium dogs who like to see the scenery.
What you’ll love: Removable, machine-washable cushion and cover. Soft, plush microsuede material.
What you should consider: Not built for bucket seating.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy
HDP Car Deluxe Lookout Booster Car Seat
What you need to know: This simple yet sturdy seat is strong, durable and suitable for medium-size dogs.
What you’ll love: Extra pockets for small storage. Collapsible for storage.
What you should consider: Reported low-quality tether. Minimum bottom support.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Chewy
What you need to know: This high-sided basket-style seat provides a little extra security from wandering in the car.
What you’ll love: Fits most small and medium dogs comfortably. Easy to install, remove and clean.
What you should consider: Harness and tether clasps are confusing and may break easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matt Fleming is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.