Best Dog Car Seats

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
263 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dog car seats

Last Updated October 2019

Whether you’re driving your dog to an awesome off-leash hiking spot or a necessary trip to the vet, it’s not safe for Fido to roam around your car unsecured. One option for safe canine car travel is a dog car seat.

Buying a dog car seat can be tricky, though. There are quite a few to choose from, and you’ll need to know what features to look for to make sure your pooch can ride both safely and comfortably.

At BestReviews, we’re here to help. Not only have we chosen the top five dog car seats on the market, we’ve also put together this detailed guide that breaks down everything you need to know about dog car seats before you buy.

Some dog car seats feature pockets, which are handy for storing accessories you might need when taking your dog out and about, such as treats or a leash.

Benefits of dog car seats

Do you really need a dog car seat? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of securing Fluffy while you drive.

  • A dog car seat secures dogs so that they can’t distract the driver, which can cause accidents.
  • Dog car seats are safer for your four-legged friend. The majority feature some kind of tether that will help protect your pooch in the event of a collision.
  • Most dog car seats are well-padded, giving your canine companion a more comfortable ride.
  • Raised dog car seats act as a booster seat for small dogs so they can see out of the window as you drive.
  • Dog car seats can protect your car’s upholstery if your dog gets car sick or has an accident.

Key considerations

Size

You’ll need to choose a dog car seat that’s the correct size to fit your four-legged friend. Many canine car seats are sized to fit small or medium dogs, but you can find some larger models for big dogs.

Some larger dog car seats are suitable for either one large or medium dog or two small dogs. However, only let your dogs ride next to one another if they’re calm together and won’t fight. Even a play fight could distract the driver enough to be dangerous, so it’s often better to secure multiple dogs on opposite sides of the back seat.

Comfort

Part of the reason to buy a dog car seat is for the comfort of your canine companion. You can usually tell how comfortable a dog car seat is just by looking at it. Seats with plenty of padding made from soft materials provide a nice, plush surface for your dog to settle down on.

Another factor is the size of the seat compared to your dog. If the car seat is not large enough for lying down, your dog won’t be able to snuggle in for a snooze. Comfort is especially important on long car rides, so if you’ll be road-tripping with your pooches, be certain they can get comfy.

Ease of cleaning

Dog accidents do happen, so your chosen dog car seat should be easy to clean. Removable covers or seat pads are a must-have for ease of cleaning. While the vast majority of dog car seat covers and cushions are machine-washable, a handful aren’t. Be clear on the cleaning instructions before buying a dog car seat.

Safety features

Dog car seats are supposed to keep your dog safe in the car, so it’s important to consider safety features. Your chosen model should have a high-quality locking system to attach the seat to your car seat. This usually involves threading the car’s seat belt through part of the dog car seat to secure it. The other main safety feature is the tether to secure your dog to the seat. This should be strong enough to restrain your dog in case of a collision.

DID YOU KNOW?

In many areas, the law requires that any dogs traveling in your car be sufficiently secured.

Dog car seat prices

What’s the average cost of a dog car seat? It varies depending on the size, quality, and features, but the majority range from $20 to $100.

Basic canine car seats cost between $20 and $40. While you can find some decent models in this price range, many are subpar. It’s also rare to find any options for larger dogs.

A mid-range dog car seat costs $40 to $60. At this price point, you can find some excellent models, including some options for large dogs.

Expect to pay $60 to $100 for high-end dog car seats. At this price point, you’ll find the safest, most secure, and most comfortable canine car seats.

EXPERT TIP

You can find dog car seats that double as dog carriers or portable crates.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Check how easy your chosen dog car seat is to install. Some are trickier to fit into your car than others, which can be frustrating, especially if you don’t always want to leave the dog car seat in your car.
  • Pick a dog car seat that’s compatible with your car. Some dog car seats require a headrest or a certain type of seat belt to be properly secured.
  • Back seats are safer. You might want your dog to ride up front, but it’s generally safer to install your four-legged friend’s car seat in the back since the bulk of cars have airbags in the front, which can injure your pet if deployed.
  • Make sure your dog car seat is attached securely to the car’s seat. This will help keep your four-legged friend safe in the event of an accident.
  • Think about whether a booster seat is best. Although booster seats allow small dogs to watch where they’re going and enjoy the ride more, some tiny dogs can become over-excited and bark at everything they see going past. If this is the case with your dog, it’s best to avoid a booster seat and opt for a lower model.

Some dog car seats are adjustable to fit dogs of various sizes.

Other products we considered

There are a number of quality dog car seats on the market. The K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Pet Seat is easy to install and features two security restraints to keep your pet safe while you’re on the road. What’s more, it’s plush and well-cushioned to keep your pooch comfortable, even on long journeys. We also love the Pet Gear Lookout Booster Car Seat with its comfortable cushion. This dog car seat can hold two small dogs or one larger one. The soft micro suede cover is machine-washable, too. Another excellent choice is the Devoted Doggy Deluxe Dog Booster Car Seat. The collapsible metal frame is extremely sturdy, and it’s the ideal size for small dogs up to 15 pounds.

Color isn’t extremely important when selecting a dog car seat, but some models come in various colors, so you can pick one that you like or that matches your car’s upholstery.

FAQ

Q. Do dog car seats have a maximum weight limit?
A.
Yes, most dog car seats have a weight limit. This can vary widely depending on the car seat you choose. Some compact car seats can only house dogs up to 10 or 15 pounds and are therefore suitable for small breeds only. The largest and heaviest-duty options have weight limits up to 300 pounds – enough to seat the biggest of giant-breed dogs. Never use a canine car seat if your furry friend exceeds the weight limit as it’s likely the safety tether won’t be strong enough to restrain your dog in an accident.


Q. Can I attach the dog car seat’s safety clip to my dog's collar?
A.
The safety clip or tether should never be attached to your dog’s collar. It should only be attached to a car-safe harness, which you’ll need to buy separately if it doesn’t come with your dog car seat. If you attach the clip to a collar, your dog is likely to be seriously injured in an accident due to the force of a collision.


Q. How heavy are dog car seats?
A.
The weight of dog car seats varies between different makes, models, and sizes. That said, the majority tend to be lightweight. The average person should have no problem carrying a dog car seat or lifting it into the car.


Q. Can raised dog car seats help dogs with travel sickness?
A.
Although it won’t work in all cases, many dog parents find using a raised dog car seat helps avoid car sickness by allowing their four-legged friend to peek out the window. If your canine companion is too small to look out of the car window and tends to get sick in the car, it’s well worth trying a booster seat.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer

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