It’s becoming more common for pet parents to travel with their dogs, and who doesn’t love a good road trip with their four-legged friend? That said, we know that keeping your dog safe on the road is a top priority, and we are here to help .
Join us today as we talk about how to keep your dog safe on the road and learn about some of the best dog car seat products available for safety-conscious pet parents like yourself.
What Is A Dog Car Seat And How Does It Work?
A dog car seat will help keep your dog safe and secure in your car.
A dog car seat is not like a child car seat, though it can have similarities. It’s basic purpose is to keep your dog safe and secure during a drive. In fact, did you know that in many regions of the United States, it’s actually illegal to drive with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle?
This is just one of the reasons investing in the best dog car seat for your dog is so important. That said, a dog car seat can protect you from more than just getting a ticket. It can protect you from the emotional and financial strain of an injured dog if you get into an accident.
So, how does a dog car seat work? Well, it depends on the type of dog car seat you get, though most of them serve the same purpose.
The best dog car seat is going to be designed to buckle into the back seat of your vehicle. These seats often function to allow your dog to sit, lie down or stand at his leisure, but will also keep him securely in the seat.
These car seats are specifically designed for your dog’s unique body shape and height, and can help protect him from injury or death in the case of an accident, or if you are forced to stop suddenly.
There are plenty of brands and companies that make and sell dog car seats, but it’s important to remember that not all dog car seats are created equal. Some are better than others, and there are also different types of dog car seats that are designed for particular cars or particular types of dogs.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Are The Different Types Of Best Dog Car Seat Options Available?
Some dog car seats allow for your dog to look out the window while others are enclosed and help reduce anxiety.
As we mentioned briefly above, there are a few different types of the best dog car seat options available, and the type that is right for you will depend on your vehicle and your unique dog.
Let’s go over a few of the most common types of dog car seats you might encounter and learn which types of dogs and vehicles these car seats are ideal for.
Booster seats are the best dog car seat option for smaller dogs. These car seats are specifically designed for car safety and generally attach to the back seat headrest. Oftentimes, these dog car seats can be buckled in and raised, so your dog has the option of looking out the window.
Other booster car seats for dogs are designed to attach to your center console, which is ideal for anxious dogs who enjoy being right beside you as you drive. However, generally speaking, the safest place for your dog is in the backseat of the car.
But more on that further down.
Car Seat Crates
Sometimes the best dog car seat option is a crate designed for riding in the car. These crates come with attachments that allow you to secure the crate to the backseat where it is kept steady incase of sudden stops.
Crates are safe for any sized dogs and are especially ideal for dogs who are anxious during car rides. However, t’s important to try and crate train your dog before putting him in a crate car seat.
Enclosed Dog Car Seat
Enclosed dog car seats are usually soft and can be designed for smaller and larger dogs. They give you the option of allowing your dog to sit up and look out during the drive or hunker down and snooze during the trip.
These are some of our favorite dog car seats because they are so versatile, but they are not right for everyone. Like the of all of the best dog car seat options, these seats will be designed to secure to your backseat or passenger seat to keep your dog safe in case of an accident.
Multi-Purpose Car Seat Carriers
If you travel with your pet often, the best dog car seat for you might be a multi-purpose carrier that transforms from a carseat to a backpack, to a carry-on dog carrier for planes.
There are plenty of these types of dog car seats, but before you invest in one, it’s important to check a few safety boxes off on your list.
Let’s talk more about that below.
What To Look For In The Best Dog Car Seat
The best dog car seat will keep your dog safe, be made of durable material, and will be comfortable for your dog.
Any time you are looking for a carrier for your pet, it’s important to consider your unique dog and your lifestyle. How long will your pet be in this dog car seat? What type of driving do you plan on doing? Is your dog crate trained or does he suffer from anxiety?
These are all important questions to ask yourself and will help you find the best dog car seat possible for your dog. And while all dogs and dog car seats are different, there are general things every good dog car seat should have.
Look for safety ratings on your dog car seat. Like child car seats, a dog car seat may have been crash tested to ensure it actually works. It should also come with attachments to securely hook to your actual car seat in order to keep your dog secure.
Getting a dog car seat that sits on the passenger seat without connecting to anything will not protect your dog if you stop suddenly or if you are in an accident. The safest and best dog car seat will be one that hooks securely to a seat in your car and holds your dog steady through the drive.
Also look for dog car seats that include internal harness tethers. These tethers should attach to your dog’s harness, not collar, as a sort of secondary safety measure to keep him safe in the case of an accident. The best dog car seats should also be breathable, especially if they close.
Durability is another important thing to consider when it comes to picking out the best dog car seat. Make sure and pay attention to the weight limit on the car seat you purchase and be careful not to exceed that.
Also be sure that the dog car seat is made out of quality, strong material that is chew-resistant and will not break, tear, or come apart in the case of an accident.
Last but not least, the very best dog car seat options are going to be comfortable. Your dog is not going to enjoy a car ride if he doesn’t feel safe and comfortable in his seat. Try and invest in dog car seats that are soft and that do not make your dog feel too restrained.
If you purchase a crate car seat, make sure your dog has enough room to stand up, sit down or turn around comfortably. If you purchase a booster car seat for your dog, your dog should be able to sit, stand or lie down at his leisure.
The Best Dog Car Seat Products, According To Experts
Look for dog car seats that align with your unique dog and keep him feeling comfortable and safe.
Remember, the best dog car seat for your dog is going to vary, depending on your dog, vehicle and the type of travel you plan on doing. For casual trips to and from everyday errands and outings, we suggest investing in booster dog car seats.
If your dog does especially well on the road, a booster car seat should also be fine for longer journeys. For dogs who are more anxious, we recommend considering a crate or enclosed dog car seat.
These are the best dog car seat options for anxious dogs or dogs who have a tendency to become antsy, carsick, or anxious.
Not sure where to look for the best car seat option for you and your dog? Don’t worry, we have listed a few of our favorite dog car seats for you to consider below.
BLOBLO Dog Car Seat
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First on our list of best dog car seats is a booster seat by BLOBLO. Ideal for smaller pets, this dog car seat is designed to look and feel like a cushy dog bed. It is great for dogs who enjoy car rides and do not get anxious or try to hide.
It is designed for many different types of cars and comes with attachments to safely and securely attach to the seat. It also includes storage bags on each side so you can store your dog’s favorite toys, chews or snacks, and the attached seatbelts in the seat will keep your dog safely seated the whole drive.
This is one of the best dog car seat options for short or long drives, especially for dogs who are calm and enjoy traveling.
SWIHELP Pet Booster Seat
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The above dog car seat also serves as a carrier and travel bag for your pet. Again, it is designed for smaller dogs and works by hooking to your car’s seat.
Make sure you follow the weight restrictions on this car seat as it is a lifted seat. That said, it is made with PVC bars and is designed for durability and safety. The seat does not include an internal tether to hook to your dog’s harness, but it does have a ring inside so you can hook your dog’s harness yourself using a short lead or even a sturdy carabiner.
K&H Pet Products Buckle N’ GO Dog Car Seat
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If you have a larger dog, you’ll like the K&H Dog Car Seat listed above. This is one of the best dog car seat options for larger dogs as it is designed to allow them the mobility they will need to look out windows in the back while keeping them safe and sound in one place.
You can order this car seat in large or small, and it is designed to be used on either side of your car. It attaches to both the front and back seats to stay sturdy, and does not have a weight limit. However, it also does not include a tether, so you may need to buy one separately.
PetSafe Happy Ride Deluxe Car Seat
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PetSafe is a popular company that creates a number of products we love, and one of them is this car seat for small dogs. This is another booster seat option, and it is designed to lift smaller dogs so they can see out the window while also holding them in place and keeping them safe and sound.
The above booster seat comes in multiple colors and sizes, and includes an internal tether to hook to your dog’s harness.
Of course, make sure to follow the weight limit guidelines, and remember that this may be the best dog car seat option for shorter outings as opposed to long road trips.
K&H Pet Products Travel Pet Crate
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If you are looking for the best dog car seat for anxious dogs, we would recommend investing in a crate car seat. The above dog car seat by K&H Pets allows for your dog to ride safely while being fully sheltered.
Anxious dogs tend to do better in smaller, darker spaces, which is one of the reasons the above crate comes so highly recommended. It feels like a bed and should allow for your dog to stand up, sit down, and lie down comfortably.
This type of car seat can work for small, medium and large dogs, and works with most vehicles as it attaches to the backseat using the car’s own seatbelt.
Pet Gear Carrier and Car Seat
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The above dog car seat is designed for smaller dogs and cats and has the option of closing or opening. It can also be used as a carrier outside of the car.
This is the best dog car seat option for those on the move as it is easy to buckle into your car and then detach again so you can be on your way. There is an internal tether to keep your pet secure on the road as well. The car seat also includes a handle for easy transport when walking.
Petsfit Dog Car Booster Seat With Two Tethers
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Are you looking for the best dog car seat for multiple dogs? The above dog car seat by Petsfit is extra long and includes two tethers for up to two dogs. It is also designed in a bed-like booster shape for comfy riding.
This is the best dog car seat option for dogs who enjoy car rides and do not get anxious, and for dogs who get along well.
Other Products To Help Keep Your Dog Safe On The Road
Investing in products like harnesses and dog seat belts can help increase the safety of your dog’s car seat.
Along with investing in the best dog car seat you can find, you might also consider a few other fun products to help make traveling with your dog safer and easier.
Dogs who are occupied during road trips tend to enjoy them more, so consider bringing some toys your dog can play with or bones he can chew. We also recommend bringing:
- Portable food and water bowls
- Waste bags
- KONG Toys
- Chew Toys
- A cozy blanket
- A harness (for your dog to tether to)
- And a pet-friendly first aid kit
You can find all of the above products and more at most pet supply stores or online, but we have also listed a few of these items below to make finding them easier.
SlowTon Dog Harness and Seatbelt Connecter
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Not all of the above dog car seats include tethers and even the best dog car seat options will likely not come with harnesses. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in a dog harness and tether to help further secure your dog to the car seat.
The above dog harness and tether combo is specifically designed for keeping your dog safe in the car. The mesh of the harness is comfortable and breathable, and comes in several colors and patterns. You can also order it in a range of sizes to ensure you get the right fit for your dog.
Dog First Aid Kit
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Having a dog first aid kit on hand is always a good idea, especially if you travel often with your four-legged friend.
Our favorite dog first aid kit is a kit designed by PushOn. It includes everything you need to keep your dog safe including a thermometer, wound cleaning ointment, an emergency blanket, tweezers, gauze and more. It is simple to travel with and comes in a cute, compact bag for easy storage.
Collapsible Dog Bowls
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One of our favorite items to have on hand when traveling or road tripping with our pups are these collapsable dog bowls. They include carabiners to allow you to easily attach these bowls to your dog’s leash or crate, and make water and food breaks simple.
They also come in bright colors and are easy to clean. Their smaller size makes them easy to store and the material is dog-safe silicone, so you don’t have to worry.
Getting Your Dog Used To Riding A Dog Car Seat
Many dogs love joining us for car rides, so helping them to get used to their carseat might not be as difficult as you think.
Most owners find that their dogs adapt well to riding in dog car seats, especially if they start training them at a young age to do so. That said, some dogs with separation anxiety may find a car seat frightening or uncomfortable at first, especially because it keeps them in one area during the drive and off of your lap.
But don’t worry. You can work with your dog to get him used to riding in the best dog car seat you find, but this will take time, patience, and lots of treats and praise.
If your dog seems anxious about the car seat, try bringing it into your home for a few days. Place it by your dog’s bedding or toys. Fill it with treats and some of his favorite things, and then leave the car seat alone for your dog to explore and get comfortable with.
Then, on your next outing, put more treats into the car seat (unless your dog has a habit of becoming carsick) and slowly help your dog into the seat.
Once you get driving, your dog should settle down and go with the flow. In fact, for anxious dogs who do not enjoy car rides, enclosed dog car seats can actually help ease the journey for them.
Remember, a dog car seat is the safest way to travel with your pet in a vehicle, so don’t give up on finding the best dog car seat for your pup.
Other Tips To Keeping Your Dog Safe On The Road
Remember to stop often for water and bathroom breaks, and to let your dog have a chance to stretch his legs.
As we just mentioned, the safest way to travel with your dog on the road is to ensure he is buckled up in the best dog car seat you can find. That said, there are other tips experts recommend you follow that can help further ensure your dog is safe and happy on the road.
The Safest Place For Your Pet To Travel Is In The Backseat
We said this before and we’ll say it again. This is for many reasons, but the main one is because untethered dogs in cars are more likely to be launched forward in a sudden stop. If they are in the front, they are more likely to hit the windshield. Dogs in the backseat are safer and more sheltered.
Another reason dogs belong in the back seat is because of the airbags. Just as small children can be harmed by the airbags in the front seat, so can your dog.
Last, dogs can be a distraction if they are not buckled in or sitting in a dog car seat. They can become antsy and overly excited, often climbing from one seat to another. This is dangerous and raises your risk of a car accident.
Keep Dogs and Young Children Seperated
Something that is seldom thought about until after things have gone wrong is how to keep both children and pets happy during a road trip when they are in the same vehicle. No matter how short the trip is, it’s best to keep dogs and young children separated.
Toddlers especially have a tendency to grab and pull on dogs, and even the best behaved dog can nip or bite to protect themselves. If you have young children, consider putting your dog in the very back of the car in the best dog car seat or kennel you have, or putting a divider between your child and the dog to keep both of them happy and safe.
Consider Playing Calming Music While You Drive
This is particularly helpful if you have an anxious dog who does not enjoy car rides. Studies have found that calming music actually can help reduce anxiety in dogs, especially if it is classical music.
Stop Often For Bathroom Breaks, Water Breaks and Exercise
For longer road trips, make sure and keep your dog in mind. Stop every couple of hours to allow your dog a water and exercise break, and allow him time to sniff and stretch his legs.
Know Where Local Emergency Veterinarians Are Along Your Route
One of the best ways to keep your dog safe on the road, along with investing in the best dog car seat, is to do a bit of research beforehand and know the route you are taking. This is helpful in the case of an emergency, and should give you an idea of where certain emergency vets are located.
Make Sure Your Dog’s Identification Information Is Up To Date
Along with ensuring your dog is wearing his collar and ID tag, it’s also a good idea to make sure your dog is microchipped. It’s not uncommon for dogs to get lost during vacations or trips, and when this happens dogs have a much harder time being reunited with their families.
The best way to ensure you and your dog find each other again if you get separated is to make sure their microchip information and the information on their ID tag is current.
And there you have it!
Now that we have covered how to find the best dog car seat for your dog and other tips on keeping your dog safe on the road, we want to hear from you. What are some tips and tricks you use to travel safely and smoothly with your four-legged friend?
Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.