With more people owning dogs, we’re also seeing more dogs injured in motor vehicle accidents. Many pet owners do not realize the importance of restraining their pet in the vehicle. Using a dog car seat could not only save your pet’s life, but yours as well.
Would you leave your child free to roam around the backseat while you’re driving? Of course not! An unrestricted toddler would be distracting to a driver trying to focus on the road, and what would happen in the event of an accident? You should be just as worried about these issues with your dog.
The Necessity of Pet Car Seats
According to a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Kurgo (one of the leading manufacturers of pet travel supplies), about 56% of pet owners who responded to the survey admitted to driving with their dog in the car at least once per month during the previous year. Of these drivers, about 52% of respondents admitted to participating in behaviors (like petting their dog) that took their concentration off the road.
Even more shockingly, the survey also uncovered that 23% of owners used their arms and hands to hold the dog in place and from sliding while hitting the brakes, and 19% of respondents have done the same to prevent the dogs from climbing over into the front seat.
Both of these create situations where drivers-owners let go of the steering wheel as well as look away from the road. Survey participants also admitted that they would often reach into the back seat to pet and interact with their pups (18%), letting the pet sit on their lap (17%), giving treats and foods to the dog (13%) and take selfie-photos (3%) – all while driving!
The moral of this survey results is that having your dog restrained in the car isn’t just a precaution for him; it’s also a precaution for you! If your dog is happily restrained in a comfortable car seat, you’re less likely to engage in distracting behaviors with him. A dog car seat will also keep Fido safe during accidents.
I’ll review my top 10 best dog car seats below, including these five top picks:
How to Choose the Best Dog Car Seat
I’ve used booster seats for years with my dogs, but while doing this review and rankings of many different products, I believe I’ve gathered more insight into how to choose the perfect product.
When you’re shopping for a dog booster seat, you’re aware of many different types. There are safety seats made for the front and the back of the vehicle, as well as seats made specifically for bucket or bench seats. Some attach to the seat, while others attach via the seat belt. In general, as long as you select a high quality car seat made by a reputable retailer, it’s really just a matter of preference.
There are a few things you should keep in mind while shopping though. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin shopping:
- Do you want the seat to go in the front or back of your vehicle, and what type of seat is it?
- Do you know the dimensions of the car’s seat? (take measurements before shopping)
- What size dog car seat will your pet require? (take measurements before shopping)
- How much does your dog weigh?
Like human children, your dogs should sit in the back seat. The pet is less of a distraction to you this way, and you won’t need to worry about him being injured if the airbag happens to deploy. Sitting in the back seat is statistically safer for dogs than sitting in the front.
Select a pet seat that will attach to your vehicle. Not every seat is made for every vehicle, and the ones that say they fit most vehicles may not fit bucket seats or the attachments may not be appropriate for your car. Review the measurements and attachment details before making a purchase.
Ideally, take your dog shopping with you to make sure he is comfortable in the seat that you select. If he doesn’t like the material or the seat is not comfortable for him, he’s not going to sit still. A dog in an uncomfortable seat could be more of a distraction than a loose dog. Once you and your pup pick one, if the item is much too expensive in the pet store, you’re likely to find it on Amazon or Chewy.
A good dog car seat will likely specify its weight capacity. Make sure to choose one that is rated for your pet’s weight. If your pupper is right on the edge of being too large, move up to a larger size. It will be safer in the long run and you won’t have to spend money on another seat if your dog outgrows it.
Which Pet Car Seat is Right for Your Pooch
I’ve done tons of research and testing in my own car with my own dogs to find ten of the best car seats for dogs, and I’ll be sharing the pros and cons of each model in this article. I’ve picked the best seats for small breeds, medium and large dogs, as well as options for owners on a tight budget.
You’ll see that my overall top choice is Snoozer Luxury Lookout Seat. This booster seat is available in a variety of fabrics, colors and designs to match any vehicle or personality. It’s easy to clean and very plush to keep Fido comfy.
Below I’ll explain all about the different features of each booster seat, including my top Snoozer pick. Plus, I’ll show you some other great alternatives that may be the right option for your pooch and your vehicle.
Top 10 Best Dog Car Seat Choices
(options for different breeds and size of dogs)
Car seats aren’t usually on the top of the list when pet owners are shopping for dog supplies, so many people don’t know exactly what they should be looking for. Through all of my research, I figured out that there are a few things that you should be focused on when comparing different brands:
- Seat’s safety
- Quality of the materials used
- Overall comfort
There are two main types of dog seat for cars: (1) booster-style, which your dog will sit on top of, and (2) basket-style, where your dog will sit down inside the seat as if he were sitting in a basket.
While safety should be your first concern, your dog’s comfort should be a factor too. If your pup isn’t comfortable in the seat, he’s going to try to get out of it and may even whine. which may be even more distracting to you than a loose dog roaming in the vehicle.
The quality of the materials is also important to consider. Is the seat durable? Will it support your dog’s weight? Has the seat been through crash testing? This last question isn’t very common with pet seats for cars yet, but there are some models that have been crash tested and proven to keep your pet safer in the event of an accident than if he were roaming loose in your vehicle.
Finally, it also comes down to affordability. The better quality car seats tend to be more expensive. Keep in mind that these products are an investment. If you purchase the appropriate size, a top rated doggy car seat should last for many years.
I’m not a certified expert on dog car seats, and I’m not associated with any companies that manufacture or sell them. I have been using different dog products for decades, including different car seats, and reviewing them for over 5 years. I have tested thousands of dog supplies, many of which were dog travel products.
My experience as a writer covering the pet industry for nearly a decade has also allowed me to polish my researching skills and develop an eye for what to look for in pet products, how to rate and rank them in terms of price-to-value ratio, and other factors that are specific to the type of product I’m reviewing.
As we all know, purchasing products for our own pets can be a chore but I’ve learned how to pick, choose and make smarter buying choices. Quality is always my top concern, but so is the price – I test and then compare the price to the value of the product to make sure that my money is well spent. That’s what I bring into these dog supplies reviews, ensuring that our readers do not waste their money.
For every dog product review, I treat it like I would if I were buying them for my own dogs (and technically, I am buying them for my own dogs). It’s important to me that my recommendations will last you the reader throughout your dog’s lifetime. And, I do not get paid by any companies to write these reviews so that I can stay impartial. Everything that you read in this comparison is my honest opinion.
1Snoozer Luxury Seat
The overall best choice
This is a booster-style seat. As you can see in the photo above, my dog Molly is lifted high enough to see out of the window whether she’s sitting up or lying down. She loves to look out the window, and using this seat keeps her from jumping up on the door to peak out. This prevents your dog from scratching up the door of your vehicle while climbing to get to the window.
There are a variety of Luxury Lookout Car Seats, but only two sizes available. You can also get them in a variety of colors, patterns and fabric options. The dog car seat featured in my review is the Luxury Lookout I Dog Car Seat with Microsuede.
The microseude cover zips off for easy removal, and it’s machine washable. You can see the plush pillow included with this dog car seat in my video review. The pillow also has a removable cover that is machine washable. This is a must-have for me, because dirty dog paws and shed hair make a big mess after a while.
If you’re shopping for a dog car seat, be sure it’s easy to clean. Hand washing every little crack and crevice can be a real pain, especially if your pup has an accident in his seat during a trip. This is something that you really need to think about if you have a puppy, senior dog or pet with incontinence issues.
In the picture on the right, below, you can see that the Snoozer Luxury Seat comes with a connection strap that clips the seat belt to your dog’s harness. It’s easy to use, and adjustable. In order to ensure your dog’s comfort, be sure that you adjust the connection strap so that Fido can sit, lie down and turn around comfortably. It’s important that you attach the connection strap to a harness, as clipping it to a collar would cause your dog to choke or injure his throat if you have to break quickly or get into an accident.
In my video review below, you’ll notice that this doggy car seat is pretty bulky. The sturdy foam construction is large and takes up the entire seat. For a seat that only holds a dog of 18-25 pounds, it’s much larger than other dog car seats that can support the same size pooch.
The seat that I feature in my review is a ‘Medium’ and this car seat from Snoozer Pet Products is also available in a ‘Small’ size. The dimensions of each are:
Small: Outside 19″H X 15″W X 17″L, Inside 12″W X 14″L
Medium: Outside 19″H X 22″W X 17″L, Inside 18″W X 14″L
The small size can hold a dog weighing up to 18 pounds, and the medium size can hold a dog weighing up to 25 pounds. The Snoozer Luxury Lookout Dog Car Seat is also very easy to install. I show you just how simple it is to buckle this seat into your car in my video review below. You simply run the seat belt through the designated slots and buckle it in.
It may be a bit too bulky for a small car, but if you have enough space this product will keep your canine companion restrained and comfortable. The other drawback to this seat is the price. Similar style doggy car seats can be found for half the price. However, they may not be as well made or convenient.
Keep in mind that these seats are only made from durable foam and the cover material. You can purchase a small Snoozer Luxury Lookout Dog Car Seat for $129.95 on Amazon. The medium size will cost you $159.95. Unfortunately, it’s not affordable for pet owners on a tight budget, especially for a seat that is only made of foam.
For a closer look at this seat, check out my extensive review here or watch the video below.
The Fido Rido is possibly the most unique dog car seat on the market. It’s actually a patented 3-in-1 deign. This one can also be a bathtub or a bed! Personally, I don’t use it as a bathtub, but I have tried it for this purpose and it does work well. I do love the fact that it can also be a bed, because now I don’t need to bring a travel bed along on trips with our dog.
We bring the Fido Rido with us anytime we’re traveling overnight with our Beagle, Molly. It’s really easy to take this out of the car and bring it into a hotel room. It only takes about a minute to buckle it back into the car when you’re ready to get going again in the morning. I demonstrate just how easy it is in my video review (see below).
The Fido Rido Dog Car Seat is only available in one size, and it can hold dogs weighing…