How to Choose Safe Dog Car Seats

Dog car seats are more than a luxury for your dog – they prevent drivers having accidents whilst trying to keep their dog in place.  In 2017, a report by the AAA revealed that roughly 2/3rd of U.S. dog owners admitted they have engaged in distracted behavior while driving with their dogs. That’s very worrying to know!  And about 84% of dog car passengers were still being allowed to roam free, with no safety harness or car-seat to protect them in the event of a crash.  Our valued pets deserve better care than this! 

And if you travel with a dog and kids in your car, buying a dog-seat is a small price to pay for keeping your family safe. So if you’re thinking about getting a dog-seat, but just don’t have time to wade through the huge range of products on offer, just read on.   This helpful guide contains all you need to know about choosing a safe and comfortable dog car-seat for your valued pet:-

Size – weight & length of dog

Buying a dog-seat that’s large enough for your pet is a crucial point.  So start your search amongst car-seats that are clearly marked with suggested weight and length of dog passenger.

Special breed requirements

Some breeds are more likely to suffer car-sickness than others.  Check if your dog’s breed has special advice for keeping them safe and well during car journeys.

Car headrest and belt requirement

Check that the model you choose to buy can be installed in your vehicle.  Dog car-seats can usually only be installed on seats with a headrest.  And you must have back-seat shoulder safety-belts to install a dog-seat correctly.

Front- or back-seat installation

For the dog’s safety, avoid putting them in a front seat as safety air-bags can seriously injure a dog in an accident.  And a lot of road accidents have been caused by the driver reaching out an arm to restrain a pet in the front seat.  The safest place for installing a dog car-seat is behind the driver’s seat.  This means you can see the dog in your rear-view mirror, and he can see you, too. There are a few types of dog car-seat that attach to a middle-seat, without a headrest, and this is also a very safe place to put your dog.


If your dog will be riding along with you on long journeys, it’s worth spending a little more cash to get a truly comfortable dog-car seat.  It will be more durable over time. This will keep your dog calm and safe, and you won’t be distracted by a restless dog moving around in its seat.  But if your dog just comes along on short trips, it still needs to be comfortable, but you can use a cheaper dog-seat.

Easy to handle

Check whether it will be easy to put in and take out of your vehicle.  Is it going to have a permanent spot on the back seat or will it be installed and uninstalled frequently?  This is something a lot of buyers forget to check. But some dog car-seats are not designed for frequent installation/uninstallation.  And if the seat will be stored sometimes, is it easy to store?

Easy to clean

This is another important issue, as no-one wants to be driving around with a smelly dog-seat in their car.  If you take your dog walking in woods or fields, they pick up a lot of dirt on the paws.  And even if your dog doesn’t spend time on dirt floors, their seat will need cleaning for hygiene.


Consider whether your dog has a sensitive skin before you choose a new car-seat.  Certain fabrics cause allergic dermatitis in dogs and you should check this before taking a dog-seat home with you.  If you do find your dog is itching too much in a car-seat, line it with a comfortable accessory pad, or some cotton or wool fabric.  Natural fabrics are less likely to cause allergic itching and a pad or fabric swatch can be easily machine-washed.

Transporting tips

  • Dog car-seat covers are wonderful!. They protect upholstery from scratches, teeth marks and dirt.  And they can just be thrown in the machine to keep them clean and sweet.
  • Large dogs should never be crated and placed in a car trunk, as it’s a very stressful experience. Use a car-seat protector and a fixed car harness, so they can sit on a car-seat in comfort and safety.
  • Puppies and small dogs up to 40 lbs. are most comfortable in a dog booster-seat. A fixed booster seat lets small dogs to look out of the window during the journey. Choose one that lets your dog sit or lie down and they’ll love it.

So all you need to do now is to weigh and measure your dog and hit the stores!

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