Best Dog Car Seats: Keep Your Pup Comfortable and Contained

These products make traveling more enjoyable for canines.

byNoelle Talmon| UPDATED May 17, 2022 2:16 AM

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Best Dog Car Seats: Keep Your Pup Comfortable and Contained

Our Methodology

I took many factors into consideration when compiling this list of the best dog car seats. First, I made sure to include options for dogs of all sizes. While dog car seats are typically favored by owners of smaller breeds, there are some brands that also accommodate medium- and large-sized canines. I made sure to include products in a range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. 

I also looked at how comfortable the seats were, how much visibility they provided for the pet occupant, and how durable the materials were. In addition, I included different types of seats, from fully-enclosed options to suspended seats for tiny breeds to seats that perch in the center console. Finally, I checked user feedback to see how these dog car seats perform in real-world conditions. For more information about our methodology, go here

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Dog Car Seats Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Brand:BurgeonNest
  • Size:21.65 x 19.68 x 9.84 x 13.78 inches
  • Weight capacity: 25 pounds

Pros

  • Strap keeps pet inside
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Washable
  • Adjustable buckles

Cons

  • Adjusting the buckles can be tough at first
  • Not designed for dogs over 25 pounds

If you have a small dog and are looking for a soft and comfortable car seat with cushions on the bottom and sides, consider this one from BurgeonNest. The seat includes a strap that you attach to your pet's harness to keep him or her safely in place. The harness lets your dog move around but won't allow the animal to jump or fall out of the seat. The seat is also washable: simply remove the stuffing in the zippered compartments and clean the oxford fabric. It has an anti-slip bottom to keep it in place, and the adjustable buckles affix to the back of the seat. The seat can be used in both the front and back of your vehicle. In addition, it has two pockets that allow you to store pet-related accessories. However, the buckles can be a challenge to figure out when first installed. And it’s not designed to accommodate larger animals.

Specs

  • Brand:Premier Pet
  • Size:14.08 x 3.02 x 12.09 Inches
  • Weight capacity:10 pounds

Pros

  • Unobstructed view out the window
  • Leash attaches to dog’s harness
  • Easy to install
  • Pocket for storage

Cons

  • Seat bottom may sink under animal’s weight
  • May not get as close to the window as you’d like

If you have a small dog that enjoys looking out of the window when you're driving, the Premier Pet Car Booster Seat for Small Dogs is a great option. Some dogs get car sick, so this seat helps combat that issue by elevating them off the seat and allowing them to see their surroundings. The seat includes a clip that attaches to a dog's harness. It's long enough so your pet can move around but not so long that it gets wrapped around him or her. The seat is easy to attach to the back seat's headrest using adjustable nylon straps. It comes with an easily accessible storage pocket for toys and other items and is designed for dogs that are 10 pounds or lighter. However, the seat bottom isn't very sturdy and may slope down under the weight of heavier dogs. It may also not get as close to the window as depicted in the product's photos.

Specs

  • Brand:K&H Pet Products
  • Size:22 x 20 x 16 inches
  • Weight capacity:N/A

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Large fits two small dogs
  • Stays firmly in place
  • Washable

Cons

  • Strap isn’t the best quality
  • No pockets

If you have two small dogs and are looking for a car seat that's lightweight and easy to install and remove, the K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Dog Car Seat is a great option. It includes a platform that buckles to the seat like an infant car seat. It stays snugly in place and doesn't slip or slide around. The larger option accommodates two dogs or one medium-sized dog. The larger one also allows one small dog enough space to lay down. The seat has a foam bolster around the edges and includes two security tethers that attach to your pets' harnesses. The fleece cover is removable for washing, and the seat is available in a variety of colors, including gray, black and white, and Realtree. One downside is that it doesn't include any pockets to store pet accessories. Also, it's not designed to keep your pet restrained in a crash.

Specs

  • Brand:K&H Pet Products
  • Size:21 x 19 x 19 inches
  • Weight capacity:No weight limit

Pros

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Mesh sides for ventilation and a better view
  • Accommodates large dogs
  • Folds flat for storage

Cons

  • Can be tough to put large dogs into the seat
  • Only works in the back seat

It's tough to find a car seat for medium and large-sized dogs such as a Husky, but this option from K&H does the job. Similar to a dog crate without a top, this car seat with mesh windows keeps your pet contained without making him or her feel confined. It also provides enough space for certain types of dogs to lie down. It includes a strap that buckles into your vehicle for extra support, and front and back straps affix to the headrest for stability. The back is slanted, so you can lean the seat back to provide a bit more comfort. It folds flat, which makes it easy to store when not in use, and it's easy to install. One downside is that it can be hard to put a heavy dog into the seat because there's no side entry. Also, it's only intended for use in the back seat.
Best Seat and Carrier Combo

Specs

  • Brand:Pet Gear
  • Size:24 x 17 x 6.6 inches
  • Weight capacity:N/A

Pros

  • Carrier and seat combo
  • Lid can stay open or closed
  • Mesh sides for airflow
  • Tether attaches to harness
  • Washable cushion

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pricey

This dog car seat is slightly different from the others on our list in that it provides 360-degree coverage. It resembles a baby carrier, and it straps down into the back seat. Because the top closes, it prevents your dog from jumping out. However, if you choose, you can leave the lid open so your dog can look out of the seat, and it's elevated slightly to give him or her a view of the surroundings. The carrier is easy to open and close, and the sides are mesh for ventilation and airflow. It's sturdily constructed and allows room for small dogs to lie down. The seat/carrier combo comes in a variety of different colors and patterns, it doesn't require any tools to install, and comes with an interior tether to affix to your dog's harness. It also has a removable fleece pad that is washable. One downside is that it may be difficult to snap shut and close the cover properly. Also, some dogs don't like to be in enclosed spaces.
Best for the Center Console
Snoozer Console Pet Car Seat

Specs

  • Brand:Snoozer
  • Size:Small: 15 x 8.5 x 6 inches; Large: 19 x 12 x 7 inches
  • Weight capacity:Up to 7 pounds (small) and 12 pounds (large)

Pros

  • Pet sits in front right next to the driver
  • Several colors available
  • Sherpa lining for comfort

Cons

  • Takes up elbow room
  • Straps and clip aren’t the best quality

If you're the type of pet owner who likes your dog right next to you when you're driving but self-contained so he or she doesn't become a distraction, the Snoozer Console Lookout Car Seat could be the perfect solution. Because it's designed to sit on the center console, it doesn't take up any room on the front seat. It's a good alternative to having your pup in your lap because they're right next to you and feel included instead of relegated to the back seat. Available in small and large and in numerous colors, the Snoozer seat attaches to the lid of the center console and has a tether that straps to your dog's harness. The seat is made of fade-resistant fabric and features a sherpa lining for comfort. One downside is that you give up your elbow space when it's installed. Also, the straps and clip aren't the best quality. It's important to measure your vehicle's console to make sure it fits properly with the car seat.

Specs

  • Brand: N/A
  • Size:15.75 x 11.81 x 9.84 inches
  • Weight capacity: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Mesh sides provide ventilation and a better view
  • Zippered storage pockets

Cons

  • Designed for very small dogs
  • May require a pillow for small dogs to see out the window
  • Can lose its shape over time

One of the best things about this dog car seat besides its budget-friendly price is how easy it is to install using the quick-release buckles. It has an adjustable strap that affixes to the headrest. The seat lets your small pet move freely and look out of the window while he or she is securely tethered by a strap. While the description says the seat is best for dogs less than 15 pounds, it can still accommodate slightly heavier animals without any issues. The seat is waterproof and it has mesh sides for ventilation and to give your pup a better view of the surroundings. It includes zippered storage pockets for toys, treats, and other pet-related items. In addition, the seat folds flat, which makes it easy to store when not in use. However, it’s not as cushioned as some other options and may require a pillow for more comfort. Also, it can lose its shape over time.

Our Verdict

My top pick is the BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat for Small Dogs. It's moderately priced, accommodates canines up to 25 pounds, and is easy to install. The cushion is machine washable and comfortable for long drives. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Premier Pet Car Booster Seat for Small Dogs.

Things to Consider Before Buying Dog Car Seats

Size

Many dog car seats accommodate smaller breeds, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a good one if you have a Chihuahua, pug, terrier, or toy dog breed. It can be challenging, however, to find the right product for medium- and larger-sized canines. Make sure to check the weight capacity and dimensions to see if the dog car seat is compatible with your particular pet. Also, read consumer feedback to see what kinds of dogs can use it comfortably.

Type

There are several different types of dog car seats. Many double as "boosters" that provide some height for your pup so he or she can see with unobstructed views outside of the window. These seats typically perch on the back seat of a vehicle and are often strapped to the headrest. Some dog car seats, designed for the smallest pups, suspend from the seat. Others are designed to sit in the center console. Still more are seat/carrier combos that have lids. The type you choose depends on the size of your dog, whether the pup can tolerate a cage-like seat, and where in your vehicle you want to put the product.

Dog Car Seats Pricing 

Budget-friendly dog car seats run the gamut from $25 to $40. Those on the lower end of this spectrum are typically designed for the smallest dogs and are generally not as durably built as more premium options. They may not provide much, if any, cushioning, or last as long as higher-end products. More expensive dog car seats are made with better materials and are designed to last. These items tend to be washable and have strong tethers, clips, and buckles. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What is the safest way to have a dog in a car?

A: To protect humans in a crash, dividers and crates are a good way to keep canines from flying around the cabin. To protect the dog, a harness is a good option to keep him restrained and prevent him from bouncing around during an accident.

Q: How do I choose a car dog seat?

A: First, check the weight capacity and dimensions to make sure the seat can accommodate the type of dog you have. Then decide whether you want a booster seat, console seat, enclosed seat, etc.

Q: Do I need a car seat for my dog?

A: Dog car seats often elevate the canine so he or she can see out of the window. This can help if the pup experiences car sickness. These seats keep the dog off of your lap, which can be dangerous when you're driving.

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