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LAST UPDATED: April 12, 2019

Best Dog Car Seats: Protect Your Dog While Traveling

For your canine companion’s safety while traveling, check out these dog car seats.

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PUBLISHED ON April 12, 2019

Your dog is a member of the family and, as such, you probably want to take it everywhere with you. It is crucial to make sure that your dog is safe and comfortable when traveling on car trips. Getting the best dog car seat will keep your dog in a safe space, preventing it from being nervous or overstimulated while traveling.

  • Best Overall
    PetSafe Happy Ride Jumbo Booster Seat for Dogs
    PetSafe Happy Ride Jumbo Booster Seat for Dogs
    Summary
    Summary
    This sturdy plastic frame car booster seat is easy to put together on any bucket or bench seat. It can support dogs that weigh up to 30 pounds. A soft fleece cushion is included for comfort.
    Pros
    Pros
    You can remove the cover on this seat, and it’s machine-washable. There’s also a strap and clip for securing your dog in the booster seat.
    Cons
    Cons
    The tether in the seat is hard to adjust and ends up being either too short or too long to be effective. Once assembled, you cannot disassemble it. It’s also difficult to thread a seatbelt through it. 
  • Best Overall
    PetSafe Happy Ride Jumbo Booster Seat for Dogs
    PetSafe Happy Ride Jumbo Booster Seat for Dogs
  • Best Value
    Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs
    Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs
    Summary
    Summary
    Made for up to 30-pound dogs, this one keeps small dogs in place while driving on long road trips.
    Pros
    Pros
    Most dogs adapt to the high sides. Easy installation and removal. The liner can easily be removed and washed.
    Cons
    Cons
    The retaining clasps are weak and may break after a few weeks of use. The harness connector is in an awkward spot. New owners may find hooking up the tether and harness confusing.
  • Best Value
    Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs
    Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs
  • Honorable Mention
    K&H Pet Bucket Booster Pet Seat
    K&H Pet Bucket Booster Pet Seat
    Summary
    Summary
    This booster car seat elevates your dog and can easily fit the front or the back seat. The seat’s back is designed to fit easily inside the car.
    Pros
    Pros
    The seat is easy to install and perfectly attaches to your car’s seat belts. It has two tethers that keep the dog in place. Easy to remove and wash the cover.
    Cons
    Cons
    The car seat is huge and takes up a lot of space. People with small cars may find it a little tricky to thread the seatbelt through the loops when installing. Liquid stains and urine can soak in the foam since the cloth isn’t waterproof.
  • Honorable Mention
    K&H Pet Bucket Booster Pet Seat
    K&H Pet Bucket Booster Pet Seat

    Your dog is a member of the family and, as such, you probably want to take it everywhere with you. It is crucial to make sure that your dog is safe and comfortable when traveling on car trips. Getting the best dog car seat will keep your dog in a safe space, preventing it from being nervous or overstimulated while traveling.

    Best Dog Car Seat Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This elevated booster seat is great for dogs that are 30 pounds or lighter. It comes in a stylish brown, navy, or quilted tan. The construction of the booster seat is plastic, with a soft fleece liner that covers the entire seat. A soft cushion covers the seating area to give your dog comfort and security. The interior measures 14 by 18 by 8 inches, and the exterior dimensions are 22 by 17 by 17 inches.


    What’s nice about this booster seat is that the cover is machine-washable. This makes it easy to keep the seat clean. The solid plastic construction gives the seat stability and your pup a sense of security when riding in it.


    Unfortunately, the plastic pieces cannot be separated once you put them together. You may also find it difficult to thread your seatbelt through the premade holes to secure the booster seat to your vehicle’s seat. The tether is also an awkward length. It may be either so short that your dog can’t sit upright, or so long that your dog is tempted to jump out.

    Best Value

    The Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs offers the best value for those who love traveling with their canine companions. The booster seat is easy to install, and you can find it with a headrest strap and two sets of back straps. The headrest strap wraps around the car seat’s back, while the back straps wrap around the back of the car seat.


    It has a tether that prevents your pet from moving around. It easily loops around the seatbelt, then pulls through the slide on the seat’s back, giving it room to maneuver. You can purchase a harness separately and attach it to the hook of the leash.


    This dog car seat allows you to have your pet next to you when you are driving. Safety wise, however, there are more secure options to consider. The straps on this one are weak and may break easily in rough driving conditions. You may also find tethering the harness a bit tricky when getting a dog into the seat.

    Honorable Mention

    This seat gets our honorable mention slot because it can accommodate larger-than-average dogs. Most manufacturers design the seat to be compact, which makes it challenging for people with huge dogs. If you have a large dog, the K&H Bucket Booster could be the best option for you.


    You can find this dog seat in two sizes. It can be perfect for dogs that are between 30 and 40 pounds, depending on the physical shape of your dog. This seat can also be used for small dogs, making it a worthy investment. The seat is well-made, sturdy, and easy to install. 


    It fits well in place and is comfortable and roomy. If you have a small car, however, you may find this dog seat is too large to fit comfortably. The design takes up a lot of interior space, so you may also have to choose between human and canine passengers in the back seat.

    Honorable Mention

    This small dog car booster seat comes in brown, navy, and tan. There are three size options available. The smallest holds dogs up to 12 pounds, the medium holds dogs up to 18 pounds, and the large fits dogs up to 25 pounds. Three attachment points help to stabilize the carrier on your car seat. Inside is a tether to secure your pup.


    What’s nice about the largest car seat is that you can carry two dogs that weigh up to 25 pounds combined. This lets your pups ride together and reduces the number of carriers you need in your car. You’ll find the setup of this carrier quick and easy. Just use the adjustable straps to secure it around your headrest and the seat.


    The downside of this dog carrier is that the fabric that covers it is a thin fleece material that slides around on the plastic as you drive. There’s also no quick-release clasp on the headrest strap, which makes securing it and taking it off difficult.

    Honorable Mention

    This fabric dog carrier can support pups that are up to 12 pounds. The inside is lined with Sherpa material to make it extra cozy and comfy. There are three color options: black with blue trim, black with green trim, and a light tan. The dimensions of the carrier are 13.5 by 10.5 by 8 inches. To install, there’s a headrest strap and two front straps that support the front of the carrier.


    What’s nice about this carrier is that the straps are very sturdy. They can support the weight of your dog when it leans on the edges. When not in use, the carrier folds flat to make stowing it away easy.


    The downside of this carrier is that it doesn’t always come with directions. This makes setting it up for the first time a challenging task. The sides are also quite flimsy, which doesn’t give your dog much support.

    Honorable Mention

    This sturdy booster seat comes in medium and large sizes. You can also choose from black, charcoal, or tan for the color. The seat is made from a sturdy foam material and is covered in a soft microsuede. On the seat, there’s an included cushion to give your pup extra comfort. It’s removable, so you don’t have to use it. The medium seat is 18 by 14 by 11 inches and can support dogs up to 15 pounds. The large seat measures 22 by 17 by 11.5 inches.


    You’ll love this booster seat because it’s very easy to keep clean—remove the cover and throw it in your washing machine. Your dog will love this seat because of how stable it is. The solid foam construction means it won’t shake, sway, or move while you’re driving.


    The downside of this seat is that it isn’t very deep, so your pup may easily fall out of it while you’re driving. The tether’s size also may not be right. The bulky foam block may not fit into your car seat.

    Honorable Mention

    This small carrier measures 17.1 by 15.5 by 15 inches and comes in two stylish fabric patterns. You can choose blue and white stripes, or pink with polka dots. The seat uses a metal frame construction for stability and support. The inside has a removable double-sided pad with a plush side for extra comfort. The seat attaches to your vehicle with an adjustable headrest strap and a strap that wraps around the seatback.


    What makes this carrier stand out is the front zippered pocket and two side pockets. This lets you store all of your pup’s supplies in one convenient place. The material used to line the carrier is very durable. It’s made of five layers: a non-slip bottom, soft cotton, high-density polyethylene, 6000D Oxford material, and a water-resistant coating on top.


    Unfortunately, the carrier isn’t very sturdy. The entire thing can tilt, which could cause the bars to come out and the center to bunch up.

    Honorable Mention

    This portable pet carrier supports dogs that are up to 11 pounds. The frame is constructed of sturdy PVC bars. It has an adjustable front strap, headrest strap, backrest strap, and two stability tabs to help keep it in place. The dimensions of the seat are 14.5 by 14.5 by 9.8 inches. There are several fabric patterns to choose from that feature paw prints and bones.


    What’s nice about this carrier is that it comes with an anti-skid mat to help keep the carrier in place while you’re driving. This reduces the pull on the straps and prevents swaying and leaning. The material is easy to keep clean, requiring a wipe-down with a damp cloth.


    The downside of this carrier is that it has several pieces. This means it’s more work to put it together and less likely you’ll ever want to take it apart. If you do, you risk losing a piece.

    Honorable Mention

    This bucket-style booster seat measures 16 by 13 by 9 inches. It has an adjustable strap that hooks over your seat’s headrest and two loops for securing the seatbelt through. The front of the carrier has a hidden pocket for storing items. The seat can support a dog that weighs up to 24 pounds. It comes in four stylish colors and patterns, including a gray and white chevron, gray with blue trim, black with pink trim, and black with purple trim.


    What’s nice about this booster seat is its simple design. Hook the strap, adjust it, and you’re done. The high sides secure your dog in the carrier, and the tether helps ensure they won’t fall out.


    The downside of this carrier is that the pocket isn’t very big, so you may only be able to put small items in it. The support straps on the back aren’t very durable, and the stitching can rip out. The sides of the carrier can also start to collapse from the weight of the dog leaning on them.

    Honorable Mention

    This deluxe dog car seat measures 16.7 by 12.6 by 8.3 inches and can accommodate dogs that weigh up to 26.5 pounds. It’s constructed from high-quality waterproof polyester material. The inside has a soft wool lining and an extra cushion. You can remove the lining and cushion for easy cleaning.


    You’ll like using this carrier because it’s easy to install with two adjustable seat straps. It also has large pockets on the sides of the seat and two small pockets on the front. When it’s not in use, you can fold it flat and easily tuck it away.


    Unfortunately, the seat can tip or collapse while the dog is sitting in it. The liner can also come unattached and begin to slide down. The sides aren’t very high and may not securely hold larger-sized dogs.

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    Benefits of Dog Car Seats

    • Protect your dog. Keep the dog in place to reduce distractions when you are driving. This lowers the chances of you and your dog getting into an accident by removing the challenge of having to handle your dog instead of focusing on the road.
    • Elevate the dog so it can see the road. If your dog enjoys the outdoors, the seat allows it to comfortably look out the window.
    • Give your dog peace of mind. During car rides, dogs can easily be distracted and start panting, whining, and pacing back and forth. The car seat gives the dog a physical sense of safety and security.
    • Help reduce motion sickness. Dogs that suffer from car sickness will benefit from a car seat because it raises them high enough to see the outside, which in turn reduces car sickness. It can also help alleviate anxiety in the dog.
    • Protect the car’s upholstery. If the dog gets car sick or in case of an accident, the dog seat can protect the car’s upholstery.

    Types of Dog Car Seats

    Bucket-Style Dog Seat

    This is the most popular type of dog seat on the market. As the name suggests, the dog seat has a bucket-like shape. You place the dog in and strap the seat using a tether that clips to the seat’s harness. It elevates your dog into position giving them a good view of the outdoors.

    Bed-Style Dog Seat

    This is probably the best dog car seat for long trips because it allows your pet to sit comfortably in one place. This option gives you two products in one since it is longer and can double up as a bed as well. This type of seat is a preferable option for dogs suffering from nerves since the bed can feel safe and comfortable for the pooch.

    Top Brands

    K&H

    K&H Pet Products is popular for pet solutions. It is the largest company dedicated to producing heated pet products. Its dog seats offer great innovation, quality, and problem-solving solutions for pets, making their life and yours better. Its top-selling products are the K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Pet Seat and the affordable K&H Pet Products Hanging’ Bucket Booster Seat.

    Snoozer

    Snoozer is popular for its fashionable and long-lasting dog car seats, beds, carriers, and other pet products. The car seats are very cozy and are made to make your pet comfortable thanks to the comfy form-foam. The seat’s interior is made from simulated lamb’s wool that warms and raises the dog to look out of the window. Its most popular dog car seats are the Snoozer Lookout Car Seat and Snoozer Lookout II Pet Car Seat.

    Kurgo

    Kurgo is popular for its pet products that mesh function, safety, and design that all inspire both you and your dog to enjoy adventures together. It was founded in 2003, and its dog seats offer innovative solutions that make traveling with your pet easier, more fun, and safer. It offers affordable options like the Kurgo Skybox Dog Booster Seat and Kurgo Skybox Booster Set for Pets.

    Solvit

    This manufacturer makes dog car seats that give your dog a safe ride with a view of the outside. The seats cradle your pet in comfort and safety as you drive down the road. They use Safe-T-Core technology that easily integrates with the car seat belt and provides an added sense of safety and security for your dog. Its popular products include the Solvit Jumbo Deluxe Pet Safety Seat and Solvit Petsafe Deluxe Tagalong Pet Booster Seat.

    Dog Car Seat Pricing

    • $20-$40: In this price range, you can find some models that are decent. However, many are subpar in terms of overall build quality and longevity. If you have a large dog, you may not find a suitable option in this range.
    • $40-$60: In this mid-range, you can find dog car seat options suitable for large dogs. There are some excellent models that cater to the safety requirements of larger dog sizes.
    • $60-$100: If you are looking for a high-end dog seat option, this is the price range for you. This price range has some of the most comfortable, most secure, and safest canine car seats.

    Key Features

    High-Quality Lock System 

    The lock needs to be one that easily attaches to the car seat. This will allow you to thread the seat belt through part of the dog’s seat to safely secure it. 

    Attachment Mechanism

    Dog car seats come with different ways to attach to the car seat. Some have two seat belts built-in. One is wrapped around the headrest and the other around the back of the seat. Other seats come with holes where you secure the dog seat by putting the car seat belt in the hole. Harnesses either have clips that attach to the seat belt or just attach to the seat belt holder. 

    Height

    Not all dog seats in the market are booster seats. Hence, you can find car seats that add no height to your dog and, instead, just secure your puppy to keep it safe. Booster seats keep your dog secure and add some height so they can peek outside. 

    Other Considerations

    • Design: Before buying a dog car seat, consider the design you like the most or one that complements the interior of your car. 
    • Materials Used: In most cases, the materials used to make the dog seat largely determine the quality and durability of the seat. They also influence the dog’s comfort. Your dog will enjoy the drive if the seat has a thick cotton floor pad. 
    • Size: Before buying a dog car seat, make sure it is the correct size to fit your dog. Most dog car seats are sized to fit small or medium dogs, so you might have to find larger models if you have a big dog.

    Best Dog Car Seat Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    PetSafe Happy Ride Jumbo Booster Seat for Dogs

    This elevated booster seat is great for dogs that are 30 pounds or lighter. It comes in a stylish brown, navy, or quilted tan. The construction of the booster seat is plastic, with a soft fleece liner that covers the entire seat. A soft cushion covers the seating area to give your dog comfort and security. The interior measures 14 by 18 by 8 inches, and the exterior dimensions are 22 by 17 by 17 inches.


    What’s nice about this booster seat is that the cover is machine-washable. This makes it easy to keep the seat clean. The solid plastic construction gives the seat stability and your pup a sense of security when riding in it.


    Unfortunately, the plastic pieces cannot be separated once you put them together. You may also find it difficult to thread your seatbelt through the premade holes to secure the booster seat to your vehicle’s seat. The tether is also an awkward length. It may be either so short that your dog can’t sit upright, or so long that your dog is tempted to jump out.

    Best Value
    Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs

    The Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs offers the best value for those who love traveling with their canine companions. The booster seat is easy to install, and you can find it with a headrest strap and two sets of back straps. The headrest strap wraps around the car seat’s back, while the back straps wrap around the back of the car seat.


    It has a tether that prevents your pet from moving around. It easily loops around the seatbelt, then pulls through the slide on the seat’s back, giving it room to maneuver. You can purchase a harness separately and attach it to the hook of the leash.


    This dog car seat allows you to have your pet next to you when you are driving. Safety wise, however, there are more secure options to consider. The straps on this one are weak and may break easily in rough driving conditions. You may also find tethering the harness a bit tricky when getting a dog into the seat.

    Honorable Mention
    K&H Pet Bucket Booster Pet Seat

    This seat gets our honorable mention slot because it can accommodate larger-than-average dogs. Most manufacturers design the seat to be compact, which makes it challenging for people with huge dogs. If you have a large dog, the K&H Bucket Booster could be the best option for you.


    You can find this dog seat in two sizes. It can be perfect for dogs that are between 30 and 40 pounds, depending on the physical shape of your dog. This seat can also be used for small dogs, making it a worthy investment. The seat is well-made, sturdy, and easy to install. 


    It fits well in place and is comfortable and roomy. If you have a small car, however, you may find this dog seat is too large to fit comfortably. The design takes up a lot of interior space, so you may also have to choose between human and canine passengers in the back seat.

    Honorable Mention
    PetSafe Deluxe Booster Seat for Dogs

    This small dog car booster seat comes in brown, navy, and tan. There are three size options available. The smallest holds dogs up to 12 pounds, the medium holds dogs up to 18 pounds, and the large fits dogs up to 25 pounds. Three attachment points help to stabilize the carrier on your car seat. Inside is a tether to secure your pup.


    What’s nice about the largest car seat is that you can carry two dogs that weigh up to 25 pounds combined. This lets your pups ride together and reduces the number of carriers you need in your car. You’ll find the setup of this carrier quick and easy. Just use the adjustable straps to secure it around your headrest and the seat.


    The downside of this dog carrier is that the fabric that covers it is a thin fleece material that slides around on the plastic as you drive. There’s also no quick-release clasp on the headrest strap, which makes securing it and taking it off difficult.

    Honorable Mention
    Animal Planet Puppy Booster Car Seat

    This fabric dog carrier can support pups that are up to 12 pounds. The inside is lined with Sherpa material to make it extra cozy and comfy. There are three color options: black with blue trim, black with green trim, and a light tan. The dimensions of the carrier are 13.5 by 10.5 by 8 inches. To install, there’s a headrest strap and two front straps that support the front of the carrier.


    What’s nice about this carrier is that the straps are very sturdy. They can support the weight of your dog when it leans on the edges. When not in use, the carrier folds flat to make stowing it away easy.


    The downside of this carrier is that it doesn’t always come with directions. This makes setting it up for the first time a challenging task. The sides are also quite flimsy, which doesn’t give your dog much support.

    Honorable Mention
    Pet Gear Booster Car Seat

    This sturdy booster seat comes in medium and large sizes. You can also choose from black, charcoal, or tan for the color. The seat is made from a sturdy foam material and is covered in a soft microsuede. On the seat, there’s an included cushion to give your pup extra comfort. It’s removable, so you don’t have to use it. The medium seat is 18 by 14 by 11 inches and can support dogs up to 15 pounds. The large seat measures 22 by 17 by 11.5 inches.


    You’ll love this booster seat because it’s very easy to keep clean—remove the cover and throw it in your washing machine. Your dog will love this seat because of how stable it is. The solid foam construction means it won’t shake, sway, or move while you’re driving.


    The downside of this seat is that it isn’t very deep, so your pup may easily fall out of it while you’re driving. The tether’s size also may not be right. The bulky foam block may not fit into your car seat.

    Honorable Mention
    FANCYDELI Upgrade Deluxe Portable Pet Dog Booster

    This small carrier measures 17.1 by 15.5 by 15 inches and comes in two stylish fabric patterns. You can choose blue and white stripes, or pink with polka dots. The seat uses a metal frame construction for stability and support. The inside has a removable double-sided pad with a plush side for extra comfort. The seat attaches to your vehicle with an adjustable headrest strap and a strap that wraps around the seatback.


    What makes this carrier stand out is the front zippered pocket and two side pockets. This lets you store all of your pup’s supplies in one convenient place. The material used to line the carrier is very durable. It’s made of five layers: a non-slip bottom, soft cotton, high-density polyethylene, 6000D Oxford material, and a water-resistant coating on top.


    Unfortunately, the carrier isn’t very sturdy. The entire thing can tilt, which could cause the bars to come out and the center to bunch up.

    Honorable Mention
    HIPPIH Small Dog Car Seat

    This portable pet carrier supports dogs that are up to 11 pounds. The frame is constructed of sturdy PVC bars. It has an adjustable front strap, headrest strap, backrest strap, and two stability tabs to help keep it in place. The dimensions of the seat are 14.5 by 14.5 by 9.8 inches. There are several fabric patterns to choose from that feature paw prints and bones.


    What’s nice about this carrier is that it comes with an anti-skid mat to help keep the carrier in place while you’re driving. This reduces the pull on the straps and prevents swaying and leaning. The material is easy to keep clean, requiring a wipe-down with a damp cloth.


    The downside of this carrier is that it has several pieces. This means it’s more work to put it together and less likely you’ll ever want to take it apart. If you do, you risk losing a piece.

    Honorable Mention
    JESPET Dog Booster Seat for Cars

    This bucket-style booster seat measures 16 by 13 by 9 inches. It has an adjustable strap that hooks over your seat’s headrest and two loops for securing the seatbelt through. The front of the carrier has a hidden pocket for storing items. The seat can support a dog that weighs up to 24 pounds. It comes in four stylish colors and patterns, including a gray and white chevron, gray with blue trim, black with pink trim, and black with purple trim.


    What’s nice about this booster seat is its simple design. Hook the strap, adjust it, and you’re done. The high sides secure your dog in the carrier, and the tether helps ensure they won’t fall out.


    The downside of this carrier is that the pocket isn’t very big, so you may only be able to put small items in it. The support straps on the back aren’t very durable, and the stitching can rip out. The sides of the carrier can also start to collapse from the weight of the dog leaning on them.

    Honorable Mention
    Legendog Dog Car Seat

    This deluxe dog car seat measures 16.7 by 12.6 by 8.3 inches and can accommodate dogs that weigh up to 26.5 pounds. It’s constructed from high-quality waterproof polyester material. The inside has a soft wool lining and an extra cushion. You can remove the lining and cushion for easy cleaning.


    You’ll like using this carrier because it’s easy to install with two adjustable seat straps. It also has large pockets on the sides of the seat and two small pockets on the front. When it’s not in use, you can fold it flat and easily tuck it away.


    Unfortunately, the seat can tip or collapse while the dog is sitting in it. The liner can also come unattached and begin to slide down. The sides aren’t very high and may not securely hold larger-sized dogs.

    Tips

    • Choose a dog car seat that will be compatible with your vehicle. There are seats that require a certain type of belt or headrest to be properly secured.
    • Consider whether a booster seat is the best option. A booster seat can allow your dog to watch the environment and enjoy the ride more, but it can also make your dog overexcited, making them bark at anything and everything they see. In this case, you may have to opt for a shorter model.
    • Back seats are the safer area to secure your dog instead of the front. You may prefer to drive with your dog strapped in the front, but it is more secure to install the seat in the back seat since your dog may be injured if the airbag in the front is deployed.

    FAQs

    Q: Is it safe to attach the safety clip of the car seat to my dog’s collar?

    A: No. It is not safe. The tether or the safety clip should never be attached to the pet’s collar. In case of an accident, your dog can be seriously injured. The safety clip should only be attached to the harness, which can be bought separately if the dog car seat doesn’t come with one.

    Q: How safe are dog car seats?

    A: As long as you install the dog car seat properly, the car seat should be perfectly safe for your dog. It is safer to have your pet in a car seat rather than have them roaming around the car while you are driving.

    Q: Do raised dog car seats help dogs avoid travel sickness?

    A: A raised dog car seat allows your dog to peek outside the window, helping your pet avoid getting sick in the car. Although it doesn’t work in all cases, a number of dog owners have found this to be helpful. If your dog is too small to look outside, it tends to get sicker in the car.

    Q: Are dog car seats heavy?

    A: The weight of the dog car seat varies between different models, makes, and sizes. Most dog car seats are lightweight enough for an average person to carry or lift.

    Final Thoughts

    Our top pick for the best car dog seat is the Snoozer Lookout Car Seat. This dog car seat stands out for a reason—it is one of the best dog car seats that offers the most comfort. The interior is made of simulated lamb’s wool, making your dog comfortable and warm. 

    If you are in the market for an affordable dog car seat option, you should check out the Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat for Dogs. It has all the desired qualities for a dog car seat in its price range.