Best Car Seats To Protect Your Precious Cargo

Safety first! 🚘

dog car seat

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Your dog’s obsessed with riding in the car because he loves looking out the window and seeing everything pass by.

But you’re obsessed with keeping your dog safe in the car because, duh — he’s precious cargo.

If you have a small- to medium-sized pup, there are actually dog car seats you can get that will keep him happy and safe.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian with Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in California, and Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and a veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, to learn how to find the best dog car seat so you can get the right one for your pup.

Why you should use a dog car seat

Dog car seats can benefit your dog in a few ways, like keeping him comfortable and giving him a boost so he can see out of the car window.

“They allow [dogs] to look out windows, reduce chances of motion sickness and allow them to lay down in comfort,” Dr. Cruz told The Dodo.

Some dog car seats are so comfortable they might even chill your pup out a bit during car rides since he’ll have a snuggly spot all to himself.

“For most dogs, they’ll snuggle down and drift off as soon as the engine starts to hum,” Dr. Simon told The Dodo.

They’re also designed to keep your dog safe and secure, thanks to the adjustable straps that attach the basket to the seat of your car and safety belts that keep your pup in his seat.

“Their main draw is that they prevent dogs from jumping about the car, minimizing the risk of accidents,” Dr. Simon said.

How to find the best dog car seat

According to Dr. Cruz, a booster that attaches to your car’s seat belt provides extra stability, so be sure to look for one with seat belt loops or other attachments.

For additional security, look for one that attaches to your dog’s harness or collar, or even one that buckles him into the seat itself.

“Some dog car seats come with safety belts attached as your dog should not be able to leave the seat while the car is moving,” Dr. Simon said. “Most will contain a tether or secure lead that can attach to your dog’s harness, keeping them inside the seat.”

When looking for the best car seat for your dog, you should also consider any health issues he might have that could come about during travel, like car sickness.

“For those who own dogs prone to car sickness, their main priority may be a seat that is detachable and easily cleaned,” Dr. Simon said. “Most car seats have mesh walls and open tops. This is especially important for those dogs who can be prone to breathing difficulties.”

And while dog car seats are best for smaller breeds, there are also a couple options that are good fits for bigger pups, too, like dog car hammocks.

Best dog car seats

The Dodo rounded up some of the best dog car seats that include seat belt loops and harness tethers to make sure your pup has the safest, comfiest ride.

Best overall: Pet Gear Large Car Booster

This booster attaches to your car's seat belt to keep your dog in place. Plus, there’s a tether for his harness for extra security.

Best for small breeds: Happy Ride Deluxe Booster Seat

This seat will keep your small pup secure while lifting him up so he can still get a great view out of the window.

Best for older dogs: K&H Bucket Pet Booster Seat

This bucket seat is lower in the front so it's easier for your pup to get in and out.

Best for multiple dogs: Petsfit Two-Dog Car Booster Seat

This booster takes up two seats in your car and includes two safety tethers, so it's great for a multi-pup home.

Comfiest: Sheard Travel Dog Bed

This one looks just like a comfy bed for your dog while still having the safety requirements you need in a good car seat.

Most stylish: Happy Ride Quilted Booster Seat

The quilted pattern adds a cute touch to this booster. And between the straps that wrap around the seat of the car and the harness tether, your dog will be super safe.

Best hammock: Grip-Tight® Quilted Microfiber Hammock Seat Protector

This is less of a booster seat and more of a hammock, but it takes up the entire back seat, so it's great for bigger breeds. (And we liked it so much that we gave it our Paw of Approval!)