Best Dog Car Seats
As pet parents we often want to take our beloved pets everywhere with us, and there is nothing quite like the joy of taking your pup to the beach! However, the joy of taking our dogs with is also accompanied by the desire to keep them as comfortable and safe as possible.
In many states it is required by law that your dog is restrained within a vehicle, and pet parents value that the restraints used will keep their pet safe if the worst should happen. It's also important to ensure that your dog is comfortable, and enjoying the car without worrying about them feeling anxious or getting travel sickness.
This article will unpack some of our Vet Squad's top picks for car seats, covers and restraints so that your next journey will be all fun and no worry!
Why is choosing the right Car Seat important?
Choosing the right car seat or accessories will set you and your dog up for the most pleasant car trips possible! It's also important for making the car a comfortable place for your dog to prevent anxiety while travelling and train your dog to be relaxed in the car. Some accessories may play a key role in resolving the ever daunting Car Sickness. (Yes, we all know the horror of hearing your dog throw up in the back seat!), and for those with excitable pups, it may also help to stop that distracting barking in the car.
For many though, choosing the right car seat is all about safety. A car seat or accessory can be used to secure your dog on their journey, preventing them from falling off seats or falling out windows. Although we don't like to consider the possibility, it's also important to consider what might happen should an accident occur. You want to be reassured that in the event something happens, your dog will be safe and come out largely unscathed.
- Safety: For many pet parents, safety is the top priority. Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a car accident happening, but it is something we need to be prepared for. So knowing that the product you are purchasing will keep your pet safe is very essential. Assess each product's safety features and how well they will work for your pup to keep them safe on the journey.
- Comfort: Car trips may be stressful for our pets, which could make trips slow or your pet distracting. Keeping them comfortable assists in making the ride as pleasant as possible, reducing anxiety and car sickness. This will be especially important for any long trips you may be planning.
- Quality: When it comes to maintaining a safe and comfortable ride for your pet, cheap may not be better. You want a product that will last, ideally for your pet's lifetime. Look for products from reputable brands that use high quality, durable materials that won't break under pressure, or have you back to buy another one in a short period of time.
- Suitability: Not all products will suit all pets. Some may have size limits and others may not keep your dog safe depending on their size. Be sure to check any limitations on a product before purchasing. You should also make sure you are purchasing a product that suits the goals you are purchasing it for.
- Best Car Seat: Petsafe Happy Ride Quilted Safety Seat
- Best Booster Seat: Kurgo Rover Booster Seat
- Best Bench Seat Cover: Petsafe Happy Ride Bench Seat Cover
- Best Seat Hammock: Kurgo Wander Seat Cover Hammock
- Best Seat Belt: Kazoo Seatbelt Connector
- Best Crate: Pawise Portable Carrier
- Soft quilted and cushioned car seat
- Clips in via seatbelt
- Safety tether included for pet safety
- Boosts pet off the seat without hanging in the air
- Removable machine washable liner
- Zippered storage pocket
- Only suitable for dogs up to 14 kg
- Harness must be purchased separately
- Booster seat for improved view
- Removable, machine washable liner
- Multiple attachment points for security
- Seatbelt tether included
- Waterproof fabric used
- Multiple storage pockets
- Soft fleece lining
- Front and back seat suitable
- Only suitable for small dogs up to 13.6 kg
- Harness not included
- Waterproof cover
- Machine washable
- Size can be adjusted to fit different cars
- Seatbelt access to secure your pets
- Multiple, adjustable attachment points
- Won't secure pet to the car
- No storage pockets
- Made with durable, waterproof fabric
- Multiple attachment points
- Comes with a carry case for storage
- Multiple openings so it can be combined with seat belts or car seats
- Can be folded down as a bench seat cover
- Central zip to accommodate a passenger
- Under seat paracord and anchors to secure to seat
- Fabric can be chewed
- Not adjustable to fit all cars
- Hand washing recommended
- Won't secure pet to the car
- Made from heavy duty nylon webbing
- Short length to restrict movement
- Suitable for all breeds and sizes
- Sturdy nickel clip
- Easy to use
- Low cost option
- Harness required to use
- May not be suitable with front attaching harnesses
- Does not protect the car
- Durable, sturdy metal frame
- Soft fabric walls
- Mesh windows for fresh air flow and to allow your pet to see
- Water resistant fabric and removable mat
- Collapsible for easy storage
- Available in 3 sizes
- Snap Clips and handles so it can be carried
- 2 Doors for convenient access
- Soft fabric and mesh can be chewed through
- Maximum weight 50kg
How We Review Our Products
Our Pet Circle Vet Squad comprises 30 vets with over 120 years of collective, independent veterinary expertise. Our Vet team use their health and husbandry knowledge, along with their own personal and clinical experiences to evaluate each product and provide detailed, informative reviews, free of any commercial bias. We then collate this information into our 'best of' recommendations.
Top Car Seats and Restraints in Australia
PetSafe invests in producing products that benefit pet safety, health and happiness. This safety seat is designed to be secure in your car and keep your pet secure in their seat to provide multiple aspects of safety. It also has a soft quilted design with a cushion on the boosted seat for comfort and 23cm of elevation to help ease motion sickness on the journey. It is a product truly designed to meet all of their values.
For owner convenience the cover is removable and machine washable. It also comes with zippered pockets for storing any accessories you may need to take with you. The benefit of this seat is that it will protect your seats from any scratches and boosting your pet may prevent them from jumping up on the door to see out.
What our customers say: "Quick service from Pet Circle. Seat was easy to put together and secured well in car. Furchild sat very happily in the seat and it was a good height for her to see better out the window. Seemed to reduce trip anxiety." - Quinn
The Kurgo Booster Seat is built for comfort, convenience and durability. It is made with a strong, waterproof fabric intended to last a lifetime and a removable and washable cover that will stand up to puppy accidents and beach shenanigans. It is designed to be stylish and comfortable. Providing a booster seat can help with anxiety in the car, car sickness and keeping your dog from distracting you while driving.
This booster seat is quick and easy to install, suitable for the front of back seat of your car. It is also collapsible for easy storage. The seatbelt tether keeps your pup secure by attaching to the seatbelt and your dog's harness.
What our customers say: "My husband thought it was going to be a waste, our cavoodle can be a nightmare in the car and truck. This elevated booster seat has changed our life and hers. It took her one trip down to the shops and she is a changed dog! She doesn't shake or whine anymore, yippee, and my husband is thrilled! He can't believe it! Neither can I really!" - Barbara Ann
A car seat cover is perfect for protecting your car from the hair, mud, sand and drool that often comes with transporting a dog. This durable seat cover is machine washable and made from heavy gauge, polyester material with waterproof backing. It has multiple, adjustable adjustment points that make it easy to secure and expansion vents allow the product to be adjusted in size to fit any car.
What our customers say: "A very durable, good valuable cover, tested out by my rottweilers and far out-lasted more expensive covers." - Dawn
What our vets say: "Perfect for use after beach days and muddy dog walks, the Petsafe Happy Ride Bench Seat Cover can be fitted to any size vehicle, and has a waterproof backing to keep your seats clean. Sturdy and durable, the cover is machine washable and has seatbelt access slits to tether your dog for safe travels. It is also available in a hammock style for those pooches who like to invite themselves into the front seat!" - Dr. Gillian
Kurgo have designed a durable, waterproof hammock style seat cover to protect your car from fur, drool and mud. The hammock style reduces mobility and prevents your dog from accessing the front of the car, which could become distracting for the driver. It has multiple attachment points including clips to go around the headrests, paracords for under the seat and bench beans to anchor it to the seats. There are also seatbelt openings so you can secure your dog, and a central zip to allow a passage, or car seat to be clipped in beside the dog.
To offer versatility, Kurgo also have a bench seat cover for those who may want to be able to access their pet from the front or don't want to cut off access to the floor.
What our customers say: "Fitted well on my back seat. My dog did a little wee on our first trip out and the pee beaded on the cover so it could easily be mopped up and then the surface wiped with a wet one. Love the little case the cover came in. It holds my wet ones and a towel now lol" - Carolyn
The Kazoo is one of the most basic and easy to use restraints. Simply slip it over the seatbelt, clip in the seatbelt and attach the hook to your dog's harness. It is made from durable materials with a nylon band and a nickel clip while keeping a black colour compatible with most seatbelts. Attaching your dog to the seatbelt keeps them as safe and secure as you are.
This clip will keep your dog in position while still allowing them the freedom to sit or lie down as is comfortable for them. There are no long fabric strands to rub on your pet uncomfortably, or for them to get tangled in. It can also attach to whatever harness that is preferred by your dog to keep them comfortable.
What our customers say: "Very easy to use and a great price" - Lisa
This soft crate is perfect for travelling. With a sturdy metal frame and durable PVC coated fabric lining it provides both protection and comfort. The fabric is water resistant with a removable mat that makes it great for beach or camping trips and easy to clean. The handles make it convenient to carry in its collapsed form or while erect. The use of mesh allows for great ventilation and a view, but the fabric sides also help to cover up the view for those dogs that might bark in the car.
This carrier has the added advantage of being a crate with easy access, making it great for Crate Training or as a bed and safe space for those who like caravaning or camping with their dogs. It also has the duel benefit of restraining your pet in a vehicle, and keeping them safe, thanks to the soft fabric walls.
What our customers say: "This pet carrier is perfect for transporting our dog safely. It's very sturdy and roomy enough for him to use as his little den for sleeping as well.I'm very happy with my purchase." - Juliet
What our vets say: "The Pawise portable carrier comes in 3 convenient sizes with a maximum holding weight of 50kgs! It has mesh windows to allow adequate air flow and is made of a durable fabric. I like the fact that it has 2 handy access doors, one on the top and one on the side to remove your pet as needed. It is water resistant and machine washable and can be folded flat for compact storage. It really is a great option for both small and larger pets" - Dr. Angie
What to look for in a Car Seat or Restraint:
When looking for a car seat or restraint for your pooch, there are a few key factors you will want to consider to help you choose the right product for your needs. I would consider looking at all of these factors before deciding on a product:
Fit For Purpose
It is important to know what goal you are trying to achieve by purchasing a product to go in your car. This will be the major factor in deciding which product best suits your needs. For example, are you looking something to protect your car seats or something to help your dog look out the window? Not all products will achieve the same goals or suit the same situations, so before looking for product, determine what your desired outcome will be.
Once you know what the product will be used for, then you can decide which products will achieve that purpose and how effective they will be at achieving it.
Chances are, you will be taking your dog to the beach, or the dam, or camping at a watering hole, and they are going to want to get back into your car dripping, shaking off sand and smelling like wet dog. Alternatively, you might have a puppy that is not fully toilet trained and could urinate in the car, or a car sick dog that could unleash some vomit, or diarrhoea. Having a product that is waterproof will make cleaning up these messes, and the product itself a lot easier for you.
Additional Accessories Required
Does the product require any additional accessories? Some products won't come with everything you need. For example, many leads and restraints don't come with a harness to restrain your dog. Restraining your dog via a harness is much safer and recommended over attaching anything to a collar, which could choke or yank on the dog in the event of a sudden stop. Some products may also lack restraints to fasten your dog in if you would like to do that.
Be sure to check what accessories come with the product and what accessories you will require to make it suit your intended purpose.
Padding and Fabric Used
As mentioned above, the comfort of your pet is one of the reasons why it is important to choose the right restraint. This means the level of padding and the type of fabric used should affect your decision. It is possible to combine comfort and waterproof, so look for fabrics that are not only soft, but also waterproof. Look for softer fabrics like Nylon, Polyurethane Laminate and Polyester or products that may have waterproof backing. It's also a good idea to check if the product comes with a mat or padding if your dog will be sitting in a seat or crate. Consider where your dog might move on the journey and if they'd be padded where they moved to.
Range Of Mobility
When purchasing a product for the car, many owners will want something to prevent their pet from moving around in the vehicle. So before choosing an option, consider the range of movement it allows your pet and how far they might go if the vehicle came to a sudden stop. Consider if they will be fastened in place, or if they may be able to move from seat-to-seat or front-to-back, or could they fall off the seat.