Car seats for dogs are important to keep your pup safe while traveling. Dogs can be distracting. They may jump around or try to crawl into your lap while you’re driving. This is dangerous for both you and your dog.
Aside from limiting distractions, car seats for dogs also keep them safe in the event of a collision. Unrestrained dogs can be seriously injured in even minor traffic collisions. While your seatbelt may stop you from being hurt, your dog can fall off the seat, hit the seat in front of them, or be thrown into the doors or windows.
It can be hard to choose a car seat that will not only be comfortable but also safe for your dog. We selected the 10 best dog car seats, along with reviews, so you can choose the right one for you and your canine travel buddy.
A Quick Glance of Our 2022 Favorites
The 10 Best Dog Car Seats
1. K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat — Best Overall
|Dimensions:||14.5”L x 22”W x 15.5”H|
The K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat will elevate your pet approximately 5 inches off the seat so they will have a better view of their surroundings. This seat is our best overall pick for a dog car seat.
Your dog can remain secure in this seat and still be able to look out the window, which is something so many dogs love to do in the car. This will help them remain calm and relaxed during the ride.
The back of the booster is contoured so it will fit snugly onto the seat of your car. It can be used in the back or front seat.
Your car’s seatbelt secures this booster to the seat from the bottom by threading it through the nylon loops. This will keep it from moving while the car is in motion. Best of all, the cover comes off and is machine washable.
When ordering this bed, make sure your dog can comfortably lie down stretched out inside of it. Some dogs only fit in it if they’re sitting, and if they try to lie down, their legs hang over the sides.
2. PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Seat — Best Value
|Dimensions:||14”L x 12”W x 8”H|
The PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Seat is our choice for the best value for the money, and it comes in three different sizes for your pup’s comfort. It’s covered in microsuede and has a quilted pad liner for a super soft, cozy feel.
This seat attaches to your car’s seat with adjustable straps. It can be raised closer to the headrest to keep your dog more stable while in motion. Not being directly on your car’s seat may help reduce motion sickness too.
Your dog’s harness can be attached to the built-in tether on this seat. Only harnesses and not collars should be attached to this. Harnesses will keep dogs more stable and avoid injuries to the neck.
The outer shell of this seat is stain-resistant, and the liner is machine washable.
If your dog loves to chew, they may be able to chew through the straps that attach this to the car’s seat. Teething puppies have been able to chew through the straps in less than 5 minutes.
3. Snoozer Luxury Lookout Dog Car Seat — Premium Choice
|Dimensions:||30”L x 19”W x 17”H|
The Snoozer Luxury Lookout Dog Car Seat is made of soft microsuede and available in small, medium, or large and various colors, so you can choose the best one for your pooch.
The plush pillow and soft material can calm dogs that get anxious in the car. The seatbelt secures the seat and the dog’s harness, keeping them safe in the event of a sudden stop.
This seat is raised enough so dogs can still look out the window as you drive. The cover is machine washable, which is always a bonus in case of accidents. There’s also a built-in storage tray to hold your dog’s favorite snacks or toys.
The walls of this seat can compress if your dog lays their head on them. For some dogs, this isn’t a problem. For others, they were able to smash the walls down flat when trying to get comfortable.
4. Frisco Travel Bucket Booster Seat — Best for Puppies
|Dimensions:||16.54”L x 14.49”W x 13.98”H|
The Frisco Travel Bucket Booster Seat keeps dogs safe and sturdy. The high sides and covered rim make this ideal for puppies because it offers a bit more security than other seats. This product was designed for small dogs and works to keep them protected. It elevates them so they can see out of the windows as you drive.
This seat can be attached to the front or back seat, depending on where your dog prefers to sit. It connects to your car’s seat with the seatbelt and has an adjustable tether to attach to your dog’s harness. Handy storage pockets on the side will hold your dog’s belongings.
There is no removable cover on this seat, but it can be spot-cleaned as needed.
5. Animal Planet Vehicle Booster Seat — Best Car Seat for Small Dogs
|Dimensions:||13.5”L x 10.5”W x 8.25”H|
Small dogs are at increased risk of being injured during a car accident due to their fragility. The manufacturer of Animal Planet Vehicle Booster Seat kept this in mind when designing a secure place for your dog to be protected on the road.
The elevated seat has a Sherpa cushion that is machine washable, making it the perfect spot for your dog to settle in for long car rides. The adjustable tether attaches to your dog’s harness for added safety.
Whenever the seat isn’t being used, it can be uninstalled and collapsed for easy storage. It’s easy to set up and use when you’re ready for it again. It attaches directly to the seat of the car using straps around the headrest, not by lacing the seatbelt through the bottom. The straps can be adjusted to give your dog a better view out the windows.
This seat is ideal for dogs up to 12 pounds.
6. Jespet Travel Booster Seat
|Dimensions:||16”L x 13”W x 9”H|
The raised Jespet Travel Booster Seat gives your dog a great view of the outdoors. This seat is designed for dogs that weigh up to 24 pounds. Two adjustable straps secure this seat to the headrest and seat back, and the car’s seatbelt gives it extra stability. A tether is included that can be attached to your dog’s harness.
The fleece liner is soft and comfortable but can only be spot-cleaned. While the pad cover is removable, it can’t be machine washed. There is a front zippered pocket to store your dog’s things on the go.
The straps have been reported to break over time with repeated use. Since there is a weight limit on this seat, dogs over 24 pounds should not use it.
7. Kurgo Heather Dog Booster Seat
|Dimensions:||16”L x 13”W x 9”H|
The elevated Kurgo Dog Booster Seat installs easily and is built for dogs up to 30 pounds. It has internal metal supports for a firm structure that won’t collapse as dogs rest their heads on the walls. It attaches with a seatbelt and can be installed on any bucket seat.
When not in use, the seat collapses to be stored away. It has storage pockets so your dog can have their favorite things with them on the road.
The liner and pad can both be removed, machine washed and air dried. The outside of this seat is spot-clean only.
8. Pet Gear Bucket Seat Booster
|Dimensions:||20”L x 17”W x 11”H|
The raised design of the Pet Gear Bucket Seat Booster sits on your car seat so you have easy access to your dog. The seatbelt buckles under this seat, keeping it secure. Harnesses can be fastened to the attached four tethers.
This seat has a comfortable cushion with a cover that can be machine washed. It installs in seconds.
It is also available in various color options and two different sizes to meet your dog’s needs. The elevated design helps your dog look out the window and stay entertained.
The biggest issue with this seat is that it doesn’t sit flush against seats that are contoured or curved. It can rock back and forth if this is this is the case.
9. Outward Hound PupBoost Car Seat
|Dimensions:||17”L x 15”W x 7”H|
The adjustable straps on the Outward Hound PupBoost Car Seat make this easy to fit in most vehicles, including vans and SUVs. This seat is installed on the headrest and around the top of a car seat, so it protects your interior from pet hair and muddy paws.
Safety straps are included to attach to your dog’s harness. It can be removed and folded flat for storage when you’re not using it.
The seat is not machine washable. If it gets dirty, it can be spot-cleaned only. The front straps can obscure your dog’s vision and give them something to chew on. If your dog is a chewer, they may be able to destroy them.
A blanket or towel can be added to the bottom of the seat for extra cushioning.
10. Kong Secure Booster Seat
|Dimensions:||9”L x 15.5”W x 11”H|
The padded Kong Secure Booster Seat is easy to install and fits most vehicles. The side pockets will conveniently store everything that you need to bring along for your dog. This seat can support dogs up to 26 pounds.
It can work well on any seat as long as there is a headrest on it to hold the straps. The elevated design lets your pup watch out the window during the drive until they feel like settling in for a nap on the soft, padded cushion.
The interior of the seat is machine washable. When it’s not in use, the seat can be easily taken out and stored away.
Does My Dog Need a Car Seat?
If your dog is loose in your car, it’s a safety risk to both of you. In the event of a collision, your dog can be easily thrown around the car and injured. Aside from that, it’s risky to open your door because your dog could bolt. Having them secured in the car until you’re ready to take them out is the safest way to travel with them.
Even if your dog is typically well-behaved, they can see something that scares them or triggers their prey drive. This can send them into frantic jumping around the car, which can also surprise and scare you while you’re driving. In some areas, driving with an unsecured dog in the car is illegal.
What Factors to Consider
There are a few things to think about when choosing the right car seat for your dog. These can help you sort through all the different available options.
The seat should be easy to set up and install. Unless you’re leaving it in the car permanently, this ease of use will determine whether you use it. If it’s a hassle to install, you won’t want to do it every time that you have to drive with your dog.
The materials used to make the seats should be durable and long-lasting. Polypropylene, polyester, foam, metal, and plastic are good things to look for in your dog car seat’s design.
Safety features are important to note. The seat should be comfortable and have a tether or leash to attach to your dog’s harness for extra protection. The seat should attach to your car’s interior, either with adjustable straps or by using your car’s seatbelt.
Only a harness should be attached to the built-in tether. By attaching a collar, it could cause injury to your dog’s neck. The harness will secure their whole body and not risk any damage to their head or spine. Attaching a collar to the tether also poses a choking hazard if your dog gets stuck and can’t move. Only use a harness in a car seat for your dog.
Comfort is the key to having your dog enjoy their car seat. Usually, these seats are made of soft materials, like fleece. If the seat isn’t plush enough, you can add a blanket to provide more cushioning. The seat should be large enough for them to fit inside easily, with enough space to lie down or sit up and look out the window.
If your dog feels too restricted, they will be stressed in the car.
Some car seats have inner linings that can be removed and machine washed. Others are spot-clean only. Consider how much time your dog is going to spend in the car seat and how often you will have to clean it. If your dog sheds or drools excessively, you may want to invest in a model that is machine washable.
Where Do I Put the Car Seat?
The safest place to put your dog’s car seat is in the back seat. If you place them in the back on the passenger side or in the middle seat, you can keep an eye on them in the rearview mirror.
If your vehicle has three rows of seats, keep your dog in the row nearest you.
Putting the car seat in the front seat is possible with many models, but the danger in this is the airbag system. Should an accident occur with deployed airbags, they can cause more injury to your dog than the accident itself.
If you have an airbag system that can’t be turned off, your dog should always ride in their car seat in the back.
Our favorite dog car seat is K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat. It’s a secure seat that’s comfortable and machine washable. It gives dogs a good view of the outside world as they travel. Our best value choice is PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Seat. It can help reduce motion sickness in some dogs, but it also has straps that can be chewed through easily. This is best used if your dog is not a chewer. We hope that these reviews have given you an idea of what to choose when it comes to keeping your best friend safe on the road.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.