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11 Best Car Seats for Dogs: Compare, Buy & Save

dog car seats

123RF (Monika Wisniewska) This guy would be safer in a dog booster seat.

For the most part, dogs love car rides. They love seeing new places, sticking their head out the window, and just generally tagging along with you wherever you go. Most dogs have an inexhaustible sense of adventure and there’s no better promise of adventure than the car. Dog car seats allow them to ride safely in comfort. They also boost small dogs up enough so they can see out the window, while keeping them in one place so they don’t jump all over you while you drive. While larger dogs usually do a okay with hammocks and seat covers, the car seat is the way to go for smaller pups.

If your dog hates the car, consider our list of the best car seats for dogs to make rides more comfortable for them and you.

What are the best car seats for dogs?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Storage pockets
  • Washable liner
  • Collapsible for storage
Price: $66.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
snoozer dog car seat gifts for dog lovers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very comfortable lining
  • Storage
  • Variety of color and size options
Price: $169.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Reversible liner
  • Options for back and front seats
  • Storage pockets
Price: $119.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Washable liner
  • Offers a healthy boost
  • Warranty
Price: $99.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Adjustable straps
  • Memory foam cushion
Price: $25.64 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dual function
  • Collapsible for storage
  • Side entrance
Price: $38.69 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Crash-test rated
  • Faces backwards
  • Useable in the front seat
Price: $169.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Collapsible for storage
Price: $25.64 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Machine washable cover
  • Available in two sizes
  • Contoured back
Price: $84.08 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rugged frame
  • Available in two sizes
  • Four tethers
Price: $164.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Devoted Doggy Deluxe Dog Booster Car Seat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Storage pocket
Price: $31.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Kurgo Skybox Dog Booster Seat

    • Side storage pockets
    • Dogs up to 25 pounds
    • Reversible and washable liner
    • Collapsible for easy storage
    • Dog may get tangled in the harness hook
    • No color options
    • Tricky installation means some users found that it constantly tilts
    • Harness clip problematic for some

    This Kurgo unit is designed for elevation. Latching to the headrest in either the front or the back seat, this is meant to lift your dog well off the seat bottom for maximum height. The exterior is waterproof, while the liner is removable and machine washable. When not in use, the metal-supported structure can be folded down for storage. This is a bit on the smaller side, but can still support a relatively weighty pup.

  2. 2. Snoozer Lookout II Pet Car Seat

    • High-end option
    • Plush sherpa lining
    • Variety of fabric options
    • Storage tray
    • Expensive
    • Takes up a lot of seat
    • Some reviewers comment that the build quality doesn’t match price
    • Not as soft as it appears

    If you’re looking for something with a bit of a higher-end design, the Lookout II might be the one for you. Available in a number of colors from blue to gray to hot pink, you can also get different textures like quilted and denim. The inside is lined with synthetic lamb’s wool sherpa for comfort, and the front flap hides a slide-out storage tray.

    This is also among the larger booster seats at 28 inches by 22 inches, and an overall height of 15 inches. (The smaller version measures 15 inches by 19 inches, while the medium size measures 22 inches by 19 inches.) It’s definitely pricier than the others, but if you have two dogs or a medium-sized breed, this might be the one for you.

  3. 3. Petsfit Booster Seat

    • Available in front seat and back seat sizes
    • Reversible lining offers light and dark sides for warm and cold days
    • Pockets for toys and treats
    • Leash tether
    • Pricey
    • Not as padded as other options
    • Potentially confusing installation instructions
    • Backseat version may be too large

    Available in two sizes, this is a nicely-designed option. The key to this model is that the inner liner is reversible. One side is smooth and light-colored for warm days, while the other side is dark and fluffier to keep especially smaller dogs warm on cold days. The larger version is good for the back seat and measures 29 inches long by 16 inches wide, while the smaller version measures 15 inches by 16 inches.

    If you have a toy breed, you might use the smaller version even in the back seat. On the other hand, the larger size will work for dogs up to 45 pounds.

  4. 4. Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat

    • Nine inch lift from the seat
    • Installs without the need for a headrest strap
    • Removable liner for washing
    • Warranty
    • Somewhat pricey
    • Doesn’t collapse for storage
    • Potentially difficult assembly and installation
    • May need to go up a size from expected

    This Solvit model is available in three different sizes, each sporting the neutral plaid design. The large size fits dogs up to 18 pounds, extra large fits up to 25 pounds, and jumbo fits up to 30 pounds. The tether that attaches to the vehicle has been tested to withstand up to 2,000 pounds of force, keeping the seat firmly in place. The rigid internal structure reinforces this safety and keeps your pup in the seat.

  5. 5. ASPCA Booster Car Seat for Dogs

    • Adjustable straps
    • Folds down for storing or keeping in the car
    • Built-in leash for safety
    • Memory foam cushion and back pad
    • Sits at an odd angle depending on the vehicle
    • Only suitable for small dogs
    • Some quality control issues
    • Relatively thin fabric

    Taking after the AKC model above, this ASPCA-branded version can be had for just a bit less, depending on what color you choose. Speaking of colors, you can choose from black, gray with orange trim, and light gray with teal trim. The bottom pad can be removed for cleaning, while the whole seat can be folded down when not in use for storage. Another cheap and cheerful option worth considering, especially for docile toy breeds.

  6. 6. Pettom Pet Car Seat Carrier

    • Doubles as a carrier
    • Side entrance for easy access
    • Folds flat for storage
    • Available in two sizes aimed at small breeds
    • Not quite as structurally robust as other options
    • Some dogs may not be able to see over the sides
    • Some quality control issues
    • Installation instructions could be vague or missing

    The charm of this car seat is that it’s dual-function: it easily converts into a carrier upon arriving at your destination. Though there isn’t much in the way of booster height here, you can keep your pup safely contained for an entire journey and simply lift the whole thing out once you arrive. There’s a tether inside to keep them in place, and you can also zip it closed. A solid, low-profile, multi-use option.

  7. 7. PupSaver Original Dog Car Seat

    • Backward facing for safety
    • Crash-test rated
    • Durable, comfortable seat pad
    • Can be used in the front seat to protect from airbag deployment
    • Pricey
    • Doesn’t give your dog a chance to view the scenery
    • Tricky installation
    • Won’t work for everyone

    If safety is your number one concern, you may consider this novel option. Taking a cue from baby car seats, this is meant to be installed facing backwards. That limits your pup’s view of the road, but significantly increases the safety. In a collision, the clamshell style frame will keep your dog safely in place. Additionally, you can use this in the front seat where the frame will deflect an airbag deployment that could otherwise seriously injure your dog.

    The company has more recently released the AirPupSaver 45, which will hold a dog up to 45 pounds, improves the tethering system, and includes its own dog-sized airbag that will provide more cushion during an accident.

  8. 8. American Kennel Club Pet Booster Seat

    • Inexpensive
    • Easy to clean
    • Dogs up to 20 pounds
    • Folds for easy storage
    • Very small — weight limit may be optimistic
    • Plastic clips on the cheap side
    • Difficult to level
    • Not much bottom support

    For less than one-third the price of the one above, you can try this very simple dog car seat. It offers a single zippered pouch in the front, as well as a memory foam cushion, which is covered in synthetic lamb’s wool. Like the one above, this will sit high off the seat, giving your dog the best view. It’s also available in at least three colors (black, gray, and red), with a fourth possibly available (tan was not available at the time of this writing). Though it says it’s good for 20 pound dogs, this is a very small unit, so we’d keep it to ten pounds or less.

  9. 9. K&H Manufacturing Bucket Booster Pet Seat

    • Available in two sizes and two colors
    • Washable cover
    • Includes one or two adjustable leashes
    • Weight not as much of a concern
    • Not collapsible
    • May not boost very small dogs quite enough
    • Chewing dogs may eat through straps
    • Seatbelt attachment could be sturdier

    If you don’t like the idea of your dog being suspended off the seat, consider this booster-style option. It comes in two sizes — 16 inches square or 18 inches by 13 inches by 16 inches — and sits directly on the seat, removing the worry about your dog being too heavy. Obviously, you can’t put a 60-pound lab in it, but for small dogs of almost any breed, this should do the job.

    The back is contoured to fit snugly in most cars, and the interior is lined with quilted fleece for maximum comfort. The opening at the front makes it easy for your dog to get in and out. You can choose from gray or tan in both sizes. The included security leashes give you a place to attach your dog’s harness during travel. A solid option that should serve a wider range of dogs than the first two.

  10. 10. Pet Gear Bucket Seat Booster

    • Rugged plastic frame
    • Installs easily
    • Available in two sizes
    • Four included tethers
    • Limited color options
    • Sides of the seat are hard
    • Not particularly elegant-looking
    • Shorter than other options

    Perhaps the soft-sided seats aren’t inspiring enough confidence. This plastic-framed booster should help you rest a bit easier. The rugged construction is more akin to a child’s car seat, and will keep your dog safe and secure. The overall height of this one is a bit shorter, so pick this if safety is the ultimate goal over having your dog be able to look out the window.

    You have two sizes to choose from with this model — a larger one with interior dimensions of 20 inches by 17 inches, and a smaller one with interior dimensions of 16 inches by 12 inches. Both are brown plastic, but you can choose between chocolate swirl or jaguar print liners.

  11. 11. Devoted Doggy Deluxe Dog Booster Car Seat

    • Collapsible metal frame construction
    • Easy installation
    • Zippered storage pocket and safety tether
    • Plush lining
    • Only for dogs 20 pounds and under
    • Some find this too small even for the specified size
    • Positioning depends on the angle of the seat back in some cars
    • Straps are slightly flimsy

    Our last option is aimed at the small dog crowd. They advertise that this will fit a dog up to 20 pounds, but for the most part, this is really made for toy breeds. It measures 14 inches long by 12 inches wide by seven inches deep, so be sure to measure your pup before you spring for this. That said, it features a study metal construction that can fold down when not in use. The two-strap system is easy to deploy and the included tether will ensure your dog stays put during the journey. If you just want something simple to contain your small dog and let them see as you drive, this is a good and inexpensive option.

When Should I Use a Dog Car Seat?

A study conducted by The Harris Poll for Volvo found that 25 percent of dog owners don't use any safety devices when their pets are in the car. This quickly creates a dangerous situation - for them, for you, and for other drivers on the road.

Dr. Carol Osborne says dog car seats are best when they're placed in the back seat and don't allow your dog to move into the front seat. The full story on PetMD explains when you should use booster seats, dog seat belts, and dog car barriers.

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