What Is the Best Car Seat for a Dog?

Our Top Pick
Henkelion Small Dog Car Seat

Henkelion Small Dog Car Seat

Featuring safety straps for security, a metal frame for stability, and a pocket for treats, this pet car seat does it all.

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Best Designed
Vailge Dog Seat Cover for Back Seat

Vailge Dog Seat Cover for Back Seat

The design of this cover protects the entire back seat with quilted waterproof material.

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Most Reviewed
SWIHELP Portable Dog Car Seat

SWIHELP Portable Dog Car Seat

With over 17,000 reviews on Amazon alone, we get a great picture of the customer's experience.

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Best Bed Combo
BurgeonNest Washable Dog Car Seat

BurgeonNest Washable Dog Car Seat

The small dog bed design of this car seat is made to be comfortable, compact, and practical for dogs.

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Best for Large Dogs
Wuglo Extra Stable Dog Car Seat

Wuglo Extra Stable Dog Car Seat

This car seat is extra stable and perfect for larger dogs so they can stay comfortable.

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Best for Small Dogs
HIFUAR Armrest Booster Seat for Small Dogs

HIFUAR Armrest Booster Seat for Small Dogs

Allowing your pet to sit in between the front seats gives your small dog a better view of their surroundings.

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Unique Design
MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat

MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat

This seat attaches to the headrest and the back and provides a secure setting for your dog.

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Best for Giant Breeds
K&H PET PRODUCTS Buckle N’ Go Dog Car Seat

K&H PET PRODUCTS Buckle N’ Go Dog Car Seat

This pet carrier sits on the car seat and has no weight limit, with a tether that attaches to your dog’s collar.

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Should You Put Your Dog in a Car Seat?

Yes, you should put your pet in a dog car seat.

Ideally, your dog should be in a car seat. The seat should be crash-tested and appropriately sized for your dog to provide maximum protection.

What Size Car Seat does My Dog Need?

The size and type of dog car seat needed will depend on a few things. We have listed some of them below:

  • Dog Size. This one is quite obvious. The smaller the dog, the smaller the car seat it requires. Look for the weight capacity on the label. Many dog car seats do not go about a 30 lbs weight capacity.
  • Dog Activity. Some dogs don’t like to get dirty or don’t venture far enough to do so. If that is your dog, then a larger car seat may do well to help keep your pet safe while protecting your car’s interior. If your dog likes to romp in the mud or swim in the pond, however, then a smaller car seat with higher walls might be the better option. This would help contain the mess your dog might spread.
  • Age of Dog. Younger dogs who chew more and have more energy may be better off with a more traditional dog car seat so they do not cause problems playing around with the driver or chewing on the car’s interior. A smaller car seat will help to contain the puppies and prevent them from causing trouble. Older dogs with less energy may be fine with something like a car seat cover that allows them more freedom.
Best Seller
Henkelion Small Dog Car Seat
10/10Our Score
  • Features waterproof Heavy 600D Oxford fabric and side ventilation for breathability
  • High-quality, thick Oxford fabric and PVC mesh material keep your pet dry and comfortable
  • Easy to assemble and store with foldable design. Detachable board for easy cleaning.

What are the Types of Dog Car Seats?

There are four main types of dog car seats. They are as follows:

  • Carrier style
  • Safety harness style
  • Crate style 
  • Booster seat

What Are the Benefits of a Dog Car Seat?

A dog car seat provides a number of benefits to your pet. Below are the most common ones:

  • Pet Safety. Most dog car seats have harness tethers inside the seat. This is to keep the dog in one spot during the drive.
  • Car Protection. Going to the dog park or on a walk can cause a dog to get dirty. A dog car seat will keep the dog in one area and contain the mess it may bring into the car.
  • Security. Knowing where your dog inside the car at all times can be relieving, especially if driving in a busy area. This allows you to know the dog is safe in one place and not going to get in the way of your driving.

The Best Dog Car Seat Reviewed

We have picked and reviewed the best dog car seats that are suitable for your pet due to their quality and reliability.

Henkelion Small Dog Car Seat

Summary: This small dog car seat is suitable for dogs weighing up to 50 pounds. This is made of waterproof oxford fabric to keep your cat seats protected. The breathable PVC mesh allows for airflow within the car seat, and a metal frame allows it to stand on its own so it will not collapse, even when your dog is jumping in and out.

A pocket is included on the front for treats and other small items, and two straps secure the seat to the seat inside the car. It features a non-slip bottom with an extra mat that is included for easy and fast cleaning.

Best For: Adult dogs & puppies 

Sizes Available: 17” x 13.7” x 9.85”

Weight Capacity: 50 lbs

Features: Waterproof, Oxford fabric construction, anti-skid, includes extra mat

  • Waterproof
  • Anti-skid design
  • Metal rod construction prevents collapsing
  • Features a pocket for treats
  • PVC mesh
  • The metal frame can collapse with repeated pressure and pose an injury threat to dogs

Review: Many of the 10,000+ customer reviews on Amazon were glowing with the top comment telling a story of a car accident where the safety seats saved her two dogs’ lives. These customers were happy with the construction, and the seatbelt attachment was secure. Many said they would purchase again and recommend this product to other dog owners.

Critical reviews made up nearly 10% of the total reviews, however. These customers said the seat was not sturdy enough for them or complained their dogs were able to escape out of the top.

Vailge Dog Seat Cover for Back Seat

Summary: The oxford material of this dog bed seat cover is waterproof and features a mesh window so the dog can see outside of the car. The sturdy quilted construction protects a car’s interior from damage caused by a dog’s claws and dirt they may track in.

It is held in place by four headrest straps, nonslip backing, and two devices secured to the seat. For easy cleaning, this seat cover is made to be machine washable and, being waterproof, can be sprayed down with a hose in a pinch.

Best For: Dogs of all sizes

Sizes Available: 56”W x 60”L; 60″W x 64″L

Weight Capacity: N/A

Features: Mesh window, waterproof, Oxford material, machine washable

  • Machine washable
  • Mesh window included
  • Waterproof
  • Anti-slip bottom
  • Includes two pockets
  • The material may not work well with coarse fur that can work its way into the fabric itself and get stuck on the seat underneath

Review: Most reviews were left by customers with good experiences using this car seat cover. They said it was fantastic at protecting their seats and keeping dog hair to a minimum inside their car.

While these customers were happy with their purchase, there were a number of people who weren’t so impressed. They said the quality was subpar and complained their dog had ruined the cover the first time they used it.

SWIHELP Portable Dog Car Seat for Puppy

Summary: This small pet carrier is great for smaller dogs, puppies, cats, or any household pet under 12 pounds. It features a PVC frame for a sturdy construction that is made to hold up to the stresses of travel.

It is made of a sturdy heavy-duty waterproof 600D Oxford material, and the PVC mesh provides great airflow to keep your pet cool and comfortable. It is held securely to the front seat with two straps that attach to the carrier with anti-rust D rings for pet safety.

Best For: Puppies

Sizes Available: 16”W x 12.5”L x 9.5” H

Weight Capacity: 12 lbs

Features: Waterproof, PVC mesh net, anti-rust D ring

  • Waterproof
  • Rust-resistant D ring for security
  • Mesh net for airflow
  • PVC frame is light and sturdy
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • The PVC frame construction may not hold up to energetic dogs.

Review: Over 85% of the nearly 18,000 reviews were positive. The most common praise points were the construction and how their dogs reacted to using the seat. These people said their small and anxious dogs did great when riding in this seat, and they were happy it was so easy to put together, taking only a couple of minutes.

The most common complaint among the 1 and 2-star reviews was about the quality of this product. Owners of small dogs said it did not hold up well to their chihuahuas and terriers.

BurgeonNest Fully Detachable and Washable Dog Car Seat for Small Dogs

Summary: With a plush bottom and cushioned walls, this dog car seat was built with your dog’s comfort in mind. It features waterproof Oxford fabric on the outside and a comfortable fleece liner on the inside.

There are storage pockets on the side, and the bottom features an anti-slip mat for a secure hold on the car seat. This easy-to-install seat makes pet travel easy and comfortable for small dogs and cats.

Best For: Small and medium dogs

Sizes Available: 19.68” W x 21.65”L x 9.84”H

Weight Capacity: N/A

Features: Nylon construction; anti-slip rubber bottom; machine washable

  • Machine washable
  • Anti-slip bottom
  • Pockets for storage
  • Double stitched edges
  • Waterproof oxford fabric sides
  • The dye of the fabric may emit a smell that is unpleasant to dogs and their owners

Review: Pet parents were mostly happy with this product. They said this pet bed kept their small and medium-sized dogs safe and comfortable on multiday car rides.

The most common complaint was regarding the construction of the bed. Unhappy customers said this dog safety seat quickly fell apart after use.

Wuglo Extra Stable with Fastening Straps Dog Car Seat

Summary: This medium-sized dog carrier attaches to the headrest and provides dogs with a safe space they can relax during car travel. Its sturdy construction and reinforced walls provide great protection to a car’s seat from dog hair, claws, and dirt.

The sides feature four horizontal and four vertical bars to provide a safe and kennel-like environment, which can be soothing to anxious dogs. To keep your dog safe, four belts are used to anchor the seat in place. In addition, the length-adjustable safety belt on our dog car booster seat keeps your dog firmly where it needs to be.

Best For: Dogs under 50 pounds

Sizes Available: Sm, Med, Lg

Weight Capacity: 50 lbs

Features: Waterproof, 4 belts and anchors, reinforced walls

  • Fits medium to large dogs
  • Hefty anchoring system
  • Reinforced walls
  • Waterproof
  • Sturdy enough for dogs to lean against and on during travel
  • Pricier than other options on this list

Review: Most consumers were happy with their purchases. They said it worked great and there was plenty of room in the seat for their dogs to be comfortable. Numerous positive reviews, however, go on to say it is “good, not great” and that it “does its job.”

Negative comments only make up 5% of total reviews, and the most common complaint is how flimsy the walls seem to be once assembled. These people’s dogs were quickly able to cause a collapse and their dogs could easily escape by jumping.

HIFUAR Armrest Booster Seat for Small Dogs

Summary: This small pet carrier fits right in the middle of the two front seats and rests on the center console. This allows the carrier to use the sides of the front seats for stability.

This bucket booster pet seat is suitable for pets up to 9 pounds and features a pillow in the front that can be adjusted to fit smaller pets. The outer jacket is removable and machine washable, and the fleece liner makes for a great dog bed for travel in all four seasons.

Best For: Small dogs and cats

Sizes Available: Small

Weight Capacity: 9 lbs

Features: Allows pets to sit in the front seat; front pillow; adjustable width; removable outer jacket

  • Allows dogs to sit next to their humans during car rides
  • The pillow on the front is adjustable
  • The outer jacket is machine washable
  • Uses the sides of the car seat for stability
  • Gives dogs a greater field of vision in the car
  • Expensive
  • Only useable for pets under 9 pounds

Review: Almost 85% of ratings were 4 and 5 stars. These customers expressed satisfaction with this dog carrier and said it was “worth every penny,” but even five-star reviews stated it was tricky getting the straps to fit the seats.

Negative reviews were sparse, but the common theme was vague dissatisfaction with the carrier’s build.

MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat with Clip-On Safety Leash and Dog Blanket

Summary: The design of this pet carrier allows pet owners to place their animals higher up on the seat to allow them a better view of their surroundings. It is attached to the seat with a headrest strap and a belt that encircles the back of the seat for a secure fit.

A connecting leash is sewn inside the carrier to keep your pet in the carrier at all times. The metal frame construction provides a sound and sturdy platform for pets to sit in and enjoy the views as they pass by the window.

Best For: Small dogs and cats

Sizes Available: 13”L x 16”W x 9”H

Weight Capacity: 20 lbs

Features: Connecting leash, metal frame construction, storage pockets, offers an elevated view

  • Offers pets a better view out of the window
  • Metal frame construction
  • The safety buckle secures the carrier to the back of the seat
  • Pockets for storage
  • Connective leash
  • The carrier’s position in the car poses a danger of injury from deployed airbags in the event of an accident

Review: Happy pet owners said their cats and dogs loved this pet carrier. Owners of small dogs and medium-sized cats said this was sturdy enough to tolerate their animals standing on the sides while looking out the window, and the straps held the carrier in place on the car seat.

Critical reviews were a little all over the place. There was no common theme, and complaints ranged from people’s dogs falling out of the carrier to the smell of the carrier being potent enough to “nearly knock me over.”

K&H PET PRODUCTS Buckle N' Go Dog Car Seat for Large Dogs

Summary: This pet car seat provides a safe, secure, and restrained location for your pet to ride and is perfect as a large dog car seat. A mesh window provides pets with a view all around them and adequate airflow for comfort.

The straps on this carrier are made to attach to any standard car seat belt, and the leash inside the carrier securely tethers to the dog’s harness so they cannot escape during transit. Quick and easy installation means you can go anywhere at any time with your pet, and it folds flat for easy storage.

Best For: All typical household pets

Sizes Available: 21”L x 19”W x 19”H; 21”L x 13”W x 19”L

Weight Capacity: None

Features: No weight limit; easy installation; folds flat

  • The carrier sits directly on the seat, so there is no weight limit
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Mesh window for airflow
  • Leash attachment inside the carrier prevents escapes
  • Fits on both sides of the back seat
  • Not machine washable or waterproof

Review: Reviews on this carrier were largely positive, with most people saying simply that “it worked well.” Dog owners of large breeds said it helped to calm their anxious dogs down on car rides, and they were happy to see less fur around their car as it was contained inside the carrier.

One and two-star reviews accounted for 7% of total reviews, and these people had dogs who had managed to escape the carrier or force it to collapse by resting on the side.

What Should I Look for in a Dog Car Seat?

There are a few things you will want to look for when buying a new dog car seat. We have listed some of them below:

  • Material. The type of material you get can depend on things like personal preference, dog activity level, or how much the dog sheds. If a dog is active and swims often, then a waterproof seat will do a better job at protecting your car than one that isn’t.
  • Weight Limit. Some car seats have no weight limit, but those that do often only are rated for dogs up to 30 pounds. Pay close attention to the capacity of the car seat you’re considering to make sure it is appropriate for your dog.
  • Application. If your dog is only in the car for a short amount of time per day, then something with a tether inside the seat may be better suited than something that is larger and allows the dog more freedom to move around. Consider the height of the sides and whether or not you want your dog to be able to jump out. A taller wall may be better suited to protect your cat from a dog’s car sickness, but a shorter wall might do better on road trips so the dogs can see.

Where Is the Safest Place to Put Your Dog in the Car?

The safest place for your dog in a car is the back seat and the cargo area. While a small dog may seat in the front seat, this is generally not recommended.

For added safety, the dog should be secured with a dog seat belt, or, if possible, confined in a dog crate. When not using a crate, it is advisable to put dog car seat covers to protect the seats.