A dog car seat, combined with a specially designed seatbelt or dog car harness, keeps your dog under control while driving and also helps ensure their safety as well as yours in the case of an accident. Some states legally require that dogs be properly harnessed and restrained during travel, and you could end up with a hefty fine if you fail to meet these requirements.
The seat needs to be large enough to fit your dog, comfortable for the length of journeys you will take, and it should be compatible with the type of car you have as well as the harness you will use.
Below, you will find reviews of the best dog car seats and booster seats to make your journey safer and ensure everyone’s safety.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Nandog Quilted Micro-Plush Dog Car Seat Bed
|Jespet Car Travel Dog Booster Seat
|Snoozer Pet Products Lookout II Dog & Cat Car Seat
|Frisco Travel Hanging Car Seat Dog Carrier
|K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Seat Knockdown Dog Booster Seat
The 10 Best Dog Car Seats & Booster Seats
1. Nandog Quilted Micro-Plush Dog Car Seat Bed – Best Overall
|22 x 18 x 8 Inches
The Nandog Quilted Micro-Plush Dog Car Seat Bed is a comfortable bed with a soft plush outer and comfortable polyfill that offers a cushioned bed. The bolster bed sits on the car chair and the seatbelt or harness passes through holes in the rear of the cushion.
The seat is an appropriate size to fit on the front or rear seats and comes in small or medium, with the medium being appropriate for medium breeds. You will need something bigger if you have a large breed dog. The seat comes in a choice of light or dark gray, so it should be suitable for most car interiors or to better hide different dog hair colors.
It is soft and comfortable, easy to secure to a car seat, and is machine washable so you don’t need to hand wash it. The Nandog Quilted Micro-Plus Dog Car Seat Bed is affordably priced, too, making it the best overall dog car seat and booster seat for safe travel with your pup.
2. Jespet Car Travel Dog Booster Seat – Best Value
|Faux Fur, Synthetic Fabric
|16 x 13 x 9 Inches
The Jespet Car Travel Dog Booster Seat is a hanging car seat, which means that the handle hooks over the back of the seat. This gives your dog a boost in height so it can see out of the car window. A lot of dogs prefer to be able to see out of the window while traveling. It can help calm dogs that are restless in the car and can even help prevent travel sickness that blights your car journeys. However, it does mean that this kind of car seat only works on seats that have headrests.
The booster seat takes dogs that weigh up to 24 pounds, which means it is only really suitable for smaller breeds and puppies. But it has a fleece liner that will keep your pet warm and comfortable, as well as an inner pad that can be removed for cleaning. There’s a front pocket for dog treats and other items, and the seat comes with its own dog car seatbelt.
The Jespet is very reasonably priced and considering its decent features and the inclusion of a car seatbelt, this makes it the best dog car seat and booster seat for the money. However, as well as having a 24-pound weight limit, the seatbelt is quite short so won’t be suitable for taller, lighter dogs, and it isn’t machine washable.
3. Snoozer Pet Products Lookout II Dog & Cat Car Seat – Premium Choice
|Synthetic Fiber, Polyester
|17 x 30 x 19 Inches
The Snoozer Pet Products Lookout II Dog & Cat Car Seat is a large car seat that offers plenty of room for small to medium-sized pooches that like to really spread out. However, it does have a restrictive weight limit which means that the large bed still isn’t suitable for large breed dogs. It will hold dogs up to 34 pounds in weight, however, and it is more luxurious than a lot of other beds.
The Snoozer Lookout II has a raised seat, so it is a booster seat and allows your dog to be able to watch the world through the window. It also has a storage tray that can be used to hold treats and toys, and there is a connection strap to connect the bed to a harness or seatbelt. The bed itself has a faux lamb’s wool interior that is soft and comfortable while the main bed is made from a firm foam that provides support during the journey.
The bed is luxurious but it is expensive and despite being large, it isn’t suitable for big dogs.
4. Frisco Travel Hanging Car Seat Dog Carrier – Best for Puppies
|20 x 15 x 10 Inches
The Frisco Travel Hanging Car Seat Dog Carrier is a hanging carrier that can be used on any car seat, as long as it has a headrest to hang the loop around. The elevated position gives your dog a better view of what is going on outside the car. The plush liner is comfortable and the foam cushion offers support. And there’s a plastic shell around the whole seat which provides greater stability and security for your dog.
The seat is very reasonably priced and the liner and cushion can be machine washed so it is a convenient option for you, too. There is a weight limit of 20 pounds, so the Frisco Travel Hanging Car Seat Dog Carrier is not suitable for large dogs.
5. K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Seat Knockdown Dog Booster Seat
|22 x 20 x 16 Inches
The K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Seat Knockdown Dog Booster Seat is a bolster booster seat that sits directly on the car seat and has holes in the back through which you can loop and attach the car seatbelt. It has a heavy exterior fabric and a fleece liner that offers insulation to keep your dog cool in the warm weather and warm when it’s cold.
The seat is expensive and like most booster and bolster seats, it is only suitable for small and medium breeds so you will need to look elsewhere if you have a large breed dog. The seat can be used in front and rear seats and it has a contoured back wall to offer a more convenient position. The knock-down design also means that the car seat can be taken down and folded away for more convenient storage.
6. Kurgo Heather Dog Booster Seat
|Synthetic Fiber, Polyester
|12 x 6 x 8 Inches
The Kurgo Heather Dog Booster Seat is a small booster seat but its 30-pound weight limit means that it is suitable for heavier small breeds. It has a metal frame, which offers rigidity and support, and it ensures that the seat remains stable throughout the journey. It is a hanging seat so it needs to be installed on a car seat with a headrest, but it offers an elevated position.
The bed has a waterproof exterior as well as a machine-washable liner. The interior pad is reversible and the whole thing installs quickly and easily without the need for any tools. Front pockets can be used to store treats, a leash, poop bags, and other accessories, and it is reasonably priced considering how robust the seat is.
However, despite having a 30-pound weight limit, its design, and especially the positioning of the holes to secure the seat to the seatbelt, mean that this seat is only suitable for small pups and there are some issues with the seat not leveling out properly.
7. Trixie Dog Car Booster Seat
|Synthetic Fabric, Polyester
|16.5 x 17.7 x 15.5 Inches
The Trixie Dog Car Booster Seat is a bolster support seat that can be used on front or rear seats, regardless of whether they have headrests or not. It is slightly elevated by a foam cushion and it has a hook to attach a harness to, ensuring your dog stays in position even while you’re driving.
The bed can even be removed and used as a travel bed. It has a small pouch pocket at the front, which is big enough to hold a few treats or a small toy, and the whole seat has a maximum weight limit of 17.6 pounds.
However, while the walls of the bed stay upright on their own, they are only made of soft foam so they will easily fold and bend if your dog is the kind of pup that tries to get out or moves around too much. And the Trixie Dog Car Booster Seat is expensive for quite a small seat.
8. Snoozer Pet Products Console Lookout Dog Car Seat
|Polyester, Faux Fur
|19 x 12 x 7 Inches
Whether you only have a single front cabin in your vehicle, or your dog likes to ride up front and prefers an elevated position, a console car seat could be a good option.
The Snoozer Pet Products Console Lookout Dog Car Seat is designed to sit atop the center console, attaching to the backs of the driver and passenger seats in the front, and under the center console lid. This naturally gives the dog an elevated position and it means your dog can ride up front even when both the front seats are being used.
The bed has a Sherpa interior that is comfortable and also machine washable. The bed is small and it won’t work with double center consoles or those with sliding or rolling console lids, however.
9. Snoozer Pet Products High-Back Console Pet Car Seat
|Synthetic Fiber, Microfiber
|18 x 9 x 7 Inches
Center console seats are useful for those dogs that like to be in the thick of the action. They can get fidgety when left alone in the back seat. The center console is situated perfectly between the front seats and putting a bed here also naturally gives your pooch an elevated position so they can see where they’re traveling. Being able to see directly in front and from a comfortable position can reduce the risks of travel sickness and reduce agitation.
The Snoozer Pet products High-Back Console Pet Car Seat attaches to the console and the seat backs, and the high back prevents your dog from slipping or jumping into the back seat. There is a soft pillow for comfort and the liner can be removed and machine-washed, so it is a convenient bed option. However, the Snoozer Pet Products High-Back Console Pet Car Seat is expensive for its size and only works with select console configurations.
10. K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Seat Rectangle Knockdown Dog Booster Seat
|21.5 x 16 x 14 Inches
The K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Seat Rectangle Knockdown Dog Booster Seat is a booster seat design that can be used on front or rear seats. It uses a foam booster cushion that provides a little extra padding, and it has a removable fleece cover. The contoured back ensures the booster seat sits snugly against the car seat, preventing movement and ensuring a more comfortable position for your pup.
The seat comes with safety tethers that attach to your dog’s harness to keep them safe and secure. However, the seat is expensive and the foam wall design means that the seat does not prevent your dog from being thrown forward, so you will need to ensure that their harness is extra secure.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Car Seats
Taking the dog out in the car can be an exciting experience for the dog and for you, the owner. It can also be a necessity to ensure that you can get your dog to and from the vet, doggy daycare, or other appointments.
However, just letting your dog roam the rear seat or front seat can pose a hazard for you and may lead to injury for your dog. Even if you aren’t involved in an accident, sudden braking or last-minute maneuvering can cause your dog to lose balance and potentially injure itself as it falls on the floor.
A car seat, when used in conjunction with a secure harness or a fixed dog seatbelt can eliminate these risks. And, in some cases, it may be the law that you have to have the appropriate equipment to ensure your dog is properly restrained while traveling.
Car Seat Types
Although there aren’t dozens of different designs, there is a surprising number of different dog seat types, primarily based on the elevation levels offered and the area of the car that the seat is designed for.
Features to Look For
As well as choosing the type of car seat, certain features are worth looking out for when buying a dog car seat.
All dog seats should have safety fastenings or allow the seatbelt or harness to pass through the base or back of the seat and attach to the dog’s own safety equipment. You will usually need to have a dog seatbelt or harness for use with a dog seat, but some do include seatbelts or other additional fastenings.
Machine Washable Components
Even the cleanest dogs tend to leave behind hair and dust. And if you drive your dog to the beach or to go hiking, they will undoubtedly track a lot of dirt in the car and especially into their car seat. Machine washable liners and covers are easier to manage than those that need hand washing. You can simply remove them and throw them in the washing machine, but not all car seats have these features.
Most cars have some room for storage, whether it is the central console or door wells. But, having pockets in your dog’s car seat means you can use this space to keep poop bags, dog treats, and other items specifically used for the dog. While not essential, pockets can be a useful feature to have and are worth looking out for.
Generally, dog seats are designed for smaller dogs. Large dogs can sit in the seat unaided and they don’t need the elevated position that some seats afford. For smaller dogs, yours will need to move around a little so ensure it has room to turn. Some dogs prefer to spread out, and if your dog does prefer to sprawl, rather than curl, the dimensions of the bed need to be larger. Some of the hanging and even booster seats also have a maximum load so you will need to consider the weight of your dog to ensure that it doesn’t tear through the bottom, break the straps, or otherwise break the seat.
How to Make Sure Your Dog Is Safe While Traveling in the Car
Car seats can offer comfort and a more enjoyable position for dogs to sit, but you also need to ensure the safety of your dog and you and your passengers when driving.
Dog seatbelts attach to a dog’s collar or harness and usually have a bungee-style material so if the car stops suddenly, your dog will still be safe and uninjured. Harnesses also help keep the dog in a more stable and secure position, spreading the load around the body if the car does jerk or stop suddenly.
Seatbelts and harnesses should attach through the car seat, which itself should be firmly attached to the seats or the seatbelt of the car.
You also need to consider the best seat position for your dog. A calm dog might be able to travel in the front seat if that is legal where you live, but if your dog is constantly trying to get to you, the back seat is the safer seat position.
Do You Legally Have to Have a Dog Car Seat?
Although laws differ from state to state and country to country, a dog seat is not usually a legal requirement. However, some states have prohibited dogs from traveling in the front seat, while many now require that the dog is suitably restrained while in the car, which means using a dog seatbelt or harness. Check your local state laws to find out the specific requirements where you live.
A dog car seat can make car journeys more comfortable for your dog and less stressful for you. They provide somewhere comfortable to sit and typically attach to a seatbelt or harness to ensure safety and security. They can also provide an elevated seating position, which may calm anxious passengers and even help prevent motion sickness.
Above, we have included reviews of 10 of the best dog car seats and booster seats. The Nandog Quilted Micro-Plush Dog Car Seat Bed offers the best combination of affordability, comfort, and flexible positioning in the car. The Jespet Car Travel Dog Booster Seat is not only very competitively priced but even includes a dog car seatbelt and is the best car seat option on a budget.