In this day and age, we as human beings have come to rely on the automobile for the vast majority of our transportation needs. Whether it is the daily commute to work, going on holiday, visiting someone, or simply wandering around aimlessly looking for adventure, the car is more or less a requirement instead of a luxury.
While it’s true that the car gives us a lot of freedom and a lot of comfort, the same cannot be said about our canine companions, and it’s quite easy to see why. Cars are designed with the human condition in mind, and the designers make decisions based on the human needs in order to achieve comfort. Pets, on the other hand, are given next to no thought during the design process.
That being said, it comes as no surprise that your dog generally has a bad time while in the car. He or she can hardly find a comfortable spot to sit on, and will generally either whimper at you or become increasingly stressed.
Not to mention the fact that dogs have a problem maintaining a comfortable level of balance while in a car, and even though the seats give us more than enough support and comfort, they are generally uncomfortable and quite a challenge for dogs in this regard.
There is a solution, however, currently on the market that will make their lives a lot easier and offer them the same level of comfort that the car interior provides you with. This solution is the dog car seat.
They come in many shapes, sizes and concepts, fulfilling a lot of roles and appealing to almost all dog breeds, however it is very easy to buy the wrong thing for your dog.
What not to buy
When it comes to dog car seats, there are 4 main conditions that must be fulfilled.
- The dog must be supported and provided with a surface to lean on, on all 4 sides.
- The dog must be able to sit and lay down comfortably on it without having to make compromises.
- It must provide at least a basic insulation level through either padding, lining or the material that it is made out of.
- The edges of the car seat must not come in above the dog’s chin level, allowing the dog to look around freely and even rest his or her head on the edge.
If a car seat fails to meet even one of these 4 conditions, it is not suitable for your dog.
Something to note here is the fact that some merchants and manufacturers advertise “padded blankets” as being car seats for dogs, with their main punch line being that it will stop your seats from getting covered in dog hair.
While I agree that shedding is an inconvenience and that it can be quite annoying at times to clean the dog hair out of your car, this part of owning a dog comes with the territory.
That blanket is not actually a car seat, but simply a blanket that sits between your dog and the actual seat, the dog not benefitting comfort-wise or space-wise from that blanket.
A small note that can be added here is that you should avoid things that are not padded or lined with anything. If the dog sits directly on the plastic or metal, he or she will get increasingly uncomfortable while traveling, either due to heat or the uncomfortable nature of hard and rough surfaces.
Let’s look at some of the best car seats available for dogs, and see if we can find one that best suits the needs of both yourself and your dog.
Snoozer Luxury Lookout
This dog car seat is aimed particularly towards small dog breeds, which don’t really require a lot of space to begin with. This seat meets all the conditions imposed above, and on top of all that it also provides the dog with a direct view of the road ahead.
This is due to the fact that this car seat is designed to be placed on the console / arm rest between the driver and passenger seat, bringing the dog’s head at your shoulder level, and pointing him or her forward.
It is comfortable, it’s secure, and it comes in all the standard interior colors, making this little car seat blend in with any car interior. It is fastened with straps to the console, removing the need to drill holes and use screws, and can easily be removed and stored away if want to go somewhere without the dog.
There are a couple of minor downsides to this car seat that need to be mentioned here.
- Your dog might randomly start sniffing your ear while driving.
- It might be a little uncomfortable if you have a stick shifter.
- The dog might sneeze on your face.
- Dogs tend to be easily distracted by the fast moving scenery around them, and you might find yourself distracted by your own dog.
Like this amazing product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.
Fuloon Backseat Travel Hammock
This one is aimed more towards medium size dog breeds, and it is what it sounds like, it’s a hammock style car seat in which the dog sits, quite comfortably I might add.
It covers the entire back seat, and it uses straps to attach itself to the back seat headrests, front seat headrests and roof handles. That’s right, this hammock is fastened and secured in 6 places, making it stable and secure.
It’s properly lined and insulated, making the experience a comfortable one for the dog, which has free range of motion as he or she would on the couch back home.
The sides open up to allow the dog to climb in and out, and all you have to do in order to open them or close them up is to pull two zippers.
The sides are high enough to protect the dog and insulate him or her properly, but short enough to allow the dog to easily raise his or her head and check out the surroundings without any effort.
One more thing to add here is the fact that this hammock is waterproof. That being said, your dog is protected against any outside moisture, and so is the actual backseat against any inside moisture.
As with everything, there are some things that might be considered downsides with this car seat, however they are not as drastic as they sound.
- This seat can only be used with medium sized breeds. It cannot support the weight of a large breed, and it is too much for a small breed.
- It only comes in black with a green inlay print, so if you care about matching it to your interior you might be a bit disappointed.
- It’s a bit of a chore to tie the straps and fasten it in every time you want to go somewhere with your dog.
- It takes up the entire backseat, meaning that you cannot take other passengers other than the one sitting right next to you.
A small note can be made here in regard to the material used. It’s not a downside by any means, and there are dogs that love it, but the material used is quite thick, and if your dog happens to have a very thick coat, like a husky, he or she might start feeling hot and start moving around in order to release some of the heat.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it from Amazon.
Lalawow Car Boot Liner
This one is aimed at the large and giant dog breeds, and even though it might sound a bit strange, it’s not actually a car seat, but rather a very comfortable and at the same time waterproof lining for your trunk.
Before getting all high and mighty on it, remember that this product is aimed towards large and really large breeds, which can’t really sit on the front or back seat. That being said, and if you happen to be the owner of a mini-van / S.U.V. / station wagon, your dog will be more than comfortable in the trunk, with the trunk cover removed of course.
What this liner does is simply line the bottom part of the interior of the trunk, allowing your dog to sit on a warmer and all around more comfortable surface than the actual surface of your trunk, not to mention the fact that it protects the dog from drafts, moisture and other discomforts.
It sports 2 elastic straps which fasten to the backseat headrests, it’s made out of heavy duty waterproof Oxford Fabric, and it comes in 4 colors, to make it easier to match it with your interior.
Before moving on to the downsides of this product, it should be noted that it’s quite easy and at the same time tempting to simply not rake it off after the dog is done using it. However by doing so and carrying things on it repeatedly, you increase the wear and tear on it, making it a lot less comfortable for your dog and shortening the overall life span of the liner.
So what are the downsides to this product?
- It’s not actually a car seat
- It is not big enough to cover the back of a pickup truck
- Your dog will be tempted to play with the edges, sometimes ripping them open
Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.
Solvit Tagalong Deluxe
This one is aimed at small and medium sized dogs.
It’s a more compact car seat, designed so that dogs fit snugly inside, and even though its dimensions cover the exact size of a normal car seat, the dog will fit comfortably inside, without it being too tight or uncomfortable.
It’s thick and cozy, however it stretches out a bit, making it so that medium sized dogs don’t find it too tight, and the small ones find it just right.
Unlike the vast majority of car seats for dogs, this one does not come with straps that tie themselves to parts of the seat or the car in general.
Instead, it’s secured with the actual seat belts, keeping it nice and secure, without having to worry about straps, whether or not they have been fastened properly, and other worries that come with them.
Another great thing about this particular car seat is the fact that it actually elevates the dog 9 inches above the normal seat level, making it easier for them to look out the window.
Another thing that differentiates this seat from the rest is the fact that it’s made in layers that can be separated and washed. The material itself is specially designed in order to not trap odors, so you don’t have to worry about that doggy smell when you pick up passengers.
It also comes with a nifty little safety leash which acts more or less like a little seatbelt for dogs.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though, and there are a couple of cons to this particular seat.
- Its design allows for only one seatbelt to fasten it diagonally through the interior of the seat, so it might seem a bit wobbly at times.
- It’s very snug and cozy, however if you have a dog that has a particularly thick coat, it might cause a small discomfort because of the heat, especially during summer.
- It does not come in a wide range of colors, so you might not be able to make it match the interior of the car.
- The maximum weight of the dog must exceed 30 pounds.
Like this product? Then you can check its price here.
Petego Pet Tube kennel
This one is among the car seats that can be dubbed as being “top of the line” and for a good reason.
This one literally comes with everything that a dog would need.
It comes in different sizes, being able to accommodate all sizes and breeds, it’s lined in such a way that it both insulates and provides a nice refreshing air flow, it’s made out of a claw proof fabric, it can also be adjusted to better suit a particular breed that usually has trouble fitting into such things, it even sports a mesh top that provides shade and protects the dog from excess light.
This, however, is not your normal seat, but rather a kennel.
It is effectively a tube in which the dog sits, and even though some might argue that this restricts the dog’s movement, or it deprives the dog of a certain degree of freedom, that is not the case. It’s designed so that the dog can peer through the mesh, both through the top and out the sides, being able to look outside, while at the same time being more protected from the sun.
This solution is perfectly suited if you have a dog that tends to be a bit rowdy, especially while in the car. It’s made to take a lot of abuse from a pet, being able to withstand clawing, chewing, and everything else a pet can throw at it.
It sports 3 solid and durable straps that fasten to the backseat, tightly fastening it and making it a lot more stable than other car seats.
It comes in multiple variants. It can cover the entire backseat, just one seat, and they can even be adjusted to custom sizes if the need arises.
When it is not used in order to transport pets, you can fold it up into a thin circular bag and store it easily in the garage or around the house.
As with everything, there are a few downsides to this product.
- It is top of the line when it comes to pet transportation, and the price reflects this. It’s a bit more expensive than other solutions however the price is still fair.
- It’s covered, like a kennel, and the dog can’t really stand upright, it can, however lay down. That being said, some dogs might not appreciate it, and you might find yourself stopping on long trips to let the dog stretch his or her legs.
- Cleaning it is a bit tricky.
If you interested you can buy it from Amazon.
There is quite a bit of choice when it comes to car seats for your pets. Regardless of the breed, the size, the personal preferences of your dog, you can find something that will suit your dog’s needs.
There are still dogs that prefer to tough it out. For some reason, they like the way in which they travel, even without a car seat. It might be because they got used to it, or maybe because they don’t know of any alternatives, however if your dog is struggling, and you can see that traveling is a stressful thing for him or her, then a dog car seat is what you need.
They can be found online or at specialty shops, and they are quite affordable. Do, however, make sure that you aim to fulfill your dog’s needs, and not to pinch as many pennies as possible.
Remember, the prices are fair, and they are affordable, but they are not the cheapest things on the market.