DIY Dog Car Seat: 4 Ways to Promote Safe Car Travel for Dogs

dog in car dog seat
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Your furry children are as much a part of your family as your own kids. They sleep with you and watch TV with you. Whenever you plan a long drive or a road trip, your four-legged family member accompanies you. When your canine companion is traveling with you in the car, you can’t just let him loose in the backseat; it’s not safe. You need something to restrain his movements with, such as a DIY dog car seat.

Dog stores and online platforms offer a great variety of dog car seats. But their sky-high price range does not suit those with a limited budget. You might start to wonder: What should you do? Do you have no choice but to leave your furry sidekick back at home? Not at all!

dog looking out of car window

DIY car seats for dogs are an affordable alternative. They are no less secure than commercially-produced dog seats in any way. You just have to make sure you create them properly, which is what we strive to help you achieve with this article.

We are going to break down a number of quick, innovative, and budget-friendly ideas for making a dog car seat at home. We have four different instructions lined up and ready for you. For those who don’t think it imperative to have a dog seat, we will start this article by putting forward a passel of convincing arguments to highlight the significance of using a car seat for dogs. Just keep scrolling.

Why Invest in a Car Seat for Your Bestie?

man travelling with a dog

According to a survey by the American Automobile Association, about one in five pet parents have to take their hands off of the steering wheel to control their restless puppy. The same survey indicates that only 16% of pet parents restrain their pets in the car, and the remaining 84% don’t.

If the quick newsflash above has convinced you that you need to make a DIY car seat, you can skip to the second half of the article. If you’re still not convinced, let’s have a closer look at why dog car seats are important while traveling.

Reason #1: Safety

Safety is the first and foremost reason for arranging restraints for pets while traveling. Dogs often get panicked and restless while traveling in a vehicle and that can be dangerous for all.

A dog car seat functions as a safe space that restricts your pup’s movement—especially between the seats, which is quite the dangerous zones.

Reason #2: Fun Travel

dog watching the road

A journey should be pleasant, not just for you, but also for that furry companion sitting in the car with you. Your dog’s curious nature does not allow him to stay still and calm. Most pups will spend their time jumping and looking around to get a better view of the outside world—to no avail because the window is just too tall for them.

A DIY dog seat can easily be created according to your dog’s size (by measuring height and width). You can create one that’s tall enough to help your dog look out the window while sitting comfortably.

Reason #3: Better Health

Have you ever suffered car sickness? We feel fatigued and heavy-headed when we experience low visibility while traveling. The same goes for dogs (and other four-legged pets). The better the visibility, the lower the chances of car sickness plaguing your dog. A dog seat ensures better viewing by uplifting the pup close to the window.

Also, constant bouncing and jumping in the car might result in upset tummies for dogs. Creating a seat both comfy and secure will keep your dog healthy with no hiccups throughout the travel.

See Also: Dog Car Sickness

Reason #4: Hygiene

dog spoiled car seats

We all spend quite a lot on our car seat covers. Dogs can ruin them in a single trip. Dog seats protect your seat covers from dog hair, muddy paws, droll, and upchucks.

The last one is especially important because it’s so difficult to get both the stain and the smell out of your cat seat once the deed has been done.

See Also: Best Way to Remove Dog Hair from Car

4 Innovative Ideas for DIY Dog Car Seat

Car seat for a dog

Read on here to get a plethora of unique ideas on homemade car seats for dogs. You will only need some affordable and readily available materials to come up with amazing dog-friendly car seats.

DIY Dog Car Seat #1: Comfy Fleece Basket


  • A laundry basket that is suitable for your dog’s size

  • A 1-inch thick polyfoam to wrap around the basket

  • A blanket or a yard of polar fleece

  • Scissors to cut the polar fleece

  • A pillow

  • A polar fleece blanket to use as a pillow cover

  • Sticky back Velcro roll

  • A dog leash and a padded dog harness


  • The first step is to take the basket and make two slits in its back. The cut-outs would be utilized to pass a seatbelt through it (but that happens in the end). Holes should be made after measuring the slimmer end of the seatbelt.

  • Cut polyfoam after measuring the basket’s size. Now wrap the foam around it. Get it adjusted beneath the lip of the basket. Use some masking tape to fix it.

  • Cut out some small pieces of polyfoam and paste it to the upper interior edges of the bucket.

  • Now take a blanket or a polar fleece and start wrapping it around the basket. Fix it evenly on all sides—especially the bottom. Any extra fabric should be stuffed inside the basket.

  • Once you have fixed the fleece nicely, use Velcro to glue both sides of the blanket together. If you are good at sewing, you can stitch them together.

  • Flip the basket over. To make it more secure for your fuzz ball, pass and tie the leash from holes in the inner side of the basket. The length of the leash should allow your dog to be comfortable. Both too long and too short are dangerous.

  • Once you are done with the size, fix in a metal clip to the leash’s hoop.

  • Do you remember the holes we made earlier (in the basket)? Mark the exact spot and cut the fabric and polyfoam layer to pass the seatbelt through them.

  • Fill in the interior of the basket. For that, we have a soft pillow. Simply wrap the pillow with a pillow cover or some polar fleece. Any extra fabric should be bunched up below the pillow.

The leash that you tied in the interior should be kept on top of the pillow. When you are about to leave, get your dog with a padded harness. Fix the harness to the leash’s clip to control your pup. Pass the slimmer end of the seatbelt through the slits in the basket and fasten it up.

Always use a padded harness to attach the clip. Never use a collar as it might result in undesirable situations like choking.

DIY Dog Car Seat #2: Cookie Pan Car Seat for Smaller Dogs

cookie pan


  • A cookie pan to give a leak-proof and solid base to the seat

  • A small blanket to be used as a seat cover

  • An old piece of cloth

  • Velcro

  • 5’ of half-an-inch thick PVC pipe

  • Half an inch elbows (4)

  • Backpack straps for hanging


  • The first step is to stitch an outer cover for the cookie pan. For that, you need to cut the fabric in a crisscross pattern. Cut the cloth in such a way that you get four square sides to a center (where you are supposed to place the pan).

  • Before you start cutting, place the pan on the cloth and measure the size of the center.

  • Now you’ve got a base with four square corners. Now is the time to show your stitching talent. Stitch every corner together to make a box-like covering. Leave a little space unstitched on top of the cover. This would be the place where you will stitch a loop for the PVC frame later on.

  • The next step is to make the frame of the seat cover. Take a PVC pipe and cut it according to the size of the pan (four pieces equal to four corners of the pan). Measure and mark each side of the pan on PVC before cutting it.

  • Once you have got four pieces of pipes, apply PVC gum to their corners and get them fixed to the half inch elbows. Now you’ve got four square frames.

  • Cut one side of the PVC pipe from its center. This part would help in passing the pipe inside the loop of the pan cover (already mentioned above).

  • Get the frame inside the cover. Place the cookie pan inside it. Now we need to work on something to hide that pan inside. Here comes the blanket. Choose dark-colored blankets as your dog will ruin it with his muddy paws (and other stuff).

  • Simply placing the blanket on the pan would not work. We need to get the blanket fixed so that it does not shift around.

  • Sew about one inch of Velcro strips to each corner of the already-sewn fabric bag. Stitch the same Velcro strips to each corner of the blanket as well (after measuring the right position) and fix them together.

  • To keep the dog seat fixed in the car, you need backpack strips. Stitch one strip on one side of the bag (in the center) to the other end. This backpack strip would go around the headrest of the seat.

  • Stich the second backpack strip to the back edges of the seat bag. This strip would be tied to the back of the seat to keep it fixed.

To use this car seat, simply use a padded harness for dogs and clip it to strip, so that your dog won’t be able to move around. This homemade car seat is suitable for small breeds of about 6 to 10 pounds in weight.

DIY Dog Car Seat #3: A Simple and Basic Dog Car Seat

blue plastic basket


  • A plastic basket

  • Some foam to wrap the basket with

  • Glue sticks and a hot glue gun

  • A large-sized soft fabric

  • A pet seat belt

  • A ribbon to beautify the seat


  • Take the foam and cut it into the size of the bottom of the basket. This piece would be used as a comfy base for the seat.

  • Now cut four long pieces of the foam. Glue them to all four corners of the basket.

  • Create a long slit on both sides of the plastic container. These cuts are made so you can pass the car seat buckle through it.

  • Place the fabric in the basket and fix it well inside and outside to make it form of a cover. Use sticky Velcro strips where necessary and adjust the fabric well.

  • To keep the seat cover secured to its place, tie a wide ribbon all around it. When you need to wash the covering, simply untie the ribbon and wash the cloth.

  • Remember the slits that you created in the plastic bucket? Create two more in the same place, this time on the fabric.

  • Place the bucket in the car. Now pass the seat belts through these cuts (in both bucket and blanket) and buckle it. Your DIY dog seat is ready.

To keep your dog in his seat, get a backpack strip with a clip. Attach one side of the strip to your dog’s padded harness and the other to the seatbelt.

DIY Dog Car Seat #4: Cloth Hamper Car Seat

square cloth hamper


  • A cloth hamper in square shape

  • Scissors

  • A hot glue gun

  • A fleece blanket (1)

  • Throw pillows (2)

  • One dog leash


  • The first step is to cover the hamper with the fleece blanket. Use hot glue on the inside of the box to fix it.

  • Make two holes in the back of the cloth hamper (and blanket). The cutouts would be used to accommodate the seat belts. It would help in keeping the seat fixed in place.

  • Before you put the throw pillows inside, fasten the leash to one of the holes in the box.

When the pillows are adjusted and you are ready for your trip, make your harnessed doggie sit on the comfy cushions. Attach his padded harness to the leash’s clip. It would keep the dog safe and secure in place.

Wrap Up

travelling with dog by car

As pet parents, you must realize the importance of restraining your dog while in a vehicle. It is significant not just for the dog, but also for all the others riding in the same car. Whenever you DIY a dog seat, make sure you create one in the right size. Your dog must have some space to wiggle, lie down, and stretch out in.

Summing it up, in this article, we have narrowed down some of the most budget-friendly and easy-to-make dog seat DIY projects. We hope you now understand why it is important that you invest in a dog car seat and how to make one for your dog.

Do you often travel with your furry champ? Do share your story with us. We would also like to get your views if you have some unique and cost-effective DIY suggestions. Pen down your verdict in the comments section below. Lastly, since you are a pet parent who cares about your dog’s health and comfort, how about making some DIY toothpaste for your dog as well? Your dog’s dental health also needs to be protected.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.