Best Dog Car Seats and Booster Seats
Dog car seats and booster seats keep small and medium size dogs safe and comfy when driving in a car. Check out our selection of car seats for dogs to ensure your pet can accompany on the ride, look through the window, and be safely and comfortably tethered while you focus on the road.
It’s no secret that us pet pawrents like our pooches to tag along with us everywhere we go. Whether it’s a well-deserved vacation or a family visit, a car ride with your pet is likely to happen sooner rather than later, and that’s assuming that your pet is not already a regular companion to you when you drive. However, small dogs can’t just sit back and enjoy the ride–they need the proper equipment to be safe and comfortable in the passenger seat of your car.
Available in different types and designs, dog car seats and booster seats are a must for all petite pooches. They prevent your pet from wiggling and bothering you while you’re trying to focus on the road, give them a comfy seat that allows them to look out the window, and keeps them safely tethered to prevent accidents and motion sickness. For bigger dogs, there are alternative to car seats, but small breed dogs usually do best with a car seat, as it meets all of their specific size and comfort requirements. Unrestrained pets in the car can often cause accidents by diverting the driver’s attention, so not only that dog car seats and booster seats are a great accessory for your pet, but they are also a much-needed safety measure.
However, choosing between many styles of dog car seats and booster seats might not be as straightforward as you think. There are plenty of factors to pay attention to, from size to construction, and every detail is important if you want to ensure the fit is perfect for your pet, both in terms of safety and comfort. Our comprehensive guide on dog car seats and booster seats and how to choose them will help you find out what you need to look for. And as a bonus, you won’t have to spend hours locating the right match once you know what you want–just check out our list of the 10 best dog car seats and booster seats and pick one for your pampered pooch.
1. Best Choice Overall: Devoted Doggy Deluxe Dog Booster Car Seat
This bucket-style booster car seat is ideal for dogs up to 20 lbs. The raised sides keep your pet comfortably confined in one spot, and the inner leash clip can make it even more secure by allowing you to attach your pet’s collar or harness to the seat itself. When it comes to the attachment style of the Devoted Doggy Deluxe Dog Booster Car Seat, it’s suitable for the front seat of the car. One strap goes around the back of the seat and the other around the headrest, anchoring the seat in place. Well-made, this booster seat has a sturdy metal construction and a warm and comfy sherpa lining for superior comfort during road trips.
2. Runner Up: K&H Pet Products Bucket Booster Pet Seat
The K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat works just as easily in your front seat as it does in your back. It is constructed with an elevated bottom of 5.5 inches so you’re your petite pooches get the chance to check out the view. This unique feature puts it on the top of our list for those small dog breeds. There are two safety leashes attached to the seat which you need to connect to your pet’s harness for extra security. To install the pet seat into your car, it is very similar to putting in a baby seat. Makes sense since these are your fur babies! Simply loop the car’s seatbelt through the hidden loops under the removable cover and that will hold the entire booster seat safely to your car’s seat. It is easy to keep clean with its removable, washable quilted fleece cover that will keep your pets comfy on the ride without extra maintenance on your part.
3. Customer’s Choice: Kurgo Car Pet Booster Seat for Dogs
This car booster seat comes in two versions: one designed to fit the front seat, and the other better suited to be attached to the rear seat of the car. The Kurgo’s front seat booster attaches with clasps around the car seat, with a strap that goes over the headrest and adds another layer of stability and security. The cover of the booster seat has convenient pockets all around for storing your pet’s knickknacks, so you could say that Kurgo Car Pet Booster Seat for Dogs is ideally suited for all kinds of adventures with your four legged bestie. This booster seat can support dogs that weigh up to 30 pounds, and also gives you some much needed versatility – adjust the position to suit your pet’s needs.
4. Best for Small Breeds: HDP Deluxe Lookout Dog Booster Seat
Made from a durable 600 denier polyester fabric, this affordable yet high quality car seat for dogs is a perfect match for petite pooches that love riding shotgun. HDP Deluxe Lookout Dog Booster Seat can also be used as a regular height car seat in the rear of the car. The adjustable straps go both around the headrest and the seat itself, so your small dog will be able to look out of the window and still be comfy and safe. Available in 4 different colors, this booster car seat will hold most dogs that weigh up to 20 pounds, making it a versatile and reliable choice.
5. Best Adjustable Height: Good2Go Auto Booster Seat
With adjustable height, this car booster seat will be a good choice for tall and short pooches both. If your pet can’t see through the window without a boost, prop up the collapsible flaps that are located under the plush cushion seat to add a few inches to the seat’s height. Suitable for both the front and the back seat of the car, Good2Go Auto Booster Seat is secured with the seat belt. It also boasts a convenient front pocket with a zipper that will hold your pet’s leash, toys, or other accessories for the road. However, if your doggo is one of those super-hyperactive puppers, you might want to look for a booster seat with more belts for complete security.
6. Best for Window Watchers: PetSafe Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat
To make sure that the height of your pet’s car seat is just right, this booster seat uses adjustable headrest straps that can allow you to fasten it at any height you want. So, instead of adding inches on the base of the seat, the Tagalong simply elevates your pet to give him a perfect view. Of course, the ideal height of the seat will vary and you’ll have to figure it out on your own, but one thing is certain- this seat is for the petite pooches only. The Tagalong booster seat is ideal for toy breeds, puppies, and small dog, as it is suitable for dogs that weigh up to 10 pounds.
7. Best Foam Base: Pet Gear Lookout Booster Car Seat
Made out of sturdy foam with soft microsuede cover and removable plush pillow, this booster car seat will give your pooch superior comfort while you’re busy driving – they will probably take a nap once they are through with watching out the window, ‘cause this seat is soooo comfy! It’s elegant too – it won’t stick out like a sore thumb in your car’s exterior.The seat belt fastening makes sure that this booster seat fits perfectly both on the back seat and the front, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. Adjustable and versatile, it gives you plenty of options to choose from.
8. Best Design: MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat
Let your petite pupper enjoy the view from the window- and stay safe at the same time! MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat has an internal collapsible metal frame that allows it to hang safely from the headrest of the seat. The booster seat is anchored on the headrest, and for added security and stability, it also has an adjustable strap that fits snugly around the back of the seat. As for your pet, they’ll feel like they’re on cloud nine! Not only they’ll enjoy the height, but they’ll get to rest on a soft plush liner and a double-sided pad- both of which are removable and machine washable for your convenience. To make sure your pet stays put throughout the roadtrip, there’s also an adjustable leash clip inside you can attach to a harness or a collar your pet is wearing to make sure they don’t jump out during the ride. Measuring 16 inches long x 13 inches wide x 9 inches deep, this car booster seat can support dogs that weigh up to 25 pounds. MARSLABO Dog Car Booster Seat comes in two styles- blue and white stripes, and pink polka dots pattern.
9. Best Booster: BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat for Small Dogs
Safe and cozy, this pet booster seat will be a comfy place for your pet to relax and snooze during the ride. BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat for Small Dogs is made from thick and durable oxford fabric on the outside, reinforced with double stitching for extra toughness, and lined with fluffy, soft material on the inside. The cushion inside it is nicely stuffed so this car booster seat will feel like their own bed- and it’s detachable as well if your pet doesn’t need it. It is also reversible, so in the summer, you can flip the fluffy side for the smooth oxford cloth. The bottom of the bed is waterproof to protect your car seats from any potty accidents that could possibly happen with a nervous pup!
The booster seat is held firmly in place with two straps, one of which is fastened at the back of the seat and one on the headrest. For your pet’s safety , there’s a leash attachment strap that will prevent them from wandering around while you’re focusing on the road. BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat for Small Dogs will support pooches that weigh up to 20 pounds.
10. Honorable Mention: PetSafe Solvit Jumbo Pet Safety Seat for Dogs
Made to support dogs that weigh 35 pounds or less, this jumbo booster seat for dogs is 9 inches high- there’s no doubt your pet will enjoy his new view during the drive. The booster seat connects to your car’s seat belt for stability, so it can be used both in the front and the back seat of the car. And to make sure your pooch is enjoying his ride in style, this seat has a quilted faux suede shell with a quilted plaid liner – coziness and luxurious looks both. Perfect for every chunky pooch out there!
What is a dog booster seat and do you need one for your pet?
The fact that the car seat for dogs is often called a booster seat can be a bit confusing to some pet pawrents, but it’s essentially the same thing. The only difference is that a car seat for dogs doesn’t have t necessarily add any height to your pet and instead just keeps them safe and comfy during the ride, whereas booster seats do offer that additional perk, as well.
Dog booster seats are designed to fit the needs of small dogs, and their role is twofold. First, booster seats ensure that your pet is safe during the drive. You wouldn’t drive without a seat belt on, so why should your pet be without one? There are plenty of reasons why driving with an untethered dog is a bad idea. Your dog could jump in your lap or bother you in some way while you drive, endangering your and other people’s safety on the road. And in the case that you get in an accident, the risk is far greater for your pet if they aren’t tethered. So, it goes without saying that your pet has to be restrained during the ride- but small dogs are not always suitable candidates for a harness and seat belt combo, and often need a more convenient solution such as a booster seat.
The second function of dog car seats and booster seats is to give your pet a better view of his surroundings and make the trip more enjoyable. Unlike big dogs, that can stick out their heads out and enjoy the breeze, petite pooches can often barely see through the car window, A booster seat gives them a taller spot for the lookout. It’s also great if your dog is anxious when in the car, as being able to look around will help ease them and engage them enough to let the worries go.
How to choose the right car seat for your pet
There are plenty of different styles and designs out there, and not all of them will suit your dog’s needs and match your budget at the same time. To make sure you get the best value for money, check out what features you need to look for before purchase:
Making sure you get the right size of your pet’s car seat will be extremely important, both in terms of comfort and security precautions. There are a lot of varieties, and what works for a Yorkie won’t necessarily be a good match for a Frenchie- you have to take your pet’s body measurements into the account. The perfect match should allow your dog to comfortably sit down and lie down while being tethered to the seat. If you opt for a seat that’s too small or too big, your pet will be both uncomfortable and unsafe.
Not all car seats for dogs are booster seats (although the majority of them are). So you’ll have to double-check if the height of the pet seat fits your needs. Depending on the size of your pet, you might have to go for those styles that give them a boost bigger than a couple of inches to allow them to get a peek through the window. In case your dog is petite but tall enough to see through the window without a bit of help, you can go for the regular car seat for dogs that sits flat on the seat of your car.
Is your pooch going to be riding shotgun or are they lounging in the back while you’re road tripping? Before settling on a design, make sure that the dog car seat you chose actually fits your car. Most are pretty much universal and can be easily attached to the car’s seat belt or the seat itself, but there are plenty of types that have uncommon dimensions or attachment style that could render it useless for your needs.
Keeping your dog safe while you drive: alternatives to dog car seats and booster seats
While dog car seats and booster seats have plenty of upsides and benefits, not all dogs can use them. For starters, a large breed dog is certainly not going to fit in a booster seat – he’s probably having trouble comfortably fitting inside as it is! Still, this doesn’t mean you should leave a pupper unsecured during driving! No matter the size or character of your dog , their safety is important: large breed or small – it doesn’t mean that there are no other options for keeping dogs safe during a car drive besides dog car seats and booster seats.
Dog seat belt harness
Dog harnesses that attach to seat belts are the most common option, as they come in all sizes and are easy to use. The harness goes on your pet and attaches to the seat belt itself, keeping them tethered and secure even when the road is bumpy. Of course, it’s best if you combine a seat belt harness with a car seat cover–just to make sure that the loose hair, dirt, and claw marks don’t ruin your car’s interior.
A zipline harness attaches to the rear seat’s passenger seat belt to keep your pet tethered, but it doesn’t restrain their movement like a regular harness does. Instead, they are free to roam around the back seat as they please, which can be a downside or an upside – it all depends on the dog. Naturally, this type of driving protection is meant only for well behaved and trained dogs that won’t use the opportunity to make a ruckus on the back seat. A zipline harness is not meant for hyperactive dogs or long travels – any sudden stops can injure your pet.
Carriers and crates
Crates and travel carriers are also a common choice, especially for longer travel destinations, and also one of the safest solutions. If you have to drive for hours and want your pooch to have a safe, comfy spot to nap while you’re at the wheel, a crate or a carrier could be just what you need. Depending on your dog’s preferences and the size of the car, a crate could be placed in the back seat or in the boot of the car. This puts their security on a whole new level. And if the carrier is enhanced with a strap to keep it in place – the safety level is 100%!
Back seat hammock
A back seat hammock will keep your pet comfy in the back seat, while at the same time restricting them access to the front of the car. It’s not ideal in terms of long rides as it doesn’t tether your pet to the back seat, but it’s great for shorter distances. If you know that your pup loves to snooze on car rides and isn’t quite active, a hammock can be the right solution. But owners of restless dogs might not find it ideal.
It is clear that dog car seats and booster seats can make a big improvement in both yours and your pupper’s daily routine. Traveling is made infinitely easier, and so convenient- both for your pet and yourself. These nifty accessories can be ideal when you are dealing with hyperactive dogs. Leaving them unrestrained can be risky – an over enthusiastic pooch can distract you from driving and that is never good. With a dog car seat, this issue is easily eliminated. Safety is a number one priority – always look for designs that have plenty of securing points and won’t allow shuffling, shifting, or too much freedom of movement for the dog. Keeping your pet secured during driving is crucial for their safety, too – the force exerted during abrupt braking can be very dangerous for an unsecured pooch.
Are dog car booster seats safe?
Properly designed and tested car booster seats for dogs are perfectly safe for use. They are designed to keep your pet restrained during the ride but still comfortable and cozy. Most, if not all, dog car booster seats come with a built-in leash clip that allows you to attach a collar or a harness directly to the seat and make sure your pooch can’t move around while you drive.
What is the safest way for a dog to travel in a car?
The safest way for a dog to travel in a car is one that keeps them restrained to one place or one area of the car and prevents them from being propelled in front in case of an accident. This could be a doggie seatbelt, a car booster seat, or, if you have a large dog and an SUV, a crate in the back of the car. The choice will depend on your pet’s size, habits, and your own personal preferences- just make sure that they are safely tethered during the ride.
Is it illegal to have a dog in the front seat?
In some states in the US you can be ticketed if you drive with a dog in the front seat or with a dog that isn’t restrained, as it is considered to be a distraction. While, in most cases, it is perfectly normal and legal to drive with a pet in the front seat, there are some rules to follow, including moving your seat a bit, turning off the airbags on the passenger’s side, and making sure that the dog is tethered either through a leash clip on a car booster seat or with a dog seatbelt.
Can raised dog car seats help dogs with travel sickness?
In some cases, yes. If your dog is suffering motion sickness because they feel disoriented or anxious, sitting in a car booster seat can greatly help with their symptoms. The raised seat gives them a view of their surroundings, but still keeps them forward facing which prevent the vestibular confusion that can happen if the dog is constantly looking through side windows. Similarly, the raised height and the awareness of their surroundings can help put an anxious dog at ease.
Do dog car seats have a maximum weight limit?
Yes, each individual car booster seat is designed for a specific type of dog, so there will be a weight limit to it. Of course, most are made for small breed dogs which can’t see through the window without a helping hand, so the range is between 15 and 30 pounds in the majority of designs. For larger dogs, dog seat belts and travel crates might be a more suited option.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
More by Angela Vuckovic