What To Know About Dog Hammocks

Updated: Oct. 03, 2023

Hammocking (aka mocking) is all the rage with people, but what about dogs? We explore what a dog hammock is used for, and what it's not.

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If your household is one of the 65 million in the U.S. with a dog according to the American Pet Products Association, you’ve probably spent a small fortune on treats, toys and grooming products. My dogs bark incessantly as soon as we enter the local coffee shop’s drive-thru, eagerly awaiting their “pup cup,” a whipped cream and dog biscuit concoction.

Clearly, I’m not alone in spoiling my dogs. Last year, Americans spent a whopping $136 billion on their pets. And because dogs are the most popular animal to parent, it’s a safe bet where much of that money went.

The dog hammock is one of the latest in dog-centric products available for folks eager to spend a little cash to make their pups happy.

I spoke with Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, a veterinary medical advisor for Rover, and Ali Smith, a professional dog trainer and founder of Rebarkable, to learn more about dog hammocks and what they’re used for. I have to admit, it was not what I thought.

What Is a Dog Hammock?

Dog hammocks are sort of a like a traditional hammock, Greenstein says, in that they’re made from material draped or suspended between two points. But while might get your dog to enjoy a traditional human hammock (clip their nails first!), dog hammocks serve a different purpose.

Types of Dog Hammocks

Dog hammocks come in two varieties (three if you stretch it):

  • Grooming hammocks feature leg holes and suspend your dog slightly so you or a groomer can access their paws and tail.
  • Car hammocks protect the back seat of your car. They don’t suspend your dog or control them in any way.
  • Dog bed hammocks are often just cots, but could be considered a hammock because they elevate your dog off the ground.

Do Dog Grooming Hammocks Work?

Yes. Unless you have a really chill dog, they don’t like being groomed.

Enter the grooming hammock. Smith says these hold a dog still so you can give their legs and tail a trim, brush or nail clip. Plus, these hammocks can have a calming influence on your pup. They’re not just for pro groomers, either.

“By placing their four limbs through openings in the fabric ‘swing’ and gently suspending the hammock apparatus off the ground,” Greenstein says, “it allows pet parents to isolate their paws individually, which is really helpful for manicures and pedicures.”

Where To Hang a Dog Grooming Hammock

Dog grooming hammocks hang from an arm that’s part of a grooming table, but they can also be suspended from the ceiling. (Smith recommends a table for ease.) Whichever option you choose, make sure it’s secure so you and your dog stay safe.

If you do go with a ceiling mount, know the weight limits of any hooks and anchors used. Secure the hammock to the joists, and follow all installation instructions.

Are Dog Car Hammocks Safe?

Yes, but it’s a trick question. Car hammocks don’t hold or control your dog; they protect your car seat and perhaps keep the dog off the floor.

“The hammock for the rear of the car is very different than a groomer’s hammock,” Smith says. “[T]he hammock in the car doesn’t suspend the dog at all.” For your pet’s safety, Smith recommends a car-safe harness or a crate in conjunction with the car hammock.

Greenstein agrees. “[W]hile a backseat hammock creates a pet-friendly compartment or lined gully between the seats in front and backseats,” she says, “a pet still needs to be safely restrained with an appropriate seat belt while in the hammock in case of sudden braking or a collision, and to limit distraction to the driver.”

Smith adds car insurance companies may invalidate your policy if your dog distracts you and causes an accident.

When choosing a dog harness or seat belt apparatus to go with your hammock, Smith recommends paying attention to the weight restrictions. “Your dog’s size will matter greatly,” Smith says. Make sure to check the crash-test ratings for the harness you choose.

Can Dogs Sleep in Hammocks?

It depends.

If your pup loves riding with you in the car, a car hammock provides a soft, cozy area to settle in and take a nap. And a pet bed hammock is, of course, made for sleeping.

As far as grooming hammocks go, dogs may find the swaddling nature so relaxing that they actually fall asleep, but these types are for grooming only.