Top-Rated Seat Belts and Car Seats for Dogs of All Sizes

Updated: Apr. 15, 2024

We found the best seat belts and car seats for dogs to keep your best friend safe while you travel together.

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The 5 Best Car Seats And Seat Belts For Dogs To Ensure Safe TravelVIA MERCHANT

We love taking our dogs with us when we travel, whether it be a quick errand to the post office or a long road trip to visit family and friends. With summer vacation around the corner, dog travel increases, and it becomes crucial to have the right equipment in the car. Along with dog barriers to keep pups off your lap and seat covers for easier cleaning, car seats for dogs are equally important for our pet’s safety.

Just as it is for humans and children, the use of car seats and seat belts for dogs are vital for our pet’s protection. These safety precautions offer protection for your precious furry cargo during an unexpected accident. While a small fender bender may result in just a few bruises for you, it could be detrimental to your small pet if their car seat or carrier is not properly secured. Luckily, we found the best options on the market to keep fido happy and out of harm’s way.

The Best Car Seats and Seat Belts for Dogs

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Sleepypod Air Cabin Carrier
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Best Overall Carrier

Sleepypod Air Cabin Carrier

The Sleepypod Air Cabin Carrier offers the best in comfort and safety for small dogs (up to 17 pounds). Certified by the Center for Pet Safety, Sleepypod makes a wide range of products, with many endorsed by trainers and behavior professionals. This carrier, one of the safest car seats for dogs, gets rave reviews from veterinary professionals for its easy pet access top opening. It features a padded strap that makes transporting a breeze, and also conveniently compresses for under-the-seat airline requirement.

Available in several colors, this carrier also doubles as a pet bed for home use or airline travel. For safe restraint, it comes with a strap to conveniently seat belt into your car. The inside pet pad is machine washable, has a trolley pocket to slip over luggage for effortless travel and an interior tether to prevent escapes.

Pros

  • Five-star rating for safety with the Center for Pet Safety
  • Veterinarian-approved for pet access ease
  • Seat belts into your car for added restraint
  • Comes in five colors

Cons

  • Only suitable for small dogs
  • Higher priced (but also higher rated for safety!)

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Diggs Passenger Travel Pet Carrier
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Best Carrier for Small Dogs

Diggs Passenger Travel Pet Carrier

The Diggs Passenger Travel Pet Carrier has a five-star crash test rating, the highest score given by the Center for Pet Safety. This stylish, luxurious pet carrier is optimal for small pets up to 18 pounds. It includes an innovative pet waste cleanup system: Simply attach a Diggs pee pad to the included bed, and swap it out for a clean one if it becomes soiled during your trip.

Custom buckles and seat belt clips strap your pet safely in place for your road trip. An interior tether keeps them inside the carrier—even when temporarily open—by simply clipping it to the dog’s harness. It also fits most airline size standards should you take your little guy along for a plane ride.

Pros

  • Ideal for dogs (and cats!) up to 18 pounds
  • Crash-tested five-star rating
  • Luxury style bag
  • Unique pet waste system
  • 30-day return policy

Cons

  • You’ll pay a little more (but in return receive safety, style and added features)

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Wuglo Extra Stable Dog Seat
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Best Car Seat for Medium Dogs

Wuglo Extra Stable Dog Seat

While an enclosed pet carrier seat-belted in place offers the most security, and a harness with a seat belt provides an option for bigger dogs, you may prefer car seats for dogs that allow for more wiggle room. The Wuglo car seat for dogs offers three sizes and boasts a more stable and secure option for your pet’s riding pleasure.

Four fastening straps and a seat anchor holds it firmly in place. An integrated seat belt with an adjustable length attaches to your dog’s harness for a custom fit and comfortable ride. The frame has reinforced bars (four vertical and four horizontal) to maintain form while the top remains open—a game changer for dogs that object to enclosed carriers!

Pros

  • Three sizes to accommodate dogs up to 57 pounds
  • Open top with lots of room for nervous dogs
  • Stable support with added seat belt
  • Economically-priced

Cons

  • Hand-wash only

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Burgeon Nest
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Best Car Seat for Small Dogs

BurgeonNest Dog Car Seat

Here’s a comfortable, fluffy padded option if you need small car seats for dogs at an economical price. The Burgeon Nest, like its name implies, provides a nest-like riding space for pets weighing less than 25 pounds. Available in three colors, the bed features a tether to remind the dog to stay in the booster seat.

Unlike other options, you can detach the booster seat, remove the cushions, and then machine-wash the cover. An adjustable buckle design allows for a seamless and quick installation to suit various vehicle sizes. Overall, the Nest provides an easy ride, especially for puppies or older dogs with creaky joints. It also protects your seat from dog hair, claw scratches or leaks.

Pros

  • Fluffy, padded comfortable seat well suited for small pups or older dogs
  • Easy to install adjustable buckle design
  • Available in three colors
  • Machine-washable
  • Economically-priced

Cons

  • Some reviewers say they prefer a sturdier tether

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FAQ

Should dogs wear seat belts?

Yes, every dog should wear seat belts when in the car, or have another safe type of doggy restraint. Dogs can’t reach out and brace themselves for unexpected turns, acceleration or stops. They can easily suffer injury from minor accidents or become furry projectiles that may hurt you or your children inside the vehicle. Even if unhurt, a frightened and unrestrained dog that escapes during an accident may get lost or injured.

What type of seat belt is best for dogs?

A seat belt that buckles into the actual car seat belt receiver works best. But it should never attach to your dog’s collar, as that could severely injure the pup’s neck just by zooming around a sharp turn. Seat belts for dogs should attach to a properly fitted harness that evenly distributes the pressure if you have an unexpected accident.

Although manufacturers test child car seats to ensure they provide safety for kids during a crash, similar testing for car seats for dogs remains limited. The Center for Pet Safety accepts voluntary submissions of products from companies, where they publish results that include crash test videos. A few elite dog and cat products have passed the rigorous tests and earned high marks. However, these dog seat belts and pet carriers often come with higher costs compared to other options, and they aren’t always widely available.

Where is the safest place for a dog to ride in a car?

The safest place for a dog to ride in a car is on the floor of the back seat. However, some dogs may not fit there or remain in place willingly. In such cases, the back seat serves as a suitable alternative, provided that the dog has proper protective restraints.

Allowing a dog to ride in your lap or on the front passenger seat exposes them to the potential danger of the airbag deploying, which could crush or fatally injure your pet. Soft-sided pet carriers and certain hard-case carriers are also unable to withstand the force of an airbag. Therefore, it is important to always keep pets securely in the back of the car.