Pets are part of the family too! So when it’s time to buckle up, how can you make sure your furry family member isn’t forgotten? The truth is, in addition to being a possible distraction, an unsecured pet can become a danger to himself and other passengers in an accident or even just a hard stop.
Whether your dog only goes for the occasional outing or rides alongside you wherever you go, an in-car dog restraint can help ensure everyone in your vehicle rides safely. And while dogs are more often free to roam while you’re out on the road, we didn’t forget about the importance of better-securing cats as well. Here’s a look at some of the different types of pet car seats on the market so you can choose the right one for your family.
4 Types of Pet Car Seats
Dog car restraints come in several different styles. The best one for your dog will depend on his size, weight and temperament. While smaller or more anxious car riders may do best in a booster or carrier type, larger and more energetic pets may require a harness or hammock-style restraint. Here are the four main types of pet car seats:
1. Booster Dog Car Seats
Bucket-shaped booster seats for dogs (or cats) keep your pet comfortable and contained–and he can still see everything he wants to see out of the window. These types of pet car seats are great for small-to-medium sized pets who enjoy the feel of a pet bed. Most can be secured to the car’s seat and also include a safety leash to keep him in place.
2. Cat and Dog Carrier Car Restraints
Great for frequent travelers with smaller pets, many carriers double as pet car seats. Pet carriers are perfect for keeping cats, puppies and small breeds comfy and secure while you travel—on the road or even in the air. Most have mesh panels and top zippers for him to poke his head out and watch the world go by.
3. Dog Harness Car Restraints
Dog car harnesses are the simplest—and often most cost effective—of the in car dog restraint options. Like a vest, these harnesses strap around your dog’s chest and front legs or work with his regular leash harness. The car’s seat belt hooks through a loop on the harness to keep him in place. Many harnesses are adjustable to keep all dogs, large and small, safe and secure without the bulk.
4. Hammock Seats
For large dogs, you may consider a hammock-style pet car seat that turns the entire back seat of your car into a bed. Dog hammock car restraints keep your large friend confined to the back seat so you can focus on the road ahead. And—bonus—a hammock style protects your car’s interior from dirt and hair.
What to Look for in a Pet Car Seat
Regardless of the type of pet car seat you ultimately choose for your pet, certain features can make traveling with him much easier. Consider these features:
Just like kids, dogs can be rough on their stuff. Look for restraints made with durable materials like nylon or Oxford.
When it comes to pets, accidents are inevitable. Pet car seats made from waterproof fabrics or with removable, machine-washable covers will make life so much easier.
A comfy pet makes the best co-pilot. Choose a seat with plush covers and fillings that help entice your dog to snooze while you move.
Any cat or dog car restraint will help to keep your pet secure while you focus on the road. But some pet car seats are actually crash test rated for safety. Check out the Center for Pet Safety for crash test reviews on some of the most popular dog car seats and boosters.
Some dogs can’t contain their excitement when it’s time to ride. Look for a seat or harness that works with your car’s seat belt to make strapping in your furry enthusiast as quickly and easily as possible. Extra features like carrying straps or a collapsible frame might also make traveling with your pet a little less of a feat.
Once you find the right in-car pet restraint, you can keep everyone in your family safe, happy and secure each time you hit the road. Learn more about why it’s so important to restrain your pet while on the road.