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Dog Car Seats and Safety Harnesses

Jesse McGraw

We all know dogs love car rides. Who doesn’t enjoy letting their pooch hang their head out the window? Here are our picks for the best dog car seats and safety equipment.

Man’s Best Friend

We love our dogs; they’re a part of the family and we love taking them everywhere we go. Dogs join us on car rides to go camping, to the park, or even just a quick stop at Starbucks for a Puppuccino. Manufacturers like Subaru, Honda, and Jeep know our furry friends are right there riding with us and offer some great features for dog lovers. Additionally, there are plenty of doggie safety solutions out there for dogs, both large and small. Here’s our rundown of some of the best dog safety accessories around.

First Things First

The products discussed in this article are all great ways to ensure your pet is safe while going on a car ride, but almost all of them require one other important product, a high-quality adjustable harness. These products are not designed or intended to be used with simple collars (doing so could result in injuries).

Mighty Paw Dog Harness - thatmutt.com
Mighty Paw Dog Harness - thatmutt.com

Dog harnesses act the same way as a four-point harness would work on a person in a racecar, limiting and distributing pressure at the chest and shoulder region. Dog harnesses come in plenty of fun colors and styles to fit any lifestyle. I personally recommend the Mighty Paw Dog Harness as it has a comfortable fit.

Small Breeds (Less Than 45lbs)

For all those lap dogs out there, there’s a dog car seat for them. If you have a Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, pug, or any breed under 45lbs, a dog car seat is perfect for you! Dog car seats give your little pup a comfy ride while putting your mind at ease. These dog car seats are specially designed to hold smaller dogs in place, while also providing them a little boost to see out the window.

Kurgo Dog Booster Seat - kurgo.com
Kurgo Dog Booster Seat - kurgo.com

Dog car seats fit securely in the back seat of any sedan, SUV, or minivan with little to no hassle. Simply run a seat belt through the back of the dog car seat like you would for a toddler car seat. Then, the dog is clipped in with a carabiner (specialized metal loop used to quickly connect components) onto their harness. And that’s it, now your small dog is riding comfortably and safely in style! I suggest shopping for either Kurgo Dog Booster Seat or the Petsafe Happy Ride Dog Safety Seat when looking for a dog car seat.

Medium Breeds (45lbs to 80lbs)

Not all dogs can fit into dog car seats, but thankfully dog seatbelt buckles and dog ziplines are there for larger dogs. These safety accessories are made for slightly larger dog breeds and work in anything from a Ford Fusion to a Chevrolet Suburban. If your furry friend is super active and loves car rides, like my dog, these options provide enough ability to move to either rear window while also keeping the dog secure.

Dog Seatbelt Buckles

Dog seatbelt buckle accessories work like normal seatbelts do and are designed to work with a dog harness. Setup is easy, just click the seatbelt accessory into the buckle receiver and attach the carabiner to the dog’s harness. With this set up dogs have access to the window and the ability lay, sit, stand, or walk while being secured to the seat. The dog seatbelt buckle works perfect in any vehicle, but I personally find it better for sedans. Be sure to check out the Kurgo Leash to Seatbelt Buckle as an excellent option for dog seatbelt buckles.

Leash To Seatbelt Buckle - kurgo.com
Leash To Seatbelt Buckle - kurgo.com

Dog Ziplines

Dog ziplines are similar to the dog seatbelt buckle, but they offer a little more movement for the dog. Ziplines attach to either both rear seatbelts or both rear grab handles. They have a sliding piece along the line that attaches with the use of a carabiner to their harness. The dog zipline accessory allows the dog to move to either rear windows of the car while keeping them safely inside. If your dog is anything like mine, they love to see what’s happening all around them and this product is perfect for that. I use the Petsafe Happy Ride Dog Zipline and my dog loves it.

Petsafe Happy Ride™ Dog Zipline - petsafe.net
Petsafe Happy Ride™ Dog Zipline - petsafe.net

Large Breeds (More Than 80lbs)

While dog seatbelt buckles and dog ziplines would work just fine for larger breeds, such as Great Danes or St. Bernards, there is also the rear pet barrier. Pet barriers add a gate or mesh between the front seat and the rear of vehicles like Jeep Cherokees or Subaru Outbacks. This option provides larger dogs the space at the rear of the vehicle all to themselves while also keeping them secured. For added safety, these are best used with a dog zip line and a harness. My parents’ have one installed in their Jeep Compass, and it works great for their huge German Shepherd.

Petsafe Happy Ride™ Metal Dog Barrier - petsafe.net
Petsafe Happy Ride™ Metal Dog Barrier - petsafe.net

Keep the Car Rides Going

There are lots of great options out there for keeping your dog safe while enjoying the road. From small dogs cuddling in dog car seats to larger dogs happily sticking their heads out the window on ziplines, your dog can finally take a car ride in the safest way. Now, if only we could do something about all that pet hair…

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Jesse McGraw
Jesse McGraw

Jesse's life-long car obsession began when he started collecting Hot Wheels as a child. He’s constantly keeping up with the latest car news and diving deep into automotive history. His automotive journey began with a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, only recently replaced by an impeccable 2014 Kia Soul. You can find him modifying and racing cars in video games when he’s not playing paintball or writing about cars.

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