5 Best Seat Belts and Car Seats for Dogs to Safely Transport Your Most Precious Cargo
These seat belts, harnesses, kennels and car seats for dogs will keep Fido safely secured while you are behind the wheel.
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It’s against the law to ride in a car without a seat belt on. However, when it comes to pets, many people fail to buckle them up or secure them in a dog car hammock. According to a recent Pets Best and Progressive survey, just 17% of pet owners properly restrain their precious cargo, and nearly half choose the most dangerous option when driving with their pet—letting them roam free in the car. Car seats for dogs—or a dog seat belt—is just one of the many things dog owners should have in their car the next time they hit the road with their pup.
Dr. Rhiannon Koehler, shelter veterinarian and medical writer for pet parent resource Great Pet Care, explains: “Keeping an appropriate seat belt on your dog not only improves safety for your pet but also for you and your human passengers. Seat belts or harnesses keep your dog from jumping out of open windows, crawling into your lap or nudging your arm while you’re driving. A dog who isn’t restrained in an accident becomes a dangerous projectile that can cause injury to human passengers,” she says. “I would recommend keeping your dog buckled at all times when you’re driving.”
Here are the best car seats for dogs, harnesses, seat belts and kennels to keep your canine safe in the car.
The best dog seat belts and car seats for dogs
EzyDog Drive Dog Car Harness
When it comes to buying car seats for dogs, finding snug-fit harnesses with high safety ratings is crucial for both small and large dogs. According to Dr. Amber Karwacki, Partner Doctor at Heart + Paw Callowhill, the EzyDog Harness stands out with its high strength rating for larger dogs. This harness comes in three sizes (small, medium and large) and offers exceptional durability. It also includes a molded chest plate for added comfort.
Fitting the harness properly on your pooch may require some initial effort, but you won’t have to do it again unless they grow. Thanks to the Dual SR Buckle Closure System, getting the harness on and off is a breeze. Another safe option for transporting dogs in cars is using a properly secured dog carrier.
- Incredibly durable with a high strength and safety rating
- Best harness for large dogs, fitting pups 65 pounds and up
- Features a molded chest plate for comfort
- Innovative buckle closure system that only needs to be adjusted once (unless you have a growing pup)
- Expensive (but, can you really put a price on safety?)
Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness
Karwacki recommends the Kurgo Tru-Fit Safety harness as a budget-friendly option with a good strength rating for those looking for affordable car seats for dogs. This product has been crash-tested for dogs as small as five pounds, and larger breeds weighing up to 75 pounds. Karwacki strongly advises against purchasing anything cheaper, as they will not provide the same level of strength.
The harness is available in sizes x-small to x-large, featuring five adjustment points to ensure a snug and customizable fit for dogs of different body types. If you’re planning to go on adventures with your pup, make sure to explore the most pet-friendly national parks, beaches and hotels.
- Budget-friendly harness with a high safety rating
- Best harness for extra-small dogs weighing just five to 10 pounds
- Five adjustment points to help fit dogs with unique body types
- Five color options
- Padded chest plate for comfort and protection
- Doesn’t fit dogs weighing more than 75 pounds
Kurgo Auto Zipline
When choosing harnesses or car seats for dogs, it’s essential to remember to purchase a strong and durable tether for attachment. While you may find cheaper options, this zipline is constructed with the same high-quality materials as the Kurgo harness mentioned above, so you won’t have to worry about compromising safety.
This set includes a zipline that gives your dog the comfort to move around while preventing them from jumping out of the vehicle or into the front seat. It also comes with a tether and two carabiners. One Amazon reviewer, who owns a 100-plus pound dog, writes, “I like that my dog still has plenty of room to stand and lay down in the back seat of my truck.” Other happy customers rave about how easy it is to use. And if you need a solution to keep pet hair off the back seat between trips, this pet hair eraser will help clean it fast.
- A durable, high-quality zipline and tether set to accompany your dog’s harness
- Can attach to car ceiling handles or seat belt buckles
- Offers your dog the ability to move around comfortably while also keeping them safely secured
- Tether doubles as a leash
- Harness sold separately
Best car seat
Bloblo Dog Car Seat
Investing in car seats for dogs ensures a safer and more comfortable ride for your beloved canine companion, while also protecting the interior of your vehicle. This highly-rated car seat functions as an ultra-comfortable pet bed securely fastened to the seat to prevent any shifting. It includes a built-in seat belt that attaches to your pet’s collar or harness, which prevents them from roaming around the car.
Reviewers highlight that it keeps their dogs “cozy and safe,” reducing stress for anxious dogs during car rides. Available in red, coffee and navy stripes, this fashionable car seat is machine-washable for easy maintenance. It’s important to note that this dog car seat is suitable for pups weighing less than 35 pounds. If your furry friend experiences anxiety during car rides, consider using calming treats to help them relax.
- Stylish car seat that keeps your pup comfortable and secure in the car
- Available in three color options
- Durable bite-resistant material
- Two pockets to store essentials
- Only accommodates dogs less than 35 pounds
- Harness not included
Gunner G1 Kennel
While transporting smaller dogs offers numerous options, securing larger canines can be challenging. The Gunner G1 Kennel provides one of the safest methods to transport your dog from point A to point B. The heavy-duty crate—constructed with a reinforced aluminum frame and double walls—secures via straps (sold separately) into the back of your SUV, van or truck.
Notably, the kennel boasts a 5 Star Crash Test certification by the Center for Pet Safety for the small, medium and intermediate sizes, with all sizes proven to save dogs’ lives in real accidents. The brand also highlights that this kennel helps keep dogs 12% cooler during the summer heat. For added convenience, it is recommended to have a portable dog water bottle on hand to keep your pups hydrated during the journey.
- An incredibly durable and safe kennel for larger dogs
- Keeps dogs 12% cooler compared to other models
- Available in four sizes and six colors
- Lifetime warranty
- Reversible door can be opened from either side
- Removable drain plug makes for easy cleaning
- Only for use in vans, trucks and SUVs
- Safety straps sold separately
What to look for when buying seat belts and car seats for dogs
According to Dr. Jennifer Bruns, doctor of veterinary medicine at PetSmart Veterinary Services, seat belts for dogs serve to connect your dog’s harness to the car’s seat belt buckle. “Brands may offer just the tether piece to connect to your dog’s harness or both a special harness and tether to secure your pup. Some tethers connect and click directly into the seat belt and some have a loop for the seat belt to go through,” she says.
Karwacki notes that the best harness for your dog “is one that is snug fitting and comfortable,” she says, adding that harnesses with chest pads are often more comfortable for Fido. “You should also get one with a high strength rating.”
For smaller dogs, make sure the fit is right. “If the harness is too large then your dog will easily get out of it and it will not help during an accident,” adds Karwacki. You should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your dog. For larger canines, a snug fit harness is essential, but it is equally important to select one with a higher strength rating to accommodate the increased weight, she notes.
Should dogs wear seat belts?
According to Bruns, seat belts are crucial for dogs, just as they are for humans, and she recommends using them whenever your dog is in a moving vehicle. “Seat belts keep pets safe during travel by securing them when a car is in motion, while also reducing distracted driving by preventing curious pets from roaming around the vehicle,” she says. Additionally, seat belts can prevent injuries to your dog as well as prevent them from causing harm to others in the event of an accident or sudden stop.
What type of seat belt is best for dogs?
While seat belts for humans undergo standardized safety testing, these regulations do not exist for dog seat belts, Koehler points out. “You should not assume that a product that is marketed as a dog seat belt has been crash-tested.” The best dog seat belts are those that combine the human seat belt with a sturdy dog harness. And the best harnesses are the ones that have been crash-tested. For larger dogs, restraining them in a kennel may be your best bet.
She also notes that while a seat belt connecting your dog’s collar to the seat belt holder may effectively restrain your dog, it’s unlikely to protect them in the event of a car accident, and it may cause them serious injury. “In this scenario, you’d basically be buckling your dog into the car by their neck. If an accident were to occur or you had to slam on your brakes, all the pressure would be applied to the dog’s neck. This is why harnesses are usually a better option,” she explains.
Where is the safest place for a dog to ride in a car?
Karwacki confirms that dogs should ride in the back seat of the car. “The airbags in the front seat of the car are too dangerous for a dog if deployed in an accident. This also keeps your dog from distracting you during driving,” she says.
Some states have rules about where dogs can ride in cars and how they can be restrained, so make sure you are familiar with regulations in your area, says Koehler. Here are some more summer safety tips to keep your pup happy and healthy this season.
- Dr. Amber Karwacki, partner doctor at Heart + Paw Callowhill
- Dr. Rhiannon Koehler, shelter veterinarian and medical writer for Great Pet Care
- Dr. Jennifer Bruns, doctor of veterinary medicine at PetSmart Veterinary Services
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