We love taking our pups on rides to the dog park and having them keep us company while running errands. What we don’t exactly love are the fur-covered seats, muddy paw prints and claw marks that often follow. While yes, a certain level of mess is to be expected when you’re a dog mom or dad, dog car seat covers can help keep it to a minimum.
Paris Permenter, co-author of 35 dog and travel books and co-founder of DogTipper.com explains why they’re key, “Dog car seat covers protect your car seats from fur, mud, drool and even vomit, if you have a dog who experiences carsickness. They also help your dog understand that part of the car is theirs, [and] the familiar scent of the dog car seat cover can help your dog settle down and enjoy the ride in the backseat or cargo area.”
If that sounds like a win-win, then strap on those seatbelts because we’re on our way to find the best car seat covers for dogs.
What to Consider when Buying Dog Car Seat Covers
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when shopping for a dog car seat cover.
How big is your dog? The size of your canine and where they will be hanging out while you drive will be major factors in determining what kind of dog car seat cover you need. There are different types of dog car seat covers that protect car seats from dogs, as well as other areas of the vehicle, such as the console, doors, floor well and cargo area.
What activities do you and your dog like to do together? Think about when and where your dog travels with you. For example, Permenter advises, “If you frequently take your dog to swim, a water-resistant dog car seat cover or a machine washable cover is a must.” On the other hand, if your dog is mainly accompanying you on trips to a friend’s house or merely running errands around town, you may have less of a need for something so heavy duty.
How does your dog do on car rides? Consider how comfortable your dog is on road trips. “If your dog is a little nervous in the car or is a senior, he might be more comfortable with a velvety seat cover, giving him a feeling of more stability compared to a more slippery water-resistant cover,” Permenter says.
What’s your dog’s personality? Does your dog willingly hop into your car and lie right down, or do they nervously or excitedly scramble around the vehicle? “Your dog's activity level, and level of training, can influence the best type of cover for your car seats,” explains Permenter. “Determine how much your dog likes to move around on your drive and how much movement you're comfortable with. If your dog has a habit of scratching at the passenger doors, a hammock with a door protector might be a good option for your car. If your small dog rides in a car seat, a more traditional car seat cover—either a bucket or bench seat cover—will provide some additional protection to your seats. If you'll be crating your dog or have a dog who likes to hop in the car on their own, a cargo cover can be the best solution.”
Types of Dog Cat Seat Covers
When shopping for the best dog car seat covers for your situation, it helps to narrow down your choices to these main types:
Hammock Dog Car Seat Covers
“Hammock-style dog car seat covers prevent your dog from accessing the footwell of the car by creating a hammock between the backseat and the front seat,” says Permenter. “You'll protect your rear seat, and the back of the front seat, from muddy paws and drool while keeping your dog from falling onto the floor or trying to crawl under your front seats.” One great option is Frisco’s hammock-style dog car seat cover, which is water-resistant, quilted for comfort and adjustable for a snug fit.
Perfect for: Nervous doggies who need a sense of security while riding in the back seat
Car Bench Seat Covers for Dogs
For ease of installation, it’s hard to beat car bench seat covers, such as this one from Frisco. They protect your car seat from dogs, as well as make it easy for human and canine passengers to ride together in the back seat. “Your car will be ready to receive two-legged passengers without any reconfiguration, but it's still protected when you're traveling with your dog,” Permenter says. Bonus: Car bench seat covers have openings for seat belts so that all your passengers—human and canine—can ride safely.
Perfect for: Families with multiple pooches or children
Dog Cargo Floor Liners
Cargo floor liners and SUV cargo liners are also super popular. Waterproof pet cargo liners, such as this one from BarksBar, will protect the back of your vehicle. “Dog cargo liners, which come in many sizes to fit different car configurations, are a great way to protect the cargo area and give your dog a large area, especially if, like us, you keep the back seat down,” says Permenter, who places dog beds over the cargo liner in her car. “It gives our two dogs room to rest and ride comfortably. The cargo liner even provides enough protection that we keep a water bowl in the cargo area for the dogs without worrying about the occasional sloshing.”
Perfect for: Large dog breeds or a pack of dogs
Dog Car Barriers
While not a cover of any kind, dog car barriers will protect your car seats by keeping them confined to a specific are of the car. Plus, they can prevent driver distraction. “Although they aren't a substitute for a seat belt or other restraint system, the barrier can stop your dog from pawing at the driver or trying to reach items in the console,” explains Permenter. Shoppers love PetSafe’s Deluxe Happy Ride dog car barrier because it’s strong, does a great job of keeping big dogs back and it’s easy to install.
Perfect for: Dogs who don’t understand personal space
If you love both your car and your dog, dog car seat covers are a must-have. Not only will they keep your vehicle protected, they can also keep your best friend safe and comfortable. Shop for the perfect one now, and you’ll be ready to hit the road with Fido in no time!