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The best dog car seats you can buy in 2023

Keep your dog safe while travelling with our roundup of the best dog car seats to suit your pet’s size and your budget

Nothing beats taking a road trip with your dog. Wherever you’re travelling, you’ll need one of the best dog car seats to keep your four-legged friend safe on the journey. After all, you need to concentrate on the road knowing that your dog cannot roam around and distract you. And UK law states that your dog must be secured, or you could face a fine of up to £5,000 for careless driving.

Designed for safety, a dog car seat is a box or basket which keeps canines secure while the car is in motion, preventing them from moving and protecting them from bumps and jolts, just as a seatbelt protects you. The dog is tethered to the seat, and the seat is securely attached to the car.

A dog car seat provides your pet with their own space in the car, where they feel safe and can rest. Many car seats for dogs are well-padded, allowing your canine companion to ride in comfort. You’ll often find that the seat lining is removable for washing. Some include a booster cushion for smaller dogs or to allow any dog to look out of the window while you drive. Letting your dog see the world go by not only keeps them entertained but can help with carsickness. And if your dog does get sick, or has another little accident, your precious car upholstery is protected.

When choosing the right car seat for your dog, there’s a lot to consider. We’ve put together a guide to the best dog car seats on the market right now, followed by a roundup of our favourites.

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Best dog car seat: At a glance

How to choose the best car seat for your dog

What size of dog car seat should I choose?

Take care to choose a dog seat that is sized correctly for your pooch. Most dog car seats are designed for small to medium dogs. If your dog is a larger breed, a seat would not be the most comfortable option as they would not be able to lie down. Consider a dog car crate or hammock instead.

You should also check the weight limit stated by the manufacturers for the product before purchase. Never use a product if your pup exceeds the maximum stated weight, as it may not be strong enough to restrain your dog in the event of an accident.

What safety features should I consider when buying my dog car seat?

There are two important safety features to consider when choosing your car seat.

First, the seat should have a secure locking system to attach to your car so it cannot move. Some systems connect the seat to a seatbelt, but the most secure rely on two or three fixing points that use the car headrest or pass around the rear of the seat itself.

The second feature is the tether that will attach your dog to the seat. Look for high-quality harness clips that will restrain him in the case of an accident.

It is generally better to ensure your car seat can be fitted in the rear of your car because most cars have airbags in the front seat, which could seriously injure your pet if deployed.

How do I attach my dogs to the car seat for travelling?

The tether which secures your dog to the seat needs to be attached to a car-safe harness, which you will need to purchase separately. Never attach the tether to your dog’s collar, as this could cause serious injuries to the pet in the event of a collision.

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How can I make sure my dog is comfortable in the car seat?

Look at the quality of the upholstery in a dog car seat, and you’ll soon be able to tell whether your dog will be comfortable. It should be well padded with soft materials, so your pet can settle down and relax for the journey.

Try to find a seat with removable interior linings, which are easy to remove and wash in case of accidents, sickness, or muddy walks. Check the cleaning instructions before making your purchase.

How much should I pay for a dog car seat?

The cost of dog car seats varies considerably, from £20 to over £100. Expect to pay more for products that contain the safety features outlined above.

Try to find the safest seat your budget will stretch to – the security of your precious pet is worth the expense.

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The best dog car seats you can buy in 2023

1. Pets at Home Car Booster Seat: The best budget dog car seat

Price: £30 | Buy now from Pets at HomeThis lightweight yet sturdy car booster seat for dogs up to 10kg is designed to be used in the back seat. It is tethered to the vehicle via the seat’s headrest and a strong seatbelt-like tether that stretches around the rear of the chair, while a sturdy clip secures your dog.

Although this seat can be folded flat, it is strong in construction. A light fleecy lining can be removed for easy washing. The base of the seat is sturdy enough to support your dog, but you might choose to add more padding for a more comfortable ride. The dark charcoal colour may absorb heat in hot weather.

Key details – Approximate Dimensions: 40.6 x 33 x 22.9cm; Maximum dog weight: 10kg

Buy now from Pets at Home

2. Pet Gear Bucket Seat Booster: The best seat belt booster system

Price: £114 | Buy now from Amazon

Pet Gear’s Bucket Seat Booster is a raised booster seat attached to your car via your vehicle’s seat belt system. Its unique design consists of a solid brown plastic unit with a moulded recess at the base. Wrap the car seat belt through the recess to secure it in the front or back seat of your vehicle.

The inside of the rigid bucket seat is soft and fluffy, with a removable plush pillow which can be removed for easy cleaning. Four tethers are provided to attach your pet’s harness to the seat, though these tethers are not as sturdy as those in other models on test here. That means this is probably best suited for smaller dogs or young puppies. In any case, it would be advisable to replace the tethers with sturdier harness clips.

Key details – Approximate dimensions: 40.6 x 30.5 x 28 cm; Maximum dog weight: 5.5kg

3. Henry Wag Car Seat: The best seat for small dogs

Price: £38 | Buy now from Amazon

This is a sturdy, elevated booster seat for dogs up to 8kg. It has a unique three-way fixing system to attach the seat from all four corners, as well as a strap which fastens around the back of the car seat. The riding position for your dog is high, making it easy for your pet to enjoy the journey. There’s a mesh panel for ventilation in hotter weather, and the padded base makes for a comfortable ride. Cleaning is a doddle, thanks to the removable fleece liner, and your car’s upholstery is protected too, thanks to an extended rear panel that covers part of the seat behind the dog.

With side pockets for storage and treats, altogether this is a great budget option for small dogs.

Key details – Approximate Dimensions: 38 x 38 x 25 centimetres; Maximum dog weight: 8kg

4. Kurgo Heather Car Booster Seat: The best all-rounder

Price: £67 | Buy now from Amazon

This sturdy, durable seat comes with a Kurgo lifetime warranty, and when you look at the quality of construction, it’s easy to see why. Made from hard-wearing polyester with environmentally friendly PVC backing, all the fixings on this seat are metal, including the internal structural supports. The robust tether clip is the best we tested and should withstand heavy impact.

All of the strap attachments on the Heather car booster seat are fully adjustable to ensure a perfectly secure fitting in the front or rear of your vehicle. With a maximum dog weight of 13.6kg, this is a seat you can buy for your puppy and adjust as he or she grows.

A soft fleece lining is easy to remove and wash. The cushioned mat in the base is hard-wearing, but you may choose to add extra padding for your pet’s comfort. Kurgo Heather seat comes in various colours to match your car’s upholstery, making it a stylish option to boot.

Key details – Approximate Dimensions: 40cm x 30cm x 20cm; Maximum dog weight: 13.6kg

5. PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Seat: The best seat for carrying two dogs

Price: £40 | Buy now from PetSafeThe PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Seat is available in three sizes, with the largest able to carry pets up to 11kg, which would allow a small to medium dog to lie down comfortably, or two small dogs to ride together. An ingenious two-way tether makes securing both dogs easy.

Like so many of the products on review here, the construction of the Happy Ride Booster Seat is lightweight and sturdy – a polyester outer shell reinforced with steel rods – and the interior lining is easily removed for washing. The strong three-way attachment points secure the seat to your vehicle and all straps are adjustable to ensure its stability.

More padding in the base would help with comfort, but otherwise you have a sturdy seat, from a respected brand, that should last a lifetime.

Key details – Approximate Dimensions: 51 x 36 x 25cm; Maximum dog weight: 11kg

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