The Safest Dog Booster Seats and How to Use Them Properly
For many dog owners, no road trip would be complete without their pup along for the ride. For a pleasant and safe time together, it's essential to keep your dog in a comfortable yet confined space. To prevent your small pup from climbing on your lap while driving (which could cause an accident), give them a dedicated space in the car with a dog booster seat.
What Is a Dog Booster Seat?
Intended for smaller dogs, booster seats, or pet travel seats, add several inches of height beneath your pup so he can look out the window and safely stay put. Some booster seats are designed more like a hammock to strap over the top of a car's back seat and float above the seat while others sit directly on the back seat and use cushioning inside the booster to create a higher elevation.
The safest booster seat option is one that sits directly on the seat and features an anchoring system that works with the seat belts to secure the booster directly to the seat (like a child's car seat). You should then use a crash-tested harness with the booster seat as well. If a crash were to happen, it's important to find an option that will help keep your pup in place—just like seat belts do for humans.
Why Use a Dog Booster Seat?
By giving your dog a better view of his surroundings, he may stay calmer, more content, and be less likely to experience motion sickness. Having your pup stay in a confined area will reduce driving distractions and better protect your pup if you have to stop quickly. Plus, he'll stay put until you're ready for both of you to get out.
Dog Booster Seat Shopping and Usage Tips
"While traveling with your pet is appealing, dog owners should understand that pet travel seats are not regulated like children's car seats and boosters," says Lindsey A. Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety. She adds that it's important to look for as many safety features as possible and use your dog's travel seat properly.
Wolko offers these tips:
- Pets should never travel in the front seat of your vehicle.
- Look for a travel seat that connects to the LATCH/ISOFIX anchors of your backseat (like a child car seat does).
- Avoid travel seats with exposed hard plastic bases because they can easily fracture in a crash and create sharp shards.
- Use an approved crash protection harness, not your dog's walking harness or collar, to connect your pet to your vehicle's seat belt system. Avoid connecting your pet directly to the pet travel seat.
The Top Six Safest Dog Booster Seats
Snoozer Lookout I Pet Car Seat
With a quilted nylon cover that repels pet hair and a sherpa lining to provide a cozy spot, this booster seat looks good, feels good, and is easy-peasy to maintain. The brand makes two sizes: small, for dogs up to 18 pounds, and medium, for dogs between 18 and 25 pounds.
Shop now: Snoozer Lookout I Pet Car Seat, $93; amazon.com
Sleepypod ClickIt Sport
Wolko stresses the importance of using a crash-tested harness whenever your dog is traveling in a vehicle. This one has been tested, approved, and given a five-star rating by the Center for Pet Safety. It uses three points of seat belt contact to secure your dog's entire torso, and the cushioned vest is designed to absorb and reduce damaging forces in an accident.
Shop now: Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Car Safety Dog Harness, $81; amazon.com
Pet Gear Large Car Booster
This booster seat has a modern architectural feel with dense foam in an angular shape and a sleek microsuede cover with contrasting piping. This booster seat comes in both black and tan and is made for dogs up to 25 pounds.
Shop now: Pet Gear Large Car Booster, $74; chewy.com
K&H Pet Products Small Bucket Booster
To create a better fit against your car seat, this booster seat has a cushioned, contoured back that also gives it the look of a bucket sear. Many reviewers say their dog loves this seat, and they wish they had bought it sooner!
Shop now: K&H Pet Products Small Bucket Booster, $77; amazon.com
K&H Pet Products Large Bucket Booster
If you have two small dogs, a large bolster seat like this will let them to travel side-by-side and take in the sights together. This eco-friendly bolster (made from green, bio-based foam and poly fill from recycled bottles) features latches that attach to your dog's harness.
Shop now: K&H Pet Products Large Bucket Booster, $108; chewy.com