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The Best Car Travel Gear for Dogs

All the essentials you need to hit the road with your copilot, from dog seatbelts to crash-tested carriers.

by Liza Darwin
July 4, 2021
Dog seat-belted in a car
Eva / Adobe Stock

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It’s officially road trip season, and no one is more excited to go for a car ride than your dog. Whether you’re planning a cross-country adventure or a weekend getaway, you’ll need the right gear. A squirming dog in the backseat is more than distracting for the driver — it’s super dangerous too. “Car safety should be top of mind, so while a dog’s tongue slapping against their face in the wind is the picture of pure joy, keeping your pup contained in the car is a safer bet,” says certified dog behaviorist Lindsay Hamrick, CPDT-KA. “And don’t forget your dog’s ID — make sure their ID tag is up to date with your contact info and consider getting them microchipped so you can be contacted if they get lost and are brought to an animal shelter.” Dog seatbelts, travel harnesses, backseat hammocks, and canine car seats are all good ways in which to contain your pet. Keep reading for our top picks — including crash-tested gear certified by the Center for Pet Safety — plus other essentials for hitting the road with your dog. The only thing left to do is decide where to go.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Sleepypod ClickIt Dog Harness

This durable harness clips directly into nearly all seatbelt compartments to keep dogs weighing up to 90 lbs. safe and secure. The crash-tested Sleepypod sets the gold standard for car harnesses, as it’s the only one to earn safety certification and a five-star rating from the Center for Pet Safety. While the harness was originally created for travel safety, the comfortable design makes it work for everyday activities like walks, too. 

$84 at Walmart
Grip-Tight Windowed Hammock Seat Protector

Ideal for medium and large dogs, this quilted hammock hooks onto the front and rear headrests so your pup can spread out comfortably in the back seat. The water-resistant cover keeps the seat clean from dirt and pet hair, and the mesh window allows you to keep an eye on them and for AC to reach them. More affordable dog hammocks are out there, but special touches like the no-slip backing and mesh paneling up front make the Orvis option a standout.

$169 at Orvis
Prima Pets Collapsible Travel Bowl with Carabiner

Feeding and hydrating your dog on the go is less messy affair with this collapsible food-grade silicone bowl. It’s available in small and large sizes, and folds flat for easy storage. While the attached carabiner is handy for clipping it onto tote bags and luggage, we recommend keeping an extra bowl in your glove compartment so you’re always prepared for impromptu hikes, trips to the dog park, and more.

$9 at Chewy

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Liza Darwin

Liza Darwin

Liza Darwin is a writer and brand strategist. She has contributed to NYLON, Refinery29, Vogue, The Guardian, Vice, and Elle, and co-founded the news platform Clover Letter. She lives in Brooklyn with her two dogs, Montie and Hopper, and cat, Tiger.