The Best Car Travel Gear for Dogs: Dog Seatbelts, Car Seats, Harnesses, and More · The Wildest

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19 of the Best Car Travel Gear for Dogs

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

by Liza Darwin
Updated January 19, 2024
Dog seat-belted in a car
Eva / Adobe Stock
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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. “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 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 to 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?)

orvis car hammock

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. —Liza Darwin

wilderdog bag

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to traveling with your dog is making sure you bring enough f-o-o-d. You should be able to take that extra day of vacation without worrying that you’ll run out of the most important thing on the list (definitely in your dog’s opinion). 

Wilderdog offers a solution with a bag designed specifically for dog food. It’s got a handle that clips together at the top and an external loop where you can clip a collapsible travel bowl. If you’re planning a hiking or camping trip with your adventurous pup, it’s an easy and simple way to bring all the food you need, and keep it protected from the elements. Kiss Ziploc baggies and self-eco-shaming goodbye. —Sean Zucker and Hilary Weaver

cooyoo seatbelt

Having a pup unrestrained in the car — whether in your lap or curled up in the back seat — can cause them (and you) serious injuries. In some states, it’s illegal to drive with your dog unrestrained in the car, but a 2019 study found that only 55 percent of dog parents in the U.S. restrain their dogs. “Unrestrained pets can cause accidents,” Christina Selter, a nationally recognized pet safety expert, tells The Wildest. “We buckle up our kids, we buckle up ourselves, and even our groceries. Why are we not buckling up our pets?”

Cooyoo’s adjustable belt, made of durable material that will stand up to the sharp razor teeth of your restless dog, is here to help. You can easily clip your pup in and out of the seatbelt, providing a no hassle experience for you both. You want your dog to be safe, and they want to get out of the car as soon as possible. So, it’s a win-win. —Lisa McCormick and HW

Wild One treat pouch in orchid

Just when we thought that Wild One had brought the practicality of pet parenthood to its peak, they’ve introduced a new product that adds a hands-free element to walks, trips to the dog park, and rides in the car. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, this treat pouch is the perfect place to stow all your goodies — especially if you have a stubborn pup who won’t set paw in the car without a little negotiation. It’ll make the reward of getting to your final destination all the more sweet when everyone arrives without a scratch. —LD

Just Fred puffy weekend tote in black

The Just Fred Weekend dog tote is perfect for carrying around your pet without sacrificing style. It’s water-repellant, sturdy, cushioned, and cozy for your pup’s comfort — and made with 100 percent vegan leather. “I really believe that our fellow creatures should be our friends, not our bags,” Just Fred founder Tennille Teague says. “So, when I started designing the collection, the idea of using animal products felt misaligned with that philosophy and with the company’s mission of ensuring kindness in every choice we make.” 

Just Fred also uses their influence (and profits) to advocate for senior dogs and is partnering with Badass Animal Rescue in Brooklyn to help encourage senior dog adoptions. —Charles Manning

RexSpecs goggles in orange

You aren’t the only one who likes to feel the wind in your hair while cruising along the coast. If your pup can’t get enough of sticking their head out the window, these bug-and-debris-proof goggles could be the difference between a dry eye and a happy Red Baron-esque ensemble.

Rex Specs are equipped with impact-resistant and UV400-rated lenses that block 99.9 percent of the sun’s UV rays. This will greatly reduce any risk of skin cancer, burning, or other damage caused by the sun. For some dogs, these goggles can also aid in minimizing allergic reactions and non-environmental issues.

“Dog goggles can be very helpful for dogs for general eye protection, eye protection because of specific medical concerns, and when needed for decreasing visual stimulation for dogs who are triggered by visual stimuli,” veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valli Parthasarathy explains. —LD and SZ

NoMo Nausea Natural Nausea Relief

Pup gets carsick but can’t handle the strong stomach meds the doctor prescribes? That’s where this acupressure and aromatherapy nausea-preventing band comes in handy. It contains essential peppermint oil, so whenever your pup gives it a lick, it’ll provide an extra dose of relief without any of the side effects of harsh medications. It works quickly to alleviate nausea that pets often experience in transit so you can ensure that your road trip goes smoothly. —LD

adventure medical first aid kit

Hopefully you’ll never need it, but stash this pet first aid kit in your glove compartment just in case. Thoughtfully designed and stocked, this first-aid kit has bandages, medicine, and tools that are made specifically for pets.

“A pet first aid kit, along with clear instructions on its usage, can be a valuable resource when pet parents are far from veterinary facilities in an emergency,” veterinarian Dr. Alycia Washington says. “It’s important to remember that these kits are not a substitute for professional veterinary care, though.” —Rebecca Caplan

roverlund pet food carrier

The small insulated pack is perfect for keeping food fresh, no matter what adventure you and your pup are on, whether on the road, a trail, or in the sky. It’s offered in an array of styles, including three separate camo designs, to match any travel aesthetic. Essentially, it’s the stylish lunchbox of your dog’s dreams. As if that isn’t rad enough, the brand has taken a climate pledge and donates one percent of all its revenue to environmental nonprofits. —Charles Manning

merci collective bottle

The Merci Collective Urban Oasis water bottle promises a source of clean water anytime, anywhere. Made of 100 percent eco-friendly and non-toxic materials, the bottle features a hard-sealed bamboo lid to avoid any chance of contamination to its borosilicate glass base. Not to mention, it has a hand-picked healing crystal stationed in the middle. It’s all part of the brand’s mission to design elevated everyday essentials that support pets and their parents on their healing journey together. —Dr. Lindsey Wendt

blue water bottle

If you’re on the market for a less expensive travel bottle, look no further than Springer’s portable growler bottle. It’s as easy as squeezing the stylish bottle and releasing your pup’s water into the top, which doubles as a no-spill bowl.

Once your dog has lapped up their share of hydration, the excess water drains back into the bottle, making it a perfect purchase for the environmental dog parent who is looking to cut back on their waste. Plus, it’s 100 percent leak-tight, made from BPA-free plastic, and includes a carabiner that allows for the bottle to easily clip onto your fanny pack for a hands-free experience. —LD

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.  

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