You know those commercials where a dog is sitting in the front or back seat of a car, head out the window, tongue hanging out, ears blowing in the wind with a big old doggie smile on his face? While that is how I once envisioned my travels with my two dogs, it hasn’t actually turned out that way.
The fact of the matter is that my dogs really don’t like car rides. Jake, the younger of my two English Cream Golden Retrievers hates the car so much that I once ended up having to walk him nearly two miles to the vet because I could not get him into the car. He weighs close to 100 pounds and has a very long stubborn streak!
His brother Koda is less car averse, and while I generally have to encourage him with treats and give him a boost into the back seat, he will eventually get in. Despite their reticence, I still found it necessary to make sure that when they do get into my car, that the inside is protected from their claws, fur and yes, sometimes their drool or worse. Because I generally lease my cars, this is even more important.
Seat protectors come in all shapes, sizes and materials, so before you purchase one, it’s best to consider your needs. Here are several different ones that are worth exploring.
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My first purchase
When I first started shopping for car seat protectors I didn’t give it much thought. I was looking for something that would fit the large back seat bench in my SUV and that would be durable, but not break the bank. I purchased the Top Paw bench seat protector several years ago and so far it’s held up quite well.
The TopPaw car seat cover is made of durable material, but it tends to move around and doesn’t give complete seat coverage.
What I liked about it was that it was made of a thick durable material with straps and easy to clip hooks that made it easy to put on and take off when the dogs were out and the kids were in the car. It’s also machine washable.
The easy-to-clip hooks go around the headrest.
The downside to this product is that it does not wrap around the seats, so if your dog moves around a lot, so does the seat protector. It does have an elastic band that’s supposed to fit around the back of the bench seat, but it’s flimsy and tends to make the seat protector bunch up.
In the “If I knew then what I know now” category, I likely would have opted for a seat cover that fit more snugly around the back seat bench or a hammock that essentially wraps around the entire back seat protecting the bench, the seats in front and in some models, the side door panels, which can get scratched if your dog likes to try to jump up and look out the window.
The Mpow Dog Car Seat Covers with Mesh Visual Window comes highly rated and gives you a lot of bang for the buck. Made of durable, soil and scratch resistant material, it’s easy to install and to remove for cleaning.
The hammock design protects both the seat and the back of the front seats and there are two side flaps that you can leave up or down by simply strapping it to the top handles in the back seat.
If your dog is like mine and doesn’t sit and stay because he gets too excited, a great feature is the seatbelt, which will keep your pooch in the back and not trying to get up front to take over the steering wheel. Its size makes it perfect for cars, trucks and SUVs.
Bench Seat Protector
If you’re looking for something that will protect the entire back seat, but isn’t a hammock, the VIEWPETS Bench Car Seat Cover Protector might be for you.
This one is easy to install and remove. The straps wrap around the headrest and snap closed. There are two seat anchors (plastic tubes that slide into the crack of the back seat) that help to keep the seat from slipping. I can tell you from personal experience this is a definite plus. While many seat protectors come in a limited number of colors, usually black or beige, this one comes in four – black, gray, green and tan. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty for defects on materials.
For safety reasons, I don’t like the idea of allowing my dog (or any dog for that matter) to sit up front, especially if you’re not going to put them in a harness. But if you must, and you don’t need the entire back seat covered, there are a variety of options from which to choose.
Front and center
Bulldogology offers front bucket seat covers made of waterproof material. There are side flaps that will help to protect the seat as well.
There are four layers of material, including a non-slip backing that helps to keep it in place. The good thing about this is that it comes with a free seat belt bungee leash to keep your pet from making an escape out the window.
Need a boost?
If you have a really little guy in need of a booster seat, check out the Henkelion Pet Dog Booster Seat. At first glance, it looks like a large cooler. This one is made for Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and other dogs, or cats, up to 30 pounds. It can go in either the front or back seat and is designed to keep your dog in place with a hook that attaches to the dog’s harness. It also folds up for easy storage.
Lots of legroom
I know a lot of people with SUVs who prefer to let their dog stretch out in the far back cargo area and there are a lot of choices for that as well. The 4Knines SUV Cargo Liner for Fold Down Seats is on the higher spectrum of the price range, but it also offers a lot of features including two heavy-duty zippers that allow for the flexible use of your 60/40 or 50/50 split seat and/or center cargo pass-through, according to the description. It also has a bumper flap that protects it from scratch marks as you pet gets in and out. That’s a big plus in my book.
If price is more important than features, the F-color Waterproof Pet Cargo Cover Dog Seat Cover Mat might be for you. It’s very basic as in one-size-fits-all, which for some means it may be too big. Most of the reviews are positive and folks say it does what it’s supposed to do and it’s reasonably priced
When it comes to protecting your car, there are all kinds of options from which to choose. I recommend you do your research to see what works best for you and your furry friend.