The 6 Best Dog Seat Belts for Your Next Road Trip | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

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Strap Your Dog In For Your Next Road Trip With Our Favorite Dog Seat Belt


Although securing your dog with a seat belt isn’t federal law, it’s one of the best ways to keep your dog secure in the car and your drive distraction-free.

“I always recommend that pet parents properly secure their pet for any travel in the car,” says Dr. Whitney Miller, Chief Veterinarian at Petco. “This prevents distracted driving and will help keep your dog safe in the event of an accident or sudden stop.”

If you think you can use your dog’s leash as a seat belt, think again. Leashes and other makeshift seat belt tethers are not designed or tested to function as seat belts.

Although there are no exact regulations concerning dog seat belts, Dr. Miller says that the best dog seat belts will follow independent testing protocols and adhere to respected, unwritten standards within the industry.

There are several useful types of dog seat belt, but our favorite is the AUBELL Updated 3-in-1 Pet Car Seat Belt for Dogs, which uses an adapter to securely fasten your dog in the back seat using your existing seat belt system. It works for a range of dog sizes, and features a swivel head that allows your dog more freedom of movement without getting tangled.

Looking for something a little more specific? Some of our other favorite dog seat belts include harnesses, a zipline, and headrest styles, so you can find the one that works for you and your dog’s needs.

Best Overall: AUBELL Updated 3-in-1 Pet Car Seat Belt for Dogs

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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

The AUBELL 3-in-1 Pet Car Seat Belt for Dogs gets top marks for its multifunctional capabilities and 900-pound tensile strength capabilities. This makes it adaptable for use in several car models and suitable for a range of dog sizes, strengths, and breeds (though it’s best for small to medium-large dogs). It’s also available in eight colors.

Multiple clips mean users can choose to clip the belt directly into their seat belt receiver, attach the lockable carabiner to a zipline, or fasten the seat belt to one of the car’s metal child safety latches in the back seat or anchor loops in the SUV cargo area of the car. The end of the carabiner is attached to the belt via a sturdy zinc alloy 360-degree swivel head which lowers the possibility of your dog getting tangled in the belt and allows them to move around more easily while they’re tethered in.

The belt strap is adjustable between 25-32 inches with an inch or two of extra give in the belt’s short bungee webbing near the carabiner clip that helps absorb shock in case of a sudden stop or light impact. However, this can stretch out over time, especially if you’ve got a dog that likes to pull. This adjustable bungee tether design is a great solution for dogs who get antsy on long drives, like to move around in the car, or like to “hang out” near the front seats—while your dog will be able to lie down, stand up, and walk across the back seats or cargo space comfortably, they won’t be able to leave the area and become a distraction to the driver.

Price at time of publish: $13

Sizes: One size, suitable for puppies, and miniature up to medium-large breeds | Colors: Black, gray, hot pink, purple, orange, purple, red, teal | Materials: Nylon, stainless steel, zinc alloy | Fastener type: Carabiner, hook latch, seat belt tab

Best Harness: EZDog Drive Dog Car Harness

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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

We tested this harness and found it provided an excellent level of security for the tester dog, was easy to clean, and was easy to size. Instead of a belt adapter or extender, the EZDog Drive Dog Car Harness is a body harness that is designed to be used as a restraint while riding in the car. You don’t need any extra belts or clips—it works by threading the existing car seat belt through two reinforced grip loops on the back of the harness and then clipping in the seat belt buckle as you normally would. The padded “X” design evenly distributes pull across your dog’s chest, putting less stress on one area.

This harness is independently crash-tested and certified by Automotive Safety Engineering in Australia (recognized in the UK and US) and goes beyond child safety requirements from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Visible indicators on the four adjustable straps and cam buckle slides help inform owners when the harness straps are properly secured and help keep an even fit on both sides of the harness. Extra strap webbing can be rolled up and securely tucked away out of reach of any teething or nervous dogs, and a double D-ring at the top of the harness means you can use it as a walking harness, too. It comes in three sizes that are sized based on chest girth between 11-42 inches. Currently, it’s only available in black.

Price at time of publish: $125

Sizes: Small (11-25 inches), medium (15-34 inches), large (19-42 inches) | Colors: Black | Materials: Nylon, aluminum alloy | Fastener type: Hook latch, carabiner, seat belt tab

Best Zipline: Kurgo Auto Zipline

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What We Like

  • Three options for installation, including in SUV cargo areas

  • Gives dogs high freedom of movement

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don’t Like

Kurgo took the idea of an outdoor dog run and reimagined it for use in the car. The adjustable six-foot-long zipline portion works between any two secure, stationary points (think cargo hooks, seat belts, grab handles) and attaches via a simple rubber-coated hook on each end. The included tether is attached via carabiners to the zipline on one end and your dog’s harness on the other. Be sure to get rid of all the slack in the car seat belts and the zipline before hooking your dog in.

Keep in mind this product is not necessarily a crash safety device. Instead, it’s designed to limit driver distraction while keeping your dog comfortable. The zipline style allows your dog to move freely between the left and right sides of the car but restricts your pup’s ability to pop up into the front seat with you or the back of the car. This can help with nervous riders and lets dogs watch what’s happening outside from both sides of the car.

Extra strap webbing can be rolled up and secured with the bungee and toggle to prevent any tangles or teething temptations. If you’re feeling a little insecure about the stability of the open hooks anchoring the zipline, it is possible to switch them out for locking carabiners. This product has a lifetime warranty.

Price at time of publish: $30

Sizes: One size, suitable for medium and large breeds | Colors: Orange and black | Materials: Nylon, steel | Fastener type: Carabiner, hook

Best Tether: Kurgo Direct to Latch Swivel Tether

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What We Like

  • Works in all cars 2002 and newer

  • No accidental seat belt buckle release

  • Swivel carabiner for more movement

What We Don’t Like

Dr. Miller says she uses a seat belt extender, a webbing tether that attaches to your existing seat belt to create more leeway for your dog, so her dogs have enough give to sit, stand, and lay down while in the car. This seat belt tether functions like an extender and adapter but provides a more secure anchor. It works by hooking the tether to the metal child safety latches built into the back seat bench. Since it doesn’t clip directly into the seat belt receiver or rely on looping around the seat belt itself, you don’t have to worry about your dog accidentally stepping on the seat belt buckle release and becoming free while in transit.

We love that this tether works in all car models 2002 or later. It’s a one-size-fits-all tether featuring a strong polyester webbing strap that is adjustable between 12-22 inches long and works for small to large dog breeds. It attaches to your dog by clipping the carabiner to your dog’s harness and has a 360-degree swivel to keep your pup from getting tangled up in the tether. This tether helps to restrain your dog’s ability to jump into the front seat or cargo area of your car, but it’s not crash-tested for safety.

Price at time of publish: $24

Sizes: One size, suitable for small to large breeds | Colors: Gray and black | Materials: Polyester, aluminum | Fastener type: Carabiner, hook spring

Best for Big Dogs: Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Plus Harness

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What We Like

  • 5-star crash-tested and CPS-certified

  • Shock-absorbant design

  • Designed for service and working dogs, too

What We Don’t Like

Sleepypod has several crash-tested products that are certified by the Center for Pet Safety, including the Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Plus Safety Harness. This particular harness has a broad, padded (and patented) design that cushions against the chest. Upon sudden impact, it absorbs shock and kinetic energy while evenly distributing force against the body to help prevent injury. Securing your dog in the back seat is as simple as threading the seat belt through the sides of the harness and buckling the seat belt into place as you normally would.

Reflective patches on the harness keep your dog visible after dark and can be replaced with service dog patches if needed. We like that this harness is comfortable enough for everyday use and features double D-rings for attaching a leash. It’s available in seven colors with sizing based on your dog’s chest girth (20.5-41.5 inches). The small size is crash-tested for up to 24 pounds, though it’s not recommended for use with small dogs under 18 pounds because of its heavy-duty nature. And even though it can accommodate giant breeds, it’s only safety certified for up to 110 pounds.

Price at time of publish: $127

Sizes: one size, suitable for small to giant breeds | Colors: Turquoise, black, red, olive, blush, gray, orange | Materials: Not available | Fastener type: S clip, buckle

Best for Small Dogs: Mighty Paw Headrest Dog Seat Belt

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What We Like

  • Easy installation around the headrest

  • Strong all-metal hardware and easy-to-use buckle

  • 850-pound tensile strength

  • Can use two seat belts over one headrest

  • Works with the front or back seat headrests

  • Allows space for use with a pet bed

What We Don’t Like

Headrest seat belts differ slightly from extenders or adapters since they fasten around your car’s headrest instead of using the seat belt or child safety latch as an anchor. They are a great pick for smaller dogs because it allows them more freedom of movement since the anchor is higher. The Might Paw Headrest Dog Seat Belt is made from the same nylon webbing as human seat belts and features all-metal hardware, including a durable carabiner clip that attaches to your dog’s safety harness.

This seat belt loops around either the front or back seat headrest and clips into place with a large tactical buckle that is easy to use, even for arthritic hands. The tether strap is adjustable between 18-30 inches. We like that small dogs can comfortably use this seat belt with a dog bed without getting tangled or placing the dog bed on top of the belt (as with clip-in seat belts) and that you can loop two belts over one headrest so your small dogs can cuddle in the same seat. It is worth noting that this belt is not crash-tested, and you’ll want to make sure to double-check the headrest buckle as some users have reported it comes unbuckled, particularly when the headrest is pushed down after installation.

Price at time of publish: $17

Sizes: One size, suitable for small to large breeds | Colors: Black | Materials: Nylon, metal | Fastener: Buckle, carabiner

Final Verdict

Dog seat belts come in a variety of styles with various types of clips and buckles. Our overall favorite pick is the AUBELL Updated 3-in-1 Pet Car Seat Belt for Dogs because it is easy to install, restrains dogs without sacrificing too much of their ability to move around, and can accommodate a wide range of dog sizes. The tether can be adjusted for different lengths and the 360-degree swivel prevents your dog from getting tangled in the strap. There’s also a short bungee portion to the belt which can help absorb shock in the event of a sudden stop or collision, but the belt does not have an official crash-testing rating.

What to Look for in a Dog Seat Belt


There are four main types of dog seat belts, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Adapters and extenders are belt straps that connect to your dog’s safety harness and the seat belt itself, usually by clicking into the seat belt buckle receiver. Sometimes these anchor via the built-in child safety loops used for car seats. These offer a decent range of motion for your dog but are not usually crash-test-rated.

  2. Ziplines allow for the greatest range of motion, are easy to install and remove, and fit most vehicles. However, if you’ve got more than one dog, things can get tricky and tangled.

  3. Headrest seat belts loop around one of the car’s headrests and provide a higher anchor point than adapters or extenders (which makes them good for pet parents who want to use a pet bed) but offer less range of movement than a zipline.

  4. Dog seat belt harnesses are designed to have your car seat belt thread directly through the harness, unlike most other seat belts, which are designed to be used in conjunction with your dog’s existing harness. These are the most restricting for dogs but also the safest and the only dog seat belts that are crash-tested or have CPS certification.

Size and weight guidance

All seat belt styles will have a sizing guide, usually based on girth for harnesses or weight for adapters and extenders. Dr. Miller advises that larger dogs usually need longer seat belt adapters or extenders to lie down comfortably. She cautions that size is even more important when choosing a harness since it must be well-fitted to work properly. Be sure to check the tensile weight capacity for any seat belt strap devices, which is the amount of force weight the belt can withstand during impact or sudden stops. Be sure to follow the size and weight specifications for the seat belt you buy so it functions properly for your pup.


“Look for seat belts made with high quality and durable materials,” says Dr. Miller. Examples include webbed polyester, rip-stop nylon, and durable mesh. Seat adapters and carabiner clips that attach to the harness should be made of metal to ensure maximum durability and security. “If your pet chews on the seat belt or it frays at all, replace it as it may no longer function as needed,” she adds.

Independent testing

Although many dog seat belt styles are not officially crash-tested, it doesn’t hurt to lean towards products that have been tested independently and follow a rigorous standard for safety. There’ may not be specific government standards for testing pet seat belts, but there are well-respected industry standards. For example, Dr. Miller shared that Petco conducts thorough testing of their dog seat belts to help ensure pets are kept safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dog seat belts safe?

Yes, though Dr. Miller reiterates that using a pet seat belt that has been tested to meet rigorous standards is paramount. Dog seat belts are important tools to secure your pup in the back seat and keep them out of your lap to prevent distracted driving. Just like regular seat belts for humans, dog seat belts keep your pup secure while the vehicle moves,” she says. She also cautions against letting your dog ride in the front seat. “If the airbags deploy, your dog could be seriously injured.”

How do you use a dog seat belt?

The exact way to use a dog seat belt will depend on the style of restraint you choose. Most dog seat belts work with an adapter on one end of a tether that clicks into your car’s seat belt buckle receiver while the other end attaches to your dog’s harness. Dr. Miller stresses that “for safety reasons, [dog] seat belts should always be attached to a harness, never your dog’s collar or leash” because it could end up choking your dog during an accident.

Do any states require dog seat belts?

There is no federal law stipulating you need to buckle in your dog for car rides—but there are three states that require owners to place a dog seat belt on their dog when riding in the car. These states are Hawaii, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Dr. Miller also points out that a handful of states aslo have laws against distracted driving, and drivers can be slapped with a citation if their dog is riding in their lap or is found to be distracting them while the car is in motion.

Why Trust The Spruce Pets

For this story, writer Katherine Alex Beaven consulted Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, Chief Veterinarian of Petco. Dr. Miller is a dog owner who keeps her two large dogs safe and comfortable with dog seat belts and soft beds during car rides.

Read Next: The 10 Best Dog Harnesses of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Read the original article on The Spruce Pets.


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