3 min read • By Wyatt West, Staff Writer & Outdoor Fiend, Timberdog®
Put in the search phrase, “travel pet bed,” and Google spits up 258 million search results! At Timberdog, we find it easiest to start with the basics - we think of our pet’s behavior, size, and travel style before scouring the Web to find the perfect travel pet bed. Do our pets like to sit up and look out of the car window, or do they sleep? Are they in need of orthopedic options? Are they chewers? Are they claustrophobic in their crates on planes? Do they run hot or cool?
Take into consideration these types of questions before you conduct your search. Once you have a list of must-haves, you can start searching for a travel pet bed that is both functional and comfortable for those long road trips or simply a day of running errands around town. Buying a good travel bed for your furry mate need not be a daunting task.
CAR PLACEMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL PET BED
For the purpose of this blog, I’ll discuss travel pet beds for your car, since that is the most common mode of transportation involving pets. And since I own a dog, I’ll write from that angle, but rest assured that this article applies to cats and other animals, as well.
Generally, when securing your travel pet bed, avoid the front seat. This is because a restraint for pets will likely not keep them from crashing into the dashboard, since the seat belt needs to be long enough for your pet to be able to sit, stand, or lay down (I keep my dog’s restraint as tight as possible, allowing for some movement but not walking around). Additionally, if you have airbags, the passenger side airbag could prove highly devastating to your furry friend, as those are released with a tremendous amount of power.
The backseat, meanwhile, is often further back from the front seat than the front seat is from the dash. The back seat also has more space for your pet to stretch out. Finally, pets are much less distracting back there than they are sitting next to you up front, which helps to avoid accidents.
RESTRAINING YOUR PET IN THE CAR
Many people, including myself, choose to restrain our pets with a special seat belt made just for them. As for the restraint itself, I think it goes without saying that your pet’s seat belt should never be attached to his collar. An accident could throw the dog and injure or break his neck.
When looking for a seat belt, find a harness and belt that are built for each other from the same company. I did this for two reasons. One, harnesses and belts that are designed to work together will function a lot better, in my opinion, than a belt and harness from different companies. Second, if there was any problem with the equipment, I could take it up with one company, not two - the latter always creating the risk of multiple companies pointing fingers at each other for faulty equipment.
For my dog, Angus, I searched for a dog seatbelt that was crash-tested (so difficult to find!), giving me a bit more peace of mind in terms of quality. I ultimately ended up getting the Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness, and it’s been great for me and my pup. The Kurgo has been crash-tested up to 75 lbs and is one of the most broadly-sold, crash-tested harnesses around.
THE LIST - THE SIMPLER THE BETTER
Coming back to our recommendation of creating a list of desirables in a travel pet bed, here are some items we came up with, including examples of good travel beds for different types of needs:
INEXPENSIVE, FUNCTIONAL, COVERING A LARGE AREA:
- For big pets
- For multiple pets
- For messy/muddy pets
- Wall-to-wall coverage
- Nice design or color, since it’s going to cover much of the interior
- Dark or black in color, so it doesn’t show as much dirt
Dog Trunk Cargo Liner works well here
FOR THE BACK SEAT:
- For bench seats to cover larger area
- For bucket seats (for one pet or a small pet)
- Quick & easy set up
- Safety: pet’s seat belt can be accessed through eyelets in the travel bed
- Cozy and comfy - soft liner and surrounding cushioned bolster
Try PetSafe Happy Ride Car Cuddler
- Large; for the trunk cargo area
- Shock-absorbing support
- No installation needed
- Easy to clean
- Made in the US
Backseat Barker is a great orthopedic option, pictured above
Feel free to use our list when searching for your ideal travel pet bed, and let us know in the comments what you ended up going with.
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Thank you for sharing, useful information keep on sharing.