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What to Know Before Buying a Car Travel Dog Bed

What to Know Before Buying a Car Travel Dog Bed

3 min read  •  By Wyatt West, Staff Writer & Outdoor Fiend, Timberdog®


Put in the search phrase, “car travel dog bed,” and Google spits up 243 million search results! At Timberdog, we find it easiest to start with the basics - we think of our dogs’ personality, size, and car travel style before turning to the internet to find the perfect travel bed. Do our dogs like to sit up and look out of the window, or do they sleep? Are they in need of orthopedic options? Are they chewers? Do they run hot or cool? Do they play hard and come back to the car a muddy mess?

Take into consideration these sorts of questions before you conduct your search. Once you have a list of must-haves and “nice-to-haves,” you can start searching for a car travel dog bed that is both functional and comfortable for those long road trips or simply a day of running errands about town. Buying a good travel bed for your furry friend need not be a daunting task.


Generally speaking, when securing your car travel pet bed, avoid the front seat. This is because a seatbelt or restraint for dogs will potentially not keep them from crashing into the dashboard, since the restraint needs to be long enough for the dog to be able to sit, stand, turn around in their seat 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 injurious to dogs, as they are released with a tremendous amount of power, and there is no telling how or where your dog will be hit if it deploys.

The backseat, meanwhile, is often set further back from the front seat than the front seat is from the dash. The back seat also has more space horizontally for your dog to stretch out. Finally, a pet is much less distracting in the back seat than they are sitting right next to you up front, which helps to avoid accidents.


Many people, including myself, choose to restrain our dogs with a special seat belt made just for them. As for the restraint itself, I think it goes without saying that your dog’s seat belt should never be attached to her collar. An accident could throw the dog and injure or break her neck.

When looking for a seat belt, I wanted to find a harness and belt that were built for one another from the same company. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, harnesses and belts that are designed to work together from the same brand will function a lot better, in my opinion, than a belt and harness from different companies. Second, if there happened to be any problem with the belt or harness, I could take it up with one company, rather than two - the latter option always creating the risk that two or more companies could point fingers at each other for faulty equipment.

I also searched for a dog seatbelt that was crash-tested (so hard to find!), giving me a bit more peace of mind in terms of function and quality. After going through many types of seatbelts, I ultimately ended up buying the Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness, and it’s been a great option 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 available. 


Coming back to our recommendation of creating a list of desirable attributes in a car travel dog bed, here are some items we came up with, including examples of good travel beds for different types of needs:


  • 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


  • For bench seats to cover larger area
  • For bucket seats (for one dog or a small dog)
  • Quick & easy set up
  • Safety: dog’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 (pictured above)


  • For big dogs
  • For multiple dogs
  • For messy/muddy dogs
  • Inexpensive
  • Waterproof
  • 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

Feel free to use our list above when searching for your perfect car travel dog bed, and let us know below what you ended up going with.

Ever notice that all the pet content out there is eerily similar? Timberdog prides itself on an authentic blog:
- We never use AI to write our articles, so our content is always fresh, current, and real.
- Blog posts are written by experts in their fields, not hired copywriters.
- We never censor comments (unless harmful to others).
- No money is ever received for promoting products.
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