Image via iStock.com/N8tureGrl
By Diana Bocco
If traveling with dogs is part of your routine, you probably already know how quickly dirt and dog hair can accumulate in your car. Using a back seat dog cover is not only great for protecting your car against the elements, but it can actually make driving with your dog safer for both you and your pet.
Here are five things to keep in mind when choosing the best dog car seat cover for your traveling needs.
Opt for Water-Resistant If Your Dog Loves the Outdoors
Taking dogs out in inclement weather (rain or snow) or taking dogs to the beach are just a few instances where a water-resistant dog cover for car seats is great to have, according to Katherine Hanscom, customer service supervisor for Kurgo Products.
“Water-resistant seat covers make the most sense any time you’re traveling with dogs (and human kids), because dogs get dirty and liquid messes happen,” says Hanscom.
Waterproof or water-resistant materials also make for the best rear seat cover dogs because they are easier to clean, according to Natalie Le, a representative for Pet Magasin customer service.
Pick Quilted Materials for Comfort and Durability
Quilted dog car seat covers are made with a heavyweight material that is strong and durable, especially for dogs that scratch or chew on it, according to Le.
If you’re looking for a soft and smooth material that doesn’t trap hair, Hanscom recommends loft-quilted back seat dog covers like the Kurgo loft dog hammock because it’s easy to shake dirt and hair off them, and they wash well. “I would recommend it to anybody who is looking for a soft material versus one with a more ‘canvas-like’ texture.”
Choose a Hammock-Style Cover for Max Protection
Hammock-style dog seat covers are a great option for pet parents looking for a seat cover that protects the back of the front seats, the foot wells and the bench seat, according to Hanscom. “They can help prevent a dog from falling into the foot wells and offer a soft barrier that may keep some dogs contained in the back seat,” says Hanscom.
Hammock-style covers also give better protection if you have to stop suddenly or in the case of an accident, adds Le. The safest options are those, like the Pet Magasin blue hammock style car seat cover, that have buckle slits to allow you to easily attach your dog’s Kurgo direct to seat-belt tether. And while they work great for daily use, Le points out that covers are especially great for long road trips. “They prevent the car from being covered in fur everywhere, as well as dirty or muddy footprints, and claw marks on leather upholstery,” Le says.
Finally, hammocks like the K&H Pet Products car seat saver are also a deterrent for dogs jumping over the seat, according to Fara Erspamer, director of product development and design for K&H Pet Products. “Along with cell phones, pets are a distraction while operating a motor vehicle,” says Erspamer.
Go With the Right Materials
Bench-seat covers like the Kurgo extended width dog bench seat cover can be a good option for larger dogs and for pet parents who are looking for a more “tailored look/fit” in their seat cover, says Hanscom.
When it comes to price and look, it’s all about what you’re comfortable with. For example, Hanscom points out that, generally speaking, the canvas-like covers tend to be the most durable choice for larger, active dogs.
And if you have a large dog, Le adds that the strong, heavyweight, waterproof fabric is better because it will stand up to dog paws and toenails, even if your pet is scratching at the seat.
If you have a relatively quiet pet, a simple dog cover for car seats may do the trick most of the time, except if you’re planning an outdoor adventure that might involve getting wet, according to Erspamer. “Waterproof covers protect from stains, spills and dirt, including muddy paws,” says Erspamer. “Even our micro-suede covers are quilted with a water-resistant backing that will protect from spills, muddy paws and dirt.”
Make Sure You Get the Right Fit
Although dog car seat covers are designed to fit most cars, trucks and SUVs, there are a couple of different sizes available. The best way to determine which size car seat cover will fit is to measure the width of the seating area of your rear bench seat from door to door, says Hanscom.
Most car seat covers are either 54 inches or 57 inches—and it depends on the type of vehicle, according to Erspamer. “Always measure across the longest part of the rear seat,” Erspamer says. “Most midsize SUVs, crossovers and standard cars are 54 inches; large, full-size SUVs and trucks are 57 inches.”
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