Pet Car Seats 101

Pet Booster Car Seats

A Great Dane presiding over the back seat of your sedan will probably enjoy the sites from any window he likes. If your taste in dogs leans more to Chihuahuas, though, you may want to make the ride a little more entertaining with some badly needed elevation. Sometimes providing security, safety and comfort for your traveling pet isn't enough. If your pet keeps straining to see the view, or just sits in the back seat and wines, you may be able to solve the problem with a pet booster car seat. The same concept that gets your kids up to table level will help make your pet's travel prospects more interesting.

Pet car booster seats fasten securely to your car's seatbelt system or the seat itself and include fittings that attach your pet's harness. The seat has a padded or inflated bottom that raises the level of the seat to give your pet an instant window view. These seats are designed for smaller pets, like cats or small dogs up to around 25 pounds, and will typically fit in either the passenger seat or back seat. In some styles, an opening in the bottom has room for storage. Some convert to carriers or strollers, while others are outfitted with heating elements powered by the cigarette lighter receptacle that can keep pets warm on chilly days. More expensive brands adjust up and down to provide the perfect viewing height.

Most pet booster seats are sized based on a pet's weight, which doesn't always tell the whole story. If your pooch is long, fluffy or likes to stretch out, consider choosing the next larger model. If you have two small pets, some seats come with dual tethers so you can keep both in one carrier. Just be sure to stay within the minimum weight requirement, and make the right judgment call about keeping your precious passengers confined together.

Cleaning is a consideration with the pet booster seat you choose. Check to make sure the interior lining can be removed and laundered, and that there's a waterproof barrier between it and the inner padding. Make sure the exterior can be sponged clean or hosed down, too.

Because many of these units can do double duty as carriers or beds, you might also want to consider purchasing one that has carry handles and, if applicable, convenient access doors that make it easy to get your pet in and out.

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