How to choose the best dog seat cover and not waste your money?

Among hundreds of car dog hammocks on the market, it’s really hard to find the right one. As the owner of a hyper Lab, in this article I’ve put together all the key characharistics to help you choose the best dog seat cover and not waste your money.

My journey experience with searching the best dog hammock

I started getting my puppy used to the car when he was 8 weeks old. Quickly after a couple of trips together, it was obvious that I needed a protection for my back seat if I didn’t want my seats to be destroyed in a year. So I started looking online for a pet cover and that’s when my experience with finding the perfect car dog seat cover began.

At first, I chose a dog hammock with a mesh window in the middle so that my puppy could see me and watch the road. This seemed like a great idea to me! Spoiler: I was wrong. In just a month, the mesh window was torn and my puppy started climbing through it into the front seat.

Plus, unknowingly, I didn’t pay attention that this seat cover had no door protection. And soon I started noticing scratches on my car doors. This car protection didn’t actually protected my car, so I needed a better replacement.

When purchasing a new dog hammock, I specifically chose one that had side panels to protect the doors. Although it still had a mesh window, the seller assured me that it was a durable mesh that wouldn’t tear quickly. Well, he wasn’t lying – it served us two months instead of one.

As for the sidewalls, there was another problem I wasn’t prepared for… They attached to the grab handles with long straps. It looked ridiculous and my growing Lab could hardly look out the window – and he really loves that!

Then I tried several popular dog hammocks, but there was always something wrong with them. They either didn’t have door protection, or had this mesh window, or their fasteners broke under the weight of my growing pup… However, they all gave me the knowledge on how to choose the perfect dog car seat cover that won’t disappoint!

What should you take into account when choosing a dog seat cover?

Mesh windows

Yes, car dog hammocks with mesh windows considered a great solution as they allow your dog to watch the road. But the truth is that they are the first part of your hammock to be torn. The mesh material they use is generally very thin and it’ll stretch or tear far more quickly than you think.

Don’t waste your money. Get a dog cover without a mesh window – believe me, it’ll serve you much longer than those windowed dog hammocks.

Materials & layers

Most often, car dog seat covers are made of Oxford fabrics, for example, 600D or 420D. This “D” means density – and you have to pay attention to it when choosing a dog cover. The denser the fabric, the more water and damage resistant it is.

Also, pay attention to the fasteners. They must be strong enough to bear the weight of your dog during the ride. So if you have a medium or large sized dog, or several dogs, it’s best to choose a seat cover with metal fasteners rather than flimsy plastic ones.

As for layers, the best dog covers have at least four layers, including a waterproof lining, soft padding, and an non-slip bottom.

Dog seat belt

Road security comes first. So make sure in advance that the dog hammock you want to purchase allows the use of a dog safety belt. If it doesn’t have openings to attach a seat belt, driving with such a dog seat cover is simply dangerous for your pet!

Water resistance

I already mentioned the waterproof lining but it’s worth repeating. All dogs are different, and they also react to car trips differently. Your puppy or adopted dog may get nervous at first and relieve itself right on the road. Or your active dog (Lab owners know what I mean…) might roll in a puddle before jumping into your car.

You don’t want this to stay inside your upholstery, do you? So make sure that the pet seat cover you are interested in has a waterproof lining. And preferably two!

Door protection

Side panels are essential for a dog car hammock, and especially if they have solid inserts. Aside from protecting car doors from your dog’s nails, they also keep your pet inside the car if the doors accidentally open.

Placement type

I’ve seen trunk cargo liners, front seat covers, and back seat protectors – there are plenty of different types. In my experience, the best car dog seat covers are versatile models – ones that can be used in the back seat, in the trunk, and folded in half to free up space in the back or transport a puppy.

Washing type

On the market, you can find dog covers for hand wash or machine wash. As two-year driving experience with a dog shows, the best car hammocks are those that you can easily clean right in the car with a damp cloth and a portable vacuum cleaner. This saves you the hassle of removing your seat cover, taking it home, washing it, drying it, and then reinstalling it again… Gosh, I hated doing it!

Storage pockets

And the last but not the least, storage pockets. These can be very useful for storing toys, leashes, travel bowls, poop bags, water, and other things you might need on the go. The perfect dog hammock certainly has some extra pockets.

So is there anything I can recommend? 

I could find only one car dog seat cover which meets all the characteristics I listed above. This is the Owleys Dog Seat Cover that I’ve been using for six months already. And here’s why I love it:

It has sturdy side panels to protect my car doors. These panels fasten with zippers and Velcro straps, so my dog can look out the window comfortably.

Made from 600D Oxford, it has overall six layers including waterproof lining, soft padding and non-slip bottom coating.

No mesh window in the middle to get torn in a few weeks.

This dog seat cover is very easy and quick to clean with a damp cloth.

Its fastening hooks are metal. Not plastic.

It has openings to attach car seat belts and included a dog seat belt as a FREE GIFT!

The design is versatile for three placement types – trunk, back seat, and one side of the back seat.

And it has two storage pockets to keep my dog’s travel stuff!

What cars does it fit?

I have a Toyota RAV4 and this Owleys Dog Hammock fits my car perfectly. I have also recommended it to my friends and relatives who also travel with their dogs and according to my experience and experience of people I know this works as a perfect Toyota dog cover, Tesla dog cover, Subaru dog sover, seat cover for BMW, and dog hammock for Volvo. I believe this Dog Hammock by Owleys is a great pet protection for most SUVs. My dad drives a Ford F-150 and this car seat cover serves him just well too!

I’m really happy that I finally found the best dog hammock that I can actually recommend. Hope my experience helps you! Wishing you only safe and joyful road trips with your pets!

Charlene Inman
May 18, 2023

Hi. I am looking for a rear back seat dog cover for a Nissan Maxima (Platinum) 2022.
Help! There’s so much out there! I’ve read your article and it’s very informative. Any help is appreciated.
Charlene Inman

    Eva Evans
    May 21, 2023

    Hi, Charlene! You can try our Travel Buddy Seat Covers, both the original version or Mark II. They fit most vehicles and there were no issues with your model so far. You can find them on our website in the Pet Care category. But please compare measurements carefully before purchasing!

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