As the years go on, the world is becoming more and more pet friendly. Of course, a lot of that depends on your are; some are more pet accessible than others, but gone are the days of only taking your pup to the vet. Besides dog parks and walking your puppers around for exercise, you’ll probably find that taking your dog with you for even your every day errands is easier than it ever has been. The more you take your dog places, though, the more you’ll realize all the risks that come into play with your dog in your car. To keep both him and you safe, you may find a car barrier is an absolute must for you. If you’re on the road with your pet often, check out our lists of the best dog car harnesses, the best dog seat belts, and the best dog travel crates as well to find the perfect solution for your pet.
We reviewed dozens of dog car barriers to identify the best of the best. We looked at temporary installed barriers and for the dog that goes everyone, ones that can be more permanent fixtures. We picked the best soft mesh barriers and the best heavy duty installs for your bigger or more enthusiastic dogs, too.
Early in our research we determined that there was a clear winner for top pick, the Acelitor Acrabros Deluxe Dog Car Seat Hammock. It’s easy to install and it covers your seat entirely, which is a great bonus for your seat protection, too.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Dog Car Barriers
|Best Overall||acelitor Acrabros Deluxe Dog Car Seat Hammock||4.5|
|Runner Up||NAC&ZAC Waterproof Hammock Pet Car Seat Cover||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||AMEIQ 3 Layer Car Mesh Organizer Net Barrier||4.1|
|Best Backseat Dog Barrier||Better World Pets First-Quality Orthopedic Dog Bed||4.6|
|Best Heavy-Duty Dog Barrier||Petego K9 Guard Universal Pet Safety Barrier||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Acelitor Acrabros Deluxe Dog Car Seat Hammock
The Acelitor Acrabros Deluxe Dog Car Seat Hammock is the perfect dog car barrier for an installation that can be long term and versatile. It’s particularly practical if you’re planning on taking your pup with you frequently, but also have passengers you want to keep transporting. You can convert the hammock-style barrier into a simple car seat cover by releasing and folding the front panel and loop it in place draping the back bench. Once you do so, it will no longer act as a barrier, but will still protect your seats when your kids are on board. In fact, if you have kids and dogs, this is an ideal set up for you.
The hammock-style will secure to the driver and passenger seat headrests, along with the headrests of the the back seat with latches, making sure the hammock isn’t going anywhere. The fabric of this hammock is waterproof and contains a stain block that will help make clean up a piece of cake. The backing of the material has a nonslip rubber grip and the quilted construction is lined with thick and soft Polytech fill, so your dog will be ultra comfortable. And even if he’s a scratching dog, the Ripstop lining will keep him from tearing through.
This double duty dog car barrier and seat cover will keep your pup out of the front seat and create a safe haven of space that is all his own. And with over 450 customer reviews and an Amazon rating of 4.5 stars, you can feel confident in this purchase.
Acelitor Acrabros Deluxe Dog Car Seat Hammock Key Features:
- Waterproof, nonslip backing
- Convertible with seat belt openings
- 2-year warranty
Our Runner-Up Pick: NAC&ZAC Hammock Pet Car Seat Cover
The NAC&ZAC Hammock Pet Car Seat Cover will wrap from the back of your front seats to the front of your backseats nestling your dog into a comfortable zone that is purely his. And we’re big fans of anything that make our pups feel less panicked. A panicked dog is zero fun to take on a road trip. On the bright side, though; even if he still is panicked, at least he’s not jumping up into your lap because of this barrier.
This hammock-style will protect your seats from your dog’s hair and scratching but that’s not all it will do. Should your dog be one that drools up a storm (or worse, pees when he gets nervous), you’ll especially appreciate the waterproof fabric that will keep your seats protected from more than just the usual. And while we may need to understand that accidents sometimes happen, that doesn’t mean we have to suffer as badly as we may have in the past. Clean up will be much easier for any accidents had within this barrier.
This barrier has an overall rating of 4.5 stars with nearly 1,800 customer reviews; which convinces that this an impressive product. In fact, we’re so impressed we’re confident saying you’ll love it, too.
NAC&ZAC Hammock Pet Car Seat Cover Key Features:
- Silicon nonslip backing
- 2 color choices
- Seat belt slits provide openings to further restrain your dog
Best Budget Pick: AMEIQ 3 Layer Car Mesh Organizer Net Barrier
The AMEIQ 3 Layer Car Mesh Organizer Net Barrier is big on multipurpose. Not only will the mesh act as a barrier between your pup and the front seat, it gives a pouch for you to use, as well. The barrier has so many other functions that you won’t need to worry about any wasted space. You’ll find yourself using this organizer even when your pup isn’t with you. You can, of course use the pouch for your pups possessions, but you can also use it for your own. You can face it toward or backward, making it for you or for those in the backseat (your dog or others). In fact, the leather box option could be perfect to pop a few treats or a bit of dry food in for a longer road trip.
The mesh is made of an inelastic, high quality nylon so you won’t need to worry about it giving too much if pushed. The top secures with a metal alloy carabiner that secures to the head rest of each of the front seats and the bottom corners each secures to the bottom of those same seats with the same metal alloy hook.
With over 150 customer reviews earning this barrier an overall rating of 4.1, we’re sure you’ll find it well worth the money. And what a deal it is; you can pick one up for right around $15.
AMEIQ 3 Layer Car Mesh Organizer Net Barrier Key Features:
- 4 metal alloy hooks to secure barrier
- 12″H x 11.6″W
- 3 choices: 1 mesh pouch, 2 mesh pouches, and 1 pouch/1 leather box
Best Backseat Dog Barrier: Doggie World Dog Car Seat Cover Hammock
The Doggie World Dog Car Seat Cover Hammock will confine your pup to the backseat and give him an area that is all his. And for the times you aren’t taking your furry friend along with you, you can lower the barrier portion of this hammock and use it strictly as a seat cover, as well. That means that no matter the concern; muddy paws, or goldfish crumbs, your backseat will be protected. It also has extra side flaps that will protect the sides of the seats, anchors to keep it in place and a non slip backing to prevent your dog from sliding all over.
The straps that secure the barrier and cover are reinforced at the seam and they latch together around the headrest of all four front and back seats. So you won’t need to worry about your pup tearing or pulling it down. The fabric is a waterproof construction that will keep your seats clean and when the barrier catches a mess, cleaning it is a piece of cake; it’s completely machine washable.
This backseat barrier has an impressive rating of 4.6 star on Amazon and that comes from well over 500 customer reviews, making the rating one you can count on. After all, all those people can’t be wrong, and even if they were, the product comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee; all for under $40!
Doggie World Dog Car Seat Cover Hammock Key Features:
- Machine washable and waterproof
- 2 sizes: standard (58″W x 54″L) and XL (60″W x 64″L)
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Best Heavy-Duty Dog Barrier: Petego K9 Guard Universal Pet Safety Barrier
The Petego K9 Guard Universal Pet Safety Barrier will fit nearly any vehicle you can imagine. It has three bars that will adjust and expand, fitting the car snugly and securing there via suspension, to prevent your dog from readjusting the size himself. The bottom of the grate also includes a rail that will loop onto a rod of your car’s backseat headrest, securing it even further and making sure the barrier isn’t going to cave under the pressure of your enthusiastic dog.
We especially like the idea of this barrier should you have multiple dogs that need to be separated so as to prevent fighting. Even if their play fighting at home is acceptable because dogs do tend to play, you shouldn’t have that in your backseat distracting you from your drive. Popping one in the backseat and one in the cargo area is a great way to make sure your pups don’t add to any risk to your driving. And should you have a cat who excites the dog, but couldn’t care less about him as long as he keeps his distance, keeping the cat in the backseat and your dog in the cargo area may make your trip all the smoother.
This heavy duty barrier has around 300 customer reviews on Amazon, earning it an overall rating of 4.2; not too shabby! And considering the barrier is minimal in window coverage, you’ll still be able to see out your back window and rear view mirror just fine.
Petego K9 Guard Universal Pet Safety Barrier Key Features:
- Height adjusts from 10.5″ to 16″ and width adjusts up to 57.75″
- Square steel tubing with galvanized steel elbows
- Extremely compact for storage
Who Should Buy a Dog Car Barrier
If you’ve ever had a dog jump into the front seat while you’re driving, you know exactly why dog owners need a car barrier. If you don’t confine your dog to a crate while travelling in the car, a barrier is a necessity for all dog owners. Even a well-behaved dog will want to be close to you, so a barrier will take away the need for any of the training for you. And, should your less than well-behaved dog be resistant to break this habit, the barrier takes away the constant fighting with your fur baby. He may whine still, but you won’t have to actively fight him, and that’s a win.
Not only is the barrier necessary to prevent your struggle to avoid annoyance, it’s necessary for both your and his safety. Keeping him in the back without a barrier will allow you to become distracted and less likely to respond to the surprises on the road. Tossing a little pup back into the back seat or wrestling your bigger dogs while driving isn’t safe for anyone, so avoiding it before it happens is definitely preferable. And, should the worst happen and you be involved in a car accident, the barrier can keep your pup from being thrown into the front of the vehicle, or worse, through the window.
Important Features to Consider
A dog car barrier should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a car barrier for your dog:
- Seat protection. This is a feature that will make the barrier pull double duty. Not only will a barrier that has a “bottom” of sorts allow you to place your pup in without worrying about dog hair, you’ll also be able to look for barriers that are waterproof. That way you’ll be able to provide your pup with a little bit of water on long road trips and not stress too much about how destroyed the seats will be after. And even taking that aside, any car anxiety or sickness (or just simple slobber) will be an easy clean-up with a removable and full-cover car barrier.
- Universal fit. Not only will an adjustable barrier help you fit whatever type of vehicle you own, it will likely make it portable. So you’ll be able to take your pup in any car you own or will own. While you’re picking out a universal barrier, make sure you’re picking one that won’t damage your car while installed. That means rubber feet if it expands and straps that are wide to secure it without digging into whatever base to which you’re tying it.
- Scratch and tear resistance. No matter what type of car barrier you get for your dog, you’ll want to keep in mind that putting a dog in a car often makes them anxious or excited. And excited and anxious dogs tend to scratch; maybe even chew. You’ll want a barrier that is durable enough to withstand your pup, at least until you can get him used to his surroundings.
- Location, location, location. You’ll need to keep in mind that location of your dog matters when you choose your barrier. If you plan on keeping your dog in the backseat, then a simple barrier to keep your pup from hopping into the front could be all you need. For those dogs who go in the back compartment of your SUVs or vans, you’ll need to invest in a different type of barrier that goes along the entire length of the backseat to protect the riders from a jumpy puppy. Even barriers that are a universal fit for all cars aren’t necessarily “universal” within those cars.
- Soft vs. hard. A soft barrier is one that will likely be easily and quickly installed by just a few quick loops or ties to secure it to your car. It’s an easy set up and tear down and will likely have a mesh or small rope construction that won’t let even your smallest pups through. In all probability, even last-minute, heavy-braking won’t tear down the soft barriers should you have little dogs. (Nor will it tear down if your bigger pup is restrained with a safety belt.) Hard, heavy-duty barriers are really only for larger dogs who aren’t restrained in any other way. They’re typically made of wire, bars, tubing or grates and are considered a more long-term install. You can still remove them in most cases, without any permanent effects to your vehicle, but you won’t want to switch this kind back and forth between family vehicles frequently. They’re commonly installed by suspension or bungee cords or straps. These barriers are only as good as their install, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re securely tightening it down so that it won’t wiggle at all. Remember if it wiggles for you, then it will wiggle for your pup, and that means he may scratch and dig at it to try to get to you. And in the event of an accident, that wiggle may be just enough to allow the dog’s weight to crumble the installation.
- Nonslip. You’ll always want to have your dog travel on a nonslip surface to prevent injuries. This may not apply to all types of purchases with car barriers but even if it doesn’t you’ll still want to consider taking precautions. And for the heavy duty, cage-like barriers, that will probably just mean making sure the back of your vehicle is coated in something that will help your dog get his footing while you brake.
- Get the right fit. Size and type of barrier will need to be determined by what kind of vehicle and what kind of dog you have. Of course, you’ll need to make sure the barrier fits your car as well as it can and that it isn’t going anywhere. Some manufacturers offer a factory installed pet carriers for the cargo area so you’ll be sure to get a perfect fit; but that’s not common – or cheap. And even the best fit of barrier won’t matter if you have a dog that won’t fit it. A heavy duty cargo carrier that can hold back even the most mischievous dogs won’t do anything for a little dog that can fit through the bars. Likewise, if you have a well-behaved dog that happens to be a very large dog, it still won’t matter how well the barrier fits the car if it can’t hold up to his weight being pushed into it, should you stop suddenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dog car barrier and how does it work?
A dog car barrier is a block that will restrict your dog’s movement within your car. It can limit him to a specific area, like a hammock-style that will confine your dog to a spot that will become his one area. That style is a sort of blanket that you secure to the headrests of the front and back seats. Some of these will have sides that will also protect your doors from your eager pup and are worth a look – especially if he’s mastered how to roll the windows down. A heavy duty barrier is a grate pattern of wire, tubes, bars or some other durable construction that will keep your bigger dogs secured and installation is a bit more long-term. A mesh barrier is great for littler dogs who like to try to squeeze through the gaps left in heavy duty barriers and will go in and out of the car in a breeze. You can get barriers that fit universally so if you purchase a quality barrier, you may only need to invest in one barrier for your entire life.
How do I know if a dog barrier will fit my vehicle?
Luckily, most car barriers for your pup are going to be a universal fit. They will have areas where you can adjust and tighten to make sure the fit is snug and secure and you can be confident your furry family member is safe. But even with that being the case, you’ll still want to take measurements to be sure if the car barrier you have in mind will fit in your vehicle before purchase. Although not as common, some barriers are not adjustable and will only work in some vehicles. That may mean the fit will be a bit more secure, but it means you’ll need to be much more careful with your selection. You may even want to call the manufacturer to be sure your specific car is a good fit for their barrier.
Does my dog need a heavy-duty dog car barrier?
The reality of whether or not your dog needs a heavy-duty car barrier is dependent on how well behaved your dog is but also how big he is. If you don’t have to worry about him jumping out of his designated area or he’s a smaller breed, then you may be able to get away with a soft car barrier like netting or mesh. Keep in mind, though that accidents do happen and if your car has no barrier, your dog may fly through a soft barrier with a strong brake.
You may also have a individual restraint that will mitigate the risk for your pup, should there be an accident. If he’s secured to the seat with a doggie seat belt, then you may be able to forego the heavy duty barrier, even if he’s a large breed. (Check out our list of the best dog seat belts to find the right one for your dog.) On the other hand, without a restraint, even your little dog (and master of the escape) may benefit from a heavy duty barrier – as long as it doesn’t have space for him to crawl through the bars.
Do dog car barriers pose a safety hazard?
In most cases, the dog car barrier prevent safety hazards. The distraction of a dog that is unsecured alone is enough to make the driver unable to respond to other concerns on the road. Even if your dog isn’t anxious or excited for a road trip (though is he even a dog if he doesn’t get excited for a road trip?), your dog will still want to be nearer to you. A barrier that makes getting in your lap impossible may not help the whining but it will help your struggle to get him to understand why he can’t be in your lap while you drive. For better behaved dogs who will actually sit when told (good job, dog parents who train their dogs to listen – we still struggle daily with that), in the event of a car accident, a barrier will protect both you and your dog. You, from him as a projectile; him from being thrown from the car.
You’ll want to be careful that when you install it, it won’t decrease visibility for the driver. That means you’ll need to make sure you purchase a barrier that doesn’t fully block your vision. That means a solid, full panel, which may be ideal for keeping your dog restrained, are to be avoided to maintain optimal visual of your car’s rear window.
Other Dog Car Barriers We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other car barriers for dogs. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best dog car barriers list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your dog and car. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Hammock Dog Car Barriers
This hammock will keep your dog in the backseat and give you two pockets to neatly store his gear.
- Stores and transfers easily
- Universal fit
- Nonslip backing to keep your pup safe
If you want to give your dog a bit more freedom, you can recline of fold down a back seat and still keep this barrier installed.
- Universal fit
- Vacuum or machine wash
- Reinforced buckle, seams and zippers
If you just need a small barrier to give your dog support and keep him from falling in between the seats while discouraging him from getting into the front, this barrier is worth a look.
- 16″D x 52″W x 1″H
- Max weight capacity of 100 lbs
- Lifetime warranty
This quilted hammock-style barrier comes with a bonus roller that will keep your car from collecting too much dog hair.
- Nonslip backing
- Waterproof fabric
- Free hair roller included
Along with this seat cover and dog barrier, you’ll also receive a leash that will let you secure your pup to his seat.
- Includes dog seat belt and 2 headrest covers
- 54″W x 58″L
- 100% money back guarantee
With a hammock-style barrier like this one, you can remove it and put it back in, making it ideal for your dog who only travels occasionally.
- 57″L x 55″W
- Includes two 8″ side seat protectors and 2 dog seat belts
- Waterproof and rip resistant
Net Dog Car Barriers
This barrier is so low-impact on your drive, that leaving it in, even when your dog isn’t riding along, won’t bother you at all.
- 4 easy to install hooks for nearly universal fit
- 18.3″H x 9.3″W
- Elastic high intensity polyester fiber material
This is a bit of a hybrid; giving you the best of both worlds: the stability of a heavy duty barrier and the complete coverage of a mesh barrier.
- Tethers securely to car seat tether
- Scratch and tear resistant mesh
- 47″W x 21″H
This is a compact way to keep the back and front seats separate and your pup from intruding in your driving space.
- 47″W x 21″H
- Folds up for easy storage
- Wipe clean
This lightweight and ultra portable mesh barrier with go with you from car to car and give you a couple pockets to make sure the space isn’t wasted.
- 2 aluminum alloy hooks and 2 nickle plated steel hooks
- 12.5″H x 13.1″W
- Made with high quality elastic and nylon construction
This full panel mesh barrier can be adjusted to your dog’s height and your preference, making it a good choice for virtually any dog or any car.
- 45″W x 24″H
- Anti-aging material with bungee cords and strong metal hooks
- Universal fit
You can use this barrier without blocking any of the air your pup needs to enjoy his road trip.
- Upper eye contact net, lower venting net
- 3 color choices
- Wipe clean or toss in washing machine
Affix this nearly square barrier however you would like to make sure your furry friend stays out of your drive zone.
- 33.86″ x 32.68″
- Universal fit
- Mesh net and Oxford cloth with 2 convenient pockets
This net comes with the extra durability of a hard frame that will secure it in place, no matter how stubbornly your pup pushes.
- Mesh with supporting frame
- 3 sizes available
- No permanent hardware and no tools needed for install
Cage Dog Car Barriers
This is a great heavy-duty deterrent for your pup to stay in the back and away from the steering wheel.
- No tools required, easy assembly
- Straps with hooks and buckles secure to front seat
- 1-year warranty
Adjust the size of this barrier to fit your van, car or SUV and you won’t need to worry about your dog venturing where he ought not go ever again.
- Hooks and tightens to headrests
- 16.5″H x 35.5″W
- Lifetime warranty
You can make this barrier wider, or more narrow and adjust the height to your vehicle and your specific preferences with ease.
- Adjusts 39″ to 79″ wide and 32″ to 52″ tall
- Heavy duty foam protects vehicle ceiling
- Secures via suspension
You’ll also get a reflective seat belt for your pup with this durable car barrier.
- Hooks and secures to headrests
- 35.5″W x 16″H
- Steel wire frame
This is a great option to make sure he stays in car jail if your dog has a tendency to be naughty.
- Specifically for Subaru Outbacks 2014-current
- 15-minute install
- Secures via tethers and suspension
This may be a pretty basic design but that means it’s more likely to be a perfect fit for your dog and vehicle.
- Secures via included flexible cords
- Can’t adjust, but fits most vehicles
- Engineered in USA
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