As more of us plan staycations and weekend trips away with our beloved pets, we’ve got to make sure our cars are set up for not only their safety but their comfort too, and that includes a travel dog bed.
They’ve already got a trusty bed at home but depending on how big it is or whether it’s fixed in place, it’s unlikely you’ll want to keep swapping it from the boot of your car and back again.
When you consider the way you’re going to transport your pooch in your vehicle, if that’s using a travel dog crate, a safety harness that buckles in, or a dog guard you’re going to need to add in some cushioning like a dog car bed, travel mat for dogs, or even a portable dog bed that doubles up as a bed for your vacation abode.
Can a dog travel in the car?
The short answer is yes, dogs can travel in the car. But, did you know it's a legal requirement to make sure your dog is restrained when they’re in the car? This is so they can't distract you while you're driving or injure you, or themselves, if you happen to stop quickly.
There are lots of pet safety travel products you can use, such as seat belt harnesses and specially-designed leads that can be attached to headrests, dog guards, dog car seats, a dog car crate, or a dog cage for car travel.
When it comes to travel beds for dogs, it’s not such a straightforward decision, so we’ve taken into account the size of different breeds when it comes to choosing between a dog bed, a dog car seat, a dog travel mat, and car boot liners.
Below, we’ve selected options for your car and your dog that will make sure everyone is a happy traveller.
The best travel dog beds
The easiest option and for most with a reasonably sized car is to choose a travel dog bed that will fit in the back of your boot.
You'll want to make sure your dog has enough room to get comfy, especially if it's a long journey and if the weather doesn't plan on being so great a waterproof option will always be a safe bet.
Chuckit! Travel Bed
Perhaps one of the most popular portable beds out there, the Chuckit! Travel bed is perfect for literally throwing in your boot when you're bringing your pooch on the journey. It comes highly rated due to its durable nylon ripstop design, but doesn't lack comfort for your dog as it features a plush quilted top. It is fairly large so more than enough space for larger breeds but rolls up and fits in a travel bag for compact storage.
Quilted bed with double sided offset quilted design
Poly suede upper material for comfort with nylon ripstop base for durability
Supplied with a portable stuff sack
Suits small to large breeds
Size: 99.1 x 76.2 x 7.6 cm
Review: "I would say this sleeping mat would suit up to a medium-sized bread dog, such as a Border Collie or a rather large Shetland Sheepdog, in particular, if they stretch out when sleeping. This bed is very compact for its size and plushness. You will need to shake and fluff it once you’ve taken it out, just like you would do with a sleeping mat.
"My dog likes it when I was on holiday with her and she has slept and rested on it. It’s great when paired with a blanket when it gets cold or used as a pillow. The bottom is very easy to wipe clean if it’s dirty. It comes with a bag which is a huge plus as you can nearly store it away when travelling. It packs a little bit than a sleeping bag so do keep that in mind. The bag is also large enough to comfortably slip the sleeping mat inside it."
Floral Travel Pet Bed
Just because it's for the boot of your car doesn't mean a travel dog bed doesn't have to look good. This pretty Joules floral design is ideal if you also need it to double up as a portable bed for when you reach your destination. It features a quilted design covered in fleece on one side for added comfort and a hardwearing canvas on the other side, it also has carry handles so you can roll it up and transport it easily.
One side hardwearing canvas
One side soft fleece
Suitable for all breeds
Size: 91cm x 68cm
Review: "This dog bed is perfect for travel, beautiful in design and plush and soft. It can be folded for puppies and spread out on car seats. I love it!"
RAC Advanced Boot Bed with Bumper Protector
Back to basics with this travel bed for your car, it's designed with padding so it's comfortable for your dog but also with an extra flap that folds down to protect your car from your dog's claws as they jump in and out of the boot. It's also water-resistant and leakproof, so if it's been a rainy day at least your boot won't get soaked. Some reviews have reported the flap isn't the same wipe clean material as the whole bed.
Easy wipe clean
Boot protector (reports not wipe clen)
Suitable for small to medium size breeds
Manufacturer's one year guarantee
Size: H10 x W75 x D85cm
Review: "Really pleased with this item, doesn’t quite cover the whole boot but is a nice comfy, waterproof liner for the dog (I have a large lab)."
Ismael Dog Oval Waterproof Softee Bed
This bed is sturdy enough that it won't get ruined after a few muddy walks and most importantly, is waterproof. The cushioned oval design means it will fit in most boots without any trouble, and it's easy to remove for your dog to relax in if you're on holiday somewhere away from home. It's covered in a heavy-duty hard-wearing 100 per cent polyester waterproof material treated with a water repellant coating which is easy to keep clean.
Easy to keep clean
Heavy duty hard wearing 100 per cent polyester waterproof material
Thick base cushion is removable for easy separate cleaning
Bonded thermal polyester fibre filling for insulation
Elevated bolster cushion
Size: M 61cm W x 51c m D x 22cm H/ L 76cm W x 64cm D x 24cm H / Jumbo 97cm W x 74cm D x 25cm H
Review: "This is the best dog bed we have had in over 40 years of having dogs in the family. We already had one of these beds bought three years ago from another supplier (much dearer than Wayfair!!) so knew what to expect when we decided to throw away an inferior bed and instead have two of these - one for each dog. Whilst our standard poodles now have one each they can both easily sleep in one bed if they so wish. The beds are really easy to keep clean, look good and, judging from the amount of time our dogs stay in them, are very comfortable."
The best dog bed car seat
A dog car seat is not for every breed, you'll perhaps find this option is better suited to smaller breeds who will be able to fit in a smaller space.
There's also a simple seat cover option, so instead of installing an actual booster seat for your dog, you can get a hammock cover that will protect your car.
Kurgo Heather Dog Booster Seat
A great dog car seat for your pooch if they like to look out of the window during long car journeys. They can see the world go by thanks to the Kurgo booster seat, which attaches to your existing seatbelt and fastens to a dog harness to keep them secure while you're driving. It's waterproof and also fleece-lined so still comfortable for your dog to sit in.
Holds up to 30lb dog
Easy and quick install
Metal supports for structural integrity
Collapsible for easy storage
Adjustable seat belt tether easily attaches to all dog harnesses
Machine washable liner with reversible pad to keep the seat clean
Size: H42.55 x W7.3 x D37.15cm
Review: "This is an ideal small dog seat, fits easily to seat and seat belt is secure. We have a cockapoo which is 16 weeks old, I can’t see her fitting into after maybe 20 weeks, so I again stress long term this is only for a small dog."
Personalised Dog Car Booster Seat
If you've got a nice car and you're worried about the interior but want something a little more luxurious for your dog to ride in, we suggest this handmade personalised dog bed car seat. It attaches to the headrest of the car seat and has foam-cushioned sides that provide a sturdy base for your pet. The lair is made of high-quality, waterproof material that is easy to keep clean and is equipped with an adjustable seat belt that will secure your dog and limit its movement around the car while driving.
Includes adjustable seat belt
UV protection against fabric fading
Size: Internal 40 cm x 45 cm x 15 cm / External: 50 cm x 55 cm
Kurgo Dog Hammock for Back Seat of Car
Another Kurgo product that comes highly recommended is this dog hammock, which covers the back seat of your car. If you're not looking to get an individual dog booster seat, a dog seat cover will protect your seats and prevent hair from getting everywhere. It's also waterproof and made from durable ripstop fabric and has zippered openings for access to seatbelts. It slips over your car seats and has blocked access to the front seats so your dog won't distract you as much while driving.
Durable water and stain-resistant
Nylon ripstop material
Zippered openings for seat belts
Machine wash cold on gentle cycle
Size: W140 x L142 cm
Review: "I love this product! Having just bought a new SUV, I really wanted to protect my seats from my super shedding pugs and their nails. This is the easiest thing to install, it looks great when it's up, the dogs seem comfortable in it. I like the built-in zipper for the harness restraints."
Pets at Home Car Seat Mat
Keep things simple and opt for a car seat mat that hooks over the headrest and protects your car from dirty paws. You will still need to keep your pet suitably restrained so fastening the seatbelt to your dog's harness will keep them secure while you're driving.
Fully machine washable to reduce bacteria build up
Hooks around the headrest
Suitable for most car seats
Size: D0.8 x W57 x L140cm
Review: "Fits easily and well. Dog loves it. Can be removed easily to either brush any dirt off or hoover. Would recommend."
The best travel mats for dogs
Even more portable than a dog bed, these mats can be rolled up so that you can stash them in your boot or home when not in use and won't take up too much space.
Or, there are mats which fit inside a dog crate or cage to make it more comfortable.
Petface Outdoor Paws Travel Mat
This is a truly portable option for your dog. The quilted water-resistant mat rolls up so you can easily store it in your boot, or just by the back door of your home. It also includes its own little carry case so if it gets too muddy, you can take it inside without creating too much mess.
Suitable for small, medium and large sized dogs
Manufacturer's 1 year guarantee
Size: H112 x W68 x D2cm.
Review: "Really great quality. Rolls up really neatly making it portable in the little carry bag."
House Of Paws Navy Water Resistant Crate Mat
If you've opted for a crate to go in the back of your boot this water-resistant crate mat will work perfectly to go inside. However, you can definitely use the mat on its own to pad out your boot as it has plenty of cushioning for your dog for the car journey. It's also durable enough to be used outside.
Size: XL 2.46 x 1.7 x 0.25m
The Picnic Pad Travel Dog Mat
Another great option for a roll-up travel mat. We love this because it's handmade in the UK by small business DesignedforDogs. Pick your pattern from tweed, tartan, bee, hare, Dachshund, or dotty and then add your colour choice and your very own Picnic Pad will be on its way to you. It's had rave reviews from happy customers who said the mat is perfect for travelling whether it's a trip to the pub to sit outdoors or further afield.
Six patterns and multiple colour ways
Machine wash and line dry
Size: S 17" x 23" / M 20" x 29" / L 23" x 35"
Review: "This bed has been perfect on our holiday! So handy to carry around and really easy to roll back up! We used it every time we sat in a restaurant and our Dachshund went straight to sleep on it."
All For Paws Chill Out Fresh Breeze Mat
The warmer it gets outside, the hotter it gets in the boot of your car, so when you're on a long journey or haven't left the car parked in the shade this chill-out mat will be perfect to keep your pooch cool in the warmer months. It's a springy plastic noodle mattress that allows air to flow through making it both comfortable and refreshing to lie on.
Removable zip fastened cover which is machine washable in cold water
Size: Medium L 75 x W 50 x H 6 / Small L 36 x W 50 x H 6cm
How to secure your dog in your car
If you want to put your dog crate in your boot, remove the parcel shelf and measure the interior of your car boot. Compare these to the dimensions of the crate you select. Make sure the crate is as snug as possible, the less it can move the safer it will be.
Smaller crates for small dogs can go in the back seat footwell – but again, check the measurements to be sure that it will fit snugly.
If you want to put your dog on the back seat rather than on the floor, don’t use a seatbelt to secure the crate unless the manufacturer specifically says their crate is safe for this - some are not and you could be putting your dog at risk. A safer option is to use a pet hammock and place the crate inside. This way, they won't be thrown forward into the front of the car if you brake suddenly.