How To Dog-Proof Your Car

Preserve your floors, seats, windows and more as you keep yourself and your pet safe.

Nathan Hackett


While they make for great company on the road, dogs can certainly create a mess in the car. If you’re sharing your car with a four-legged friend, you’ll want to protect and preserve your car’s interior from nail scratches, pet hair, slobber and mud tracked in from outdoor adventures. Here are some easy solutions for keeping your car clean. 

Pet-friendly products

It takes a bit of planning, but if you purchase the right products, you can keep your car clean—even when you’ve got furry passengers in tow. 


Rubber floor mats are an easy solution. Rubber is waterproof and easy to clean, and you can quickly remove rubber mats if you want to hose them down outside the car.

Back seat

When it comes to seat covers, there are many options designed to protect your upholstery or leather. 

Look for covers that are scratch-proof, which means they’re crafted from tightly knit fabrics such as triple-quilted polyester. 

For your pet’s comfort, some car seat covers are padded, offering shock absorption on bumpy roads. Many also have a nonslip design, often involving a rubber base, to help them stay in place as your car (and dog) are on the move. 

For added convenience, there are seat covers with pockets for storage. There you can keep pet supplies you need for your trip. And when the journey is done, you’ll want a seat cover that’s machine-washable to save you time and energy. 

To determine the seat cover size you’ll need, measure the width, height and depth of your car seats and reference them as you shop. 


With most of the dog hair accumulating on your car’s floors and seats, it’s easy to forget about the windows. But window issues come less from fur and more from the snout, as curious furry friends tend to leave nose prints and drool on the windows. 

Window shades, often used to protect young passengers from the sun, can help here. You’ll retain visibility through the windows, and you can remove the shade for easy out-of-car cleaning. 

If your dog is prone to sticking its face up by the window, you may also want to consider purchasing door covers to protect the paneling from scratches. These are easy-to-install shields, made from materials similar to those used for seat covers, that hang from your window by suction cups to protect your paneling.

Front seat and dashboard

The dashboard presents an easy-to-scratch surface, and a scuffed-up dash is both unsightly and could lower your car’s resale value. But beyond aesthetics, allowing your dog to join you in the front seat of your car presents safety issues that should be avoided while driving. 

Dog and driver safety

To keep the front seat of your car a safe, driver-only area, consider ways to keep your dog in the back. Here are some easy solutions: 

Install a barrier. 

When it comes to keeping your dog in the back seat, a seat barrier may do the trick. The most popular types are: 

  • Car net. This simple solution places an easy-to-hang mesh net between the driver seat and back seat to help keep your furry friend in the back.  

  • Wire mesh. For larger dogs, or those that are just more eager to join you in the front, wire mesh barriers function in the same way as a car net, but they’re made of stronger materials.

  • Hammock. Many hammocks also have a net extension that hangs from the back of the front seats to block your dog from entering the driver’s space, while still allowing for visibility and for heat and air conditioning to reach your furry friend. 

Excerpt from article that states “Imagine your dog in a safety belt, and that’s essentially what a car harness does for your pet. It looks and functions much like a leash that attaches to the car seat safety anchors.”

Use a harness.

Imagine your dog in a safety belt, and that’s essentially what a car harness does for your pet. It looks and functions much like a leash that attaches to the car seat safety anchors in the back seat. Keep an eye out for adjustable harnesses to meet the needs of a growing pup. Many also feature elastic bungees in the webbing, giving your dog a sense of security while also providing some slack in case quick braking is necessary. 

Try a carrier.

If there’s enough room in your vehicle, a pet carrier is also a great option. These come in a range of sizes and designs to suit the needs of different dogs and their human companions. 

Some are soft and made with mesh fabric. The advantage of these is that they fold into a compact size, making them easy to store when not in use. There are also the more traditional crates made of plastic or metal, which may be useful if your dog is particularly eager to roam around the car. Some hard kennels come with wheels, which will serve you well if you also need to walk through airports with your pet, and others (usually made of strong wire) also have collapsible forms for ease of storage. 

However you decide to travel with your favorite four-legged passenger, make safety and comfort the priorities—and the rest of the trip should fall into place.

Keep reading in: