Traveling with our beloved canine companions can be a lot of fun!
My fellow Shiba Inu lovers would all agree that we go to the ends of the earth to ensure that our Shibas have the best toys, the best food, and the all the cutest accessories.
But do we all buckle up our Shibas when driving?
Most likely not. But, we all definitely should. We all say that our dogs are like our children. So why shouldn't we keep them safe just like children?
The easiest way to transport our dogs when we travel is by car. However, unlike airlines, there are very few restrictions when hitting the open road with our pooches.
But how many of us know how to keep our pets safe when traveling?
The truth is that traveling with our dogs in the car can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
Unrestrained dogs can be distracting to the driver, which can cause an accident.
Tens of thousands of car accidents are believed to be caused by drivers who were distracted by their unrestrained pets.
Even worse, dogs that aren’t safely buckled in or secured in a booster seat in the car are much more likely to be hurt or killed in a car accident.
In an event of a collision, an unrestrained dog will become a projectile and risk serious injury and death - to both the dog and human passengers.
Thankfully for us dog lovers, there are tons of products on the market to help us keep our beloved furry friends safe in the car.
We hope this buying guide will help you choose the right product to keep you and your Shiba Inu / precious pooch safe while on the road.
How Booster Seats Keep You And Your Shiba Inu Safe
If you are involved in a collision, a booster seat can mean the difference between life and death for both you and your dog.
Booster seats, which keep your dog safely secured in place, lower the risk that you’ll be distracted by your dog while driving.
A booster seat also serves as a sort of “doggy seatbelt,” and will keep your dog firmly in place and safely immobile in the event of a crash.
Many dogs don’t like the car. If your dog is nervous, they may bark, cry, and even attempt to get closer to you.
Even dogs that do enjoy a ride in the car will likely try and sneak onto your lap if given the chance! It’s very sweet, but a bad idea, because these kinds of distractions can be dangerous.
A booster seat for dogs will keep them in place (if not quiet!) and will go a long way in keeping you both safe.
Other Benefits of Dog Car Seats
Other than preventing a dangerous doggy distraction, dog car seats give your dog a cozy, safe place to sit in the car.
Once you’ve gotten your dog accustomed to sitting in it, a car seat can serve as a special place for your dog to relax.
Car seats for dogs also generally give your dog a bit more visibility, allowing them to look out the window if they please.
Because they are seated higher up, they will be able to take a look at their surroundings, which make help curb anxiety and motion sickness.
Thanks to the safety measures that many dog car seats are equipped with, dog car seats drastically reduce the risk that your dog will be injured or killed in the event of an accident.
What To Look For in a Booster Seat
When looking for a car seat or booster seat for your beloved pup, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration:
- Your dog’s size. While there are plenty of dog car seats on the market for small and medium sized dogs, you may have to look a little harder to find one that is large enough for big dogs.
- The make and model of your car. Take a look at your car before choosing a dog car seat. Do you have two seats or four? Do the back seats in your car fold down to make more room in the trunk? How large are your seats? Do you have four car doors or two? All of these measurements and considerations will help you choose which dog car seat is right for you.
- Safety first! Think about what safety features you’d like in a dog car seat, and remember to think about your pet’s comfort as well. Will your dog fight you if you try to buckle him in as you would buckle a child, or would they prefer a car seat where they can sit comfortably with a buckle attached to their leash? If your dog refuses to get into the seat, or cries and barks the entire time, a dog car seat won’t be of much help.
- Price. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean safer! Know want you are prepared to spend and find a good option in your price range.
Best Practices For Installing a Dog Booster Seat Properly
It’s extremely important to install your dog car seat properly! Failure to do so not only eliminates any safety benefits, but many put your dog in danger.
Thankfully, most dog booster seats are relatively easy to install.
Installation requirements vary from car seat to car seat, so be sure to read the user manual thoroughly before installing.
However, there are a few general guidelines you can follow to install your car seat correctly and keep your pup safe!
- In general, it’s safer to secure your dog in the backseat of the car. Just like with children, the airbags in the front seat can be very dangerous for your pet.
- Be sure to attach the car seat securely to seatbelt or the seat of the car (some cars have foldable back seats, and many car seats can be attached there)
- Make sure that the seat is securely installed. If it is too wobbly, will easily tip over, or otherwise feels unsteady, then its probably not installed properly!
What To Do If Your Dog Is Too Big For a Booster Seat
Some dogs, including Shiba Inus are simply too big for booster seats.
While many booster seats can hold dogs up to 50 lbs., there are plenty of dogs that far exceed this weight limit!
If you are the proud parent of a large or giant breed, you’ll need to get a little creative when travelling with your dog in the car.
One great alternative to dog booster seats is dog harnesses for car. These harnesses, which look a little bit like the harness you’d use when taking your dog for a walk, attach to your car’s seat belt and function essentially as a seat belt for your pup!
Dog harnesses for the car are available in many sizes, colors, and fabrics. You’ll have to take accurate measurements of your pet before deciding on a size- if it’s too small your dog will be uncomfortable, and if it’s too big they could wiggle loose!
Because choosing a dog booster seat can seem so daunting, we’ve done a bit of the grunt work for you. We’ve chosen and tested four dog booster seats in the hopes that one of them might be the right choice for you and your Shiba!
Kurgo Skybox Dog Booster Seat
The Kurgo Skybox, which can comfortably most dogs up to 30lbs, is a cozy, safe, and attractive booster seat.
This booster seat should fit "most" Shiba Inus but might be just a tad to snug for larger, over-sized Shiba Inus.
To be safe, don't choose this dog booster seat if your Shiba Inu weighs more than 20 pounds.
This booster seat is relatively easy to install and attaches right to the seat of your car.
Inside the bucket portion of the booster seat there’s also a small, adjustable tether, which can be attached to your dogs harness for added security.
The external black or sand colored canvas is waterproof, and boasts a colorful and plush interior (which comes in two colors- orange and blue).
The lining is comfortable and best of all…washable!
When properly installed, the Kurgo Skybox is slightly elevated from the seat, which means it likely won’t activate the airbag sensor (if you have one!) in the front seat. It also means your pooch will likely be able to see out the window!
As with all products, there are pros and cons to the Kurgo Skybox:
- Easy to install
- Waterproof exterior
- Comfortable and washable lining
- The tether cord may be a little long for some dogs, which means they may be able to escape.
- The clip that attaches to your dogs harness is metal and a little bit heavy, which may be annoying to a very small dog
- While the weight limit is technically 30lbs, dogs that weigh 30lbs may be too long or tall to comfortably fit. This seat is really best suited for dogs under 25 lbs.
To check current prices of the Kurgo pet booster seat, click here.
Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat
The Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat is an elevated, plush booster seat for dogs up to 30lbs.
While it looks like it’s made entirely out of fabric, the Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat is actually made of a durable and rigid internal material designed to keep your dog safe.
Because it’s not made of foam (as many booster seats are) it won’t capture any unpleasant doggy odors.
If your Shiba Inu likes looking out the window, this may be a great choice! The Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Seat, when properly installed, sits about 9 inches from the seat of your car, giving your dog good leverage to look out of the car's window.
It also has a short and sturdy tether which attaches to your dogs harness, keeping them safe in the event of an accident and preventing them from getting out of the booster seat.
- Comfortable, washable, and not made of foam.
- Aesthetically pleasing- it looks like a little couch for dogs!
- The tether is not too heavy and relatively short, which means your dog can stay safe and comfortable.
- The seat is elevated about 9 inches from the car seat, so your dog can peer out the window to their hearts content.
- This booster seat is not collapsible, so you’ll either need to leave it installed or put in the trunk when not in use. It can be a little bit bulky.
To check current prices on the Solvit Tagalong Pet Booster Car Seat, click here.
Petsfit Booster Seat
The Petsfit Booster seat is designed for dogs (and cats!) that weigh up to 45lbs, so this seat easily fit even a larger sized Shiba Inu.
The liner is removable and washable and comes in a variety of fun colors, including leopard print!
It also is reversible- there is a smooth side for hot weather, and a darker, fluffier side for snuggling up during the cold winter months.
This is one of the largest booster seats that we reviewed. It is best suited to the back of the car, and is relatively easy to install.
The slight curve of the basket means it fits nicely into the seat, and, while attractive, is sturdy enough to keep your pet safe.
This Petsfit Dog Booster Seat also has a handy pocket in the front, which is great for storing doggy goodies (leash, treats, etc.)
- The pockets are a great addition to the design and can easily hold a variety of dog accessories
- The raised design makes it easy for Fido to peer out the window
- The reversible and washable lining is a nice touch.
- This is a sturdy and large dog booster seat, which can accommodate dogs up to 45lbs, making it a good choice for medium sized dog owners.
- The tether inside the booster seat won’t stand up to much abuse. If your dog is a powerful chewer or particularly rowdy, they may be able to tear it from the base of the booster seat.
- Because it’s large (29"Lx16"Wx14"H), it may not fit in all cars. Measure your seats before you purchase it!
To check prices of the Petsfit Dog Booster Car Seat, click here.
Pet Gear Designer Booster Pet Bed, X-Large
The extra large Pet Gear Designer Booster Pet Bed is a bed and booster all in one!
In the car, it’s a safe and comfortable booster seat for your pooch.
The dimensions of this dog booster seat should allow all, but the largest of Shiba Inus to fit comfortably inside.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can simply remove the car seat from the car and use it as comfortable and stylish dog bed.
The Pet Gear Designed Booster is shallower than the other models, and is shaped more like a bed than a box.
The machine washable cover is made of nice and soft faux lambs wool, which is great for dogs who like to snuggle up to take a nap in the car.
There are two tethers inside the seat (which attach securely to your dogs harness), which is great for a little added security.
The booster in and of itself can be used either horizontally or vertically, according to your preference, and installs easily to the back seat of your car.
- The two tethers are a great safety feature.
- We love that it doubles as a dog bed!
- The booster seat can accommodate dogs up to 35 lbs
- This booster seat may be too big for some cars, be sure to measure before purchasing!
- The cover, while washable, isn’t particularly durable and may not be a good choice for dogs that like to chew and dig their bedding.
- The booster seat is shallow, so might not be a good option for dogs who are master escape artists, like Shibas, or who feel more comfortable when “contained.”
To check the latest price of the Pet Gear Dog Booster Car Seat, click here.
Our Favorite Dog Booster Car Seat
After evaluating four different dog booster seats, the clear winner is #3- the Petsfit Booster Seat!
The Petsfit is the largest and most versatile of the models we tested, and boasts a variety of fun and useful features that the other models don’t.
Out of all of the booster seats, this seat is the one that we can confidently recommend for all Shiba Inu sizes.
The sturdy design, coupled with the short tether that attaches to your dog’s harness for extra safety, secure your dog comfortably in their seat.
The pockets are a great addition, and the reversible cover, which is cool for the summer and fuzzy for the winter, is a fun and pet-friendly add on that takes your dogs needs into consideration.
Because they’ll be contented and safely secured in their booster seat, you can drive without worrying that your dog will suddenly end up on your lap!
The Petsfit is also easy to install, and is not reliant on a head rest (which not all cars have) making it the most convenient and adaptable model we evaluated.
Lastly, the Petsfit Booster Seat has high sides (which many dogs, especially Shibas love!) and is raised high enough for your dog to peek out the window, which means a less anxious dog and a more comfortable ride for the both of you.
If you’re getting ready to take your pooch on a trip, and want to travel safely and comfortably with your beloved canine, look no further than the Petsfit Booster Seat!
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