1/9 SLIDES © Staff, Courtesy of PetSafe
One thing almost any dog owner can attest to is the hassle of keeping their vehicle’s interior clean after traveling with the pooch. Car upholstery is seemingly a magnet for dog hair, and will take constant vacuuming to keep clean. A day at the park or lake can also lead to unwanted grass, mud, dirty water, or bugs getting tracked onto your seats. The alternative is to install a protective seat cover made with pet ownership in mind. These products add an extra layer of fabric to catch contaminants and keep the underlying material pristine. The covers can then be easily removed, washed, and reapplied for continued use.
What to Consider
Seat covers are primarily designed for either bucket seats, commonly found in the front of vehicles, or bench seats found in the rear. You’ll want to pick the cover design based on where your dog will be riding. Also check the length and width measurements of the product and make sure it won’t be too small or excessively large for your particular seat. Most covers are made from synthetic fabrics like polyester (for enhanced durability), and come in a variety of patterns and colors.
How We Selected
Popular Mechanics has picked these products based on a combination of personal pet ownership experience and review input from sites like Daily Paws, Canine Journal, and Top Dog Tips. Price and design diversity are also taken into consideration to provide a wider range of products suiting many needs and budgets.
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1) PetSafe Happy Ride Bench Cover
This simple polyester sheet comes in a drab gray-brown and attaches to bench seats using four straps.
Two wrap around the lower seat cushions, while the other two hang on headrest posts. The cover is available in two sizes: 45 inches long by 56 inches wide, and a slightly larger 47 by 60 inch version.
This fabric itself is stitched a couple layers thick, and offers water resistance while also being machine-washable.
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2) Gorilla Grip Slip Resistant Protector
This Gorilla Grip is of a “hammock” style which covers the back side of the vehicle’s front seats, along with the surface of the rear bench. The black polyester measures an expansive 63 by 56 inches, and is waterproof.
Hair and dirt are easily vacuumed off the cover, while larger messes can be dealt with in the washing machine. The product attaches with a few straps, as well as plastic anchors that are pushed between seat cushions.
A slip-resistant rubber sheet on the underside also keeps it from sliding off the seat. As a bonus, you get a built-in pet supply pocket, as well as a standalone polyester food bag.
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3) BarksBar Front Seat Cover
If your dog rides up front, this product is ideal. It feature black quilted pattern polyester, with three layers for additional water resistance, and rubber backing for slip prevention. The cover attaches by a couple anchors and straps, with the cushion portion being about 20 by 20 inches. It can also be machine-washed.
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4) PetEvo Car Door Protector
In addition to a seat cover, these simple door cards can shield plastic interior bits from shedding and claw scratches. Two come in the pack, and they’re installed using a combo of plastic hooks and velcro pads with adhesive backing.
The rigid polyester pads measure 22 by 27 inches, and will fit under most side windows. Like most covers, they feature water resistance, and are machine-washable.
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5) ELS Pet Crate Cover
Perfect for small breeds and puppies, this versatile crate design can be strapped into either front or rear seats. The mesh sides provide a soft, yet sturdy method of keeping your pooch secure, along with an included dog-specific seat belt. The rigid structure offers scratch protection, but the netting underneath may allow some hair, dirt, and liquids to pass through.
You also get an extra seat pocket included. The manufacturer states this cover is machine-washable, but the odd shape may not quite fit in some laundry machines.
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6) Plush Paws Premium Rear Seat Cover
This black diamond-pattern seat hammock stretches 55 inches by 58 inches, with straps for both the rear and front headrests. There are a series of small holes positioned to allow full use of seatbelts with the cover installed. The thick, tear-resistant polyester is waterproof with silicone anti-slip backing. It also includes padded layers on the inside to keep your dog riding in comfort.
Colors include black, gray, and tan, with all being machine-washable. The only apparent downside with this package is that some reviewers complain of the straps being too tight for quick and easy installation.
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7) F-Color Cargo Cover
For those with multiple dogs, or especially large breeds, this product can be installed in the back of an SUV or wagon with the rear seats folded down. The fabric covers a great area, at 55 by 91 inches, with multiple layers of water resistance and a grippy rubber backing.
Also included are side flaps which protect the vehicle’s walls and can be attached to the windows using suction cups. The rear bit of fabric can flip up to cover the inside of the hatch, or down to protect the car’s bumper while the hatch is open. Unlike most cover designs, the manufacturer states that it is not machine-washable.