When it’s time to hit the road with your canine best friend, the right tools and accessories make the trip both easier and safer. That includes the best dog hammocks for cars. Amazon has dozens of designs and thousands of products to choose from — but since not all of them are created equal, I sourced a few recommendations from an expert.
Nicole Ellis is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Pet Lifestyle Expert with Rover, as well as an American Kennel Club CGC evaluator, APDT trainer, and published author. She has spent more than a dozen years training hundreds of animals, including puppies, service dogs, and animals for therapy work.
What To Look For In A The Best Car Hammocks For Dogs
Washable: “A washable waterproof hammock is key,” Ellis wrote to Bustle. In addition to keeping your dog contained, a car hammock will also “protect the side of your seats.” However, that often means it’ll attract mud, fur, sand, and moisture, so you want to be able to just toss the whole thing in the washing machine when you’re done adventuring.
Secure: While a dog hammock should not take the place of a dog seat belt, it should still be securely fastened. “Ensure the hammock fits your car,” Ellis wrote. “It should easily line up with the seat belt holes for your pet's harness to be buckled.” Lastly, some hammocks are made out of material that Ellis finds “too slippery,” which could be unsafe for both dogs and passengers; a material that allows for some traction is safer and more practical.
Convenient: Finally, dog harnesses are made to make your life easier — not harder. An option that fits well will also make it “easier for human passengers to jump in the back without having to remove the hammock,” Ellis wrote. You can also opt for extra features, like “a storage pocket” for “extra poop bags [and] a tennis ball,” or a “mesh window” so you can see your pet and they can see you.
As you shop, keep in mind that while a dog hammock is great for protecting your car when it comes to dirt and fur, they definitely should not be the only accessory you use to fasten your dog into the car. According to Ellis, “It's important to note they don't protect your dog and should always be used in conjunction with a crash-tested carrier or harness.”
Shop The Best Dog Hammocks For Cars
In a hurry? Here are Ellis’ top three recommendations for dog hammocks.
- The Top Trainer-Recommended Dog Hammock: RUFFWEAR Dirtbag Seat Cover
- The Best Value: Active Pets Back Seat Cover for Dogs, Standard
- The Best Half-Seat Hammock: Kurgo Dog Hammock Car Seat Cover, Half
1. The Top Trainer-Recommended Dog Hammock
- Machine washable and shakes clean
- Easy to attach and remove
- Non-slip, secure, and fits in the backseat of most passenger vehicles
“My favorite, and the one I use in my own car, is the Ruffwear Dirtbag,” wrote Ellis. “It stays in place and my dogs don't slip on it due to the non-slip fabric.” This option is made from a durable, waterproof material that’s machine-washable, but it’s also designed to clean up well with a quick shake. (“I am always shocked with the amount of sand, dirt, and fur that mine collects from our outings,” Ellis wrote.)
What’s more, it’s secure, and its convertible design can be used as a hammock or just over the seat. It attaches around the headrests using webbing loops and to the seat itself using stuffer cleats, but you can still access the seatbelts. Finally, side flaps protect your car from mud, fur, and dirt while your pup is getting in and out.
One reviewer wrote: “This cover is great. I've had two similar style covers, cheaper, for about a year until they started flaking and disintegrating. This one seems better made thus far and the huge plus is that it has pieces that go down over the sides of the backseat area, preventing [dirt] from getting down there.”
Dimensions: 55 by 63 inches | Material: polyester | Available Colors: Granite Gray and Trailhead Brown | Available Sizes: one size |
2. The Best Value
- Less than $40
- Plenty of extras like a mesh window, a storage pocket, and zippers
- A reviewer favorite with high ratings
- Comes in two sizes and four colors
- According to some reviewers, it’s not the longest-lasting option
For less than half of what the top pick costs, you can get the Active Pets standard dog hammock, which can be used as either a hammock, a seat cover, or a trunk liner. This one has more than 2,500 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 stars. Plus Ellis recommends it because it has a “mesh window for the smaller pets to see the front seat.” You also get sturdy zippers, a non-slip rubber backing, openings for seatbelts, and a built-in pocket for toys and pet essentials — all of which make it a pretty great value.
The material is waterproof and attaches to the car in six places (four headrest anchors and two seat anchors), and though the brand doesn't explicitly say that it’s washable, reviewers have tossed it in the machine and reported no issues. While its universal standard fit suits most vehicles, it also comes in XL for big trucks and vans. You can also get it in your choice of four colors around the edges.
One reviewer wrote: “Awesome product. We take the dog hiking in mud, snow, rain, whatever, and there's nothing to worry about on the way home so long as we've got this backseat cover. We use the seatbelt features for her too when we're on highways and they work great. The mesh is nice so she gets airflow from the front and so we can see her easily.”
Dimensions: 20 by 42 inches | Material: waterproof Oxford cotton | Available Colors: black, blue, orange, pink | Available Sizes: standard, XL |
3. The Best Half-Seat Hammock
- Only takes up half of the back seat, so the other half can be used for child seats, other passengers, and storage
- Has pockets and zippered seatbelt slots
- Stain-resistant and creates a den-like space for your dog
- Machine washable
- Expensive for its size
- Might not work for much larger vehicles
Finally, “Kurgo makes a half hammock, which allows you to leave a passenger seat open,” Ellis wrote — the best option “for child seats or to easily transport human passengers, too.” It protects one-half of your car seat (including the floor and the back of the front seat) with its water- and stain-resistant fabric, and the piped edges prevent any moisture from rolling out onto the other side. It also has zippered openings so you can still access seat belts and pet restraints, as well as two storage pockets for your dog’s things. This one can be machine-washed in cold water and hung out to dry.
Currently, the brand has earned an average 4.5-star rating after feedback from more than 1,500 reviewers. This is offered in three colors, but you can also get a full bench seat cover, a bench seat to floor cover, a hammock, and a non-slip cover design.
One reviewer wrote: “I don't know why more companies do not make this half hammock but this is awesome! A full hammock leaves so much space for my dog that she gets nervous. Having this half hammock is key because it gives her more of a ‘den’ like space but still allows her enough room to spin and plop down if she wants to. [...] The material makes it really easy to clean and vacuum up her hair, drool, etc. The installation was super simple and easy to do.”
Dimensions: 27.5 by 30 inches | Material: waterproof polyester | Available Colors: Heather Charcoal Gray, Heather Nutmeg, Heather Black| Available Sizes: 27.5 inches wide, 55 inches wide |
Nicole Ellis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Pet Lifestyle Expert with Rover