Dog Guards for Cars: How to Find the Best Dog Car Barrier for Your Needs
I'm a firm believer in the motto “have dog, will travel”, however with the stipulation of safety first. Having our canine companions loose in the car is dangerous, not only for us, but also for the dogs. Only 2% of the pooches on our roads are properly restrained, shocking, huh? So, what exactly is proper restraint? I want to emphasize that using dog guards for cars is NOT an optimal restraint/safety device for dogs! Granted, having your dog secluded in the back, and not on your lap or free-roaming the car is definitely safer than having nothing at all. Optimal restraint, however, means the use of a tethered kennel or dog safety harness. That said, however, a dog car barrier has its place and purpose.
It’s ill-advised to leave your dog locked up, alone in your car at all. Even on a moderate day, the sun can heat up that car to dangerously high temperatures in no time. However, what are we to do when the humans need a potty break and dogs aren’t allowed in the restroom? Well, this is where a barrier comes in handy. I used to have a Beagle/Labrador mix that would eat and chew anything, and I mean ANYTHING! If we even left her unattended in the car for a quick two minutes, something “bad” had invariably happened. The worst was her eating our entire picnic we’d packed for our trip to the beach. Grrrrr….
A dog car barrier is also useful for keeping your dogs off the seats you’re trying to protect. No doubt, sharp dog claws can do a number on the upholstery of your car. They’re also quite nice for keeping a shedding dog’s hair contained. They also come in handy if you have a dog who jumps out of the car the minute you open the door.
When I travel with my dog, I...
Types of Dog Guards for Cars
There are certainly a wide variety to choose from. Some are designed to keep your dog out of the front seat by creating a barrier between the front and back seats. Others are made to keep your dog confined to the cargo area. Some are made of mesh, while others are metal. Generally speaking, the mesh ones attach with straps, while the metal car dog guard is pressure mounted. There are also net-style barriers.
I don’t recommend a net-style dog car barrier if you have a large dog, or one who likes to chew. They just simply aren’t as sturdy or reliable as the metal variety. Some dogs will chew right through the netting or even the straps. If you have a small dog with no propensity for chewing, however, they may do the trick. And a super small head won’t stand the chance to getting stuck in between the metal bars, either.
Some barriers are made to fit SUV’s, some station wagons and others mini-vans. Still others are adjustable to fit most any car interior. So, pay close attention to proper sizing when you’re shopping.
Some Things to Consider
Bear in mind, the last thing you want to do is to hamper your visibility, so make sure the dog car barrier you choose is the least obtrusive. This is definitely one problem with some of the mesh ones, depending upon where they sit, they can block your rear vision.
Some don't allow you to move your seats (or make that process very tricky, anyway) once they're installed.
Tension mounting designs are great in theory. But, they can be prone to sliding, especially the ones that have plastic legs (designed to protect your car).
Best Dog Guards for Cars
Petego WalkyGuard Car Barrier
WalkyGuard has done a phenomenal job with this product. One of the biggest complaints about pet barriers is what a collossal task the car installation is. I know, I've been there. This one is simple- you just adjust it to the correct settings for your car and you're done in a few minutes. And, taking it out is only a matter of loosening two screws. Easy peasy!
Another advantage of the WalkyGuard Dog Car Barrier is its ability to adjust to fit into almost any car interior. Its design and size was well thought out for a variety of cars.
Many of these barrier rattle and shift around on their plastic footing. This one is actually quiet and stays in place. I recommended this one to many of my clients when I ran my petsitting business and they all loved it.
Please note: In order for this pet car barrier to work you must have adjustable backseat headrests!
Highland 20045 Black Universal Pet Barrier- Recommended with Some Caveats
Highland not only makes a sturdy effective product, but actually an attractive, modern trombone-style barrier as well. This barrier is made of heavy gauge tubing and adjusts up to 45 inches high and 65 inches wide, perfect for most vehicles. If you have a particularly large vehicle, you can purchase Highland's separate extension kit. It is supposed to be very easy to install, says it only takes minutes. No drilling or car defacement is necessary since it's pressure mounted. The Amazon price is hard to beat, I've yet to see this Highland pet barrier for any less in a pet supply store.
People do complain it has some engineering problems. It tends to slide due to the hard plastic footing. Additionally, people have had some trouble getting the cross bars to tighten properly, the holes are too close to the bars to get the proper torque needed for a good twist. Basically, if you're handy with a few tools and able to do a bit of improvisation, it's good value for the money.
Recommended Wire Mesh Style Dog Car Barrier
If you have a little Houdini dog, a very small dog or cats you may be forced to consider the wire mesh/cage style pet barriers. I much prefer the trombone style, however... but I realize it might not work for everyone. There are just some inherent problems with these cage style barriers, many of which are not insurmountable, but require a tad bit of work on your part.
The wire mesh style was the first kind I purchased, it's in our station wagon still. With some patience and additional hardware purchases, we've got ours rattle-free and quite secure. But, I'm telling you, be prepared to do a little handy work.
Midwest Wire Mesh Car Barriers
The actual barrier/gate on the Midwest dog guard is great, very sturdy and well-made. The trouble we had with this car barrier is the cheapo hardware that's included. Nothing seems to fit properly or stay in place as required, as a result installation is maddening! We ended up going to a hardware store and just replaced most of the hardware. After that, it was a breeze. We also secured the dog guard with some flexible cords to stop the incessant rattling. Since we made our little tweaks, we've been exceedingly pleased with our purchase.
Recommended Net-Style Car Dog Guard
If you have a smaller dog, this might just do the trick. Many of these claim to be "claw-proof", but I can readily see a dog making his or her way through this netting with claws or teeth. So, the success of this may very well be dependent upon the personality of your dog. I find the netting difficult to see through, however.
Solvit Front Seat Net Pet Barrier
This particular dog car barrier will prevent your dog from getting into the front seat. It has a pop-up design so it's simple to install and the net won't droop. It has an adjustable suspension system that's designed to fit all vehicles. This is a better choice for a medium to large size dog. Smaller dogs can still jump up over the seats to get to the front, or they can finagle their way through the space between the seats and the doors.