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Best Dog Car Barriers

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Dog Safety By Gem Sheps 19 min read April 2, 2020 2 Comments

car barrier for dogs

Having a dog that can go with you everywhere you want (where pets are allowed!) is the modern dog owner’s dream. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t born with the best car manners, and sometimes they get in the way, to say the least.

Though some puppers are great in the car and tend to stay out of the way on their own, others need extra care to keep themselves — and everyone else in the car — safe. 

There are a lot of options for dog car safety, including dog seat belts, canine car harnesses, booster seats, crash-tested car dog crates, and car barriers — which we’ll focus on today.

Dog car barriers are a great choice for pooches who can’t resist jumping into the front seat when they’re not supposed to.

Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about dog car barriers and identify a few of our favorites. Read on to learn more, or just check out our quick picks if you’re in a hurry! 

Dog Car Barriers: Quick Picks!

  • #1 Rabbitgoo Dog Car Barrier [Best Overall Dog Car Barrier] — Marketed as offering a “universal fit,” this barrier is not only well-built, secure, and easy to use, but it should be easy to install in most cars.
  • #2 Jumbl Pets Adjustable Pet Barrier [Runner Up for Best Overall Barrier] — Honestly, this barrier is just about as awesome as the Rabbitgoo model, but we had to pick a favorite, so this one is our runner up.
  • #3 BarksBar Original Pet Seat Cover & Hammock [Most Affordable Choice] — A dual-function barrier that works as a hammock or a seat cover, the BarksBar Barrier is machine-washable, waterproof, and very affordable.
  • #4 Wellbro Dog Car Backseat Barrier [Most Stylish Car Barrier] — If aesthetics are just as important to you as safety, the Wellbro Dog Car Barrier is easily one of the best options around.

Why Use a Dog Car Barrier? What Are the Benefits?

A dog car barrier is exactly what it sounds like: a physical boundary meant to keep your dog safely out of the way while you’re driving.

Car barriers make it possible to safely road trip with your dog, go on beach visits, and even move houses with ease. No matter your reason for wanting to prevent your dog from riding shotgun, a barrier in your car is a good tool for basic safety.

Some of the primary benefits of car barriers include:

Dog Car Barriers Keep Fido Out of Your Way 

Dogs can cause serious hazards when you’re driving. Jumping into the front seat, squirming into your lap, and getting down by the pedals are all dangerous for you and your pup. 

distracted-driving-with-dogs

Not only are uncontained dogs distracting and cause accidents, but unrestrained dogs also pose major hazards to themselves and human passengers in the event of an accident.

unrestrained-dog-collision

Source: infographic from CarRentals.com 

To prevent accidents, dog car barriers can be used to keep your dog in the back seat — or even an open trunk, if you drive a hatchback or SUV.

Dog Car Barriers Help Keep Your Car Cleaner

Some barriers — like many dog hammocks — not only help keep Fido in the backseat, they also help keep your car clean, by simultaneously serving as a seat cover.

In fact, some — like number 12 on this list — are designed to work in both contexts, and they are convertible from hammock to dog car seat cover. Nifty!

Hammocks also prevent your silly dog from falling off the back seat and into the floor space when you tap on the brakes.

Dog Car Barriers Are Helpful for Organization

Hammocks section off the floor space in your back seat, which makes it a great choice for the dog chauffeur who likes to stay organized. Under the hammock you can store what you need and still have space for your pooch to ride comfortably.

Additionally, some barriers have pockets for treat and toy storage. Hint, hint!

May Be Helpful for Dogs Who’re Reactive to Motorcycles, Bikes, or Other Things

Occasionally, dogs struggle more with what’s happening outside the car than what’s inside. If you have a dog who gets worked up by strangers on sidewalks, bikers, or motorcycles, a barrier can obstruct his view and help with reactivity.

Pro Tip: Privacy sun shades can also be useful tools for dogs who become reactive in the car, in addition to keeping pups cool in the car.

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Best Dog Car Barriers

Now that you’ve got an idea of what kind of dog car barrier will work for you, you can dive into the fun part: shopping! 

1. Rabbitgoo Pet Car Barrier

About: The Rabbitgoo Pet Car Barrier is made of steel to stand up to pups who paw and claw at barriers.

The maker claims that this barrier is a “universal fit,” and that it’ll work for almost any SUV, van, or hatchback. And the tool-free installation makes it a breeze for anyone to assemble.

Best Overall Dog Car Barrier

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Rabbitgoo Pet Car Barrier

A steel car barrier that’ll fit most vehicles and requires no tools for installation.

Features

  • Fully adjustable — The set comes with a large main panel (35.8 inches by 25.9 inches) and two smaller additional panels (16.5 inches by 11.8 inches) so you can customize the barrier to your vehicle. It maxes out at 61.4 inches wide.
  • Easy attachment — The barriers attach to the headrests with a nylon strap and metal buckle, and can be just as easily removed. No tools are required, but the maker suggests two people for this job.
  • Simple and sleek — The black steel is easy on the eyes, and the wide square grid is unobstructive, so it won’t affect how you see out of your rear-view mirror.

Options: N/A

PROS

The results are in, and the Rabbitgoo Car Barrier seems to be a game-changer for buyers! Adjustable, simple to assemble, and nice to look at — a trifecta of good signs!

CONS

A few buyers reported that this barrier wouldn’t fit their car, but this seems a rare issue, especially considering that the panels are adjustable.

2. Jumbl Pets Adjustable Pet Barrier

About: Much like the above product, the Jumbl Pets Adjustable Pet Barrier is a simple 3-panel steel cage barrier. It’s a bit smaller, so it might be better suited for compact cars than giant SUVs.

Runner Up for Best Overall Barrier

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Jumbl Pets Heavy-Duty Car Barrier

A three-piece steel barrier that is easy to install or remove as necessary.

Features:

  • Fully adjustable — Jumbl Pets also claims that this barrier will fit all cars. Its main panel measures 35 inches by 16.5 inches and the additional panels measure 12 inches by 10.5 inches, so this barrier maxes out at 59 inches.
  • Ease of installment — This dog car barrier is also tools-free when it comes to installment, utilizing a hook-and-latch system instead of straps.
  • Durable construction — The Jumbl Pets Adjustable Barrier is made from high-quality stainless steel and is built to last. 

Options: N/A

PROS

This simple cage barrier seems to work well for easy-to-discourage pets, and buyers say it does what they need it to do.

CONS

A number of buyers have stated that this barrier doesn’t stand up well to strong dogs and that the hook and latch was not exceptionally secure.

3. The Original Zookeeper Pet Barrier

About: For a different style of cage barrier, try the Original Zookeeper Pet Barrier. It has long bars with adjustable (and removable) U-shaped ends and is attached with bungee cords. The reason for this design is flexibility. It will even work if you recline your seats at different angles.   

Best for Use with Reclining Seats

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Original Zookeeper Pet Barrier

This one-piece barrier is designed to move with your seats to ensure a good fit.

Features

  • Moves with your seats — This cage barrier flexes with your seats, so they don’t have to be angled the same way for the barrier to work. 
  • Bungee cord attachments — Stretchy bungee cords that wrap around your headrests are what allows this barrier to move with your seats.
  • “Smart design for perfect fit” — This barrier is 28.75 inches in height and can be adjusted from 42 to 61 inches wide.

Options: N/A

PROS

This simple cage barrier is designed to move with your car interior and the wide bars increase rear view visibility. Customers said the barrier worked well and was quick and easy to install!

CONS

Depending on the size and shape of your car, this barrier may not reach the ceiling to prevent dogs from jumping over or squeezing under it. So if your dog a serious escape artist, this design may pose a problem.

4. Bushwhacker Paws ‘n’ Claws Cargo Area Dog Barrier

About: Not a fan of cage barriers? A net might be a better fit, and the Bushwhacker Paws ‘n’ Claws Cargo Area Dog Barrier is a solid option to consider.

This mesh net barrier was built to keep your dog in the cargo area, but buyers claim it works for the front seats, too!

Most Secure Net-Style Barrier

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Bushwhacker Paws ‘n’ Claws Barrier

A scratch-proof mesh barrier with a lightweight metal frame, which is available in three sizes.

Features:

  • Scratchproof — This net barrier is made out of tear-resistant material. That way, even if your pooch is confused at first and scratches at the barrier, it’ll hold up.
  • Mesh material — The net material is mesh, so it doesn’t interrupt the airflow in your car. You won’t have to worry about your dog getting too warm; plenty of AC will reach him in the back of the car with this barrier.
  • Lightweight metal frame — The metal tubing used for the frame of this barrier is lightweight but durable, making it a simple but strong addition.
  • Four attachment points — In addition to the two nylon straps that affix the barrier to headrests, there are two straps at the bottom of the barrier to wrap around the seat frame. Extra security, here we come!

Options: Bushwhacker also has 50 inch and 56 inch models for bigger SUVs and trucks. 

PROS

This sturdy net barrier has extra security features and the net-style design ensures that your pooch can’t squeeze his way through any bars into the front seat.

CONS

The frame comes disassembled, so there is some assembly required — and according to some buyers, the instructions aren’t very helpful. Additionally, the mesh is very close-woven, and may interfere with rearview visibility.

5. AmazonBasics Adjustable Dog Car Barrier

About: The AmazonBasics Adjustable Dog Car Barrier is a cage barrier, but this one is designed to keep your buddy in the cargo area rather than the back seat.

Its height is only 12 inches, so it won’t work on your front seats unless it’s used in combination with a hammock. There is some assembly required for this cage.

Best Barrier in Multiple Colors

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AmazonBasics Adjustable Barrier

This barrier is designed to keep your dog sequestered in the cargo area, and it comes in three colors.

Features:

  • Expandable — This cage barrier can expand from a width of 35 inches to a maximum of 57 inches.
  • Stays in place — Customers noted this barrier attaches pretty securely, so it’ll stand up to your pup but may not be easy to remove.
  • Prevents mess — Since this is a cargo area barrier, it keeps your dog from making a hairy, muddy mess of your seats and limits dirt to the trunk.  

Options: This car barrier comes in black, silver, and grey colors. There’s also a 16 inch height option in either silver or grey.

PROS

The AmazonBasics Dog Car Barrier is a robust addition to your vehicle and fits a wide range of models. Perfect for the regular adventurer in need of a simple barrier solution.

CONS

This barrier is intended for the cargo area, so it’s shorter and may not work in your front seat without additional barriers. 

6. Walky Guard Adjustable Car Barrier

About: The Walky Guard Adjustable Car Barrier is another cargo cage barrier, with long bars instead of a grid.

Rather than attaching to the headrests with straps or hooks, this barrier is affixed securely with clamps and makes a great choice for people with large to giant dogs.

Best Barrier for Large or Strong Dogs

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Walky Guard Adjustable Car Barrier

Made from powder-coated steel, this adjustable barrier will keep strong dogs contained in the cargo area.

Features:

  • Expandable — This cage barrier expands from 34 inches to a maximum of 56 inches
  • Extra secure — Clamps are used to mount this cage barrier to the headrests, which makes this a great option for big and strong dogs. 
  • Powder-coated steel for strength — The barrier is made of steel and built to stand up to pressure.

Options: N/A

PROS

The Walky Guard is built to last and made with the strength of beasts in mind. Take your best bud with you on hardcore adventures and know he’ll be safe in the cargo area of your car.

CONS

This particular cage barrier is not suitable for small dogs, as they can fit through the bars — or even get their heads stuck in there. 

7. Pikaon Front Seat Barrier

About: Need a simple, no-nonsense net barrier? The Pikaon Front Seat Barrier is here for you. No fancy bells and whistles, bolts or hooks; this is a basic square net with a strap and buckle on each corner.

Least Obstructive Car Barrier

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Pikaon Front Seat Barrier

A straightforward mesh car barrier that’ll keep your pooch from hopping into the front seat.

Features:

  • Ease of installment — Could it get easier than clicking four buckles together? You should be able to install or remove the Pikaon Barrier in just a few seconds. 
  • Unobstructive — This little barrier won’t block your rearview sight at all, because it’s only 21 inches on each side.
  • Heavy-duty materials — The Pikaon Barrier is made from durable, polyester fiber mesh to ensure it will last for one road trip after another. 

Options:N/A

PROS

The Pikaon Front Seat Barrier requires no tools and minimal effort to install. Great for the owner looking for a quick solution for their relatively chill dog who just needs to quit hogging the front seat.

CONS

This barrier won’t stop an adventurous or stressed pup from jumping into the front seat, but it may discourage the dog who likes to stand on the center console for fun.

8. KOOLTAIL Dog Car Barrier

About: The KOOLTAIL Dog Car Barrier is a nifty little cage barrier for the center console of your front seats. It attaches to your headrests with straps and comes with two bungee cords to pin down the bottom of the barrier.

Best Adjustable-Height Barrier

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KOOLTAIL Dog Car Barrier

A height-adjustable metal car barrier that prevents your dog from reaching the console area of your car.

Features:

  • Height is adjustable — Unlike other barriers, this one adjusts in height, rather than width. It expands from 16 inches to 26 inches to fit cars with higher ceilings. 
  • Bottom hooks — For additional security, this barrier comes with hooks for the bottom of the barrier that attaches under your seats.
  • Lightweight — The steel wire mesh used to make this barrier is lightweight and easy to install as a result!

Options: N/A

PROS

This cage barrier requires little assembly and works well to deter dogs from jumping into the front seat through the center console.

CONS

Much like the Pikaon Net Barrier, this center-console barrier is more of a deterrent and may not prevent your dog from squeezing into the front seat area with a bit of effort.

9. Wellbro Dog Car Backseat Barrier

About: The stylish Wellbro Dog Car Backseat Barrier is a center console net barrier with a little more oomph. There are two mesh windows built in for visibility and airflow, and the barrier has top and bottom attachments for extra security. 

Most Stylish Car Barrier

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Wellbro Dog Backseat Barrier

A sleek-looking, machine-washable car barrier that provides ventilation and security.

Features:

  • Mesh windows — The top window gives you the chance to see your dog, and it allows your dog to see you and feel safer in your presence. The bottom window is for ventilation.
  • Nylon fabric — The barrier is made of nylon, so it can stand up to pawing and scratching and it’s machine washable!
  • Extra wide — At 24 inches on all sides, this barrier is determined to cover the middle space in your car.

Options: N/A

PROS

This center console net barrier is a nice scratch-resistant option for dogs who don’t mind chilling in the back seat. Plus, it is a fantastic looking barrier that won’t be an eyesore.

CONS

No car is the same, so you’ll need to make sure there’s something under your seats for the bottom hooks to attach to. The barrier isn’t especially tall either, and your pooch might be able to hop over the top if they’re a big doggo.

10. SCENEREAL Vehicle Barrier

About: Looking for something a little less strong and more flexible? Check out the SCENEREAL Pet Dog Net Vehicle Barrier. This net barrier is foldable, making it easy to store when not in use. It’s too big for a cargo area at 33 inches by 32 inches, so only buy this guy if you don’t mind your dog sitting on the back seats.

Most Storage-Friendly Barrier

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SCENEREAL Vehicle Barriers

An affordable, easy-to-store car barrier that features multiple pockets for storage.

Features:

  • Flexible but holds its shape — There’s a foldable rod that goes into the top side of the net, giving it a frame to hold its shape but still allowing it to flex.
  • Breathable mesh fabric — This mesh allows for a lot of ventilation, and the looser-woven stitches make it relatively see-through.
  • Pockets! — Yeah, that’s right, pockets! On the front side and the back! Bring along some treats, toys, or extra gear for your adventure buddy, because you’ve got room (inside the pockets).

Options: N/A

PROS

This simple net barrier will keep your pooch in the back seat, is easy to install, and do I have to mention the pockets again?

CONS

Compared to cage barriers, this is a relatively easy-to-break option — if you’ve got a strong dog who gets stressed in the car, this barrier may not be your best option.

11. BarksBar Original Pet Seat Cover & Hammock

About: The BarksBar Original Pet Seat Cover & Hammock is a simple hammock barrier that’ll keep your pooch from climbing under the seats. It’s also a great choice to use in addition to some of the aforementioned cargo cage barriers.

Most Affordable Car Barrier

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BarksBar Original Pet Hammock

A flexible, hammock-style barrier that’ll keep your seats clean and prevent your dog from crawling under the seats.

Features:

  • Waterproof — This combination seat cover and hammock is waterproof to protect your seats from Mr. Muddy Paws. 
  • Machine washable — Once your pooch gets it good and muddied up, you can toss this hammock right in the washing machine!
  • Bench style seat cover — When your dog isn’t in the car, you can fold the hammock down into a seat cover that can be used by humans.

Options: There’s an extra large option available for this hammock — suitable for large trucks and SUVs — and it has pockets!

PROS

This hammock is easy to install, with buckles and velcro being the main fasteners. There are even flaps to protect the sides of your seats. 

CONS

Although the material is waterproof, it’s not scratch-resistant, so if your dog’s nails are super sharp, beware!

12. HANSPROU Nonslip Car Hammock

About: Dogs who love to lounge will appreciate this comfy HANSPROU Nonslip Dog Car Hammock. This hammock is full-coverage. Blocking the center console, covering your seats; there are even side flaps to protect your doors. And more pockets!

Best Barrier for Full Car Coverage

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HANSPROU Nonslip Car Hammock

This hammock-style barrier provides more car-protection than most others and features multiple pockets.

Features:

  • Non slip — Water dogs everywhere will rejoice at the prospect of not slip-n-sliding around in the back seat after a trip to the lake.
  • Waterproof — Non slip and waterproof? You read that right. 
  • Comes with a waterproof cushion — As if it couldn’t get better, this hammock also comes with a waterproof cushion. Use it for extra padding for big or arthritic dogs, or bring it to the beach for a comfy place to sit while you watch your dog romp.
  • Transformable — Want Bruno out of the back seat? This hammock can also be used as a cargo liner. Mind. Blown.

Options: N/A

PROS

This hammock has so many features, it’s hard to keep track. Owners who regularly go out with their dog and return with a wet, dirty furball will find happiness in this hammock.

CONS

The only thing that would make this barrier better is if it prevented dogs from hopping over it, but at least the design discourages climbing into the front.

Caution: Barriers Are Not as Safe as a Crash-Tested Crates or Seat Belts (But They’re Better Than Nothing!)

Barriers are helpful tools for dogs that are able to relax in a car and simply need to learn boundaries.

But while barriers will keep Fido in the back seat, they don’t provide other safety features or protect your dog in the event of an accident.

Ideally, all owners would set their dog up with a crash-tested car crate, but this isn’t always feasible. And if you’re unable to use a crate or seat belt with your pooch, a car barrier is probably better than nothing.

It’s also important to note that dogs who get stressed or overly-excited during car rides may need more extra security than a barrier provides

Stressed or excited dogs tend to stand, rather than lie down, and may even try to pace or escape the car. Seat belts that attach to harnesses and crash-tested crates are often better fits for these dogs; they prevent your dog from accidentally harming himself.

Keep in mind that placing a barrier in your car could also lead to extra stress if your pooch is trying to get in the front seat (or your lap) and can’t. Since there’s no restraint, it allows for more movement and they could try to get under the seats.

Different Types of Dog Car Barriers

There are several different kinds of barriers available, and each offers a different slate of strengths and weaknesses. Just be sure to pick one that best suits your specific pooch. 

  • Hammocks — Hammocks prevent your dog from jumping up front and falling into the back seat foot space when you brake. Most hammocks are waterproof and washable, which is great for adventure buddies who get muddy.
  • Cage — Cage barriers are typically metal and attach to the backside of the front seats. They fill the space between the two front seats with a grid-like fence to prevent your pooch from seat-hopping. Some cages use bars instead of grids, so they may not work for smaller dogs that could squeeze through.
  • Net — Net barriers work like cage barriers, but they are made of cloth or mesh. The material is usually scratch-proof and not easily torn. 
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Dog Car Barriers: Buying Considerations

Everyone’s got a personal style, and the way things look is important, so you’ll want to pick a barrier that you think looks good. But it’s also key to make sure the barrier you choose works in every way you need it to.

This means you’ll want to consider the following things when picking a barrier:

  • Material — Is your dog strong and in need of a sturdy metal cage barrier? Are you looking for something waterproof or scratch-resistant? There are a lot of options on the market that suits your needs!
  • Good Fit for Your Car — You’ll want to make sure you measure the interior of your car to ensure a good fit. This includes the space between your front seats and the height from the top of the seat to the ceiling.
  • Storage Compartments — Looking for pockets, compartments, or other storage features? There’s a car barrier for you — many have numerous pockets and storage compartments for keeping your canine’s accouterments contained.
  • Ease of Installation and Removal — If you only need your barrier up some of the time and aren’t frequently taking your dog on car trips, you’ll want your barrier to be easy to install and remove on a regular basis. 

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Do you have an incredible dog car barrier you need the dog world to know about? Drop us a comment below to get the word out!

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Written by

Gem Sheps

Gem is a Denver-based animal industry professional and up-and-coming content creation specialist. They have experience in dog training and behavior, sheltering, and they currently work for a veterinary clinic.

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2 Comments

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Anne Baltren

I have a Sleepy Pod crash tested car harness. I love it. My dog was instantly calmer in the car, unable to pace the backseat. And I feel much safer knowing he’s secure when I step on the breaks and he’s not getting in my way.

I would love someone to explain the benefits of putting the dog in the back of the car. I understand how metal crates could be safest. But what happens if your case gets rear-ended with the dog in the back?

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Ben Team

Hey, Anne.
You’re right — car barriers still leave your dogs at risk in the case of a rear-end collision. So, they’re not the safest possible option.
However, there are a variety of circumstances in which owners are unable to use crash-tested crates or seatbelt harnesses (multiple dogs, dogs too large for harnesses, a lot of kids and dogs to haul around, etc.). And for these owners, a car barrier still provides additional safety, and keeps the dogs from jumping up in the front seat.
Thanks for reading!

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