Dog Car Seat Review : PetSafe Happy Ride Booster
Updated: Jul 18
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Dog car seats are game-changers for small dogs and puppies. Your dog gets a great view out of the window so they can relax and watch the world go by, leaving you to concentrate on the road ahead. They also help with that all important ventilation for car sick prone pups.
Dog lovers with small dogs rave about dog car seats so we bought and tested one of the market leaders - the PetSafe Happy Ride Booster to see what all the fuss was about.
This booster is elevated, suspended from your car headrests, so the base of the booster is not in contact with your car seat. These types of elevated booster are definitely most suitable for smaller dogs and puppies.
If you have a larger dog and are searching for a car seat, we'd recommend taking a look at either a non-elevated or an elevated base style which are designed for larger dogs and sit directly on your own car seat. For further information on all your options, see our round-up article on the Top 10 Dog Car Seats
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Review 1. PetSafe Happy Ride Booster : Fitting
PetSafe Happy Ride Booster Review
1. PetSafe Happy Ride Booster : Fitting
The first thing to say is that the booster arrives flat packed so there is a small amount of assembly to do before you can attach it to your car. We're talking - 10 minutes tops, it's not an Ikea furniture project!
If you need instructions like me, they are available (with handy illustrations) on the PetSafe website :-
Once you've assembled your booster, fitting it in your car is a breeze.
There are three attachment points to help keep your booster seat secure and your dog comfortable on your journey :-
✅ headrest strap
✅ car seat strap
✅ seat belt loop
The headrest strap is fully adjustable. To raise and lower the height of your booster simply adjust the headrest strap.
It loops easily around your car headrests and didn't slip whilst the car was moving.
This means that you can move the booster so it's an ideal height for your dog to see out of the window.
On the back seat, the raised position will allow for more ventilation in addition to the much improved view.
The car seat strap is fully adjustable too and long enough to fit a standard front seat with strap to spare (see photo).
Alternatively you could opt to fit your booster seat in the back seat.
The strap will fit the smaller (40%) split of a rear car seat if you prefer your dog travelling on the back seat.
The third and final strap, the seat belt loop simply coils around your own car seat belt before it's clicked into place.
All three attachment points work together to ensure the car seat is more stable giving nervous or car sick dogs a smoother, and more enjoyable ride.
It's worth noting that all the straps were strong and fitted well so the booster seat didn't budge once in position at our chosen height.
As the PetSafe booster arrives with a dog harness tether included, you don't need to buy one separately.
So, if you already have a dog harness you're good to go.
Just a couple of gentle reminders - for safety reasons, never attach the tether to your dog's collar always a harness, and if like us you fit the dog seat in the front, remember to turn off the passenger airbag.
2. PetSafe Happy Ride Booster : Design
There are two versions of this dog car seat to choose from and we opted for the deluxe option which comes in a quilted microsuede outer with a coordinating checked padded liner.
Surprisingly we felt that the car seat looked much better quality than the images on-line.
The pale beige and checked patterned liner were more muted and less garish than the photos had suggested.
What's more the brown straps coordinated well with the beige booster seat.
The deluxe version of the dog car seat is marketed as being extra-soft for a comfy ride.
It's a relatively small point but we didn't feel that it was particularly well padded.
However a small blanket or fleece could easily be added for that extra bit of comfort on long journeys.
In terms of keeping your car seat clean, the outer shell is stain resistant and the quilted liner is not only removable but machine washable too, which is a big plus in our book.
We also appreciated that the harness attachment included with the seat had been designed to swivel a full 360°, so your dog won't become tangled if they moved around to get comfortable.
There are three sizes available and we bought the largest size suitable for dogs up to 11.3kg. Whilst clearly too big for a miniature Dachshund puppy there were two harness attachments so you could use the car seat for two very small dogs.
The zipped front storage pocket for your dog's gear is a neat extra. Although it's on the small side, you can store a ball, soft toy, poo bags and a lead easily.
On our journeys the seat worked well, our pup was visibly relaxed and after having a good look out the window, curled up in the base for a doze.
So what did we think ?
The truth is that this is a great value car seat. It's a good size booster, larger than most elevated dog car seats making it ideal for dogs up to 11.3 kg.
It's a well thought out design, from the machine washable inner, to the inclusion of a harness tether.
Clearly the standout feature is the design of three attachment points which make it extra secure round corners.
So let's talk about the downsides of this design.
One other small point is that it doesn't have the option to order additional straps to fit it to the larger side of a 60/40 split rear seat. If you need this option then look at the slightly more expensive Kurgo Skybox Booster.
Other than that, maybe the design could do with a facelift, it's not as modern as some of the other dog car seats we've reviewed, but that really is down to personal choice.
Dimensions (L W H) :
Small 36 x 31 x 20cm for dogs up to 5.4kg
Large 41 x 33 x 20 for dogs up to 8.1kg
Extra Large 51 x 36 x 25 for dogs up to 11.3kg
Reasons to Buy
+ Elevated to reduce sickness
+ 3 attachments for stability
+ Adjustable headrest strap
+ Washable interior & exterior
+ Includes a seatbelt tether
Reasons to Avoid
- Only suitable up to 11.3 kg
- Could do with a facelift
- No additional straps
Anything else I need to know ?
It's worth mentioning that PetSafe also offer a non-elevated dog car bed
It sits directly on your car seat in the front or back. It attaches to the headrest has anchors which slide into the base of your seat and a corner strap which keep it secure.
Bolstered all the way round to support those weary heads, it also has a faux sheepskin inner pad.
The cover is removable and machine washable so stays looking clean and fresh.
Ultimately, because it's not elevated it can accomodate a slightly large, heavier dog.
If you're interested, we also put this dog car bed through it's paces - PetSafe Car Dog Bed
We hope our detailed review of the PetSafe Happy Ride Booster has given you lots of additional information so you can make that all important decision on the right dog car seat for your four-legged friend.