Cheap Safe Dog Car Seat




This dog car seat cost me about $12 for materials. Looking on Amazon or at local stores they can run at the cheapest $35 going up over $100.

I was determined to make my own dog car seat that my dog could be safe and secure in but have enough room to sit, stand, or even lay down. I can trust it enough to put my dog in which I consider as a child of mine, so I don't see why others couldn't do the same.


Step 1: Materials

1: Stacking basket (This is what your animal will be sitting in so change the size for your animals specifications)

2: Small tote

3: Drill

4: Shelf grip liner

5: Belay hooks

6: adjustable shoulder strap (Rope or bungee cord will work)

7: Tape measure

8: A strong rope you can tie into a loop with a keychain ring

Step 2: Measuring the Seat Space

I have a bucket seat style seat and measure the kind of, checkered print area in the seat for the tote to sit in. I took the small tote (without a lid) and measured the top of it. It comes out very close to the measurements of the car seat. This tote will be use to put in the car flipped over on its lid.

Step 3: Drilling the Hole

Drill two holes. The holes need to be on the same side of the basket in line with each other as you will see later.

Step 4: Putting the Belay Clip in the Hole

Dexter, my miniature schnauzer, decided to be very interested in my work so I snapped a picture of I'm while I was building.

Place the belay clip in the hole on both sides.

Step 5: Cushioning for Your Animal to Sit On. (optional)

I took an old bed sheet and cut a square out of it. I wrapped a pillow up in it so my dog could have something soft to sit on to make it more comfortable.

Step 6: Installing the Adjustable Strap

Take the shoulder strap (Or whatever rope like material you choose) and attach it to the belay clips you installed earlier. This strap goes behind the head rest in your car so make sure you have enough length on the strap.

Next put in a blanket for your animal so that they're cushioned on all sides of the basket.

Step 7: Putting in the Animal Restraint

This is your most important piece. On the opposite side of the basket where the belay clips are placed, put a belay clip in the middle. This is so you can hook your animal to the basket and they can't get out of the basket, and are kept secured, like an animal seat belt.

Pictures 2-4 are how I tied the knot for the restraint.

I then added a belay clip to the restraint to later hook to my dogs harness or collar.

Step 8: Installing the Car Seat

1. Place the tote upside down in the seat so it won't be able to move.

2. Next, place the shelf grip liner onto of the tote so the basket can't slide around

3. After that, place the car seat on top of the grip liner.

4. Take the strap and loop it around the back of the car seat, picture 5 shows how the strap is suppose to look.

Step 9: Securing Your Pet

Take the restraint from earlier and hook it to your pets collar or harness.

NOTE: It is preferred that your animal be placed in a harness so if you must slam on the breaks or take a quick turn, you're less likely to choke your animal. I only used my dogs collar for an example, I always put his harness on for a car ride.

Step 10: Finished Product

Now your animal can have a safe ride and be up high enough to get a view out the window. This product is best suited for small dogs since larger dogs can take up whole car seats. I love this project and use it every time I take Dexter for a ride.

He's an 18 lb. dog, if you were wondering an example of size.



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14 Discussions


Question 1 year ago on Step 10

I;m not sure how the tote and basket work together Do you just put the tote on the car seat for hight or is there a way they are attached to eack other and how much would it cost to make the car seat. Thank You susan


3 years ago on Step 10

We bought one of those pricey seats and Duncan hates it. He turns his back on me. I will try this instead for MY mini schnauzer. Dexter is adorable. ?


3 years ago

I really like your doggy car seat. I'm going to try and make my pup one. She rides in her crate which is to large for my carseat and for Gracie also. Her crate is for a large dog and she's a ten pound Cug ( Long hair chihuahua /pug mix) strange looking little thing. But, we wouldn't take a million dollars for her. She's family.


4 years ago on Introduction

Umm, There are some problems with this design. 1) The whole setup is NOT SECURE enough to make the Car Seat strongly stay put if an accident happened. You don't realize the G-force that is created by an accident, or throwing your breaks on, or swerving. That seat will be thrown around. 2) This is very important! In this design, the dog car seat restraint is being hooked up to the dog's collar. Do you realize that when you throw your breaks on or get hit, your little doggie will be suddenly ejected from this seat and the strap that is attached to his collar will be just strong enough to actually SNAP your dog's neck, killing it in the process?

Any time you put a restraint on an animal in you car, NEVER, NEVER hook ANYTHING up to the animal's collar, if you don't want your pet strangled or end up dead from a broken neck. Instead, at least PUT A GOOD HALTER (preferably a padded halter and NOT a cheapy) on your pet and HOOK THE RESTRAINT to the HALTER.

This Dog Car Seat a nice try, but it needs to be designed better for the safety of your beloved pet.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I use a padded harness with my dog, I just didn't for the pictures. I also know from purchasing a real dog seat that almost all of them will not survive a crash. There is no way my dog will get strangled because I've hit the breaks hard many times and because the length of the restraint he doesn't get choked or launched out of the dog seat.

This travel seat is intended for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a car seat for their pet. It's intended for pets who are freely roaming inside a vehicle to have some sort of comfort and security in a seat.

I understand all your complaints, I really do. This was made so creative minded people (such as yourself) could take the idea and run with it, optimizing it, and using it for their own. Thank you for the comment.


4 years ago

Awww damn it. I miss my mini schnauzer. Great idea. Nice dog.


4 years ago

Wonderful idea! My dog is quite an anxious traveller and will often make a bid for the driver's lap. I think he'd be much more comfortable in something like this.

Cute dog. He looks like quite the character.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I think Dexter feels secure because his chest can rest up against sometbjng on curves, it helps him from losing his balance.

Oh he is ornery that's for sure! Thanks for commenting!


4 years ago on Introduction

I got one of the doggy car seats you're replicating from my sister, and it has another strap from the bottom, back of the dog seat area, around the middle of the car seat back. You could easily add another strap, and that would keep the dog seat nice and tight to the car seat, even in a quick stop. A little extra security wouldn't be a bad thing for such a cute little pooch.

Good idea, and when mine wears out, I'll try yours.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

You know, I actually bought a "SkyBox" for my mom and it has that feature. Hers works for her because her back seat folds down in 2 parts so she has enough length. But you're right, extra security is always safer. I can take my seat belt al loop the waist part through the back of the doggy seat and buckle it in. It should work the same way.

Thanks for the inspiration and helping optimize my creation!!


4 years ago on Introduction

It's a good idea, but if I might make a suggestion: the plastic clips on that shoulder strap are going to do little to nothing to secure your basket should you get in an accident. A much better alternative would be to cut slots into the plastic basket (assuming that it is as sturdy as it appears to be) and use the seat belt to secure the basket to the car.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

cTsVette, great suggestion, I could do that or replace the plastic clips with the belay clips that are already attached to the plastic clips. It's going to do better then how most dogs are placed in a car, by simply having them sitting in a seat unrestrained. Thanks for the comment!