Whether you’re making a routine trip to the vet, bringing a new member of the family home from the adoption center, or just going for a joyride, every dog owner will occasionally need to play chauffer for their furry friend. Some dogs are more than happy to be your adventure buddy while others are a little less enthusiastic, but both excited and nervous canine passengers can cause some serious damage to your seats.
Claws and paws, drool, shedding fur, and sometimes even “accidents” are par for the course when you have man’s best friend tagging along for a car ride. It’s no wonder that most dog owners search for some form of protection to save their original seats from their furry passengers. The most common solution for those looking to shield their seats from canine mayhem is a pair of seat covers.
Universal seat covers are the most popular option, being easy to find and quite affordable. Not only do they provide adequate protection against puppy paws, but they also do a great job of switching up the look of your vehicle. Plus, dogs are hardly the most destructive force of nature that will find their way into your car. We’ve all left our windows open only to be caught off guard by a sudden rainstorm.
Aside from their budget-friendly price, universal seat covers are easy to clean. Most seat covers are made from materials that can be tossed in the washing machine with your bedsheets or towels. For those with man’s best friend making frequent appearances in their car, the easy to clean nature of universal seat covers are an attractive option. While some people find the process of removing their seat covers to clean them and then reinstalling them arduous, we can all agree that it’s less of a hassle than taking your car to be professionally cleaned if your dog decides that your front seat looks like a good place to go potty.
But accidents are a much rarer concern than fur and drool, which are almost guaranteed every ride. For the most part, dog owners usually don’t even need to resort to machine washing. Fur can easily be cleaned with a lint roller. Drool is easily dealt with by spot cleaning. Waterproof and water resistant seat covers will dry on their own if they get wet, and some materials are even dirt repellant, allowing you to simply brush off any dirt or debris.
While most universal seat covers will provide basic protection from your doggy friend, there are some seat covers out there that are made with tougher materials to stand up to the unique type of problems dog owners are faced with.
Here’s a list of dog-friendly seat covers.
- Oxford Seat Covers
Oxford is a strong, hardy material that is manufactured to take a beating. Most dog owners opt for oxford seat covers due to their heavy-duty protection. Sharp claws are no match for rugged oxford seat covers, even when you’re two weeks overdue for a trim. In fact, oxford is so tough that it won’t show any marks from nails scraping against it. Aside from the occasional drool spot, there will be no evidence of your pup ever even stepping foot (or paw) into your car. Even then, oxford will naturally air dry, allowing the drool to evaporate without a trace.
While oxford seat covers provide your best option for protecting your seats against puppy paws, some dog owners are more appreciative of oxford’s other feature: unlike a lot of other materials, oxford doesn’t attract fur. Some shedding may land on your seat covers, but the hair won’t cling on and can easily be removed with a sweep of your hand. No washing, spot cleaning, or lint rollers required; in fact, sometimes even a quick blow of air will be enough to clear off the hair. Oxford seat covers are a favorite of dog owners due to how simple cleanup is.
Although not completely waterproof, oxford seat covers are water resistant. As long as your seat covers aren’t completely saturated, the oxford will repel any liquid that comes into contact with it. In most cases, water resistant seat covers provide more than enough protection against doggy disasters. Drool, muddy or damp paws, and even vomit from carsick passengers are all easily dealt with by oxford seat covers. However, if your four-legged friend is prone to using your car as a port-o-potty, you’ll probably want to reach for a truly waterproof material.
- Neoprene Seat Covers
Another popular choice among dog owners is neoprene seat covers. Like oxford, neoprene is a heavy-duty material meant to stand up to even the worst messes. Plus, neoprene seat covers have the bonus of being completely waterproof. Neoprene seat covers are also typically available in a wider variety of colors and designs than oxford seat covers. In fact, neoprene is a popular fabric in fashion design due to how easy it is to stylize the material.
Being a durable material, neoprene seat covers will undoubtedly stand up to anything life throws your way, including any mishaps or misadventures you might experience with your canine companion. Even bladder failures are no match for neoprene seat covers. On top of being waterproof, neoprene is also machine washable. For smaller misfortunes like drool, any moisture or wetness can easily be soaked up or shaken off and a short time with the windows rolled down will speed up the process of the neoprene drying off.
Neoprene seat covers will undoubtedly stand up better to any spills or accidents than any other material, but that extreme protection comes at the expense of neoprene being a complete fur magnet. The material attracts any and all fur that might shed off of your pet, which can especially pose a problem for breeds prone to shedding. You can expect some furry seat covers after your trip to the dog park with your Samoyed.
Even though neoprene attracts fur, it’s also easy to clean up the mess. The smooth material allows you to brush off any fur with minimal effort. If you can spare a few moments to sweep off any fur after each ride with your pooch, neoprene seat covers are a great option for you.
- Cloth Seat Covers
Cloth is by far the most popular fabric for universal seat covers. Most cloth can stretch a bit, giving you that extra inch to fit over your unique seats. Plus, any excess fabric is easy to pin tightly so the seat covers mold to your seats for a sleek silhouette. Cloth seat covers also come in the largest variety of colors, designs, and patterns of all seat cover materials. When it comes to personalizing your car’s interior, cloth seat covers are a fan favorite.
But when it comes to pet owners, cloth seat covers may not be the best option out there. They look great on your seats for sure, but there’s no guarantee they’ll provide that extra mile of protection needed against dogs. Dirty paws are easily dealt with, but claws might pose a bigger problem. Depending on the quality of the fabric, the cloth might rip or tear and leave your original upholstery vulnerable to damage.
On top of that, cloth seat covers will invite any fur or hair to cling to the fabric. For some breeds where shedding is minimal, like a short haired Chihuahua, this might not be a big deal. But for other breeds like huskies, constantly dealing with hairy seats might be a deal breaker. While other materials like oxford, neoprene, and faux leather are quick and effortless to clean, cloth seat covers provide a bit more work. At the very least, you’ll want to keep a lint roller in your car.
Cloth seat covers are also lacking in protection from water. Even something as minimal as drool can seep through the fabric and get your original upholstery wet. Most fabrics won’t air dry as quickly as oxford or neoprene. The next passenger might be greeted with a seat full of dog drool.
Still, some fur parents might want to give cloth seat covers a try. If you’re interested in cloth seat covers, it’s important to make sure the fabric will stand up to the task. Check the quality. Stretch it a bit. Feel how thick it is. Will it stand up to your dog’s claws on an extended ride?
- Faux Leather Seat Covers
In general, faux leather (also called PU leather) is a highly favored material for seat covers. Faux leather seat covers are sleek, luxurious, and have the ability to give even the oldest of cars an instant facelift. Consumers looking for the look and feel of real leather without the price tag usually go for faux leather seat covers. Sometimes, you can’t even tell that high quality faux leather isn’t genuine.
But are faux leather seat covers a good option for dog owners? Not really. While faux leather does a great job of protecting your original upholstery from everyday wear and tear, dogs require a particular type of defense that faux leather seat covers unfortunately can’t provide. No matter how high the quality, there’s a possibility that claws or teeth can tear the material. Even if a full rip is prevented, faux leather will usually show evidence of your pooch passenger when their claws leave marks and scratches in the material.
The big appeal of faux leather seat covers is that they provide the experience of real leather seats. Unfortunately, this genuine experience includes heating up on a hot summer day. In the summer, faux leather seat covers might prove to be too hot for your dog to rest comfortably, especially in breeds that are prone to overheating like bulldogs or Boston terriers. While this issue can be avoided to some extent by parking in the shade or leaving your windows cracked open, in hotter climates like Arizona these preventative measures may not be enough to completely solve the problem.
- Genuine Leather Seat Covers
While faux leather is a great substitute, nothing compares to the appeal of the real thing. Genuine leather seat covers are among the highest quality seat covers money can buy, and is commonly seen in custom seat covers. However, leather seat covers come with a hefty price tag.
Despite their higher price and better quality, leather seat covers fall victim to the same issues that faux leather seat covers do. They heat up in warm weather even more than their imitation counterparts, which can result in red-hot seats. Excited pups can also still tear through genuine leather, no matter how great the quality is.
Considering genuine leather seat covers are so much more expensive than every other variety of seat covers out there, it’s typically not worth the risk. Of course, determined drivers can protect their leather seat covers with a pet hammock in the back seat if they’re willing to go the extra mile and spend more.
With so many options out there, it can seem overwhelming to try to decide which seat covers would work best for you and your four-legged friend. When you’re looking for seat covers that will protect your seats from your dog, the first thing you want to consider is what qualities you’re looking for that will meet your needs.
For instance, what breed is your dog? Smaller dogs will pose less of a threat to your seats in general, and short-haired dogs tend to shed less, reducing the amount of loose fur you’ll need to worry about. Big hairy dogs like a Saint Bernard will undoubtedly cause some headaches when their fur clings to your cloth seat covers, for example.
Another thing to think about is where your dog usually sits. If your pet prefers to ride shotgun next to you in the front seat, you can save some cash by only buying seat covers for your front seats. Does your dog like to chill out in the back seat? A pet hammock might be your best bet. It protects your back seat while also preventing your dog from falling in the event you need to brake suddenly.
If your dog can’t choose between the front and rear seat, a pet hammock also provides the benefit of blocking off their route to the front seat, keeping them safely in the back. Pet hammocks are also the easiest to install and uninstall, allowing you to prepare your car for a doggy passenger quickly.
Sometimes, a dog might prefer to lie on the floor in the back, between the front and back seats. In that case, make sure you’re using floor mats. Carpet floor mats are more comfortable for your furry friends than textured rubber floor mats at the expense of being somewhat harder to clean. While you can simply rinse off rubber floor mats, you might need to shake any excess hair off carpet floor mats or use a lint roller or vacuum.
Vinyl floor mats are also a good option. They provide the simple cleanup of rubber floor mats and the comfort of carpet floor mats. However, the slippery material won’t provide the same level of traction, leaving your pooch sliding all over the place if they try to get up.
Overall, you just want to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Your seat covers should look great, protect your seats, and be comfy for both you and your pet. With some research, you’ll be able to find the best possible fit for your lifestyle and needs.
We carry a large selection of doggy defending seat covers, including oxford seat covers and neoprene seat covers. Check out our line of pet-approved covers here!