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March 12, 2015

Dog Pierson on Pet Travel Flat Seat in Car 2

Welcome to the pros and cons series from #DogTravelAdvisor. Each post in the series will highlight a specific pet travel product and tell you more beyond what the manufacturer wants you to know. This post is about the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Learn the pros and cons of this product, which we have discovered through personal experience and from the experience of other people who have purchased it. By sharing both the positives and the drawbacks of this pet travel product, we hope you are able to make an informed decision in deciding whether it is right for you and your dog.

PROS
Keeps Dogs in Seat
Before giving you the cons, we will share the benefits that the manufacturer touts and which we agree with. The first benefit is a safety benefit. Have you ever had to stop suddenly only to have your dog lose his balance and slip to the floor? The bigger a dog is, the more likely this is to happen. The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat keeps this from happening. Some dog seat belts are deemed not as safe by the Center for Pet Safety because even though a dog is wearing one, he launches off the seat in a crash simulation. This flat seat prevents that, thereby increasing the safety of the harness.
Gives More Room
I personally have two big dogs, Maya and Pierson. When they ride in the car on long road trips, trying to stay in the narrow seat for several hours can be very uncomfortable. The flat seat gives them more room to stretch out.
Very Sturdy
With that being said, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is sturdy enough to hold my two big dogs. In fact, the manufacturer claims it can hold up to 200 pounds.
Easy to Assemble
The flat seat consists of two big pieces, a few nuts and bolts, and two straps to hang from the headrest. The nuts and bolts are big enough to put together by hand, so no tools are needed. Simply put the two pieces together, bring the front seats forward a bit, place the flat seat in the car, bring the seats back, then use the straps to secure the flat seat to the front seat head rests.
Thin and Flat
This seat extender is different from two other seat extenders we carry in that it is thin and almost completely flat. The Pet Deck is thicker and this can cause gaps in some places. The BackSeat Bridge is just as thin, but it doesn’t go all the way to the way front to back. This means there is a ridge, or lip, that can make it uncomfortable for big dogs to stretch out.
Other Uses
Dogs are not the only thing that can benefit from this flat seat. You can stack your groceries on it, luggage, or anything else that you need to put in the back seat of your car.

CONS
Bulky
Two big sheets are what cover the seat and the floor. Since these sheets are strong enough to hold two dogs, they also have a little weight to them. But you don’t have to be a weightlifter to lift them. As a woman who can’t do a single push-up, I have no problem taking the seat in and out of my car. But it might be an issue for some.
Won’t Work in Some Cars
Although the flat seat can fit most cars, there are exceptions. Consider the side wells of the seats. If they stick out too much or won’t allow the square corners of the seat to go between them, then the flat seat may not fit properly. Also, consider if there is a raised center console in the back seat. And finally, consider whether you want the square corner of the flat seat to go between the leather seats.

Back Seat of Car

This back seat may not be ideal for the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Notice the humps on either side. If they stick out too much or if the corners of the flat seat can’t get in, then the flat seat won’t work. If the corners can get between, it may do damage to the leather of the seats.

Gaps
Despite the flatness of this product, there are still gaps. There is a square cutout so that the flat seat can still be installed if the front center console sticks out in the back (notice it to the right of Pierson in the very top image). Because this square cutout is one size, there can be a gap for dog paws to step through. If your dog is not harnessed and if he likes to step on the center console, this gap can be a problem. There can also be gaps on either side of the flat seat, depending on the size of your car. Most seat extenders will have gaps, but measure your car and compare it to the flat seat dimensions to see if the gaps will be a problem for you and your dog.
Not Crash Tested
This product is not crash tested. It is quite possible that it will break in a car accident.
Minimum Adjustability
The flat seat is adjustable from front to back, but only in three stages. It is not adjustable from side to side. Measure and compare to make sure it will fit in your car.

For me, the pros of the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat outweigh the cons. I don’t have leather seats and it fits my Ford Contour and Toyota Camry just fine. The gaps are minimal, except by the front console. But since my dogs wear seat belts, it is not a problem. Even though they wear seat belts, they still need room to stretch out on those long road trips. Whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for you depends on your vehicle, your dog or dogs, and your situation. If you have any questions about the flat seat, ask our #DogTravelAdvisor by contacting us through our About Us page link on the right or by commenting below.

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4 Responses to “Pros and Cons Series – Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat”

  1. Jerry:

    The plastic pet crates/carriers have shattered during crash tests (see youtube), wouldn’t this product or any product of this type also shatter upon impact? I am thinking that the plastic will shatter creating shards inside the vehicle.

  2. MayaAndPierson:

    Another good point, Jerry. It probably would shatter. I wonder if wrapping a blanket around it would keep shards from flying. The Backseat Bridge from Kurgo will break in a car accident, but it is encased in material so it is not likely to shatter. While I do like the Backseat Bridge, I think my dogs are more comfortable on the flat seat. For long trips, I need to consider their comfort as well as their safety.

  3. Jerry:

    If the vehicle flips over I would suspect that these types of products would flip out of position and become projectiles inside the vehicle???

  4. MayaAndPierson:

    That’s definitely something to consider, Jerry. The straps from the headrest keep it from going downward to the floor, but there is nothing to keep it going upward if the vehicle flips. The straps are long enough, though, that I could anchor them under the front seats or get additional straps to anchor them. Thanks for giving us something more to think about. 🙂