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Are cloth or leather car seats better for dogs?

Are cloth or leather car seats better for dogs?

The question of which car seat fabric is best for your dog is a point of concern for most pet owners. Leather and cloth are two of the most common materials to feature in modern vehicles, and many are stuck between the two.

Leather lasts longer and is easier to clean, while the cloth alternative is cheaper and comes in various options. This article explains the benefits and limitations of equipping each of the two options to help determine which is best for your furry friend.

Dogs are very notorious for damaging the interior appeal of your vehicle, more so the seats and carpets. Choosing the suitable fabric is essential if you wish to maintain the peak condition of your car and minimize repair costs. Leather is ideal for every pet owner who wishes to preserve their car’s interior appeal, since it is easier to clean and care for.

Other fabrics you can consider include denim, canvas, and microfiber, each with its own benefits. Here is a comprehensive comparison of cloth and leather car seats regarding which serves best for you and your dog.

Are Cloth or Leather Car Seats Better for Dogs?

If you are thinking of modifying your vehicle’s interior to make it more suitable for your dog, then cloth and leather seats are the best prospects to consider. Leather proves to be superior to cloth for various reasons, primarily regarding cleaning and maintenance.

However, cloth car seats also hold significant advantages over their counterparts as they are cheaper and feature a less complicated installation process. This section discusses the main differences between these two and why leather car seats are more compatible with your dog.


Price is a significant determinant in almost every purchasing decision. How much you are willing to spend on the makeover will significantly affect which of the two options you will select; one is cheaper than the other. Generally, leather costs more to buy and install compared to cloth because of its superior features. Other factors contributing to the high price include the complicated process of obtaining the material and its labor-intensive and time-consuming manufacturing process.

Cloth seats are available and come with a less expensive price tag, making them an ideal option for those on a tight budget. Although this material is not as durable and easy to clean as its counterpart, it still holds significant advantages. Cloth car seats are available in various colors and prints, proving easier for customization and personalization.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and maintenance routines are also significant considerations when deciding between leather and cloth seats. Every time your dog enters your vehicle, there is a considerable possibility of dirtying or damaging your seat fabrics. Leather seats feature a more superficial cleaning and maintenance routine than clothes because of their texture and make. Cleaning dog poop, pee, and puke is as easy as wiping the seats off with a wet cloth, while tougher stains require a leather cleaner.

On the other hand, cloth leather seats require more maintenance since they easily stain, tear, and shed, especially from contact with your dogs’ nails. Its nature is porous, meaning that if your dog vomits or pees, the waste will soak into the cushions. It will help if you trim your pets’ nails and potty train them before welcoming them on your cloth-covered seats.

Scratch Resistance Properties

Resistance to scratches is also a significant consideration when comparing leather to cloth. Your dog will need to feel as much resistance from the seat covers on its fur, while the surfaces need to survive the stress put on it by the dog’s fur. Leather seats are the ideal option, as they are more resistant to frequent scratching, chewing, and clawing from small dogs. Heavy dogs can be a nuisance since they might leave deep scratches and dents on your leather’s surface.

Cloth seats are ideally resistant to nail scratches since their surface is rough, while some feature a rugged design. The quality of the cloth is the primary determinant of how resistant each material is. The most scratch-resistant cloth variant is canvas; it is highly resistant to stains, liquids, and scratch marks.


Every pet owner will want to select a car seat cover that will prove comfortable for their pet. Between cloth and leather car seats, the former is more comfortable than the latter. Comfort revolves around different angles, including how hot, breathable, and cold it might get when at low temperatures. Leather seats are extremely uncomfortable when it gets hot, and your dog might not enjoy car rides during the summer.

Cloth covers are superior when it comes to comfort for your pet. They adapt better to every weather condition; when it is hot, they are relatively cool while they remain warm on cool days. Vets recommend cloth seats for dogs primarily for this reason; comfort is assured regardless of the season.


Safety should also feature among the primary considerations when comparing cloth or leather car seats for your dog. Leather features a stain and water-resistant, finished surface that brings out a slippery feel which may be risky for your pet. Its nature increases the chances of your dog falling off of the seat while entering or while braking.

The texture present on the surface of cloth car seats is adequate to prevent slipping. Also, you don’t have to worry about the seats losing shape after being sat on for an extended period; they will spring back to their original foam every time.

What Can I Do to Increase the Durability of the Seats?

Find the Right Gear

Travel gear for your dog is one approach pet owners can use to increase the durability of their car seats. The gear features safety features for your pet during car trips while ensuring its claws bring minimum damage to the seat cover. Try out as many gears as possible until you find the perfect fit that guarantees comfort and safety for your pet and seats. It would also help if you included a variety of gear that promotes general safety and comfort for your dog on all car trips, like seat belts and dog barriers.

Train Your Dog

Investing in training your dog for proper vehicle etiquette will also increase the durability of your car seats. Train them to enter and exit the vehicle, behave during car trips, and handle stressful car situations. Smaller dogs will require a more detailed training session or accessibility accessories like a pet ramp for easier entry to high doors.

Take Short Drives

The concept of practice makes perfect also applies when identifying approaches to minimize pet damage on your car seats. Dedicate a few hours of your day and tag along with your pet on short drives around the block. The more it is familiar with normal road conditions, the more relaxed she will behave on those long trips in the future. Note that anxiety and fear are the main contributors to seat scratching and chewing.

Trim Your Dogs’ Claws

Long dog nails cause the most damage to your car seats; therefore, you must frequently trim them to minimize damage. Maintaining a strict nail-cutting schedule also proves effective in improving overall hygiene and appeal. Your pet appears nearer and well-kept with trimmed nails than with long and dirty nails.

Brush Your Dog’s Hair

Dog nails are not the only dog parts that cause damage to your car seats, even their hair. Hairy dogs are notorious for shedding, and every pet owner should invest in the necessary tools, like brushes, to brush their dog’s hair. Failure to regularly brush the hair will mean a more thorough cleaning session that involves a vacuum because of the shed hair in between cushions.

Can I Prevent Scratches on Leather Seats?

Yes, you can prevent scratches on your leather seats through multiple approaches. Cover seats provide the best approach to protect your car seats from all the damaging elements. You no longer have to worry about mud, dirt, and animal waste damaging your cushions and the vehicle’s interior appeal. It also protects the seat’s surface from nail scratches and chewing since they feature sufficient rigid characteristics. A simple cleaning and maintenance procedure is another benefit associated with using car seats to prevent damage.

What Color Leather is Best with Dogs?

Black and beige leather interiors are the best colors for your vehicle’s interior if you are a pet owner. These two colors feature a dark shade which is ideal for hiding dirt and shallow scratches. Also, it takes more time for dirt to show on surfaces featuring either of these colors, making them perfect for pets to sit and walk on with their not-so-clean paws. Black makes it easier for you to spot colored hair strands when cleaning, while beige contrasts less with most of the standard dog hair shades.

Try to Keep the Dog in the Back of the Car if Possible Behind a Screen

Ensuring your dog remains in the back of the car to maximize safety while on car trips. It is essential to restrict access to the front cabin since your pet will be safer in a controlled space during an accident. A dog seat-covered hammock is the best way to prevent access to the vehicle’s front as it creates a barrier between the front and rear car sections. There are also other approaches to restrict front cabin access, as explained in this section.

Using a Dog Car Hammock

A dog car hammock is one practical approach most pet owners use to keep their dogs in the back of the car. It includes a large piece of rigid sheet that hangs from your car’s front seat headrests. They effectively prevent your dog from climbing to the front seat while on a trip and keep its fur away from the driver’s compartment. Specialists recommend pairing a hammock with a car seat belt to improve safety while traveling.

Buy a Travel Crate

Travel crates also provide a practical approach to controlling your pet’s movement in the back of the vehicle. The box confines your pet to a small and controlled space that improves safety and limits littering inside the car. Note that these structures are only ideal for small dogs, as more enormous prospects will prove heavier and more significant to be comfortable in the small space. The only disadvantage with crates is that your pet is more susceptible to car sickness, especially on long trips.

Install a Backseat Barrier for your Dog

A dog’s backseat carrier is also effective in keeping your dog in the back of the car and is ideal for those who do not wish to cover the entire backseat space. The barrier comes in two designs, one made of grid metal and the other of fabric mesh. The latter is a temporary installment, while the former is specific to serve you for a significant period. Metal backseat barriers are more expensive since they feature superior scratch resistance and durability than the mesh alternative.