Is Leather or Cloth Car Seats Better For Dogs?

Is Leather or Cloth Car Seats Better For Dogs

Are you buying a new car or thinking of making an upgrade on your interior and wondering which are the best seats ( leather and cloth seats) for your dogs? Some people might think that it doesn’t matter, but the truth is that both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of each type of seat and how they compare with each other.

So, Is Leather or Cloth seats better for dogs? Leather seat is better because it is easy to clean, care for, and maintain than cloth seats. Cloth seats on the other hand are too porous and will get stained easily from dog drools, pee, or poop. With a leather seat, you will be able to clean off all types of stains a lot easier.

Cloth seats are budget-friendly than leather seats and tend to be a lot more comfortable during extreme weather conditions. Also, your dogs will not skid or slip all over a cloth seat as they will on leather seats – which might pose some safety issues for your furry friend.

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Price

Knowing how much you’re willing to spend when choosing between leather seats and cloth seats is a very important factor to consider.

This is because not all seat materials are sourced the same way and they all do not have the same value.

Leather Seat:

I do not mean to sound captain obvious here but leather seats will cost you more than cloth seats. The biggest disadvantage of the leather seat is that it will cost you a lot more money.

This is because the process of obtaining the leather material and its treatment is very time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Leather is sourced from the meat industry and it is treated through a process called tanning before it becomes leather.

Cloth Seat:

The cloth seat is a lot less expensive than the leather seat because it is not as time-consuming and labor-intensive to produce.

If you’re on a budget, a cloth seat is what you might fancy!

2. Ease Of Cleaning And Maintenance

The first factor to consider when choosing between leather and cloth seats for your dogs is how easy it is to clean, care for, and maintain.

This is a very important factor to consider as dogs can be a bit messy especially when they are a bit too excited about the road trip or when they are not feeling great.

Dogs will drool, jump on car seats with mud on their paws, and can track in the dirt with their dirty feet. Dogs also shed which can get into very tight areas of the car seats. And of course the most dreaded, dog poop, puke, and pee.

Leather Seats:

When you go for leather seats, it will be a lot easier to cleaning and get rid of stains and the dirt the dog will track in on your leather seats. Cleaning dog poop, vomit, and pee are also easier. Removing your dog’s shed fur is also super easy with leather seats.

All you do with leather car seats is to wipe them off with a damp cloth and use leather cleaner for the tougher stains. The good part about leather is that you can spot clean to prevent dirt from building up.

There is very little to no hustle as far as leather seats go when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

Cloth Seats:

On the other hand, cloth seats do not stand a chance when it comes to shedding, dirt, and dog hair. Cloth seats require more maintenance because they are easy to stain.

This is because cloth is a lot more porous and anything liquid that gets onto it like your dog’s drool, vomit, or pee.

Even if your dog is trained not to poop or pee as and when it feels like “going” dogs can not help with shedding or their fur coming out.

While some dogs have long furry hair others have short but spiky ones that could prick deep into the cloth seats like tiny needles.

The Verdict:

The Winner Is Leather!! Leather is a lot less likely to get stained or soiled by your dog. Even if it does, leather is easier to clean up and more resilient when compared with cloth seats.

3. Resistance To Scratches

Resistance is very important as you will not only be faced by your furry friend staining your seats but also the type of seats you get will be tested on how much it will resist the stress the dog will put on it.

Leather Seat:

When you go for leather seats, it will be able to hold up to the constant chewing, scratching, and clawing especially if the dog is small. The same thing cannot be said if you have big dogs.

Those heavy dogs can be a problem if you have leather installed on your seats. They will scratch and leave claw marks and dents on the surface of your leather seats. This can still happen even if you spend time cutting down the nails to prevent this.

Truth is, you can’t blame your furry friend when they get excited and jump around, scratch, or claw about in the back seat.

Cloth Seats:

Cloth seats will usually be resistant to scratches, claw marks, and dents. This is because cloth seats do not have a smooth surface as leather does.

How resistant a particular cloth seat is going to be will however depend on the quality of the cloth. For example, seats made from 100% Egyptian cotton will be less scratch-resistant than seats made from 100% polyester.

Canvas seats are also highly resistant to scratch marks and the best part is they are sometimes treated to be a bit resistant to stains and liquids. All in all, cloth seats will generally do much better in terms of resistance to scratches.

The Verdict:

The Winner Is Cloth Seats!

4. Comfortability

When choosing a seat type and you have a precious dog in your life, you would also want to be sure of which seat material will make not only you comfortable but also your furry friend. So this is another factor you might want to consider.

As far as comfortability goes, you would want to consider how breathable, how hot, or cold the material of choice gets, etc.

Leather Seats:

Leather seats are porous but they have a unique quality of reflecting the temperature around them. When the weather gets hot, they tend to get hot as well and release heat.

So if you park a car with leather seats in the sun during the hot summers for long and you or your dog get in leather seats may be uncomfortably hot.

In the same way during the cold winter, your leather seats are also going to be uncomfortably cold for you and your dog(s).

Cloth Seats:

Cloth seats adapt a lot better to different temperatures and weather conditions. When the weather is hot, they still stay cool and in the winter they remain warm.

This is why cloth seats are often recommended for dogs because it will be more comfortable to sit on them no matter what season we’re experiencing.

Related Article: Do Mice Like Leather? The Surprising Answer

6. Safety

Safety is another important thing when considering a choice between leather seats and cloth seats.

Leather Seats:

The leather material used for car seats is often finished to be water and stain-resistant. Because of this, leather seats tend to have very smooth surfaces which are usually slippery.

This can be dangerous for dogs as they might slide off the seat when you make a turn or when they get in and out of a car.

This can also be somewhat dangerous for you as well as you could also have your butt skidding all over your drive seat when you make a turn. What helps is using anti-skid mats or seat covers.

Cloth Seats:

Dogs will hardly slip on cloth seats because of the texture. Cloth seats also have a slight give in them and will spring back to their original shape after being sat on.

The Verdict:

The Winner is Cloth Seats by technical knockout in terms of skid resistance!

7. Health

We sometimes spend a lot of time in our cars in our daily commute either to the beach during the weekend with the family and dog(s), or when going on the road for a weekend getaway.

So you need the interior of your car to be as clean as possible. But unfortunately, some car seat materials may not hold themselves well against dirt and germs.

The reason is usually due to the nature of some of these materials used for car seats and seats in general. While some seats are a lot more able to trap allergens, dust, dirt, etc that your dog or yourself might be reacting to, others will wipe off very easily.

Leather Seats:

Leather seats generally do not trap dirt, dust, or allergens as other seats do. Whatever gets on leather seats including your dog’s fur will wipe off easily.

Leather seats are also an easier material to clean and maintain – wiping it down every once in a while with just soap and water should do the trick.

Cloth Seats:

Many cloth car seat materials have been treated such that they resist stains, dirt, dust, etc from getting on them but this is not as common today in most standard seats.

This is why most cloth seats may trap more dirt, dust, or debris, and this can cause allergic reactions for you and your dog.

The Verdict:

The Winner is Leather Seat as cloth seats tend to trap too many allergens.

Tips On How To Select & Care For Leather Seats When You Have Dog(s)

Here are a few tips and tricks that might help you out for those who will go for leather seats.

  • Always make sure to purchase genuine quality leather seats that are not too thin and have a lot of padding that will be able to handle the pressure from your dog.
  • Purchase seat covers to protect the leather seats from your dog. You can also use throw blankets, or purchase a seat cover made specifically for dogs.
  • Regularly brush your dog’s hair to dry, especially after they have been in water or the rain before allowing him or her to get into your car.
  • If possible, purchase dark-colored leather seats so that if your dog has an accident, it will be easier to clean up. Also, permanent stains on your leather seats will be less obvious.
  • Vacuum clean your leather seats regularly to remove any fur shed on your leather seats.
  • Clean any mess your dog makes on your leather seats immediately and timely.
  • Make sure your pup is well secured in their seat with a harness or whatever the car feature has from securing pets.
  • Better still, you could keep your pup in its travel cage, especially for long journeys.
  • If you are going to place your pup on the seat, make sure to use a designated pet mat for their comfort and hygiene.
  • Avoid letting your dog ride in the front seat of your car, if at all possible for safety reasons.
  • Keep an eye on your pup constantly when he or she is in the backseat and try not to leave too much food inside where he can reach it because this will just lead to problems later down the road.
  • It is a must your train your dogs not to scratch your leather seats.

Tips On How To Select & Care For Cloth Seats When You Have Dog(s)

For those who might go with cloth seats, below are a few tips that can help you choose and also care for and maintain your cloth seats if you have dogs.

  • Always cover your cloth seats with throw blankets, or seats covers before your dog gets on them.
  • Wipe down your cloth seats with a damp towel regularly to clean them.
  • Make sure your dogs are trained on when and how to do numbers 1 and 2. Of course except for instances where the dog is not feeling well.
  • Never feed your dog from food bowls set up in or near the backseat of your car because this can cause problems later on too; especially if it’s wet food and there might be crumbs left behind after eating, leading to other potential health issues for both you and your pup as well.
  • Don’t leave any food or water in the car for your dog.

How To Remove Dog Hair And Stains From Leather Seats

  • Leather seats are very durable and can also be easy to maintain. One of the best ways to remove dog hair from cloth seats is with lint or a sticky roller. I usually do not expect this to work on leather seats because they’re so smooth.
  • You’ll want to use a microfiber cloth instead when wiping down your car’s interior before vacuuming to collect any loose hairs left behind.
  • You can also wear nitrile gloves which can help you to manually collects, brush, or glide the dog fur from your cloth or leather seats.
  • Another tool that works well is the furzoff. It is especially great for removing any embedded hair that has woven its way deep into the car seat. It’s usually used for furniture, but it works really well when removing dog hair from any surface, including leather or cloth seats. Furzoff is also really good for large seat areas.
  • Also, you can use a rubber pet hairbrush to get rid of hair from your car seats. Be sure to use a rubber brush because anything else will damage the fibers of your fabric or leather seat cover
  • You can also remove any food, water, and feces that might get on the backseat with a wet towel or paper towels.

Video Of How To Remove Dog And Other Pet Hair From Cloth Seats


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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