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Highlight on Crash Tested Pet Travel Products
Do you like taking your dog with you when you travel? I know our family vacations tend to be planned around our dogs. We generally travel by car to places within driving distance. If our destination is hours away, we stay over at pet friendly hotels to break up the trip. And just like for ourselves, we don’t count on luck to protect the safety of our dogs. We use crash tested pet travel products. There are only a few such products out in the market today. Let us give you a highlight of a few.
The Variocage is a pet travel cage that is fitted into the cargo area of an SUV. It is a German engineered product of steel construction and it has been extensively tested to meet or exceed European crash test standards. Unlike similar cages for the SUV, the Variocage has been crash tested for multiple auto accident scenarios. (Many other crash tested cages currently on the market have only been tested with basic techniques.) The Variocage has metal joints rather than plastic. The powder-coated steel doesn’t splinter into dangerous projectiles. The cage has crumple zones to absorb impacts and keep the cage from being crushed into the back of the front passengers. Two cons to consider: 1) Price (which is a reflection of its crashworthiness), and 2) Assembly required.
The Sleepypod pet car seat is for smaller dogs. The seat is secured using the seat belt of the car, which is more than strong enough to secure a small pet. The Sleepypod is made of soft but highly durable material that absorbs your pet’s inertia in a crash without breaking. The absorption of the material means your small dog won’t hurt himself the way he would if he hit the wall of a plastic carrier. The Sleepypod Air is similar to the regular Sleepypod in all respects except it is rectangular rather than circular. Two cons to consider: 1) For cats or very small dogs only, and 2) Tends to run out of stock frequently.
The ClickIt Utility and ClickIt Sport dog car harnesses are fairly new pet travel products (from Sleepypod). According to the Center for Pet Safety, they provide ultimate crash test safety by keeping your dog in his seat during a crash. Side-to-side motion is restricted and your dog will not launch off the seat. Two cons to consider: 1) It can be difficult to put on your dog, especially the ClickIt Utility, and 2) It is highly restrictive and probably not ideally comfortable for long road trips. In fact, your dog can only sit or lay down in this harness. He cannot stand.
The AllSafe dog car harness is German engineered and has been used in Europe for over 10 years. According to the Center for Pet Safety, which is a fairly new US testing center, it does not prevent your dog from launching off the seat. But European standards have been in place much longer and have concluded that this not an issue. Also, the AllSafe is not as restrictive as the previously mentioned brand. Your dog can sit, stand, or lay down. Two cons to consider: 1) Price as compared to other crash tested harnesses, and 2) Movement is still restricted, which may not be ideal for hyper dogs. A longer tether can be purchased for the AllSafe, but keep in mind that less restriction reduces the safety.
Ruff Rider Roadie
The Ruff Rider Roadie is a US dog car harness brand (made in the USA) and has been around for several years. It has been crash tested in both the US and in Germany. The tether on this harness can be shortened or lengthened for your dog’s needs. The Ruff Rider is designed to fit almost every size of dog. A con to consider: If the harness is adjusted too small, it can be difficult to put on. Since it is designed to be a little loose, some dogs may be able to back out of it.
Bergan & Kurgo
The Bergan and Kurgo brand dog seat belts have also been crash tested. Although they did not perform as well in safety as the three previously mentioned brands, they do provide some measure of safety and they are reasonably priced. Both have padded chest pads, which help to dissipate pressure. The tether for the Bergan is adjustable. A con to consider for the Kurgo is if dogs move around too much in this harness, they can get tangled in the tethering mechanism.
If you are considering traveling with your dog this spring, don’t count on luck to keep him safe. Consider a crash tested product that will keep your best friend safe in the car for years to come.
Where are you and your dog going to go this spring?
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
Comments from Follow Up Friday #10
Sue at Talking-Dogs.com says, “No dog heads out our windows. Ever. Way too dangerous.” Not many people realize there is a danger. It reminds me of the danger of dogs playing with sticks. The activity is just so fun. It’s hard to believe there is a risk to it.
I suppose there is a risk to everything fun. Heck, just going outside can be dangerous. Think of poisonous snakes or, in Hawk‘s case, gators. We can’t eliminate all risks or life will be no fun at all. But we can avoid or minimize some dangers.
Donna’s mom from WeLiveInAFlat and Sue both enjoyed the Pooch Plunge event that Maya got to go to. I posted a photo on the last Follow Up Friday and directed you to go check out my other blog on Saturday for a video. For in case you missed it, here is that video:
Mr. N with TenaciousLittleTerrier asked about the SleepyPod ClickIt dog seat belt. He wanted to know what sizes the ClickIt will come in. The sizes are large, medium, small, and extra small. The extra small, which is what I’m sure Mr. N will need, can fit a dog with both a neck and chest size measuring a total of 31-36 inches. To measure, use a tape measure to start at the top of your dog’s back between the shoulder blades, wrap the tape measure around your dog’s chest, and then bring the tape measure around your dog’s neck, like a figure-8. This is a bit different than measurements indicated for other dog seat belt harnesses.
BTW, Mr. N your email subscription button isn’t working. I’d love to visit your blog regularly but the only way I will remember to do so is if I can get email alerts. If you get the email subscription button fixed, can you let me know by sending me an email at naturebydawn at gmail dot com?
Mollie and Alfie from MolliesDogTreats.co.uk were really glad Jet was found and reminded everyone to buckle up – “remember CLUNK CLICK every trip.”
Comments from The Center for Pet Safety Update
Carol with FidoseOfReality got to meet with The Center for Pet Safety at Blog Paws. How awesome is that! I’ve talked to them, but have not had the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face.
Lindsay with ThatMutt can’t wait for their new report to come out. I can’t either.
Another comment is from JJ. I’m pretty sure this was a spam comment since the website link was to a blog that looked more like advertising than content (link deleted). But it was a legitimate question. He asks, ” What about cats?”
Well, JJ. It is no secret that most cats hate riding in the car. It reminds me of a funny photo caption where two dogs in the back seat are excited about the car ride, but the cat has a look of terror on his face and says, “We are all going to die”. It is also highly unlikely that a cat will wear a dog car harness. So what do you do with your cat if you need to drive him to the vet? How can you protect his safety and not endanger yourself by allowing your cat to roam free in the car?
Ask Glogirly! She has two cats, Katie and Waffles. If you’ve never been to her blog, you should go check it out. It is hilariously fun. The recent video of Waffles chasing the red dot had me laughing so hard that I was crying.
Anyway, Glogirly also has her cats ride in a pet carrier when they are in the car. And not just any carrier, the Sleepypod Air pet carrier. This is a really nice product and it comes in a variety of cool colors. It is perfect for cats and small dogs because it is just the right size for them and it is comfortable. The best part about it, though, is that it can be buckled up in the car and it is crash tested. Although Glogirly did not get her Sleepypod from us, we do have the Sleepypod Air pet carrier available on our retail site (click the red link above). Sleepypod saw Glogirly’s post and is offering to give one away through Glogirly’s site. Visit her website to enter and win one. Hurry! The contest ends on September 16th.
Comments from the Paw Prints Pet Seat Covers
There were no comments on the post about the paw print pet seat covers because this was more of a promotional post. I’ve been selling (and using) these covers for some time. Now there is something new and exciting about them – they have a lifetime guarantee! They didn’t always have one. Their warranty used to be for only 30 days. This was really irritating if one happened to break. And one did after 45 days. I replaced it for the customer at no charge, but I had to go back and forth with the manufacturer on my end. I almost stopped selling them at that point. However, I realized that one broken seat cover was just a fluke. It happens on occasion with any product. So I still sell the paw print pet seat covers. And I’m even more enthusiastic about selling it now that it has a lifetime guarantee.
Thanks everyone for stopping by. Have a great weekend!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Last Saturday, I talked about the reasons why a dog should be restrained in the car. The post mostly focused on the benefits of a pet car harness. But let’s face it, not every dog will wear one. Plus, there are a few legitimate concerns about dog seat belts. So here are some other pet travel products to consider:
Have your pet ride in a pet carrier. Make sure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that if the car goes out of control, the dog crate stays in place. You don’t want it and your dog to be thrown about. Whether a secured travel crate is as safe as a pet car harness is not known. Not much testing has been done on pet travel carriers. However, I imagine that a secured crate is probably just as safe (strictly an opinion). Traveling in this way covers all the reasons discussed last week about why it is better to have your dog secured in the car.
Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier can help keep your dog in the back seat and from being a distraction. Depending on the barrier, it may keep your dog from being ejected out the front windshield. However, it can’t keep your dog on the seat and it can’t keep him inside the vehicle if someone opens the door, a window breaks and he jumps out, or he hangs his head out the window and jumps or is thrown out.
I can’t tell you how much I really love the Kurgo Backseat Bridge. I have two big dogs and there is no way Maya can stay comfortably on the back seat, even with her pet car harness on. The seat is too narrow and Maya is too big. And she is too energetic to sit still. So covering the floor of the car helps keep her from being thrown onto the floor. If you’ve read some of the news about how dogs should stay on the seat when wearing their dog seat belts, you can see how difficult it would be to restrain a dog to such an extent that he wouldn’t get thrown forward or onto the floor. The Backseat Bridge can help because it covers the floor. The Backseat Bridge also has a barrier that covers the center console area. If your dog is not buckled in, at least the bridge can keep him from getting thrown onto the floor and possibly keep him in the back seat so that he is not a distraction. A dog car hammock has the same benefits as the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.
This is a brand new product. There hasn’t been much testing on it yet. But it sure looks promising. The K9 CarFence keeps your dog from being a distraction and it helps to keep him in his seat.
Breeze Guard Car Window Screens
This is another product I really love. I used to let my dogs put their heads out the window. After all, they really love it. But one time, Sephi yelped. I think she got hit in the face with something, probably a small pebble. Thankfully, it didn’t hit her in the eye or nose. She wasn’t injured. But it made me think that perhaps letting her have her head out the window wasn’t such a good idea. Also, a friend of mine on Facebook told me about how a friend of hers had her dog thrown out the car window. He was hanging out having a good time when they suddenly had to swerve their car. Their poor dog flew out and ended up getting run over by the rear tire. And, one final story, I had a dog years ago that actually jumped out the car window. Luckily, we were driving slowly down an old dirt road when Huckleberry saw some cows and jumped out to get at them. He was okay. It shocked us both. But all these incidents will never happen again because of my Breeze Guard car window screens. BTW, despite having screens on my windows to allow the breeze in, I never ever leave my dogs unattended in the car.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet but aren’t sure about the safety of pet travel products, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. A pet car harness and pet carrier have a lot more safety benefits, but every dog and every situation is different. Consider your various options and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Is it safe for your dog to travel in a plastic pet carrier? There is no formal testing. But think about this, if you are in a car accident would you rather your dog get tossed around the entire car and possibly escape the wreck and get lost or hit? Or would you rather he get tossed around in a smaller enclosure, such as his pet crate?
If the pet carrier is strapped in, there is likely to be less tossing about. And he is prevented from flying forward and injuring the people passengers or from flying through the windshield. Kennel restraints made from the same webbing as the seat belts of cars is a very good way to secure your dog’s carrier in the car. Riding in a dog crate secured with kennel restraints also helps to prevent your dog from being a distraction to the driver.
For the longest time, we only had wire pet cages available. But now we’ve finally found a supplier for plastic pet carriers. Keeping your dog in a plastic pet crate while he is traveling in the car is safer than using no car restraint at all. Plus it has the added benefit of providing your dog with a comfortable place to rest.
Many dogs like the secure feeling of a ‘den’. If your dog is already crate trained but doesn’t like the car, he may have less anxiety if he rides in his crate while in the car. Plus you can put his dog bed in the carrier along with his favorite toys.
If your dog is in a plastic pet crate, he won’t get tossed around as much in the car as he would if he were not in a carrier. For additional safety, plastic pet carriers can be strapped in with the kennel restraints from Pet Buckle.
We currently have two plastic carrier styles – the Sportsman’s Choice which is brown over hunter green and the Protective portable dog kennel which is khaki over maroon for the smaller sizes and solid khaki for the larger sizes. We will also be getting in Precision brand pet crates sometime over the next week or two, and possibly another more colorful brand.
Check out our pet carriers page by clicking HERE or the image above.
Visit ASPCA.org for some great pet car travel tips. They advise several safety features for your dog including securing them in a well-ventilated pet carrier, not letting your dog stick his head out the window, and not leaving your dog unattended in the car. These are lots of great tips for pet car travel, many of which we have also stressed. Two differences:
1) The pet carrier should be secured in the car. Kennel straps from Pet Buckle are a great way to do this. The kennel straps from Pet Buckle have been crash tested.
2) If your dog doesn’t like to ride in a pet carrier, have him wear a dog car harness or ride in a pet car seat. A dog car harness or pet car seat can provide as much safety for your dog as a pet carrier that has been secured in the car.
Visit the ASPCA.org for great pet car travel tips and other great advise on pet care. Feel free to make a donation to help this non-profit organization fight animal cruelty.
When it is time to take a family vacation, don’t forget your pets. If you’re travelling too far, leave your pets with a friend, a good boarding kennel, or hire a pet sitter. But if your destination is a drive away, take your dog with you when you travel. Here are some great reasons why:
Pet Friendly Hotels
Numerous pet friendly hotels make it easy. Hotels all over the United States are opening their rooms to people traveling with their pets. Some charge a nominal fee, some no fee at all. And many have no restrictions on size or breed.
There is no need to worry about whether your dog is being taken care of by your friend, the boarding kennel, or pet sitter. If your dog travels with you, there will be no need to call anyone to see how your dog is doing. You can enjoy your vacation together.
No Separation Anxiety or Depression
Your pet being left along for long hours waiting for your friend or pet sitter to come by can be a very depressing situation for your dog. Some dogs get severe separation anxiety and tear things up. Boarding kennels can be very stressful to your dog with all the barking going on and the strange smells and strange people. If your dog travels with you, you will not need to worry about your dog having separation anxiety issues or going into depression.
At least one of your traveling companions will not complain and be willing to do anything and go anywhere you want to go. If you want to relax by the beach, your buddy is there. If you want to go hiking or swimming, your dog will most likely want to go too. If you ever get bored on your vacation, just take a look at your dog. He is enjoying all the simple pleasures whether it is just taking a nap, enjoying the special time with family, or sniffing the fresh air and seeing the new sights.
Traveling with your dog can sometimes be a chore. Some dogs don’t do well in the car. But there are plenty of remedies to help. Be sure he is secure in a dog car seatbelt or other dog car safety product. If your dog tends to get car sick, be sure he has a good view out the window. Small dogs can see out and be secure in a pet car seat. And the more you take your dog with you when you travel, the more he will get used to it and look forward to more vacations!
The Hatchbag Pet Net is installed in your vehicle with a dual lock hardware kit. The kit includes six each of 1″ mounting squares, dual lock circles attached to a black cord, and spring loaded barrel locks (pictured below).
The mounting squares have adhesive on one side and a very strong velcro-like material on the other (pictured below). Be assured that this is no ordinary velcro. It is very strong and cannot be pulled apart once attached to the dual lock circle. Please note the special cleaning instructions. The silicone or oil cleaners used on vinyl will prevent the adhesives from sticking. Sot the vinyl must be cleaned with lacquer thinner. The adhesives must be put in place and pressed for about 20 seconds, then left to cure for about 24 hours.
Once the mounting squares are in place, take the dual lock circle and firmly press it onto the velco-like material on the square (pictured below). Pull the cord to make sure the two pieces are strongly attached. These two pieces will always remain in your car until you permanently remove the adhesives with adhesive remover.
Now you are ready to attach the Hatchbag Pet Net. The Hatchbag Pet Net has six eyelets. There is one at each corner and two one either side in the middle. Take the cords from the dual lock circles and thread it through the eyelet twice. Then take the barrel lock and press it down so that it reveals another hole (pictured below).
Lastly, pull the cord of the dual lock circles through the hole of the barrel lock until the barrel lock is snug against the Hatchbag Pet Net. Release the barrel lock and the cord will stay in place (pictured below).
To remove the Hatchbag Pet Net, simply release the barrel locks. Leave the dual lock circles with the dangling cord in place.
Please note, the Hatchbag Pet Net is designed to keep your dog from being thrown into the front seat in the event of a car accident. The Hatchbag Pet Net will also deter most dogs from trying to jump or climb into the front seat. However, a determined dog may be able to circumvent the Hatchbag Pet Net at the sides.
You want to keep your dog safe when they travel in the car, but you’re not sure which pet travel products are best. There are several things to consider when looking for the right pet auto safety device for you and your dog, and we can help. Review the list below along with a short description. Feel free to review our blog further for more detailed information on the various pet travel products.
*Prefers Confinement – A pet travel crate is a good pet auto safety method, but a pet travel crate which is strapped in is even safer.
*Hates Confinement – You can use a dog seat belt which has a long tether or keep your dog in the back with a pet auto barrier.
*Likes to Look Out the Window – For small dogs, this may be difficult. Your small dog can be strapped into a pet booster seat. For bigger dogs, use a dog seat belt rather than a pet travel crate.
*Likes to Relax – For a dog who likes to relax, use a dog seat belt with a short tether which is safer than one with a long tether – or have them ride in a pet travel crate. You can also consider a pet booster seat for a smaller dog.
Level of safety: The safest pet auto safety methods are the dog seat belt or pet travel crates which are strapped in with a kennel restraint system. Pet auto barriers are not as safe, although they do provide some level of protection in that they keep the dog from distracting the driver and they prevent the dog from getting thrown forward into the front in the event of a car accident.
What Kind of Vehicle and How Much Room: Metal pet auto barriers are too big for a car. However, there are canvas barriers and pet nets which are perfect for cars. If you have a big dog, using a crate may not work, or if you have a big crate in the back of an SUV, you may have difficulty in strapping the crate in. A dog seat belt will work in any vehicle with car seat belts.
Ease of Use: Pet auto barriers may require installation. A pet booster seat or pet travel crate may have some set up, but not as much as a pet auto barrier. A dog seat belt has the lowest level of installation. It may be difficult when you first put it on but once you get a hang of it, it is super easy.
Crate With Straps vs. Dog Seat Belt: A study has not been done to see which method is safer. However, a dog seat belt is safer than a crate which is not strapped in and a crate is safer than a dog seat belt which has a very long tether. The shorter the tether on a dog seat belt, the safer it is for the dog.