Archive for July, 2013
Last week, we had a review from Lily Grace’s mom on the Ruff Rider Roadie seat belt for dogs. Lily Grace went on a long road trip from Florida to Connecticut. So our pet travel destination that Tuesday was for Hartford, Connecticut. This Tuesday, we’re reviewing southern Florida, where Lily Grace rode from.
There are so many pet friendly accommodations in southern Florida that finding one will take almost no effort at all. Just visit DogFriendly.com to get a list.
Take your dog for a walk along the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. Also in Fort Lauderdale, shop along the Las Olas district and stop for a bite to eat at an outdoor cafe. Some are dog friendly. Or you can shop along the Worth Avenue shopping district in Palm Beach.
And OMD! There are a number of parks and beaches in southern Florida. I’m just going to name a few.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale.
There are lots of dog parks too. Here’s one in Boca Raton:
Check out this other video of dogs having fun at the beach in Fort Lauderdale:
Doesn’t southern Florida look like fun? What would you and your dog do if your pet travel destination was southern Florida?
You will never believe this, but my dog Maya was involved in her first (and hopefully only) auto accident. Thursday, July 25th, we were on our way to the Lawrence Humane Society for their Mutt Mixer event. I was to have a table of pet auto safety supplies set up and Maya was to model the new Kurgo Go-Tech pet car harness.
Before you get worried about us, we are both okay. I was at a full stop waiting for traffic when I was rear ended. It was on wet street going downhill. The impact was pretty jarring. My boxes of dog seat belts, which I was going to display at the event, went flying everywhere. My rear bumper was damaged. But Maya and I were wearing our seat belts and we were not noticeably injured.
I felt a little sore the next day, especially in the neck and shoulders, but Maya has been her usual happy-go-lucky self. Gotta love the resilient attitude of the Labrador! If it had been my Aussie mix Pierson involved in the car collision, he would have freaked out. And he would never want to ride in the car again.
Bad luck that Maya and I were in an auto accident, but good luck that it wasn’t too serious. Car collisions happen all the time with fender bender collisions being the most common. And even though you might be a safe driver, you never know what conditions or situations might arise that cause an auto accident to occur. This is why everyone in our family including my dogs wears a seat belt.
Be proactive, not reactive. And secure your pet in the vehicle now. It doesn’t have to be a seat belt. You can also use a pet trave crate.
We didn’t have many pet travel safety questions this past week. Our dog blog is more of an informational blog and doesn’t inspire a lot of comments. We do have a lot of readers, though. And our readers generally prefer to ask their questions by email or phone.
Which Size Dog Safety Belt Should I Get?
An important question that came up and comes up often is, how do you know what size of dog safety belt to get? This is not always easy since each manufacturer determines its own size standards. Take the recent review on the Kurgo Go-Tech pet seat belt. The medium size should fit most dogs between 25 and 50 pounds, but there are so many different shapes and sizes of dogs within this range that it is impossible for this size to fit them all. Consider a Bulldog, and then consider a Whippet. Both could fit within Kurgo’s medium weight range. But the neck of a Whippet is so small and narrow while the Bulldog’s is thick. I doubt the medium Kurgo Go-Tech would fit the Whippet while it might fit the Bulldog perfectly.
The medium Kurgo Tru-Fit style, on the other hand, might fit both dogs since the neck size is adjustable. The Ruff Rider Roadie also has an adjustable neck size (except smaller sizes). For both the Kurgo and the Ruff Rider Roadie, the most important size measurement is the girth size. The girth size is the measurement around your dog’s chest just behind the front legs. See how to measure your dog’s girth (chest) below.
The Bergan dog safety belt is the most flexible when it comes to sizing. Both the neck and the chest sizes are fully adjustable. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Italian Greyhound or a Mastiff. It is the weight of the dog that is most important. However, the small Bergan may be too big for really tiny dogs like Chihuahuas. And while the extra-large Bergan is the largest of all the extra-large size brands we have, it still may be too small for really big dogs with a chest (girth) size greater than 50 inches around.
Pros and Cons of Each Brand of Seat Belts for Dogs
Gizmo from Terrier Torrent commented about a recent review we posted on the new Kurgo Go-Tech harness. He liked how the review listed both the pros and the cons. We like it to. What works for me and my dogs may not work for you and yours. There are a lot of factors to consider. Check out our post from February 16th, 2013 where we attempt to list the pros and cons of our four most popular brands – Compare Pet Seat Belt Brands. This post does not yet include the Kurgo Go-Tech since this is a brand new style.
Help us out for the next Follow Up Friday by asking more questions about pet travel safety. Don’t just ask about seat belts for dogs. Ask about other products. And ask us some general pet travel questions too. We’d love to help. 🙂 And we will give you the pros as well as the cons.
Thank you, Heart Like a Dog, for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop!
We just received a wonderful review of the Ruff Rider Roadie dog car restraint:
“We just completed a 1300 mile trip from Bradenton, Fl to West Palm Beach, Fl to Hartford, CT with my 11 month old Australian Labradoodle Lily Grace. I loved the Ruff Rider because there is no way she could pop it open and get out of it and I knew she was protected from sudden stops. I ordered a size three and it fits her great because of the pleats underneath the chest. She weighs abut 35 pounds but has a deep chest. As you can see Lily Grace was very comfortable in the seat belt. Lily Grace also has a hammock in the car. Safe dogs make happy pet Mommas.”
We couldn’t agree more! Thank you so much for sharing this great review of your new dog seat belt. And thank you for sharing the adorable photo of Lily Grace. 🙂
Now that you’re in Hartford, what are some things you and your dog can do? We checked out DogFriendly.com and found a couple of things. There are some great scenic walks through Talcott Mountain State Park. Also, there is a very long trail that goes all the way through both Connecticut and Massachusetts. Get on the Metacomet-Monadock trail, part of the New England National Scenic Trail, from 3022 Albany Ave in West Hartford. There are other entrances to this trail as well.
We found a few more things for you and your dog to do on CBS Connecticut – Best Places to Take Your Dog in Hartford. One place mentioned is the Wethersfield Dog Park. Here is a cute video of dogs at the dog park.
Another place mentioned is the Farmington River Trail. There is an entrance from Sperry Park in Avon, CT (about 20 minutes west of Hartford).
And you have to go see Bushnell Park! There is always something going on there. Dogs on leashes are welcome in most areas.
Anyone who’s been to the Hartford, Connecticut area, are there any other dog friendly places you can go? What are some other great pet travel destinations?
We received some feedback recently regarding the new Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure harness. For the most part, the harness is very well made and designed. However, two negative points to consider are the neck seems too large and the loop tether is not easy to use. This is the full review we received:
This website was easy-order: they followed-up same day with a question on my color selection, shipped next day and product arrived a day later. My review of the Kurgo Go-Tech Harness is mixed. Great quality product! I’ve been looking for a seat-belt harness in several of the national brand and local pet-stores and this is by far the best made product I have seen. I tried the Kurgo Tru-Fit on my dog at a shop locally and this new Go-Tech is definitely a big improvement over the former version. The lower neck design is a huge improvement (the Tru-Fit was choking my dog); the harness is easy to get on; has metal buckles; the overall construction is sturdy at every point and looks like it would protect the dog much better than anything else I’ve seen. The harness is visually attractive and is the only car restraint I’ve seen that looks like it could actually be used regularly as a walking harness with a front-hook for a leash (several of the other options say they can convert but the most cursory glance shows the reality is you are going to have to take them off and put on a walking harness for anything other than a quick potty stop). Now the downside. First negative: the harness does not adjust at the neck. If it fits your dog, I can definitely see a safety benefit it the way this is designed as a continuous neck support and I’d say “buy it.” However, it is made for a stocky dog and you need to pay attention to the recommended neck measurements, which unfortunately are not shown on the website. I bought a medium for my Welsh Springer Spaniel and it is huge around her neck and has to be returned – think cowl-neck sweater. The box shows a neck range of 16-25 inches (my dog is 14 inches), chest range 18-28 inches (my dog is 23 inches), and weight range of 25-50 pounds (my dog is 34 pounds). When I clipped the leash on the front-hook the whole thing twisted around upside down and it would need to be at least 3 inches tighter at the neckline for it to be an option for my dog. Harness overall is wonderful and I do hope Kurgo will expand the product line to include some “tweener” sizes (similar to Easy Walk Harness sizing structure) which accommodate dogs with chest sizes smaller than their barrel size. Second negative: I’m not a big fan of the looped seat-belt tether. It is sturdy and the D-Ring end clips onto the harness easily. However, hooking a tether loop around the seat-belt is annoying, awkward, gets twisted when dogs move, and can be destructive to the car. If you are like me and often leave the park with a wet, muddy, poison-ivy dog, having to buckle my seat-belt over the doggie seat cover and let her soak it in grime defeats the purpose of buying a seat-cover in the first place. Also, my dog will chew through the car seat-belt to release herself when it is buckled behind her (expensive repair). The loop makes it difficult to convert the back-seat between human and dog usage quickly in both time and needing to wash down the seat-belt. If Kurgo would simply make both ends with D-hooks the tether could easily be clipped on directly to the seat-belt webbing at the seat-belt latch point and would greatly improve function and leave the seat-belts safely retracted behind a seat-cover. I think many people are going to find themselves spending extra to buy a Bergan or Pet Buckle Kwik-Connect tether to replace the one Kurgo includes.
Very informative, and we appreciate the feedback. Let us address it:
Regarding the neck size, it does seem overly large, especially for dogs on the smaller end of the size range. We are asking Kurgo about this, but they are at the national Super Zoo exhibition this week and so won’t hear back from them until next week. Three things to consider, though, about the neck size: 1) The harness is not supposed to go up around the dog’s neck. It is supposed to lie lower around the front of the chest. But as the reviewer demonstrates above, it can still be too big. This harness is in the right place, but it still has three inches to spare. 2) Kurgo may have designed the neck to be loose on purpose. In a car accident, you don’t want the harness to choke your dog. 3) Dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it is difficult to design a harness for every possibility. When Maya & Pierson tried on the large Go-Tech, I did notice it was a bit loose around Pierson’s lower neck, but it fit Maya perfectly. As soon as I hear back from Kurgo, the company who designed the Go-Tech, I will post their response. There may be another explanation as to why it seems so loose around the neck.
Regarding the loop tether, we have found that the tether works great for some dogs but works terribly for others. Take my Aussie-mix Pierson, for example. He is calm and quiet in the car so the loop tether presents no problems for him. I feel that the loop tether is safer because it is shorter and uses the seat belt system of the car. The Center for Pet Safety has conducted a study on the different kinds of tethers and has confirmed shorter tethers are better. Imagine your dog in a car accident. With a short tether, your dog is confined to his seat. With a longer tether, he still gets tossed around, possibly slammed into door and windows and back of seats. But the short looped tether with my Labrador Maya just doesn’t work. I completely agree with what our reviewer is saying about tangling. The more a dog moves around, the more likely this will occur. And so we have disclosed this on our retail site. Kurgo knows about this issue as well so they have designed a new direct connect dog seat belt tether. This tether gives Maya more freedom to move around and she doesn’t get tangled in it. At this time, all Kurgo dog car harnesses come with the looped tether only. The direct connect tether is sold separately.
If you’re considering the Go-Tech Adventure harness, be sure to look at the measurements and compare. We have since updated our site with the correct neck size information. Ask yourself, “Am I okay if the lower neck part is loose and doesn’t adjust?” Also consider your dog’s temperament. If your dog is like my Maya, then you may want to also consider purchasing the direct connect tether.
We are thankful for this information. It is good to know the pros and cons and feedback helps with future improvements. 🙂
We had someone from AT&T over the other day to see if they could fix our internet. We were told that our dogs had to be confined while they were here. Why? The AT&T guy that came told me one of his coworkers had recently been bitten in the face by a dog that was supposed to be friendly. Maybe the dog was. But dogs will be dogs. Maya will jump up on people if I am not careful. This can be very dangerous if someone is bending over when they pet her.
So no matter how friendly your dog is, be considerate of your guests. I have a tendency to think, “The dogs live here, you don’t.” But what if Maya jumps on someone and hurts them? It would be my fault. I would be responsible. It doesn’t matter whose house it is. So in order to protect the safety of my guests, here is what I do with Maya and Pierson:
Work on Sit / Stay
Maya gets really excited when people come over. So we’ve been working very hard on the sit and stay commands. I don’t just work with her at home with no distractions, I also work with her when people come over and out in public with other distractions.
Work on No Jumping
I’ve taught Maya not to jump on me, but it has been difficult to keep her from jumping on other people. People don’t know that they shouldn’t pet her unless she is sitting calmly, so it is my responsibility to tell them. When we are at home or on walks and someone wants to pet Maya, I make sure they know that if she gets up or starts to get anxious, back away or turn around and ignore her.
Keep on a Lead
This helps even at home. If Maya is on a leash when guests come over, it helps put her in “work” mode. It also enables me to grab the other end and restrain her if she gets too excited.
Make Sure Pets are Confined
Yes, it is my house. But there will be some cases where it is simply best to confine my dogs. The AT&T guy was just one example. Another situation I have to be careful of because of Maya’s exuberance is when small children come over. Maya is great with kids, but she tends to get so excited that she knocks them over.
What do your dogs do when people come over? Are they challenging like Maya or calm and well-mannered like Pierson? (Sephi was well-mannered too.)
Some of our favorite dog bloggers had great questions this week about dog safety seat belts:
The Center for Pet Safety
Gizmo from TerrierTorrent.com showed us another article about the failure of pet car harnesses as conducted by the Center for Pet Safety. This article understandably has a lot of people concerned. However, let me ease your fears. This study was conducted over two years ago. A lot of companies have made improvements since then. And a lot of companies are currently consulting with the Center for Pet Safety so that they can continue to make improvements. This is not unlike the development of seat belts for people. Our post on June 29th, 2013 covers the topic of the Center for Pet Safety’s study a lot more thoroughly.
Tangling from a Canine Car Harness
Donna from DonnaAndTheDogs.com mentioned how her dog Toby would get tangled in his canine car harness. Yep, this is exactly what happens to Maya when she wears the pet car harnesses that use the loop tether. Kurgo uses the loop tether. This tether is considered safer because it is shorter, but not if your dog likes to move around a lot. So while Maya wears the Kurgo harness, I switched out her loop tether for the straight tether from Bergan, which clips directly onto the seat belt housing. She still gets the tether twisted because she just won’t hold still, but she doesn’t get tangled in it.
Donna also mentioned how two of her dogs ride in pet carriers. This is a great way for dogs to travel, especially if the crate is secured.
Which Dog Safety Seat Belts are Easier to Put On?
Flea with DogTreatWeb.com for Jones Natural Chews asked if the new Kurgo Go-Tech harness is easier to put on than the one she received from us before, which is the Bergan. I do think it is a bit easier. But then again, I’ve been putting the Bergan and Kurgo for so long, that I can’t really fairly gauge the difficulty.
With the Bergan, you have to put both your dog’s front legs through, then pull it up to the dog’s chest, and clip it together at the top. With the Kurgo, you put the hole for the head over your dog’s head, then wrap the chest strap around your dog’s chest, and connect the buckle. The steel buckle can be a bit tricky if you’ve never used a nesting buckle before. But really, I think both dog safety seat belts can be difficult to put on for the very first time. But it gets easier the more often you do it.
Safest Pet Auto Safety Device?
We also had an email question from Shara. She asked us which is safer, a canine car harness or a pet travel crate? This is a very difficult question to answer since it really depends on the nature of the accident. Different situations can make one particular pet auto safety device more effective than the other. The Center for Pet Safety will also be conducting studies on the effectiveness of pet carriers in car accidents.
Do you have any questions about pet auto safety devices such as car harnesses or travel crates? Please comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Follow Up Friday is hosted by Heart Like a Dog. Please join the blog hop and find other great dog blogs.
Do you ever wonder why we don’t post every day? Maybe we shouldn’t have put our CEC in charge of the work schedule.
Thanks for stopping by our blog for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop. For more great pet photos from other fantastic dog blogs, check out the links below.
We don’t have much of a chance to do any long distance traveling. So we live vicariously by GoPetFriendly, Roxy the Traveling Dog, and other dog blog travelers. Where have they been lately? Some very beautiful and interesting places. See where these dog bloggers have been, then visit their site for more fantastic photos.
Ty & Buster with GoPetFriendly.com go to Salida, Colorado – The above image is actually of Colorado Springs. Salida, Colorado is two hours west and just as beautiful (as is most of Colorado). Go check out GoPetFriendly.com to see Ty & Buster in some gorgeous scenery in Salida.
Roxy & Torrey with RoxytheTravelingDog.com go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The above image is actually from Yellowstone National Park. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is known as the gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. Go visit Roxy’s blog at RoxytheTravelingDog.com to see Roxy & Torrey in the beautiful area of Jackson Hole.
Rocco with ToDogWithLove.com go to Highlands, North Carolina – The above image is from a waterfall in the area of Highlands, North Carolina. This photo does not do justice to the photos on Rocco’s blog, ToDogWithLove.com. Go check it out!
Have you been on vacation with your dog yet? Where is your favorite pet travel destination? Share and show us some pictures. 🙂
I am so excited about the new and improved Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure harness! We got our shipment from Kurgo last week and they are even better than they look in the pictures. They are well made (like all Kurgo products), padded, and come in these great colors. Just check out how adorable Maya and Pierson look in their new pet seat belts.
The Go-Tech Adventure dog car harness is a brand new product from Kurgo (released just last month). It is essentially the same as Kurgo’s crash tested Tru-Fit pet seat belts, with a few differences. The biggest difference is the larger padded chest piece. The chest piece is also V-shaped, which I like because it doesn’t come up as high on the neck as Kurgo’s other style.
Another difference is that the back of the harness has extra reinforcement and is designed to protect your dog’s vertebrae. And yet another big difference is the cool colors the Go-Tech dog seat belts come in – Cool Blue and Dark Raspberry. (The Tru-Fit comes in different colors, but only the black and red have steel buckles.)
Like the Kurgo Tru-Fit, the Go-Tech has steel nesting buckles and includes a loop tether so that your dog can be secured in the car. I found it super easy to put on. It was also easy to adjust. And my dogs look super comfortable in them.
In celebration of this new product, the Go-Tech Adventure dog car harness is available with free shipping at PetAutoSafety.com. You can also use discount code, petsafeblogger, to get an additional 10% off! For the extra-small size, that is $7 in total savings (10% or $2 plus $5 shipping). For the extra-large size, that is $9 in total savings. The discount code applies to all products from our site, except the BreezeGuard Window screens.
Thanks for stopping by for this week’s edition of Pet Safety Saturday. Come back and see us again next week! 🙂