Archive for February, 2014
Welcome to the Barks and Bytes blog hop where anything goes. I could talk about anything, but you know where you are so you have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to talk about, right? 😉 Barks and Bytes is hosted by two of our favorite dog bloggers, 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.
PREVIOUS BARKS AND BYTES
Hawk with BrownDog CBR said, “Hi Y’all! My Human is talking about getting me a longer strap for my car harness. I like the one that goes on the people seat belt ’cause it has some give. On trips I do sit, lay and like to turn around. I’m beyond eating through the restraint. However, I’ve become adept, with either type, unclickin’ the seat belt or strap from the seat! BOL!!! We get where we’re going and when my Human goes to take me out she discovers I’ve freed myself!“
Hawk, I have the perfect dog seat belt tether for you. It is the one from Bergan. It doesn’t click into the seat belt exactly, but it does connect to it. It would be highly unlikely that you’d be able to unclick out of it. I also indicated the Angel Guard in a reply. The Angel Guard is designed to keep young children from unbuckling themselves. But it can work for certain dog seat belts too. I would need to see your seat belt tether in order to make sure it will work, though.
Donna with Donna and the Dogs said, “I think it’s great that you share the pros and cons of each product you sell…it certainly makes for easier purchasing!”
Thanks, Donna! I’ve found that telling people everything up front keeps the number of returns down. All the articles out there talking about how the ClickIt Utility is the safest dog car harness out there make people think it is the best. It is a fantastic product, but they get returned a lot because people don’t realize how much some dogs really hate to wear them. Or they get returned because they are so darned difficult to adjust. Telling people these things up front allows them to make informed decisions.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog said, “I see your point about Kurgo, but how does one find out what types of manufacturers a company has hired? For instance, I don’t want to support someone who is funding a sweat shop somewhere that only pays pennies per hour.”
This is an excellent point, Jodi. Keep in mind the quality of the product you are buying. A well-made product like Kurgo requires skilled labor. Unskilled labor is not going to be able to make quality items. Since skilled labor is harder to come by, a manufacturer needs to entice them with higher wages. Another point is that a company with a well-known brand is not going to risk tarnishing their good name by hiring a manufacturer who runs their company like a sweat shop.
GETTING OUT OF A DOG CAR HARNESS
Jodi also said, “Great advice Dawn, I was thinking along the same lines, you can’t just grab a harness and snap your dog into a car and have everything be perfect. Delilah wears a harness sometimes when we walk or train, SO I think she would be more comfortable in the car than Sampson would. Plus she typically just lies down on long car rides. I think it will take some time for Sampson to get used to it, but I don’t think it’s impossible.”
I really think that if Maya hadn’t been wearing a dog car harness since she was a pup, it would be nearly impossible to get her to wear one now. Even though she has been wearing one forever, she is still very unsettled when she wears one. When she was wearing her Kurgo Go-Tech, for example, I had to switch out their loop tether for the Bergan tether because she wouldn’t hold still and would get herself tangled. Thankfully, early and continuous training has made her not-quite-so-impossible.
Lindsay with That Mutt said, “Such helpful advice! The first thing most of us would think of would be to tighten the harness, but you’ve shown us why that’s probably not the best idea.”
A common complaint we get with dog car harnesses is that some dogs can get out of them. So they ask us, “Is there one that is escape proof?” And I say, “I wish!” If I were to claim one to be escape proof, there is most likely someone out there who has a Houdini-dog and will prove me wrong.
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets said, “I never would have thought about this issue with dog seat harnesses before… I’m sure it happens all the time though. I’ve seen plenty of dogs escape from their collar in the past.”
Happens all the time, I’m afraid. We want to keep our dogs safe, but sometimes they don’t make it easy for us. 😉
CONTEST TO WIN A DOG SEAT BELT
There is just one more day to enter a contest to win a dog car harness from us. You can win any of the dog seat belt brands we sell, and we sell the best.
QUICK PET SAFETY TIP
If you have big dogs that like to ride in the car, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Backseat Bridge from Kurgo. What I love about it the most is that it gives my two big dogs more room in the back. My back seats are so narrow that Maya especially would be very uncomfortable trying to sit in her dog seat belt without sliding off. Plus, the Backseat Bridge has three safety features to consider: 1) It has a divider to separate the front from the back seat; 2) It covers the floor so that if your dog is not buckled up and you have to stop suddenly, your dog won’t get thrown onto the floor; and 3) If your dog is buckled up but has to use a longer tether because they like to move around a lot, the Backseat Bridge keeps them from getting launched off the seat. Being launched off the seat is what kept some dog car harnesses from getting the top safety rating. Incidentally, the Kurgo dog car hammock has these same features. It has an additional benefit, though, in that it also covers the seat like a seat cover.
That’s all the barking and byting I have to do for now. Leave your barks and bytes below?
If you’ve been watching us on Facebook, then perhaps you are aware that we are giving away a dog seat belt in the month of February. The contest is being held on PetsPage.com and it ends February 28th, so there is still time. You can win any brand of dog seat belt we carry including the Kurgo Tru-Fit or Go-Tech, the Bergan, a Ruff Rider Roadie, or even the ClickIt Utility. But the best part is, there are a lot of other businesses giving away prizes as well. You can win a dog collar, pet clothing, toys, beds, books, treats, and even free dog training lessons!
So please go visit PetsPage.com now and enter to win!
You want your best friend to ride safe in the car, but you’re worried he will try to get out of his dog car harness. Or you already bought one for him, and he DID get out of it. What is the point of your dog wearing one if he WON’T wear it? Fortunately, there are two things that can help.
Don’t Make it Tighter
Making the dog seat belt harness tighter may not be the answer for two reasons.
1. For some dogs, a tighter dog car harness might mean your pal tries harder to escape from it. And such a determined dog will either be able to get out of it, or hurt himself trying. Some harnesses are harder to get out of than others. The ClickIt Utility dog seat belt, for example, is more difficult to escape from. But before you try it, consider your pet’s personality. Is he going to struggle just a little and then give up? Or will he struggle and keep struggling until he either hurts himself, manages to escape, or chews through the straps in order to try to get out?
2) Second, consider how the safety belt in your car holds you in. It does lock into place in a car accident, but it isn’t tight to begin with. According to How Stuff Works the safety belt catches your inertia, spreads the force across your body so that it is not concentrated in one place, and it stretches a little so that “the stop isn’t quite so abrupt.”
If your pet’s harness is too tight, there is no opportunity for the straps to absorb the inertia. The straps are already tight on him, so a sudden stop will only cut into him more. If the straps are a little loose (but not too loose) then there is that split-second moment where your dog’s body slides into the harness, giving it the opportunity to stretch and absorb the pressure.
You want the harness to be snug, but you don’t want it so loose that your little pal flies out of it when you stop. But nor do you want it so tight that there is no give. So instead of tightening it, what can you do when he keeps getting out of his dog car harness?
1) Although a shorter tether on the dog seat belt is safer, you have to consider your pet’s personality. It is not going to do any good to have a more restrictive harness if your dog is just going to get out of it, right? So use a tether that is a little longer. Give your dog a little more room to move around. Have him wear a dog car harness that allows him to sit, lay down, or even stand so that he is more comfortable. A comfortable dog is not as likely to try to escape the safety device.
2) Train your dog to wear the dog seat belt. This can take some time, but it can save your little pal’s life too. Have him wear it around the house and reward him whenever he ignores it. Play with him while he’s wearing it. Take him for a walk in it. Do fun activities together while he is wearing his harness and he will learn to be comfortable in it. And a comfortable dog is not as likely to try to get out of his dog car harness.
So if you’re frustrated because your dog keeps getting out of the device intended to protect him, a new ‘escape-proof’ dog car harness may not be the right answer. No harness is completely escape-proof. A new one with a longer tether may be a good temporary solution. But training him to wear a harness is the best and longest lasting way.
What’s a bark and what’s a byte? In regards to this blog hop, I’m not entirely sure. So I’m going to say the barks are from the comments shared. Don’t worry, they’re happy barks! 🙂 And the bytes are my little tidbits. The Barks and Bytes blog hop is hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs. (You know, if you put all the dogs from these two blogs together, there are actually five! Sampson, though, is probably more tan, but tan is a shade of brown, right?)
LAST MONTH BARKS AND BYTES
Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews said, “Pawsome! One thought on the towel over the carrier – really know your dog. Our first dog would have pulled in a towel and chewed it to bits. But it’s great for anxious dogs!”
So true! Know your dog for any product. If you’re going to buy the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt because you’ve heard it’s the safest, it is important that you know it is safest because it is the most restrictive. If your dog doesn’t like the restriction, he might chew through the straps or hurt himself trying to escape from it. So another brand might be best.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog asked if we’ve ever done a comparison of all the dog car harnesses. We’ve done one for the brands we sell. These brands include many of the top products, but not all the top products. It would be unfair for me to tell you about the AllSafe, for example, since I’ve never had the opportunity to use it. We’ve also done a post about the pros and the cons of our dog seat belt brands.
THE BEST IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST FOR YOU
Lindsay with That Mutt says, “Ace is very calm in the car and likes to sit and lie down. He doesn’t move around much. However, he does stand up sometimes, like when he watches me get out of the car. Do you think the ClickIt Utility would be OK for him? Or do you think I should consider something else since he occasionally stands? I’m thinking he could learn to not stand. He’s not a chewer.”
If he only occasionally stands, I’d say the ClickIt Utility would be great for Ace. Look at the measurements, though. I’m not sure if Ace is too big and the ClickIts do not currently come in extra-large.
Pamela with Something Wagging made a wonderful comment, “It is a balancing act between safety and comfort. In the end, everything is a compromise. Because if we wanted to be absolutely safe, we wouldn’t drive at all. :)”
So so true! You definitely seem to have the right of it, Pamela. 🙂
MY PERSONAL FAVORITES
Pamela also said, “I’m also a big Kurgo fan. Although I wish their products were made in the U.S. I just got Honey’s new life jacket from Kurgo and I wish it was summer already so we could try it out.”
I just got some Kurgo life jackets too! One is going to go to Maya. But I plan on selling them too. It is just a matter of building that outdoor dog gear website I talked about as one of my projects to do this year. At least I have the part about finding the right products done.
I do believe it is important to support your local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. As such, the Ruff Rider Roadie dog car harnesses are made right here in the USA. And they are great products as well. Earth Heart, the company that makes the Travel Calm, also has their products made here in the USA. And I believe that most of Snoozer’s products are also made here in the USA.
Although… I did take an economics course recently that really helped me see things at a different angle. Yes, Kurgo may have their products made overseas but Kurgo is an American company. Kurgo pays their American employees a decent wage… a wage they can afford to give them because they save money by having products made overseas. And a savings they pass on to you by making their products more affordable.
If you’re concerned about the quality of products made overseas, don’t be. Products manufactured overseas no longer have to be compromised in quality. Kurgo products are top-of-the-line and they have a great manufacturer who is just as dedicated to quality.
Another economic trade off, besides saving money on products, is that other countries are hiring American companies for our marketing, managing, and product development skills. Instead of working on an assembly line to make products, we can spend our time inventing products. We can strive for higher paying jobs in the corporate world as managers, sales reps, marketing specialists, and in advertising. Plus, our entertainment industry is HUGE. We are artistic and creative and other countries will pay us money for what we have.
Wow, that was an awful big byte, wasn’t it? Please forgive me if I sound like I’m taking sides one way or the other. I’m not. Realistically, I’d only have a handful of products on my site if I chose to only sell ones made in America. And While I might prefer to buy American made too (especially pet food and treats), I can’t forget it was probably American ingenuity that invented many of these pet travel products to begin with and American companies that built their brands up on American soil.
That’s all for now. If I didn’t scare you off with my economics education course, please come back and visit again! 🙂
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
Yesterday, I talked about my favorite pet travel products from Kurgo. Today I am going to share with you other brands of safety products that I love and use.
BERGAN CAR HARNESS
The Bergan brand dog harness did a little better in safety than the Kurgo. I’ve found the Bergan to be easier to adjust the size and the padding to be very comfortable. I think it is as easy to put on as the Kurgo, although it is put on just a little bit differently. And I absolutely love its tether. It is not a loop tether, so my dogs don’t get tangled in it. And it is adjustable so that I can make it short or long. Pierson still wears the Bergan safety harness.
Two drawbacks that people have reported are 1) the chest piece is sometimes a little too long, and 2) it doesn’t have a size to fit teacup sized dogs.
CLICKIT UTILITY SAFETY HARNESS
This is the newest canine safety harness, and it has also been deemed the safest by the Center for Pet Safety. This has been the only seat belt that has been successful at keeping Maya in her seat. It is extremely well-made and I love the padded protection. The only problem I have with it, though, is that I can’t use it in my 1998 car because that car doesn’t have the anchors located between the seat cushions. The ClickIt Utility requires that these anchors be used in order for it to be safe.
Even though the ClickIt Utility is the safest brand, there are several drawbacks. Its safety lies in its restriction. But because of its restriction, dogs can’t move around much when they wear it. If they try, they could get tangled and they could hurt themselves. Another thing people have found is that it is very difficult to adjust the size. And because it requires to be attached at three points, it can be cumbersome to secure your dog in the car.
If you want ultimate safety, this is the product to use. If you want something your dog can move around a bit in or if you want something quick and easy to use, then the ClickIt Utility may not be right for you.
BREEZEGUARD WINDOW SCREENS
I LOVE LOVE LOVE these car window screens. They are very well made, easy to take in an out, and will even allow you to roll your window up and down when they are in place. Even though Maya and Pierson are harnessed in, they can still put their heads out the window. I’ve never felt this to be safe. When I used to allow my dog Sephi to do it, sometimes she’d yelp because something from the road hit her in the face. It could have been something as small as a pebble, but still it hurt. I also worried about her choking herself if I had to make a sudden swerve. The BreezeGuard window screens allow my dogs to sniff the fresh breeze without endangering themselves.
One drawback about these window screens is that they are custom made and will only fit the vehicle year, make, and model they were designed for. They are pricy so if you change vehicles often, this may not be something you want to invest in.
GUARDIAN GEAR CAR SEAT COVERS
I’ve used several different styles of the Guardian Gear car seat covers over the years. I really like the materials and all the fashionable colors and designs they come in. The first one I used was the soft brown paw prints dog car seat cover. Then I used the blue plaid cover. It was also soft and plush. And I currently use the houndstooth designed brown one. Why do I keep switching out? Dog hair sticks to them. I could clean them, but I am lazy. With all the new colors and designs Guardian Gear keeps coming up with, I like being able to switch out.One drawback is that sometimes they don’t fit the seat of the car. Every vehicle has different sizes and shapes of seats so sometimes the cover is too big or too small. And some people have stated the seat belt holes don’t line up with the corner crease and safety belt buckles.
These are my favorite products. If you have smaller dogs, there may be other products that will be better for you. The Kurgo pet car seats, for example. Or the crash tested Sleepypod pet travel carriers. Some people prefer their dogs travel in a pet carrier instead of wearing a dog seat belt. Pet Auto Safety has a lot to choose from so that everyone has the opportunity to find their favorite travel products.
My name is Dawn Ross and I am the owner of Pet Auto Safety. I started this website in 2006 because I have dogs, I love my dogs, and I want to do what is best to keep them safe. One thing I really enjoy about all the pet travel safety products we sell is that I get to try them with my own dogs. Maya and Pierson are my guinea pigs, so to speak. Because of them, I learn more about the items we sell; the ins and outs and the pros and the cons. And over the years, I have found the ones I like the best.
KURGO BRAND PRODUCTS
Kurgo has a variety of car travel products designed just for dogs. One thing I absolutely love about Kurgo is their quality. All their merchandise is very well made and they have a lifetime warranty against defects. They also have a great repair and replacement policy. If your dog damages the Kurgo cargo cover, for example, or if it simply wears down from use, you can have it repaired or replaced by Kurgo for a nominal fee, plus shipping.
This is my absolute most favorite item from Kurgo. Maya and Pierson are big dogs. And even though they are wearing a dog safety belt, because the seat is so narrow they can still come off it if I have to stop suddenly. The Backseat Bridge keeps this from happening. The other benefit is Maya and Pierson have more room to stretch out for when we take those long road trips.
Tru-Fit and Go-Tech Canine Car Harnesses
Although the Tru-Fit brand did not perform as well in safety as a few other top brands, I still like this product very much. In fact, Maya was wearing the Go-Tech dog safety belt when we were in a minor car accident in July 2013. She was not injured at all. I love the color selections of the Kurgo dog car harnesses, I like how they fit, and I really appreciate how easy they are to put on.
One thing I do not like, however, is the looped tether all their harnesses come with. Maya likes to move around in the car and will get herself tangled in these loop tethers. Thankfully, Kurgo has a direct connect tether that can be purchased separately. One thing about the Go-Techs is that not everyone has found them to fit well. The neck size is not adjustable so it may be too big on some dogs.
Maya likes to go swimming at the dog park. The problem is, on the way back she attracts dirt, which turns into mud. Also, Maya and Pierson shed a lot. This stuff can get all over my car. In order to protect my car, I need to cover the places where my dogs ride. I have a seat cover already, but I want to protect the doors too. The Kurgo door guards are perfect for this. Maya can put her muddy paws on the door all she wants. And the door guards are so easy to put in, as well as to take out.
Other Kurgo products you can use to protect your vehicle interior include the Wander hammocks and the cargo cover. Kurgo also has a nice selection of car seat covers.
This is a list of my favorite Kurgo travel items. But I like a lot of other brands too. Come back tomorrow to see the rest of my list of favorite pet safety products.
The Center for Pet Safety has tested a number of dog seat belt brands and found the ClickIt Utility from Sleepypod to be the safest. We concur. It is very well made and does a great job at keeping your dog secure. Unlike other brands, a dog wearing the ClickIt will have less side-to-side and forward projection in the event of a car accident. This is great, but there are a few things you need to be aware of:
MORE SECURITY MEANS MORE RESTRICTIVE
Not all dogs will tolerate being so restricted in the car. The ClickIt Utility uses three anchor points to secure your dog. All three anchor points must be used in order for your dog to be secured properly when they are wearing the ClickIt. The first point is with the safety belt of your car. Take the safety belt of the car and put it through the back of the harness. Next, attach the two tethers. One end of the tethers clips onto a metal ring located between the rear seat cushions of all vehicles 2001 model and later. The other end of the tethers clips onto the sides of the harness. Yes, your dog can still lie down, but he won’t be able to stand up.
Not being able to stand up can be very frustrating to some dogs. When they try to stand up, they can’t. And so they may try to chew the straps connecting them. Or they may struggle to get out of the harness and hurt themselves in the process. Some reviews have said their dogs got tangled in the straps because they struggled so much.
MORE COMPLEX AND SIZING CONCERNS
Other reviews stated that the ClickIt was very complex and difficult to put on and take off. We agree that it is at first. It is definitely more involved than other pet car harness brands. But I think once you get used to it, it is actually pretty easy. Another review stated it was hard to find the right size. We agree. The extra-small is not for really small dogs. It is for larger small dogs. And measuring for the right size is not as simple as it is for other harnesses. And another review said it was difficult to adjust the size. We’ve found this to be the case as well. Luckily, Sleepypod has made a video to show us how to put the ClickIt on and how to adjust the size.
THE MOST COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR DOG
If you’re looking for the best dog seat belt, be sure to take these reviews into account. Remember that the safest is also the most restrictive. Consider what your furry best friend will tolerate. Your dog can be trained to wear the harness without struggling, but this could take time. While other pet car harness brands may not be as restrictive, they are still safer than wearing nothing at all.
Your dog can also ride in a secured pet travel carrier. By secured, we mean the carrier should be buckled or strapped into the car so that it can’t slide around. The makers of the ClickIt have stated that smaller dogs are safer in a pet travel carrier.
OTHER CAR HARNESS ALTERNATIVES
If your dog is calm in the car and doesn’t mind sitting or lying down in one spot for the entire ride, then the ClickIt Utility is the best thing you can do to protect his safety. If this is not your dog, consider other viable alternatives such as the Ruff Rider Roadie or the Bergan.
This post is inspired by someone who’s tried both the ClickIt and the AllSafe dog seat belts and weren’t satisfied with either. They were too difficult to use, too difficult to fit, and their dog was not comfortable in them. This post is not about bashing the ClickIt. It is a fantastic brand when it comes to providing the ultimate safety. But it is not for everyone and it is not for every dog.