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?
If you live in Connecticut, then perhaps you have heard that Senator Doyle has proposed a bill to the Connecticut General Assembly that will make it illegal for a driver to allow their dog to ride in their lap (Proposed Bill #518, CT Gen. As.) & (Connecticut Post). Perhaps your dog doesn’t distract you when he rides in your lap, but you may soon have to keep him off your lap if you want to avoid getting a ticket. If you are worried that your dog is so used to riding in your lap that he will get anxiety by not being allowed, we have some tips that might help.
BED AND TOYS
If your dog has a bed that he really loves to sleep in, put this bed in the passenger seat or the back seat. Give your dog his favorite toy or treat to chew on. For your dog’s safety, it is probably best not to use toys or treats with sharp edges as this could harm him if you stop or swerve suddenly.
TRAINING & PRACTICE
Find a big empty parking lot where you can drive around safely without danger of hitting pedestrians or other vehicles. Drive around with your dog and reward him for staying calm in his seat. If he won’t stay in his seat, toss a small treat into the seat for him to retrieve, then toss him another one while he is in the seat. You should make sure you are at a full stop before rewarding him or simply have a friend ride with you that can reward your dog.
PET ANXIETY REMEDY
If your dog has anxiety about being separated from you, consider various pet anxiety remedies. The Thundershirt is clothing your dog can wear. This product has great success at helping dogs with anxiety issues. There is also an all-natural herbal remedy called Travel Calm that you can put on your dog. Some dog anxiety treatments also come in pill form. Also, keep in mind that sometimes your dog’s anxiety is a reflection of your anxiety. If you remain calm and don’t make a fuss, this could go a long way to help keep your dog calm.
PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS
There are several pet travel products that you can use to keep your dog off your lap. Another benefit of using one of these products is the safety benefit. Certain products not only keep your dog from being a distraction, they also offer a measure of crash-worthy safety.
If your dog likes to see out the window, there are several pet car seats that allow this. These car seat also have a tether in them that you can use to attach to your dog’s harness to keep him in the seat. Do not attach the tether to your dog’s collar since this could choke him if you slam on the brakes. If your dog likes to be by your side, there are pet car seats that attach to your car’s center console. And, if your dog likes his crate at home, you can have him use his crate in the car too. If you feel these products provide too little space for your dog, there are several other pet travel products to choose from in today’s market, such as dog car harnesses or pet nets and barriers.
Even if your dog doesn’t distract you when you drive, there is another good reason he shouldn’t ride in your lap. Airbags are not safe for dogs. If your airbag deploys, a minor car accident could turn deadly for your dog, and possibly do serious damage to you as well.
Although this law has not been made yet, you can still get a ticket for driving while distracted. Not only that, it just isn’t safe for you or your dog if he rides in your lap. So don’t wait for Connecticut to specifically ban dogs riding in laps to take action. Protect your best pal today. Many of the pet travel products mentioned above can be found by clicking on the Shop button on the top right of this page.
Do you let your dog ride in your lap? Do you know someone who does? Do you have any other pet travel concerns? Let the #DogTravelAdvisor know by emailing us or commenting below.
There are a lot of great pet travel products out there, so it can be difficult to make a choice. And what works perfectly for one person and their dog may not work as well for you and yours. How can you tell which product to get if all the companies are saying theirs is the best? Our Dog Travel Advisor at Pet Auto Safety can help.
We have a lot of experience with various pet travel products. After all, we’ve been in business since 2006! Our current dog travelers, Maya and Pierson, have tried out almost every single brand of dog car harness as well as many other products. So I think it’s safe to say that we can really help you with our new Pros and Cons series.
In our new Pros and Cons series, we will highlight a specific product and tell you what we found to be great and not-so-great based on our own perspective and the perspective of our customers. This week’s highlight is the ClickIt Sport dog seat belt from Sleepypod. This harness is an improvement on the ClickIt Utility. It is a brand new brand, introduced at the tail end of 2014.
Pro – #1 Safety
The ClickIt Sport is only dog car harness to date to receive the CPS certification for safety. CPS stands for the Center for Pet Safety. They are an independent non-profit organization that evaluates the safety of various pet products.
Pro – Easy to Use
Unlike the ClickIt Utility, the ClickIt Sport is easy to put on, easy to size, and it is easier to secure your dog in the car with it. To put it on, simply have your dog step in the leg openings, and then pull it up and clip it on. It sizes easily with straps on the sides. To secure your dog in the car, put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness straps. Please note the con with this method below.
Pro – Quality
This harness is much lighter than its older version. But it is just as strong and durable. The materials are of high quality and the construction is thorough. It should be noted that the harness uses plastic clips to be secured on your dog. However, these plastic clips are not tied into the security mechanism that secures your dog in the car.
Pro – Other Design Features
The ClickIt Sport is well padded and it can also be used as a walking harness. The neck line of the harness is curved so that it sits low and prevents choking.
Con – Securing Your Dog
While the ClickIt Sport is not as difficult to secure your dog in the car as the ClickIt Utility is, it is not the easiest as compared to some other dog seat belts. To put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness, your dog has to be sitting just right. If you have a hyper dog, this can be a challenge.
Con – Highly Restrictive
To be the safest, a car harness also has to be the most restrictive. Your dog will only be able to sit and lie down with the ClickIt Sport on in the vehicle. He will not be able to stand. This can mean that the harness can be highly uncomfortable, especially on longer road trips. It also means your dog might chew through or try to wiggle out of the harness. If the harness is not used correctly, the safety is diminished.
Con – Won’t Fit All Sizes
The ClickIt Sport does not come in extra-small or extra-large sizes. For smaller dogs, Sleepypod recommends their crash tested pet car seats instead. Sleepypod is still in the process of designing and extra-large harness.
Whether the price is a pro or con depends on your perspective. Compared to other quality crash tested dog car harnesses, the ClickIt Sport is priced relatively low. But it is high compared to car seat belts that didn’t do as well in safety testing or harnesses that haven’t been safety tested at all.
Despite the few cons, the ClickIt Sport is still an excellent choice. Consider it if your dog isn’t too small or too large, and if your dog isn’t going to mind the restriction. If you find the dog car harness difficult to secure in your car, it just takes a little getting used to. Once you and your dog has a hang of it, it’s easy. The ClickIt Sport is constantly being sold out, so visit our Pet Auto Safety site today and buy yours. Use discount code petsafeblogger for 10% off. (This code applies to all the ClickIts on our site but may not apply to a few of our other pet travel products.)
Are you about the em’bark’ on a journey with your dog? The #DogTravelAdvisor recommends the following safety items you should bring for your best pal:
* If traveling by car, your dog’s seat belt or pet carrier
* ID tags secured on your dog’s collar)
* Vet information
* Emergency contact information
* Photo of your pet
* Pet first aid kit
* Food and water
* Your pet’s medication, including Travel Calm or other car sickness remedies
In addition to the above pet safety essentials, here are some non-essential, but probably-a-good-idea-to-bring-anyway, things:
* Dog bed
* Food and water bowls
* Dog brush
* Poo bags
* Baby wipes (for other doggie messes)
* Lint brush for dog hair clean-up
One time when we traveled, we forgot our dogs’ food! We left it by the door but forgot to put it in our car. Thankfully, we were able to find their regular brand at a store along the way. Have you ever forgotten to bring something when you traveled with your dog?
In 2013, the nonprofit organization, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), tested a number of dog car harness brands. The brand they found to be the safest was the ClickIt brand. The AllSafe brand was not far behind. There was only one issue that kept it from ranking the best. The tether allowed the dog to launch off the seat in the crash test simulation.
Even though the AllSafe uses a short 6″ tether, it was still too long for optimum safety. So, AllSafe recommends the following tactic to make the harness safer:
By putting the seat belt of the car through the back like this, you can limit your dog’s movement in the event of an auto accident. Limiting movement helps keep your dog in the seat and from getting tossed side-to-side.
Keep in mind, however, that limiting your dog’s movement might also make him uncomfortable. In being uncomfortable, he may try to chew the harness off or wiggle out of it. For this reason, AllSafe still includes the short 6″ tether with their product. If you need a longer tether, you can get this as well. Come visit us at Pet Auto Safety for the AllSafe dog car harness and for the longer tether.
Fun and/or Instructional Videos on Pet Travel Products
Although we’ve slowed down a bit on the video-making projects, we have no plans to stop. We want to make more. We want to make better videos that show how to use the dog car harnesses, how to install other pet travel products, and other instructional videos. We also want to do a couple more funny videos of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. Is there a video you’d like to see us make? Is there a product you’d like to see more of? Do you have any funny ideas for Maya and Pierson’s Car Talk Adventures?
My dogs have been using dog seat belts for over 15 years. And I have been selling them for over eight years. And not just dog seat belts, but other pet travel products too. My dogs Sephi, Maya, and Pierson have been guinea pigs for more than half the products we sell (excluding those for small dogs since mine are big). If I haven’t used certain products, I’ve been listening to feedback from those that have used them.
As a result, I have become very knowledgeable about pet travel products. And so I am taking on a new task of being PetAutoSafety’s new dog travel advisor. You will start to see #DogTravelAdvisor in our tweets, on Facebook, and on Google Plus.
Go ahead, ask me anything about dog car travel. Anything, really! If I don’t know the answer, I will help you find out who does. 🙂
Most of our 2014 goals were met, so now it is time to make new ones. Besides continuing to provide the best pet travel products on the market, PetAutoSafety will also continue to look for new dog traveling gear. And we have a few other projects we will work on. Check out the ones we are working on at this very moment, and then come visit our blog again to see what else we have planned.
Redesign Our Retail Website
We’ve recently been told politely and bluntly that our retail website is old fashioned and cumbersome to use. It hurt our feelings, but darn it, it’s true. And so we are in the process of redesigning our site. You may have noticed some recent changes. For one, we were told that we needed a powerful and cute photo of a traveling dog. And so we have posted Maya’s picture on the top of our home page. Go check out PetAutoSafety and tell us what you think. Is it cute? Does it reach out and grab your attention? Does it make you want to shop there?
Redesign Our Blog
If you thought our retail website was old fashioned, you do doubt feel the same about this blog. Maya sure is cute on the top header, but it just doesn’t fit what PetAutoSafety is all about. Our blog host provider limits what we can do, so we will do our best to work with what we have.
We sure could use your advice on how we can improve our retail website and blog. Please feel free to comment below. And come back to our blog later in a few days to see what our other exciting 2015 goals are.
Preparing For Your Dog’s First Car Ride
By Suni Miller
Traveling with your dog can be a great adventure. Before you start your travel, there are some things you want to keep in mind when traveling in the car with your pet.
Always remember safety first. Purchasing a dog safety seat will be safer for your dog in case you come to a sudden stop or make a quick turn. Make sure your pet cannot roam around the vehicle freely. There are also pet safety belts that can be purchased. This can ensure that the pet cannot be thrown from the vehicle or into another passenger in case of an accident, sudden stop, or turn. Another option is purchasing a crate. If you ever considered traveling with your pet by plane, then having your pet in a crate is required by the airline. It can also keep your pet out of trouble at a hotel or somebody else’s house. You want to make sure the crate is big enough to allow the dog to stand, turn, and lie down. It should be sturdy with handles and grips. It should also have a leak proof bottom covered with absorbent material. Air should be able to flow through it freely.
In case your dog gets away from you during a trip, it is best to make sure he has identification to increase the chances of a recovery. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar at all times, which have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, a number where you can be reached, and proof of rabies shots. You can consider a more permanent form of identification, such as a microchip. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your dog with you.
The Car Ride
Allow your dog to get used to sitting in the car first without leaving the driveway and then start off by going for short rides, so you and your dog can get familiar with traveling by car together. Don’t feed your dog before traveling. This way you can avoid car sickness. Make the first few trips somewhere fun for your dog, like a park or field. This way he will associate riding in the car as something fun and enjoyable as opposed to just trips to the vet. Make sure to have plenty of water at all times especially during the warmer times. Keep the car well ventilated. However, do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to the potential of an eye injury. Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, especially during warmer or colder temperatures. If you do have to leave your dog, make sure someone else is in the car with him. When going on long car trips make sure to bring some of your dog’s favorite chew toys and treats, so he will not get bored. Stop often for exercise and potty breaks and be sure to have something to clean up after your dog.
Traveling by car can be a great experience for you and your pet, but to make sure that it is a great experience following these tips will be helpful. Now you’re ready to ride off into the sunset.
Article Source: Preparing For Your Dog’s First Car Ride
I’m working on a fun project where I need to take a lot of photos of my dogs in the car while wearing their dog seat belt harnesses. I’ve added a caption to two of Maya’s photos. Is she cute, or what?
Can you think of any more funny captions that would go along with Maya or Pierson riding in the car?