Welcome back to the Pros and Cons Series. Today, I will share the benefits and drawbacks of the German Engineered AllSafe dog car harness. Although I try to be objective, I must admit I am a little biased with this product. I was using the ClickIt Utility on my Labrador Maya for some time, but I loved the AllSafe so much that I immediately switched when I saw it. Let me tell you all about it:
Crash Tested – The AllSafe dog car harness has had a perfect safety record in Europe for over 15 years. If you are familiar with the new safety standard set up in the USA from the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), then you may know that the ClickIts rate #1 and that the AllSafe and Ruff Rider Roadie are a close second. It should be noted that CPS uses some different standards than Europe and there really is no way to know whose safety standards are better.
Comfortable to Wear – CPS Claims the AllSafe allows more motion in a crash as compared to the ClickIt. To them, this means it is not as safe as it could be. But is it realistic to expect a dog to be comfortable in a harness that is so restrictive? The ClickIt is so restrictive that people may be tempted to use it improperly in order to alleviate the tension. In my opinion, my Maya appears much more comfortable wearing the AllSafe. If I have Maya wear the ClickIt, it is for short trips only.
High Quality Construction – When I first saw the quality of the AllSafe, I was astounded. This brand is priced higher than most for various reasons and quality is definitely a contributing factor. The straps are thick and durable. The hardware is metal. And sewed construction is top-notch.
V-Neck to Prevent Choking – I like how the harness crosses the front of the chest. In a sudden stop, pressure is put on Maya’s lower chest and none is put on her neck.
Also Use as Walking Harness – This is one of the easiest harnesses to use as a walking harness. Simply clip on your dog’s leash and unclick the tether that is connected in the car.
Somewhat Restrictive – Although the AllSafe is not as restrictive as the ClickIt, it is still more restrictive than other brands. This is a safety feature, but you really have to assess what your dog will tolerate. If your dog is not used to dog car harness, you will have to take time to help him get used to it first. Otherwise, he might try to chew it off or he might wiggle out of it. There is no such thing as a safe, escape-proof dog seat belt.
Not Designed for Use in Cargo Area – Some dog seat belts allow for use in the cargo area, but the AllSafe has not been designed for this. You may be able to find a way to use it in the cargo area, but know it is not what the manufacturer intended.
Limited Sizes – There is no extra-small size. There is an extra-large size, but note that extra-large dog can’t have a girth greater than 42.8 inches.
Expensive – This brand is more expensive than most other brands in the USA. Safety and quality are the two primary reasons for this. Another reason is because it is manufactured in Germany and not in China. Most brands, including the ClickIt, are made in China. (Incidentally, the Ruff Rider Roadie is made in the USA.)
How to Put It On – Whether this is a pro or con is difficult for me to gauge. I’ve been using dog seat belts for years, so it is easy for me to figure out any brand, including the AllSafe. But it may not be as easy to put on as other brands. You have to put your dog’s feet through, so if your dog is reluctant to allow you to do this it can be a challenge. It may take time working with your dog for him to get used to it. Besides putting it on, this is what else you have to do in the car to secure the harness. These red clips come with the AllSafe.
So there you have it. These are the pros and cons I could think of for the AllSafe dog seat belt. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us through any of our contact methods listed on our About Us page. Our #DogTravelAdvisor is happy to help.
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 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.)
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.
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?
In an independent crash test study completed by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013, the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt from Sleepypod was rated as the safest brand out of eleven popular brands. Indeed, upon using the ClickIt Utlity for ourselves, we found it secured our dogs very well. But there were a few inconvenient issues that make people turn away from it. And so, Sleepypod redesigned a better harness called the ClickIt Sport.
The issues with the ClickIt Utility aren’t safety issues, but issues with use. For one, the measuring method is not as simple as with other brands and people were often confused about what to measure. The ClickIt Sport dog car harness has a much easier measuring method. All one has to do is measure around the barrel of the dog’s chest behind the front legs.
The ClickIt Utility is also difficult to adjust for size. Despite Sleepypod’s videos, many people had a hard time getting the harness to fit their dog properly. The ClickIt Sport is much easier to adjust so it can fit perfectly without much trouble.
PUTTING IT ON
Relatively speaking, putting on the ClickIt Utility harness is about the same as putting on any other dog car harness. You basically have to put the harness over your dog’s head and then physically put his front legs through the openings. Some dogs are less than cooperative. The ClickIt Sport is a little easier. Have your dog sit, put the harness under him with his front feet in the leg spaces, then pull it up and buckle it.
SECURING IN THE CAR
A dog wearing the ClickIt Utility has to be secured in three different places in the car. Firstly, the seat belt of the car goes through the back. Then two side straps are connected to the baby seat latch bars. So if someone’s car doesn’t have the latch bars, then they can’t use this car harness. Trying to secure a dog at all three points is difficult and frustrating for some. With the ClickIt Sport, all you have to do is put the seat belt of the car through the back. There are no side straps.
Nothing has changed regarding safety. The ClickIt Sport has passed all the same tests as the ClickIt Utility and has received a CPS Certification authenticating its safety.
If you’re looking for a dog seat belt and are put off by some of the negative reviews about the ClickIt Utility, consider the new ClickIt Sport instead. It’s just as safe, but much easier to use. It is still very restrictive, but this is what makes it so safe.
More and more people are traveling with their pets and thinking of their safety. And as such, 2014 was a great year for new (or new to us) and innovative pet travel products. My dogs Maya and Pierson got to try out a few of them.
Pet Dek – We used the Kurgo Backseat Bridge for years and loved it. But then something better came along. The Pet Dek is flatter and much sturdier.
Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat – Shortly after we got the Pet Dek, a company contacted us about their new seat extender, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Although I love the Pet Dek, I love the Flat Seat more! I think Maya and Pierson do too.
Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter – My dogs Maya and Pierson are too big to try out the Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter, but I love the concept. It’s a great way for smaller dogs to ride in the back seat of the car or in the cargo area of the SUV. The Car-Go can even be used in the home.
Allsafe Dog Car Harness– This is not a new product. It has been around in Europe for years. The AllSafe dog car harness is German engineered and has been crash tested both in Europe and the US. Its quality is phenomenal and I absolutely love it. It looks great on my Maya.
Variocage – This is another German engineered and crash tested product. It has been so well designed and so thoroughly crash tested that no other product on the market can come close to its quality. I don’t have an SUV so I haven’t been able to try the Variocage, but I really want to someday.
ClickIt Sport Dog Seat Belt – Remember the ClickIt Utility? It was rated as the #1 safest dog seat belt by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013. It is still #1 today. But it can be a little difficult to adjust and to use so Sleepypod improved it. The ClickIt Sport came out in December 2014. Doesn’t my dog Pierson look great in it?
These products look great, don’t they? I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer in regards to pet travel safety. Happy New Year!
We’re still here and ready to do some more blogging! It’s been an interesting year, for both Pet Auto Safety and for me personally. Let’s talk about Pet Auto Safety first, then I will explain why I haven’t been blogging for a while.
At the beginning of 2014, I told you some of our goals. Let’s see how we did:
More Funny Videos – Maya and Pierson starred in a cute video in 2013. We vowed to make more in 2014. However, we just made one (below). But we also made a couple of pet travel product videos. And we plan on making more videos, funny or otherwise, in the future. See these and other videos of my dogs at www.YouTube.com/naturebydawn.
More Pet Travel Articles – 2014 was a decent year for our article writing. We wrote several articles and also hired a good free-lance writer. The word about pet auto safety is getting gout there, but we need to write and publish many more articles in 2015. And we’d like to publish them in places other than our own websites. So if you know of a blog or magazine who would like to publish an article about dogs riding safe in the car, let us know.
WIPIN – Women in the Pet Industry Network – Thanks to a friend, I became a member of WIPIN in 2014. It is a great place to connect with other pet lovers and share business ideas. However, due to personal life circumstances, I did not take advantage of everything this group had to offer. I am not sure whether I will renew my membership in 2015.
Inc. to LLC – In 2014, we successfully changed the company from a corporation to an LLC. This change made some administration processes easier and I’m glad we did it.
Outdoor Dog Gear – We did not create a new website for outdoor dog gear, but we did set up a new page on Pet Auto Safety for outdoor dog gear. After all, dogs who ride in cars are usually going somewhere. And if they are going hiking or swimming, they can get some supplies from us.
AllSafe Dog Car Harness – We have been wanting the AllSafe dog seat belts for some time, but had difficulty acquiring them. Luckily, the opportunity finally came a few months ago. We now have the AllSafe brand and I couldn’t be happier.
Some of our other new products in 2014 include the Car-Go pop-up shelter, Portable Pet Flat Seat, the Variocages, and the ClickIt Sport.
Pet Auto Safety Infographic – We never did implement our idea to create an infographic. Whether or not we will do so in 2015 is still being debated.
As you can see, 2014 was a success for us in many ways. If we fell short in some areas, it was because of some personal events. If you’ve kept up with this blog and if you also follow me on my American Dog Blog, then you have some idea of what’s been going on.
In mid-2014, my husband transferred to another job in Des Moines, Iowa. Things were in upheaval for Pet Auto Safety as I worked to relocate both our home and the business and to refile all the tax documents in the new state.
Just before this move, I found out my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was progressing rapidly and the doctors were not optimistic that she would live for much longer. She surprised us by making a good recovery a couple months ago. But the recovery was short lived.
My mom passed away just before Thanksgiving. I’ve never lost a parent before and so it is very hard for me. The holidays have been especially difficult. I have still managed Pet Auto Safety’s retail activities, but I took a break from all other tasks, including blogging, article writing, and videos.
While I still miss my mom, it’s time to get back on track. If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, please do so now and look for another post for our Pet Auto Safety 2015 goals. Also subscribe to my American Dog Blog, where I will be making a tribute to the woman who taught me many things, including that dogs are family too and deserve to be as loved and cared for as any other member of the family.
Want to know how a dog car harness secures your dog? You’d think the answer would be simple. In a way, it is. For most, it is as simple as clipping it on and clipping it in. But what makes it complicated is that each brand works differently. Let’s take the top 5 brands and show you how each of them work:
The ClickIt Utility dog car harness has three connection points. This makes it one of the most labor intensive to use, but also the safest. First, put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness. Then connect the two tethers on either side of the harness to each of the two latchbars located between the seat cushions. All cars 2001 and later should have the latchbars in the back seat.
Please note, the new ClickIt Sport coming out soon will not have the two side tethers.
Ruff Rider Roadie
The Ruff Rider Roadie also uses the seat belt of the car to secure your dog. Instead of going through the back of the harness, it goes through one of two loops on the tether. This tether is part of the harness and is not detachable. To give your dog more room to move, put the seat belt through the loop at the very end of the tether. To secure your dog more for safety, put the seat belt through the loop closer to the back of the harness.
AllSafe Dog Seat Belt
The AllSafe is also takes a bit more work to secure. First, you have to stabilize the seat belt of the car. Buckle it in without your dog. Then use the two red clips included with the harness to stabilize it. If the top part of the shoulder belt is like the picture indicated, then stabilizing is easy. If it is like mine where it comes out directly, then it can get a little troublesome. You have to make the shoulder belt lock, and then apply the red clip. This way the shoulder belt does not pull out when your dog moves. Once you have it stabilized, attach the tether to the seat belt. Once this is done, all you have to do is clip the tether onto the back off the AllSafe dog car harness.
Bergan Dog Car Harness
The Bergan brand is very easy to secure in the car. Either clip one end into the seat belt housing of the car, or clip it onto the latchbar. Then clip the other end to the back of the harness.
Kurgo Dog Seat Belt
The Kurgo Tru-Fit and the Kurgo Go Tech brands are also very easy to use. Simply put the seat belt of the car through the loop tether, and then clip the other end of the loop tether to the back of the harness. Kurgo also has the option to buy a direct connect tether, which clips directly into the seat belt receptacle.
Which Dog Car Harness is Best?
Determining which dog seat belt is best depends on your preference. While the Bergan and Kurgo are the easiest to attach, the ClickIt, Ruff Rider, and AllSafe are the safest. At the same times, the safest brand may also be the most uncomfortable for some dogs because they can’t move much. Keep this in mind and balance safety with your dog’s comfort. A super-safe dog car harness is not going to help if your pet is so uncomfortable that he chews it off.
One great thing about running Pet Auto Safety is that we get to try out all the products. Our recent acquisition is the AllSafe dog seat belt. And the lucky dog that gets to try it out is our lovely Labrador Retriever, Maya.
Maya presents a number of challenges when it comes to dog car harnesses because she doesn’t sit still. She’s got to stand up and stick her little brown nose wherever she can get it, sometimes in my ear. She also has a deep narrow chest, which occasionally makes harnesses pull to the side rather than hug the chest. Did we have these issues with the AllSafe? Let’s see.
First, though, let me give you my first impression of the AllSafe dog car harness. When I pulled it out of the box, I was absolutely amazed. The quality is fantastic. It is obviously very well made and highly durable. The straps are thick and sewn together very well. There are no plastic pieces on this seat belt, just strong webbing and very strong steel parts.
PUTTING ON/TAKING OFF
The AllSafe dog car harness does not clip on like most other dog seat belts do. As demonstrated in the below video, you have to pull your dog’s legs through the leg holes. Maya makes it look easy, but I can see how this might be a challenge for other dogs that are not yet used wearing a car harness. Because of my experience and because of Maya’s cooperation, I personally found the AllSafe very easy to put on.
SECURING IN THE CAR
It was very simple to secure my dog Maya in the car with her AllSafe harness. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with the instructions. Apparently, my box had the wrong instructions. But when I notified the company located here in the US, they walked me through the right way. Their customer service was fantastic.
Maya wore her harness perfectly. She could still stand up, sit, or lie down, but not enough that she could stick her wet brown nose into my ear. This restriction is a good thing because it means if we are in a car accident, Maya will not be jerked around. A longer tether means more freedom and comfort, but it also means less security. I find the ClickIt the most restrictive and the Bergan the least. On the other hand, the Bergan is more comfortable and the ClickIt is the least. The AllSafe is right in between both.
The chest piece of the AllSafe still went off to the side if Maya tried to move around. But that is Maya’s fault because she won’t be still. If Pierson were to wear this harness, he would not have any trouble at all because he stays in one spot.
The AllSafe is very comparable to the ClickIt Utility in both quality and safety. The ClickIt Utility had a better safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety, but the AllSafe rated nearly as well. One drawback of the ClickIt Utility is it has three connection points that can make it more of a hassle to secure your dog in the car. It can also be more difficult to adjust for sizing. (Both these features of the ClickIt Utility are changing, though, with the release of the ClickIt Sport before the end of this year.) The AllSafe allows for the harness to be used as a walking harness much easier than the ClickIt Utility.
Overall, I am very pleased with the AllSafe. It is more expensive than most brands, but it is worth every penny.