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.
Having your dog wear a dog seat belt in the vehicle is a great way to keep them from distracting the driver. But you also want them to be safe, right? However, if your dog rides in the cargo area of your hatchback or SUV, you need to know that securing them to cargo rings may not be adequate.
The Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research facility for pet products, has recently reported that cargo connections may not have the necessary strength to hold your dog. This means the cargo ring can break if your dog is in a car accident, or even if your dog just pulls on it hard enough. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to find out what amount of force those cargo rings can withstand.
When we rented an SUV one year in order to make our annual trip from Kansas to Texas, we looked diligently for an SUV that had metal connections in the cargo area for Maya and Pierson. We did not find any. As a result, we found a way to connect their dog seat belt harnesses to the safety belt housing of the car located under the seat. However, the Center for Pet Safety advises against this as well.
If you need to have your dog ride in the cargo area, you may need to install a more secure connection in the cargo area. You can also opt to have your dog ride in a crate instead. Just be sure the crate can be secured in place.
We will soon have another option for dogs riding in cargo areas. By the end of September, you will see the VarioCage available on our PetAutoSafety.com retail site. The VarioCage is very expensive but it is also extremely durable. It has been extensively crash tested and even real-life situations have shown that the VarioCage remains intact.
Safety for our pets when we travel is very important and vehicle manufacturers are coming to realize this. More and more car commercials show a dog harnessed in the car. So if you have a vehicle with a cargo area and it doesn’t have cargo rings or just has plastic cargo rings, tell the manufacturer that you want this feature. You may not be able to get it this time around, but they will hear you and hopefully install better connections in future models.
“Help! I just bought this dog seat belt so that I can help keep my pet safe in the car, but he keeps trying to chew it off. What do I do?”
This happens all the time. We spend lots of money to do what is best and our dogs want nothing to do with it. Unless your dog is already used to wearing a harness, adaptation may take a little time. Training your dog to get used to a pet car harness is the best long-term solution. But what if you’re going on a trip soon and you don’t have the time? Try spraying the pet car harness with a chew deterrent spray. One of the best chew deterrent sprays on the market is Grannick’s Bitter Apple. This stuff has been around for over 50 years (developed in 1960). And in most cases, it really works.
There are some instances where dogs actually seem to like the taste, but the average success is 4 out of 5 stars. If you need to keep your dog in his harness so that he is safe, why not try using the Grannick’s Bitter Apple? It is non-toxic and the chances are your dog will hate it more than he hates his safety belt.
If time really is of the essence, a homemade chew deterrent may also work. Try mixing peppermint extract and water in a spray bottle. Or cayenne pepper and water, apple cider vinegar in water, or lemon juice in water. The Daily Puppy has some great recipes.
Remember, results will vary. Long term training is the best solution, but not always feasible if you’re pressed for time. Shorten the time by combining Bitter Apple with training. Simply follow our training tips for getting your dog used to a pet safety belt, but spray the harness with a chew deterrent.
Have you had to use a chew deterrent for your dog? If so, what kind? Did it work?
In 2013, Subaru of America and the Center for Pet Safety teamed up to test dog safety-harnesses. Their main goal was to ensure pets are kept safe while being transported and that each manufacturer’s claims of “crash protection” are valid, and able to perform as promised. Throughout the 2013 Safety Harness Crashworthiness Study, a range of harnesses, which the manufacturers claimed were “Testing”,“Crash Testing” or offered “Crash Protection”, were tested to determine if their statements were true and correct.
It should be noted, the Center for Pet Safety ran a preliminary crash study test in 2011. Four safety harnesses were tested. All four failed to provide proper protection for their canine counterpart. Admittedly, this study was not thorough enough to provide helpful statistical information regarding the use of safety harnesses, as only four undisclosed brands were tested, while there were over a dozen brands on the market at the time. The unintended, yet virtuous, outcome of this testing is that many of the top harness manufacturers have become more rigorous with their own safety testing, and have made improvements to their existing products.
Out of the seven brands that were found to be stable enough to test in the 2013 study, the clear top performer is the Clickit Utility, which is manufactured by Sleepypod. While the Clickit Utility provides the best protection against car accidents, it limits range of motion to the extreme. Some dogs may get anxious if forced to use the Clickit Utility, which may cause them to panic and hurt themselves or encourage chewing through the safety device. That being said, some dogs may not mind the harness, or with proper training could be desensitized to wearing it. While the Clickit Utility passed the test with flying colors, it isn’t for every dog. There are other options that met the safety standards set in place by the Center for Pet Safety, like Klein Metal’s AllSafe Harness or Cover Craft’s RuffRider Roadie.
The danger associated with auto accidents does not only apply to our pets. Safety regulations for people regarding seatbelt use has been in place for decades, yet there are many cases in which the use of a seatbelt has caused injury or has still resulted in death. Each car accident is unique, and no matter how much safety testing is done, there is always a risk involved. This does not stop people from wearing seatbelts, and it should not stop us from strapping our dogs in.
Having extra protection, such as a dog car safety harness, not only provides peace of mind, but keeps dogs in place. At the very least, your strapped in dog will be less of a distraction while you are driving, reducing your risk of getting into an accident in the first place. There are other methods to restrain your dog in the car, such as crates, barriers, fencing and screens. These will also help provide distraction-free driving, but they have not been properly tested, and it cannot be concluded that they will keep your pet safe in the case of an accident.
The Center for Pet Safety is leading the way in discovering the best way to keep people and their pets safe while traveling. Their research is still in an early phase, with only two studies under their belt. Without prior data, it is hard to conclude what testing method will provide the most accurate information. The methods will surely be modified in the future, meaning we will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the safety of our dogs as time goes on.
By Patrice Marrero
Source: Newswire Today
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.
In a recent study conducted by a nonprofit organization called the Center for Pet Safety, the ClickIt Utility dog seatbelt was determined to be the safest. If other pet car harnesses fell short, what are some reasons you should still consider them?
THE NEED TO MOVE AROUND
The biggest reason to consider another brand over the ClickIt Utility harness is because some dogs will absolutely not tolerate the kind of restriction enforced by the ClickIt. The more a dog doesn’t like it, the more he might struggle. And the more he struggles, the more likely he is to hurt himself. He may also decide to chew through the car harness, making it completely useless.
The ClickIt Utility harness is the safest because of its ability to keep your dog very secure. So if your dog won’t sit still, you may have to compromise some (but not all) safety for comfort by using a dog seatbelt that gives your best friend the ability to move around.
Another reason to consider another brand is price. A lot of time and research went into designing the ClickIt Utility, so its price is high. And it is not just high to cover the costs of development, its price reflects its quality.
THERE ARE OTHER QUALITY BRANDS AVAILABLE
There are other quality pet car harnesses that can be considered. Unlike the Center for Pet Safety’s report in 2011, which tested only four brands, the study completed by them in 2013 tested several brands and the study DID NOT equate to 100% failure. A number of brands passed. Consider the Ruff Rider Roadie or the AllSafe brands as your next choice. These are also higher priced than many other brands, but again, this price is reflected in their quality. The Bergan is less expensive and is a good brand to consider for dogs under 75lbs. The Kurgo Tru-Fit or Go-Tech is a good brand to consider for dogs over 25 pounds and under 75 pounds.
ANY BRAND PROVIDES AT LEAST SOME SAFETY
Even the brands that failed the Center for Pet Safety’s test provide some safety. For one, your dog is less likely to be a distraction when he is secured in a dog seatbelt. Hopefully, you haven’t been in many car accidents. But how many times have you had to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of danger? While substandard pet car harnesses may not do any good in a car accident, they may provide some stability in sudden stops and swerving.
Don’t let the media hype about the safety of pet car harnesses keep you from considering the safety of your best friend. Yes, many brands are inferior to the ClickIt Utility. But even the ClickIt has some shortcomings. And many brands still provide some measure of protection.
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. 🙂
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! 🙂
If you’re like me you think of your pet as a child. You feed them, give them shelter, and most importantly—you keep them safe. My cat Puppet Master is an orange tabby. He weighs 19 lbs and goes everywhere I go. The other day I was headed to my cousin’s house for dinner, it was raining, and had snowed the night before. I hit a patch of slush and had to slam on my brakes. Puppet Master flew forward, hitting the dashboard. He was stunned for a while, but it turned out he was just fine.
When I returned home I surfed the web for a cat car harness that could safely strap him in when we were on the road. It turned out there were several available—they weren’t even that expensive. Since then I always keep Puppet Master harnessed in the car, at first it bothered him. But I let him wear the harness around the house for a while and he soon got used to it.
Best for small and medium sized dogs, a pet car seat is the perfect way to pamper your dog AND help keep them safe. We love to take our dogs with us when we travel, but sometimes the seat of the car just isn’t comfortable. The dogs tend to lose their balance when we make those turns or make those stops. The seat belt works great for helping to keep the dogs from being thrown on the floor, but the car seat adds comfort. And comfort is great if you are taking a long road trip for summer vacation.Most car seats are plushly padded and some even provide a boost so the dogs can still look out the window. A good pet car seat should somehow attach to the seat of a car. Some will hang right over the front passenger seat. (But be sure that the airbags for the passenger side is turned off before you use a pet car seat in the front seat. Air bags are safe for adult people only.) The best pet car seats have a connecting strap where one end clips onto your pet’s harness and the other somehow utilizes the car’s seat belt.