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.)
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.
This post is inspired by the pet blogger challenge hosted by Amy with Go Pet Friendly. For this challenge, she has asked us to answer 12 questions. Here they are, along with my answers.
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I started blogging in June 2008 in order to promote the pet travel products on my PetAutoSafety.com website. At first I was intimidated by blogging but now I love it. I love it so much that I started my AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com just for fun in September 2009.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013 that made you most proud.
Thanks to you, traffic has doubled in the past year. Also, when people have questions about traveling with their dogs, they search Google and usually find one of my informative blog posts.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
This is the first year I am participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge. I have been more involved in the dog blogging community this past year.
4.a. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
In the past, my posts have been very technical. I am learning to be more fun, spontaneous, and have been trying to bring a more personal element into my posts. I’m not a faceless business hiding behind a 1-800 number. I am a dog lover dedicated to providing the best for my beloved furry family members. And to prove it, I feature Maya and Pierson in almost every post. These two and my dearly departed Sephi are at the heart of why I run this business.
4.b. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How on earth do you all keep up with reading and commenting on everyone’s posts? How do you manage to post something nearly every day?
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The cuteness of Maya and Pierson. Seriously, how can you resist?
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
Writing a post can sometimes take an hour. Taking and editing photos can take quite a bit of time as well. Reading and commenting on other blogs takes at least an hour, if not more. Other social media sites take another hour or so. Browsing the internet for pet travel news, looking at other products, gathering information for posts, and so on can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on how much time I have. I don’t think I will change the amount of time I spend on promoting my blog, just the way I spend it. I would like to learn how to be more effective.
7.a. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
By the number of comments. Page views are great too, but comments tell me people either learned something from my posts or enjoyed reading them.
7.b. How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
When I don’t get any comments and only a few visits.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
Cute stuff, insightful posts, posts that ask questions at the end.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
Yes. Generally for the products I sell, but occasionally for other products. The dog seat belt giveaways have been a huge hit. The recent figurines giveaway, not so much.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I find that if I force myself to blog when I am burnt out that my content is lame. By taking a week off every now and then, I get recharged and write great content.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
My goal is to gain a more regular following and spread the word about travel safety for our pets. I would like for my blog to be the go-to place for anyone who has any questions about pet car travel. Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews has recommended a great book to help me with promoting my blog. I just received it from Amazon and will be reading it soon. Thanks Flea!
One more quick thing… Today is Pierson’s Gotcha Day. After checking out the blog hop for the pet blogger challenge, hop on over to my AmericanDogBlog.wordpress.com blog to read a tribute to my fluffy boy and to say Happy Gotcha Day.
While you’re here reading this, let me ask you all some questions:
– When you visit my blog, what inspires you to comment?
– Which of my posts do you enjoy reading the most?
– What would you like to see more of?
– Any tips on how I can reach my 2014 goals?
Thank you for stopping by everyone! And thank you Amy for hosting this blog hop. I look forward to reading everyone else’s answers on their pet blogger challenge.
Last Saturday, I talked about the reasons why a dog should be restrained in the car. The post mostly focused on the benefits of a pet car harness. But let’s face it, not every dog will wear one. Plus, there are a few legitimate concerns about dog seat belts. So here are some other pet travel products to consider:
Have your pet ride in a pet carrier. Make sure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that if the car goes out of control, the dog crate stays in place. You don’t want it and your dog to be thrown about. Whether a secured travel crate is as safe as a pet car harness is not known. Not much testing has been done on pet travel carriers. However, I imagine that a secured crate is probably just as safe (strictly an opinion). Traveling in this way covers all the reasons discussed last week about why it is better to have your dog secured in the car.
Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier can help keep your dog in the back seat and from being a distraction. Depending on the barrier, it may keep your dog from being ejected out the front windshield. However, it can’t keep your dog on the seat and it can’t keep him inside the vehicle if someone opens the door, a window breaks and he jumps out, or he hangs his head out the window and jumps or is thrown out.
I can’t tell you how much I really love the Kurgo Backseat Bridge. I have two big dogs and there is no way Maya can stay comfortably on the back seat, even with her pet car harness on. The seat is too narrow and Maya is too big. And she is too energetic to sit still. So covering the floor of the car helps keep her from being thrown onto the floor. If you’ve read some of the news about how dogs should stay on the seat when wearing their dog seat belts, you can see how difficult it would be to restrain a dog to such an extent that he wouldn’t get thrown forward or onto the floor. The Backseat Bridge can help because it covers the floor. The Backseat Bridge also has a barrier that covers the center console area. If your dog is not buckled in, at least the bridge can keep him from getting thrown onto the floor and possibly keep him in the back seat so that he is not a distraction. A dog car hammock has the same benefits as the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.
This is a brand new product. There hasn’t been much testing on it yet. But it sure looks promising. The K9 CarFence keeps your dog from being a distraction and it helps to keep him in his seat.
Breeze Guard Car Window Screens
This is another product I really love. I used to let my dogs put their heads out the window. After all, they really love it. But one time, Sephi yelped. I think she got hit in the face with something, probably a small pebble. Thankfully, it didn’t hit her in the eye or nose. She wasn’t injured. But it made me think that perhaps letting her have her head out the window wasn’t such a good idea. Also, a friend of mine on Facebook told me about how a friend of hers had her dog thrown out the car window. He was hanging out having a good time when they suddenly had to swerve their car. Their poor dog flew out and ended up getting run over by the rear tire. And, one final story, I had a dog years ago that actually jumped out the car window. Luckily, we were driving slowly down an old dirt road when Huckleberry saw some cows and jumped out to get at them. He was okay. It shocked us both. But all these incidents will never happen again because of my Breeze Guard car window screens. BTW, despite having screens on my windows to allow the breeze in, I never ever leave my dogs unattended in the car.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet but aren’t sure about the safety of pet travel products, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. A pet car harness and pet carrier have a lot more safety benefits, but every dog and every situation is different. Consider your various options and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
I’ve tried two new pet travel products recently that I would like to share with you. I purchased both of these products in anticipation of our family trip to Texas. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I, our two friends, and our two dogs took a road trip from Lawrence, Kansas to Kyle, Texas to visit my family. These two products were to help make our trip better.
Travel Calm by Earth Heart
I purchased Travel Calm from a company called Earth Heart in hopes that it would help keep my Maya from being so excitable during the trip. If you haven’t heard about how my Labrador can be in the car, watch this video of her on You Tube called “Cute Dog Whining in the Car“.
Travel Calm seemed to really work. Maya was relatively quiet the entire trip! There might have been a bit of whining at the very end of the trip when we were almost home, but that was nothing compared to her usual excited whine. Seriously, it was like the Maya in that video and the Maya on the trip to Texas were two different dogs.
I put Travel Calm on Pierson too because the product said it could help with car sickness. Pierson has been known to get sick in the car. But he didn’t get sick at all on this trip. He is good in the vehicle and always calm so it was difficult to tell if the Travel Calm helped him relax or not.
Petz on Board Sign from Extremely Boards
Because of my own delay in purchasing this product, I did not receive it in time for the trip. But I did receive it when we got back home and I did have a chance to try it. It was great! The sign attaches with suction cups. I put it on my car Wednesday, went to a coffee shop drive-through with my dogs, and left the sign on my car overnight. It never fell off but was easy to remove when I took it down the next day. The board is a thin 6″ x 6″ diamond and made of durable plastic.
And just look at the sign. It is not at all extremely boring. Extremely Boards is awesome! Maya & Pierson’s photos on the sign are perfect. You can’t see the bottom of the sign but it lists the phone numbers of emergency contacts for Maya & Pierson. Should we get into a car accident where we have to be rushed to the hospital, emergency personnel have the means to get help for Maya & Pierson too! I really love this product.
Please note, I was not compensated for these reviews in any way. These products are not available on our PetAutoSafety.com website, but I sure would like for them to be.
We like to try to use our own photos instead of the manufacturer photos for our pet auto safety products. However, the photos for these pet travel products don’t always work out for various reasons. Here is a wonderful collection for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:
For more pet photos from other great pet bloggers, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop at Blog Paws.
According to Distraction.gov, at least 18% of injury car accidents in the US in 2010 were caused by the driver being distracted. Driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is probably one of the biggest driver distractions today. But cell phones are not the only types of driver distractions. Other distractions include playing with the radio or GPS, eating, grooming, or even kids and pets.
If I were Miss Daisy, my Labrador Maya would definitely drive me crazy. You can see how excited she is about riding in the car in this video. Imagine how much worse she would be if she could move around more. But Maya can’t bother me in the car because she is wearing a pet car harness. Yes, she can still whine, but she can’t try to jump in the front seat.
If your dog drives you crazy in the car, consider both your and his safety by keeping him restrained. You can use a pet car harness like Maya or keep him in a crate that is secured with kennel straps. You can also use devices like a pet net or other type of vehicle barrier. There are several pet travel products to choose from. Find one that is right for you and your dog.
Remember, stay safe and don’t let your dog drive you crazy in the car. Don’t talk or text on your cell phone either. It is not just your life at stake. It is your pet’s, other passengers in the car with you, and other people on the road. Does your dog drive you crazy in the car? If so, what have you done or what would you like to do to help him?