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?
Pierson has actually been using the Ruff Rider Roadie for some time. He actually has several dog car harness brands to choose from, but I’ve been using the Roadie almost exclusively since that report from the Center for Pet Safety came out in October 2013. Besides safety, there are a lot of other reasons why I love this brand. So let me share them with you, along with some opposing features.
The Center for Pet Safety did an independent crash test study of various dog seat belt brands in October 2013, and I’m happy to say that the Roadie did very well. They determined the ClickIt Utility to be the safest and the Roadie and the AllSafe followed 2nd. This information makes me feel better about my boy Pierson’s safety.
One thing about the safest ClickIt Utility brand is that it is also the most restrictive. You dog can’t stand up in it and will have a difficult time moving from the sitting to the laying down position. This restriction is a good thing in safety, but let’s face it, many dogs do not like to be that restricted. One great thing about the Ruff Rider Roadie is that it can allow your dog a little more freedom to move. Its tether has two setting, one that makes the tether very short and one that makes it a little longer. With the longer option, your dog can sit, stand, and lay down with ease. Pierson is good about staying in one place in the car, so I generally use the shorter tether option.
MADE IN USA
Nope, the ClickIt Utility is not made in the USA. Neither is the AllSafe. But the Ruff Rider Roadie dog seat belt is made right here in the United States. And it has been around and continuously improving for 15 years.
FITS ALL SIZES
Pierson is a medium sized dog, so he doesn’t have a problem in sizing. But you should know the ClickIt and the AllSafe are not made to fit very small dogs. The Roadie, on the other hand, does fit little pets.
The Roadie pet car harness is very well made. The material is a very strong webbing, yet not bulky. The size adjusting buckle is plastic, but this buckle is not part of what keeps the harness on your dog. If it breaks, your dog will still be in his harness.
The Roadie does not have a padded chest piece like the ClickIt or AllSafe. But the cross piece is designed to lie low on your dog’s chest so that it doesn’t choke him. Pierson likes it because it’s comfortable without being bulky.
Because the Ruff Rider Roadie pet seat belt isn’t put on with clasps, it can be a bit difficult to put on. Luckily, my Pierson is very cooperative. He’s been wearing dog car harnesses since the day I got him, so he allows me to slip the Roadie on and put each of his legs in the leg holes. If you have a dog that doesn’t hold still well or is likely to resist, then you may have a challenge in putting this one on.
Because the Roadie doesn’t have clasps and because it has to be adjusted loose enough to put on your dog, it fits a little loose. This is actually a good thing. You don’t want a harness that is too tight. If you have a dog that keeps trying to get out of his dog seat belt, a tighter fit is not going to stop him from trying. The tighter it is, the more likely he is to hurt himself when he tries to get out of it. With training, a dog is more likely to get used to a loosely comfortable harness than a tight fitting one.
The Ruff Rider Roadie has seven different sizes. This makes it a bit difficult in determining which size to get your dog. At the same time, because it has so many different sizes, it is likely to fit many more dog breeds than other brands.
When shopping for the right pet car harness for you and your dog, look at safety, but also be aware of the possible cons. The Ruff Rider Roadie is almost perfect because it has such a high safety rating yet only a few cons. It is also very competitively priced. I love the Roadie. And although Pierson is not thrilled with the process of me putting it on him, he is very comfortable in it once it is on.
If you’ve been watching us on Facebook, then perhaps you are aware that we are giving away a dog seat belt in the month of February. The contest is being held on PetsPage.com and it ends February 28th, so there is still time. You can win any brand of dog seat belt we carry including the Kurgo Tru-Fit or Go-Tech, the Bergan, a Ruff Rider Roadie, or even the ClickIt Utility. But the best part is, there are a lot of other businesses giving away prizes as well. You can win a dog collar, pet clothing, toys, beds, books, treats, and even free dog training lessons!
So please go visit PetsPage.com now and enter to win!
What’s a bark and what’s a byte? In regards to this blog hop, I’m not entirely sure. So I’m going to say the barks are from the comments shared. Don’t worry, they’re happy barks! 🙂 And the bytes are my little tidbits. The Barks and Bytes blog hop is hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs. (You know, if you put all the dogs from these two blogs together, there are actually five! Sampson, though, is probably more tan, but tan is a shade of brown, right?)
LAST MONTH BARKS AND BYTES
Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews said, “Pawsome! One thought on the towel over the carrier – really know your dog. Our first dog would have pulled in a towel and chewed it to bits. But it’s great for anxious dogs!”
So true! Know your dog for any product. If you’re going to buy the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt because you’ve heard it’s the safest, it is important that you know it is safest because it is the most restrictive. If your dog doesn’t like the restriction, he might chew through the straps or hurt himself trying to escape from it. So another brand might be best.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog asked if we’ve ever done a comparison of all the dog car harnesses. We’ve done one for the brands we sell. These brands include many of the top products, but not all the top products. It would be unfair for me to tell you about the AllSafe, for example, since I’ve never had the opportunity to use it. We’ve also done a post about the pros and the cons of our dog seat belt brands.
THE BEST IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST FOR YOU
Lindsay with That Mutt says, “Ace is very calm in the car and likes to sit and lie down. He doesn’t move around much. However, he does stand up sometimes, like when he watches me get out of the car. Do you think the ClickIt Utility would be OK for him? Or do you think I should consider something else since he occasionally stands? I’m thinking he could learn to not stand. He’s not a chewer.”
If he only occasionally stands, I’d say the ClickIt Utility would be great for Ace. Look at the measurements, though. I’m not sure if Ace is too big and the ClickIts do not currently come in extra-large.
Pamela with Something Wagging made a wonderful comment, “It is a balancing act between safety and comfort. In the end, everything is a compromise. Because if we wanted to be absolutely safe, we wouldn’t drive at all. :)”
So so true! You definitely seem to have the right of it, Pamela. 🙂
MY PERSONAL FAVORITES
Pamela also said, “I’m also a big Kurgo fan. Although I wish their products were made in the U.S. I just got Honey’s new life jacket from Kurgo and I wish it was summer already so we could try it out.”
I just got some Kurgo life jackets too! One is going to go to Maya. But I plan on selling them too. It is just a matter of building that outdoor dog gear website I talked about as one of my projects to do this year. At least I have the part about finding the right products done.
I do believe it is important to support your local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. As such, the Ruff Rider Roadie dog car harnesses are made right here in the USA. And they are great products as well. Earth Heart, the company that makes the Travel Calm, also has their products made here in the USA. And I believe that most of Snoozer’s products are also made here in the USA.
Although… I did take an economics course recently that really helped me see things at a different angle. Yes, Kurgo may have their products made overseas but Kurgo is an American company. Kurgo pays their American employees a decent wage… a wage they can afford to give them because they save money by having products made overseas. And a savings they pass on to you by making their products more affordable.
If you’re concerned about the quality of products made overseas, don’t be. Products manufactured overseas no longer have to be compromised in quality. Kurgo products are top-of-the-line and they have a great manufacturer who is just as dedicated to quality.
Another economic trade off, besides saving money on products, is that other countries are hiring American companies for our marketing, managing, and product development skills. Instead of working on an assembly line to make products, we can spend our time inventing products. We can strive for higher paying jobs in the corporate world as managers, sales reps, marketing specialists, and in advertising. Plus, our entertainment industry is HUGE. We are artistic and creative and other countries will pay us money for what we have.
Wow, that was an awful big byte, wasn’t it? Please forgive me if I sound like I’m taking sides one way or the other. I’m not. Realistically, I’d only have a handful of products on my site if I chose to only sell ones made in America. And While I might prefer to buy American made too (especially pet food and treats), I can’t forget it was probably American ingenuity that invented many of these pet travel products to begin with and American companies that built their brands up on American soil.
That’s all for now. If I didn’t scare you off with my economics education course, please come back and visit again! 🙂
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
Welcome to another edition of Barks and Bytes where we share comments and questions from other pet lovers about car travel and where we review the events of the week. The Barks and Bytes blog hop is hosted by our friends at Heart Like a Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs.
LAST WEEK BARKS
Carol with Fidose of Reality left a very nice comment, “I want to thank you for having a blog where safety and traveling with dogs is combined into one.”
Thank you, Carol! I know you’re a fan of pet safety in the car. I’ve seen photos of Dexter wearing his dog car harness. 🙂 I’d love to share one of those photos here and on our Facebook and G+ pages. Let me know!
BARKS FROM PETS THAT DON’T LIKE TO RIDE IN THE CAR
Lindsay with That Mutt had a good idea about helping cats ride well in the car, “put him in his carrier and put a towel over it and that has helped calm him down.”
Great idea, Lindsay! Sometimes pets need to look out the window in order to help with motion sickness. But if the issue is anxiety, having them ride in a carrier and covering it with a towel can be very helpful.
Tegan with Leema Kennels Rescue and Blogsaid, “You can also try feeding ginger 30 minutes before travel for travel sickness.”
You’re so smart, Tegan! How much ginger would you say? By the way, ginger is one of the primary ingredients of Travel Calm. Travel Calm is not available everywhere, though. Tegan is in Australia.
Jody with Bark and Swagger said, “Sophie doesn’t line riding in the car, but I think it’s because she took a long journey as a young puppy to get home to us. It was probably scary.”
I agree. Riding in the car for such a long trip probably was scary. All that movement of stopping, turning, and speeding up can be really hard on a puppy tummy. Then there are also the strange sights and smells whizzing by. Poor Sophie. I hope she comes to enjoy car rides someday.
I had a wonderful conversation through Facebook with someone regarding dog seat belts. She said a friend of hers bought the ClickIt dog seat belt and was not happy with how complicated it was to use. She said the same regarding the AllSafe. Although these two brands are very good for safety, ease of use is another important factor to consider when shopping for the right dog seat belt. Your dog’s comfort is another thing to take into account.
So what dog seat belt combines comfort, ease of use, AND safety? My personal first choice is the Bergan brand. Although, a small handful of people have said it is complicated too. I think it is the very first time you put it on. But once you get it fitted and put it on a few times, it is very simple. Bergan has made a great video to help you through the steps.
You may remember from the report from the Center for Pet Safety, though, that the Bergan brand failed using the 75 pound dog dummy. After speaking with Bergan, they have promised a new version in the large size will be coming out soon. In the meantime, the Ruff Rider Roadie is another great brand. It passed testing at all sizes. It is one of my favorites too, but I do like the padding of the Bergan better.
I have an interview for a radio show today. The interview won’t air until March, so I will keep you posted. It’s hosted by Karen from PetsPage.com and will play on the pet news segment on Kim Power Stilson’s Talk Radio show on SiriusXM. It’s a simple interview, but I’m both excited and scared at the same time!
WAG N GO
There is only a little bit more time and more £ to go to help out Trina with her new product. Please go check out the Wag N Go on Kickstarter.
QUICK DOG SAFETY TIP
Front passenger side airbags are not safe for pets. If your dog likes to sit in the front seat, check your vehicle specifications to see how much weight will trigger the airbags. Some airbags will only go off if the seat has a certain amount of weight in it. Others will go off regardless of weight. If this is the case, see if the passenger side airbag can be temporarily disabled. And if not, push the seat as far back as possible while your dog is sitting in it.
Generally, we recommend pets sit in the back. But I understand how a dog may want to sit in the front. That would be Maya’s first choice. But Maya would be too much of a distraction. So if your dog needs to sit in the front, don’t let him be a distraction and make sure he is not in danger of the passenger side airbags.
Thank you for visiting us today on the Barks and Bytes. Please feel free to leave us a comment or question below. We will reply with a comment of our own and address it in next week’s Barks and Bytes. If you have a question that you want to ask privately or if you need your question answered right away, please feel free to email us at nature by dawn at aol dot com (spelled out in order to avoid recognition from spam bots).
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
From a business perspective, 2013 has been a pretty good year for us. There have been some ups and downs, but overall it has been great. 🙂
* 2013 started off with the Subaru campaign. It was great fun seeing those cute Subaru dog commercials. The one below is my alltime favorite. And there were some cool prizes given out. This was the first time we had ever done such a campaign. We wouldn’t mind doing more in the future, so long as it is for a dog product we feel is noteworthy.
* We updated the look on our retail site. Pet Auto Safety.com. Our web host did an upgrade forcing us to change our theme, but it really needed a new look anyway. Many aspects of our retail site became much easier when the upgrade took place.
* In July, I was in a minor car accident with my dog Maya. Fortunately, she was wearing her Go-Tech dog car harness and was not hurt at all.
* In August, I had an interview with the Radio Pet Lady. It went well, although I was pretty nervous. Be sure to go take a listen by clicking the red text. 🙂
* We only did a few pet events this year, all small and local. There were two Mutt Mixer events held at the Lawrence Humane Society. We also attended Responsible Pet Owner’s Day held at Crystal K9 in Lawrence. And we attended the Dogtoberfest event held at South Park in Lawrence. My dog Maya was attended all events to demonstrate her dog car harness. Pierson couldn’t go because he doesn’t like other dogs.
* I started a pet travel destination series on this blog that didn’t work out. I also did a pet safety Saturday theme. I haven’t done this lately, but I do plan on doing more posts about pet safety in general – not just car safety.
* I’ve made quite a few funny dog memes in 2013. Making captions for the cute looks Maya and Pierson give is great fun.
* We discontinued a few products in 2013. Sadly, the T-Flex pet auto barrier was discontinued by the manufacturer. We’re not sure why because we loved the T-Flex. We also discontinued the Pet Buckle canine seat belt. It was an innovative product when it first came out because it was the only one we knew of that used metal buckles. But other brands have since come out that have been determined to be much safer.
* With that being said, we added several new products in 2013. For seat belts, we added the Ruff Rider Roadie and the ClickIt Utility. Both of these were the top rated in safety during a recent independent study (more on that below). We also added some new Kurgo products, such as the Go-Tech harnesses, the Kurgo towels, and the Kurgo direct connect tether for seat belts. And two new products were added to help dogs who have anxiety when they ride in the car – the Thundershirt for dogs and cats and pet calming tablets from Total Pet Health. And let’s not forget the K9 Car Fence!
* The long awaited report on the crashworthiness of various canine seat belt brands came out in October 2013. The results of this study were a lot more promising than their previous report. The ClickIt Utility was number one, followed by the Ruff Rider Roadie and AllSafe. Bergan did pretty good, too.
* We finally finished our first funny dog video of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. It was quite a learning curve trying to figure out how to use movie editing software. But I had fun doing it and am happy with the resulting videos.
* We had several people share photos of their dogs with us. These guys and gals are all pretty adorable, aren’t they?
Thanks for taking the time to review our 2013 year! Stop by tomorrow to see what our 2014 plans are for Pet Auto Safety.com. 🙂
Welcome to the first Follow Up Friday of 2014, hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. I hope you all enjoyed the end of 2013. 🙂 Ours was quite adventurous. Let me do a quick recap.
On our road trip from Kansas to Texas, Motel 6 saved us from having to traverse a dangerous ice storm in Oklahoma.
Sue with Talking Dogs said, “We got hit hard with that same ice storm and I can’t imagine being out on the road!” and “We’ve stayed at Motel 6 when we’ve traveled with our dogs and have always found the rooms to be simple, but clean (and not smelly).”
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets said, “That is so awesome! I too have certain images of Motel 6 in my head. It’s probably all about location and age of a motel too.”
It must be true because Jodi with Heart Like a dog said, “We stayed at one in St. Louis and it smelled musty.”
Even if our room happened to smell musty, I’m still grateful for Motel 6. Our room was under $60 and we had a safe place to stay. I feel bad for Sharon with G8 Canine Dogs. She says, “Here in the UK it is impossible to find motels etc that are pet friendly. Glad you made it safely with your dogs.” That’s awful, Sharon. I always thought the UK was ahead of us in regards to being pet friendly.
WINTER ROAD TRIP
A lot of comments on this post were about how cute Maya and Pierson are when they cuddle. Sephi and Maya did not cuddle. Sephi hated to be cuddled with. She was probably much like Delilah and Sampson from Heart Like a dog. Jodi said, “Sampson and Delilah do not cuddle with each other. In fact, one of them usually growls if the other touches them while their sleeping.” Silly! That’s definitely not Maya and Pierson. They are quite the pair. Here are more cuddle puppy photos.
This is just a quick recap. I will do a more detailed one later this month. Pierson had two seizures in 2013. The last one was in May so these seem to be just isolated incidents. Thank Goodness!
I got into a car accident in 2013 with Maya in the car. She was wearing her dog seat belt, of course. The accident was fairly minor, but it caused my car to be considered totaled. I managed to get it repaired, but I felt better about taking our road trip to Texas this holiday in my husband’s car.
The long awaited crash test results for dog seat belts came out in 2013. I was disappointed about Kurgo, but glad we had decided to start selling the Ruff Rider Roadie. We also began selling the safest dog seat belt brand – the ClickIt Utility. It has been consistently sold out and the manufacturer won’t have any more until mid to late January!
I finally finished making a video of Maya and Pierson in the car. This was the first episode and I plan on doing another one very soon.
I’m happy about all our new followers in 2013. Our commenters, subscribers, likes, followers, circles, etc. seem to have doubled this year. And it is all thanks to you!
Vizify made a great video year-end recap regarding Twitter followers.
Thank you everyone, for joining me on the first Follow Up Friday of 2014. I hope you all have a very wonderful 2014!!!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
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.