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?
A comment from this past week, but posted on an article from the week before comes from Sue with Talking Dogs. On our Pros and Cons post, she mentioned how securing three dogs that need to move around was a challenge. I can definitely see how trying to secure three dogs in a dog car seat belt can be a challenge. Even though there are three slots in the back, the dogs can get tangled if they move around too much. Is there one dog who doesn’t mind not being able to move around too much? Perhaps use the middle safety belt and one latch bar from each side to secure him or her in the ClickIt Utility. The other two can wear the Bergan, which has an adjustable tether length and can allow the dogs to move around a bit more. With the really secure one in the middle, they can’t get tangled.
LAST WEEK’S FOLLOW UP FRIDAY
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog mentioned she’d like to find a way for the dogs to try a dog car seat belt on Sampson and Delilah in person. I completely understand. It can be intimidating buying some things online without being able to see it, feel it, and try it on. Read on for my response to Ducky’s mom.
Ducky’s Mom with The Golden Life asked if she could try the ClickIt Utility on a trial basis, such as a 30 day money-back guarantee. Absolutely! We have a 30 day return policy. Unless a piece is missing, such as a tether, 100% is refundable. The only thing I don’t have is a way to provide a return shipping label. Ducky’s mom also asked about the canine car harness brands available at PetSmart. I think it has the Solvit, Kurgo, and their own brand, which I’ve recently learned is actually made by the same manufacturer as Bergan. Unlike the Bergan, it is brown. But everything else is the same. Petco generally carries the Kurgo brand.
Lindsay with That Mutt commented on how my mom’s dog Solo resembles my boy Pierson. Solo came from a terrible hoarding situation. She was extremely shy and after bonding with my mom and stepdad became extremely possessive of them. She had been known to try to bite people coming to visit. But when my husband and I met her for the first time, she warmed up to both of us very quickly. My husband, who is not a big dog lover, fell in love with her. After our dog Sephi passed on and we talked about getting another dog, my husband told me he wanted a dog like Solo. So the search for Border Collies began and we eventually found Pierson, a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix.
By the way, we had a good weekend at my mom’s. My mom has recovered from lung cancer very well. My stepdad’s health is not so great though. We really worry about him.
Emma with GBGV Life said she loves her dog car seat belt. Hers is the AllSafe, by the way. And she says that her new sister Bailie is adjusting to it as well. That’s fantastic! Sometimes it can be difficult introducing a canine car harness to our furry friends. It’s best to start when they are young, but puppies don’t necessarily take to them any easier than adults. Emma also mentioned how she didn’t see her comment after she posted it. Sorry everyone, my comments are set up to go through moderation. There are a ton of methods to keep the spammers at bay and I choose the moderation one.
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets says Shiner has a canine car harness, but since she has a small car, Shiner doesn’t get to ride in the car very often. Makes sense. Shiner is a big girl and I can see how a small car could be uncomfortable for her, not to mention crowded for you.
WHY SELECT ANOTHER DOG CAR SEAT BELT BRAND
Lindsay with That Mutt said, “I think you make a good point that in most cases, any type of restraint is going to be safer than nothing.” Thanks, Lindsay! I couldn’t agree more. In fact, even though Kurgo didn’t rank as one of the best in the independent study completed by the Center for Pet Safety, they have a wonderful testimonial from a customer who said the Kurgo canine car harness saved their dog’s life.
There were a lot of compliments on this post. I love making these funny dog captions with photos of Maya & Pierson and am so glad you all liked them. Here’s an oldie but goodie:
FUNNY DOGS PREVIEW VIDEO
The preview video is finally done! Alas, I’m not quite done with the full episode yet. Enjoy this 20 second preview today, then stop by again this weekend for the first full episode, which will be about 3 minutes.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog said this about the 20 second preview video, “I love that Pierson has an Aussie accent. I can’t wait to see the whole video. How did you figure out the video editing? Honestly, I have to learn how to do that!“
I bought the movie editing software in March of this year. It has taken a lot of playing around to figure out how to use it and I still haven’t mastered all the features.
Thank you everyone for stopping by and for all your wonderful comments. And thank you Jodi and Flea for hosing the Follow Up Friday blog hop. Have a great weekend everyone!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
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.
Here is a simplified but extensive list of the pros and cons of the dog seat belts we currently have available at PetAutoSafety.com:
CLICKIT UTILITY CANINE CAR HARNESS
Pro and Con – This harness is very restrictive on your dog. This is a pro because the Center for Pet Safety has concluded that the more restricted your dog is, the safer he is likely to be in a car accident. This is a con because some dogs hate to be restricted. While the ClickIt Utility allows your dog to sit and lie down, it does not allow him to stand. And he cannot move around very easily.
* The top rated brand in regards to safety
* Three point attachment system for ultimate safety
* Padded vest
* Vest lies low on the chest to prevent choking
* Can easily be used for walking as well as riding
* Keeps your dog on the seat
* Prevents side-to-side movements, which can be beneficial in an auto accident
* Comes in three different colors
* It can’t be used for very small dogs. The extra small is actually for larger small dogs.
* It can only be used in the back seat and only if your vehicle is a 2001 model and later. These newer vehicles have latchbars located between the seat cushions and they are necessary in order to secure your dog with the ClickIt Utility harness.
* Your dog will not be able to stand up or move around while wearing this canine car harness
* Can be difficult putting it on and adjusting it for the first time
RUFF RIDER ROADIE
* The Ruff Rider Roadie is not as restrictive as the ClickIt Utility so your dog can move around a little more
* Safety rating is better than most other brands tested (except ClickIt)
* Converts easily into a walking harness
* Pleated under the front legs in order to prevent chaffing
* Available for almost every size of dog
* Your dog may be able to sit, stand, or lie down while wearing the Ruff Rider Roadie
* Can be used with a car seat belt or in the cargo area if cargo rings are present
* Pressure in a car accident goes on the dog’s chest, not is throat, so no choking
* No padded vest
* Tether adjustment is minimal
* A dog that tries to moves around a lot could get tangled. Using the longer adjustment or using the carabiner to secure your dog instead could help prevent this. But a longer tether decreases safety.
* Because it doesn’t restrict your dog as much as the ClickIt, there is risk that your dog will launch off the seat or side to side in a car accident.
* Tether is non-detachable. It can be used as a leash for walking but is not very long.
* Comes only in one color
* Pricy (not as expensive than the ClickIt but more expensive than many other brands)
BERGAN DOG SEAT BELT HARNESS
* The Bergan canine car harness has a very well padded vest
* Fits all but very small dogs
* Depending on if your vehicle has cargo rings, it may be used in the cargo area of an SUV
* Neck and chest strap is fully adjustable
* Less risk of tangling with this tether
* Tether is adjustable in length
* Affordable pricing
* The Bergan can’t easily be used as a walking harness
* The small may be too big for smaller small dogs
* Failed crash testing at extra-large size
* Padding comes a little higher up the chest. Unknown risk of choking.
* Because it doesn’t restrict your dog as much as the ClickIt, there is risk that your dog will launch off the seat or side to side in a car accident.
* Can be a challenge when putting it on and adjusting it for the first time
* Comes only in one color (mossy oak was another color but has been discontinued and only available while supplies last)
KURGO DOG SEAT BELTS
* Kurgo dog seat belts have a padded vest
* Can easily be used as a walking harness
* Walking leash can be attached at the back or the front of the chest to limit pulling
* Kurgo Go-Tech style has a low and loose neck to prevent choking
* Lots of cool colors available
* Affordable pricing
* Tru-Fit style failed at 25lb and 75lb crash testing (passed at 45lbs)
* It can only be used with the seat belt of the car. It can’t be used in the cargo area.
* Dogs that like to move around can get tangled in the tether mechanism. The direct connect tether can be purchased separately and can help prevent tangling. However, a longer tether means a decrease in safety.
* Go-Tech style neck is not adjustable
* Because it doesn’t restrict your dog as much as the ClickIt, there is risk that your dog will launch off the seat or side to side in a car accident.
GUARDIAN GEAR / CRUISING COMPANION (STANDARD)
* Very inexpensive
* Lots of cool colors and styles
* Some are padded
* No tangling or twisting with the tethers
* Can be used as a walking harness
* Not designed to hold up in a car accident. May help to keep dogs from being a distraction to the driver and may help for sudden stops, but there are no other safety features.
* Some may come up high on the neck, risking choking
* Our site has limited colors and sizes available because we are no longer keeping this dog seat belt harness brand in stock.
We hope this list is helpful. If you have any other questions or concerns about our dog seat belt harness brands, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
The study that evaluated the safety of canine car harnesses completed by the Center for Pet Safety has made it much easier for us to determine which brand really is the best. But the best may not always be the right one for you and your dog. So here are some other comparisons for you to consider when looking for the perfect way for your best friend to ride in the car. Please note, our comparison only covers dog car seat belts we currently have available at Pet Auto Safety.
Quality goes nearly hand-in-hand with safety. While most brands appear to be well made, only a couple of them held up in all three crash test weights conducted by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). So when considering quality, consider safety.
The following is a list of the dog car seat belts rating from the safest to the least effective as according to CPS:
- ClickIt Utility
- Ruff Rider Roadie
- Kurgo Tru-Fit
- Kurgo Go-Tech
- Pet Buckle
- Guardian Gear (our standard brand)
The Kurgo Go-Tech was not part of the study conducted by CPS (see their full report from CPS here). However, it is very much like the Tru-Fit in style and make. Pet Buckle failed the safety tests conducted by CPS. Guardian Gear was not tested by CPS but we know for a fact that these canine car harnesses have not been tested for safety by the manufacturer. They are primarily used to help prevent driver distractions and to help keep a dog from getting thrown around in a sudden stop or swerve.
As would be expected, the price generally reflects the quality and safety. The following brands are listed from most expensive to least expensive:
- ClickIt Utility – $90 – $100
- Ruff Rider Roadie – $43 – $55
- Pet Buckle – $28 – $55
- Bergan – $24 – $35
- Kurgo Go-Tech – $22 – $32
- Kurgo – Tru-Fit – $20 – $30
- Guardian Gear – $13 – $20
EASE OF USE
All these pet safety belt brands seem difficult to put on your dog when putting them on for the first time. Even the second and third attempt can be difficult. But once you get used to it, all of them are easy. I do think, however, with the ClickIt Utility’s three attachment points that securing your dog in the car with this brand takes slightly more effort than the others do. But it is not difficult once you get a hang of it.
HOW THEY WORK
There are three different ways to secure your dog in the car with a pet safety belt:
1. Use the safety belt of your car and run it through a loop on the harness. This method is used by the Ruff Rider Roadie, Kurgo, Pet Buckle, and is one of the three attachment points used by the ClickIt Utility. The ClickIt, however, doesn’t actually run through a loop. It runs through the harness straps itself.
2. Connect the harness tether to the latchbar located between the seat cushions of 2001 to newer vehicle models. This method can be used by the Ruff Rider Roadie with their included caribiner clip, Bergan with the caribiner clip on its tether, Pet Buckle if the Kwik-Connect tether is used, and it is the other two attachment points used by the ClickIt.
3. Connect directly to the seat belt. The Bergan brand does this by clipping the carabiner in between the webbing of the seat belt receptacle. The Kurgo brand has a direct to seat belt connector that is sold separately and buckles directly into the seat belt receptacle. The Guardian Gear brand buckles directly into the seat belt receptacle as well.
The ClickIt must use the first two connection methods. The other brands that have more than one possible connection method must use one method or the other.
- ClickIt – Adjusts at both the neck and the chest. The vest piece for the extra small and small may be too bulky for smaller dogs with narrow chests or short bodies. It measures 9 inches long and the narrowest part of the vest is 3.5 inches wide. Despite the sizing indications, the extra small and small is not intended for very small dogs.
- Ruff Rider Roadie – Adjusts at the neck and the chest for medium through extra-large sizes. The neck on the small sizes is not adjustable.
- Bergan – Adjusts at both the neck and the chest. The vest piece for the small may be too bulky for smaller dogs. The harness does not fit very small dogs. The extra-large harness is the largest of all our extra-large harness brands.
- Kurgo Tru-Fit – Adjusts at the neck and the chest.
- Kurgo Go-Tech – Adjusts at the chest only. The harness will be loose at the neck for dogs with a really narrow neck.
- Pet Buckle – Adjusts at the chest and neck. The large size can be adjusted to fit medium-sized dogs but is generally too heavy because of the buckles. Therefore, this brand is only suitable for larger small breeds, or larger medium to large breeds.
- Guardian Gear – All styles are adjustable at the chest. Some styles may or may not be adjustable at the neck.
Dog car seat belts we did not consider in our comparison but rated well in safety according to CPS include the Allsafe and RC Pet. Allsafe did as well as the Ruff Rider Roadie and RC Pet rated as well as the Bergan. We did not include these brands in our comparison because we have no experience with them.
The report from the Center for Pet Safety regarding the safety of pet car harnesses is finally out. The news is good in some ways but not so good in others. Before we give a brief summary of the report, let us remind you that injury to a dog in a car accident is much more likely if they are not harnessed at all. So even though a dog seat belt may have failed the Center for Pet Safety’s standards, something is better than nothing. See our post about what if a dog isn’t restrained in the car.
ClickIt Utility is the Top Performing Dog Seat Belt
The good news is that the ClickIt Utiltiy dog seat belt from Sleepypod is the top performer! It consistently passed all tests for all sizes, kept your dog in the seat, and restricted side-to-side movement. We recently acquired this brand and it is currently available on our retail site, free shipping.
These next two brands did not fail, but they didn’t do as well as the ClickIt Utility: Allsafe and Ruff Rider. We have Ruff Rider Roadie available on our site, but not Allsafe.
These next brands failed in some ways, but not all:
- The Canine Friendly from RC Pet failed at the 75lb level for larger dogs.
- Bergan failed at the 75lb level for larger dogs.
- The Kurgo Tru-Fit failed at the 25lb and 75lb level but did well for the 45lb level for medium sized dogs.
We have the Bergan and Kurgo brands on our retail site. If the ClickIt Utility and Ruff Rider is a bit out of one’s price range, we suggest the Bergan for small dogs, and the Bergan or Kurgo for medium dogs. I believe Kurgo has just released a new dog seat belt for larger dogs. It is available on Kurgo’s site only at this time.
Pet Buckle failed at all sizes. They have also opted out of test attendance with the Center for Pet Safety. We will be discontinuing this brand.
These brands, which we do not sell, did not make it to the crash test level. The Center for Pet Safety determined their quality was not adequate enough to pass any crash test: Champion from USA Canine Outfitters, Clix from In the Company of Animals, EZ-Rider from Coastal, and the Pet Safety Harness and Adapter from Snoozer.
For more detailed information, check out the full report from the Center for Pet Safety.
Since the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt is a brand new product, I do not feel that our company made a bad decision in the products we elected to sell. The only one of our products that claimed crash testing and completely failed was the Pet Buckle. When we first started selling Pet Buckle, it was the only brand which used metal buckles. It was innovative at the time. When new companies started arising we added them to our inventory but didn’t stop Pet Buckle. After all, Pet Buckle and the newer brands all made the same pet safety claims.
We’re glad we took up the Ruff Rider brand. And we still like the Bergan and Kurgo brands even though they did not hold up as well as the others. Not everyone is going to be able to afford the nearly $100 price of the ClickIt Utiltiy. Since something is still better than nothing, we will continue to sell the Bergan and Kurgo. However, we will be adding a disclosure regarding the Center for Pet Safety’s report on our site over the next few days.
Follow up from Pet Safety Saturday’s post on Why My Dog Wears a Pet Car Harness:
I was in a rear end collision last Thursday. My dog Maya was with me. I was really sore the following Friday and Saturday but felt much better on Sunday and was 100% better by Monday. Maya seemed not to have been affected at all. She and Pierson were playing as normal on Friday and she has been just as rambunctious on her walks. The auto repair shop told me it is not just the rear bumper that was damaged on my car, but the frame as well. They also told me the cost to repair my car is likely more than my car is worth. So instead of getting my car repaired, I will most likely only receive a 2k check from the other insurance company. My car is a 1998 Ford Contour and doubtedly not worth more than 2k. Makes me wish I had a Toyota instead.
Follow up on questions received on the blog this week:
Jodi from Heart Like a Dog asks, “How frequently should you stop when driving with dogs? You should you keep to your regular feeding schedule? Typically our thought is we stop to let them eat and then when we stop for gas or to use the rest areas, they get a quick walk too.”
That’s a great question, Jodi. When we took a long road trip to Texas with Maya & Pierson we stopped every couple of hours or so. This coincided with the stops we made to get gas, at rest stops for our own potty breaks, and stops we made for food. I would start out with this as your plan. But watch their behavior. If they are generally quiet on the ride but suddenly get restless, it may mean that they need a break. Also, more active dogs may need more frequent stops.
For feeding, it really depends on how your dogs handle car rides. Do you know if they tend to get car sick? Pierson tends to get car sick so I gave him several small meals instead of his normal two big meals.
Hawk, Brown Dog CBR says, “Buying a seat belt really perplexed my Human. I ate one. She bought a different brand and I chewed the seat belt. I prefer my crate but it’s too big to go in the sedan. Now she’s talkin’ about gettin’ a different strap attachment that is longer. Do you think she thinks I won’t find a way to outsmart the dang thing? (smirk)”
LOL! Chewing through harnesses is a common problem. We usually provide a tip sheet for people who buy a pet car harness in order to give some ideas on how to keep a dog from chewing through or escaping from it. One tip is training the dog to get used to the harness. This can take time. A short-term solution is to use a no-chew spray on the harness. And your idea of a longer strap is a good one too. Here’s a link to an article we wrote on the subject a couple years ago – Tips to Keep Your Dog from Chewing on His Dog Car Harness.
Just so you know, there is no such thing as a safe chew-proof or escape-proof pet car harness. The only chew-proof material I can think of is Kong material or metal. I can’t imagine metal being safe. I don’t know how safe a hard rubber one would be. One hasn’t been invented or tested yet, as far as I know. Escape-proof is difficult as well. Imagine if the harness is too tight. This would be uncomfortable for the dog and the dog would be even more likely to try to get out of it if he is uncomfortable. And if he did try to get out of a pet car harness that is too tight, he will be more likely to hurt himself.
Follow up on questions received by telephone or email this week:
Sarah asked whether I like the Kurgo or the Bergan brand pet car harness the best. This is a very common question and it is difficult to answer. I like both of them for different reasons. I like how the Bergan fits Pierson. He has a small frame and both the neck and the chest straps are fully adjustable. I also like the Bergan’s tether for Maya because she likes to move around a lot. I like how the Kurgo fits Maya. The large size is like it was made just for a Lab. But I don’t like the Kurgo tether for Maya. It works well on Pierson and I like how it is shorter and safer for him. But the Kurgo looped tether just won’t work for Maya.
If someone asks how I like the Ruff Rider Roadie, I honestly haven’t tried it on Maya and Pierson yet. I really like how padded the Bergan and Kurgo is. The Ruff Rider isn’t. But the quality if the Ruff Rider Roadie is obvious. It has a lot of features that the Kurgo and Bergan don’t seem to have. It is pleated under the dog’s legs so that it doesn’t cause irritation. The strap can be made short or long. And the strap can be used with the seat belt of the car as well as in the cargo area of the SUV (The Bergan tether can too).
Follow up on southern Florida as a pet friendly travel destination:
Gizmo from Terrier Torrent loves Florida and says his favorite part is the Jupiter dog beach. Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews has only experience central Florida and was not at all impressed. She says central Florida was not at all dog friendly. Pamela with Something Wagging This Way Comes says that she’s had luck finding dog friendly tours up north, but not dog friendly sailing tours. That’s too bad because I’m sure her dog Sunny would love to go.
Do you have any pet travel safety questions? What about a favorite pet friendly travel destination? Feel free to chime in on the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We didn’t have many pet travel safety questions this past week. Our dog blog is more of an informational blog and doesn’t inspire a lot of comments. We do have a lot of readers, though. And our readers generally prefer to ask their questions by email or phone.
Which Size Dog Safety Belt Should I Get?
An important question that came up and comes up often is, how do you know what size of dog safety belt to get? This is not always easy since each manufacturer determines its own size standards. Take the recent review on the Kurgo Go-Tech pet seat belt. The medium size should fit most dogs between 25 and 50 pounds, but there are so many different shapes and sizes of dogs within this range that it is impossible for this size to fit them all. Consider a Bulldog, and then consider a Whippet. Both could fit within Kurgo’s medium weight range. But the neck of a Whippet is so small and narrow while the Bulldog’s is thick. I doubt the medium Kurgo Go-Tech would fit the Whippet while it might fit the Bulldog perfectly.
The medium Kurgo Tru-Fit style, on the other hand, might fit both dogs since the neck size is adjustable. The Ruff Rider Roadie also has an adjustable neck size (except smaller sizes). For both the Kurgo and the Ruff Rider Roadie, the most important size measurement is the girth size. The girth size is the measurement around your dog’s chest just behind the front legs. See how to measure your dog’s girth (chest) below.
The Bergan dog safety belt is the most flexible when it comes to sizing. Both the neck and the chest sizes are fully adjustable. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Italian Greyhound or a Mastiff. It is the weight of the dog that is most important. However, the small Bergan may be too big for really tiny dogs like Chihuahuas. And while the extra-large Bergan is the largest of all the extra-large size brands we have, it still may be too small for really big dogs with a chest (girth) size greater than 50 inches around.
Pros and Cons of Each Brand of Seat Belts for Dogs
Gizmo from Terrier Torrent commented about a recent review we posted on the new Kurgo Go-Tech harness. He liked how the review listed both the pros and the cons. We like it to. What works for me and my dogs may not work for you and yours. There are a lot of factors to consider. Check out our post from February 16th, 2013 where we attempt to list the pros and cons of our four most popular brands – Compare Pet Seat Belt Brands. This post does not yet include the Kurgo Go-Tech since this is a brand new style.
Help us out for the next Follow Up Friday by asking more questions about pet travel safety. Don’t just ask about seat belts for dogs. Ask about other products. And ask us some general pet travel questions too. We’d love to help. And we will give you the pros as well as the cons.
Thank you, Heart Like a Dog, for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop!
Surprisingly, we didn’t have too many questions on pet travel safety during these past couple of weeks. Everyone must be out having some great summer fun. I know we are!
We did have two great questions, though:
1. “Does my dog have to sit down when he wears it?” Kathy asked us this question when she called us last week. And she is referring to the dog seat belts. The answer is no. Your dog can also lie down while wearing it. Depending on the length of the tether, your dog can also stand up while wearing it. My Maya is almost always standing when she wears her pet car harness.
I should also inform you that the Center for Pet Safety has determined that the shorter the tether, the better. A long tether means your dog will get tossed around more in an emergency car maneuver or car accident. I try to keep Maya’s tether as short as possible, but she is the kind of dog that can’t sit still. I have to balance her safety with her comfort, so I keep her tether a little longer than I keep Pierson’s.
2. “Do you ship outside the US?” Sorry, but generally no. There are three main reasons for this. First, our website is not set up to charge the extra fees involved in shipping outside the US. Even some places in Canada can cost twice as much to ship. The second reason is because of import fees. Import fees are what you pay to your country’s customs before you can pick up the package. This makes the over-all cost for the products much more expensive. The third reason we don’t ship outside the US is because it is difficult to honor the return policy. Since international shipping fees can be high and the paperwork sometimes complicated, it makes it difficult for someone to return a product. And our return policy states that any returns for reasons other than a product defect do not get refunded for shipping.
I do have a contact in the UK for the Bergan pet car harness brand. Her name is Joanne and she is the owner of FleeceDogHarnesses.co.uk. Joanne and I have been supporting each other’s businesses for years. In fact, she was the one who first informed me of the Bergan dog seat belts! And if you go check out her site, you will find pictures of my dogs Sephi and Maya at the very top.
Do you have any questions about pet travel safety? Please comment on this blog, comment on our Facebook page, or email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
This post is part of the Follow Up Friday blog hop hosted by Heart Like a Dog. Please check out some other great dog bloggers below:
Are Dog Car Harnesses Really Safe?
Some of you may have seen the news about the crash test failure of seat belts for dogs. This test was a pilot test completed in 2011 by a nonprofit organization called the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). While the initial pilot test reveals some frightening results, you will be glad to know that a lot of wonderful things have happened and are happening as a result of the test completed by this great organization.
More on the 2011 Dog Seat Belt Pilot Test
This is the test that is making all the headlines and causing a lot of people question whether a seat belt for their dog is really a good idea. Let me make four quick points about this test before moving on to the wonderful news.
1. The pilot test only included four out of dozens of pet safety restraint brands. And CPS does not disclose what those brands were. The results of only four brands should not be applied to all brands.
2. The result of this pilot test has spurred a number of companies to make improvements on their seat belts for dogs.
3. Having your dog wear a pet safety belt still prevents driver distractions.
4. Since there is no standard for testing, reputable manufacturers have done their best to test with the current knowledge and resources available to them.
You can read more on our website at http://www.petautosafety.com/Are-Dog-Car-Harnesses-Safe.
Manufacturers of Dog Car Harnesses Make Improvements
***The following four companies are from the brands that we sell. These do not represent the four brands conducted by CPS in their pilot test.
Kurgo – Shortly after this study was published, Kurgo came out with new dog car harnesses with steel buckles instead of plastic. We also know, from speaking with the Kurgo company directly, that they are working closely with CPS. They not only give them their products for further testing, but they also consult with them on ways to make their products better. Having sold Kurgo products for some time, I know Kurgo is a very innovative company that is greatly concerned about quality. After all, they do have a lifetime guarantee on all their products.
Bergan – Bergan is another brand we sell, so we have also spoken with them about CPS. They met with them earlier this month and are excited about what CPS is doing. They, too, will be paying close attention to what this organization finds in their continued studies, and are open to making any improvements based on study results, if indeed improvements are needed.
Ruff Rider Roadie – Another great product we sell, Ruff Rider has recently published a video showing how their seat belts for dogs have passed the preliminary tests conducted by CPS. View it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7QflhiutYX8.
Pet Buckle – This company has long since been supported by another nonprofit organization, Bark BuckleUP (Ruff Rider has too). I called them and left a message for someone to call me back, but they have not returned my call yet.
It is our understanding that many companies are voluntarily working with CPS, not just the four listed above.
We have been keeping tabs on the Center for Pet Safety since before they released their initial pilot test results. From both a business standpoint and a personal view, we have been both frightened by and excited about what this nonprofit organization is doing. We were worried about the quality of products we sold, but we were also happy to see there is finally an organization that will make it easier for us to determine what safety standards are best for our furry friends. Knowing that Bergan, Kurgo, and Ruff Rider are working with CPS makes us very happy and we worry no more.
As both a business and a consumer, we are in full support of the Center for Pet Safety. We will continue to keep tabs on what this nonprofit organization is doing. Be assured that whatever the results are, we will react in a way that benefits you and your pet the most. After all, our dogs wear dog car harnesses too and we want nothing but the best for them.