I’m working on a fun project where I need to take a lot of photos of my dogs in the car while wearing their dog seat belt harnesses. I’ve added a caption to two of Maya’s photos. Is she cute, or what?
Can you think of any more funny captions that would go along with Maya or Pierson riding in the car?
In an independent crash test study completed by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013, the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt from Sleepypod was rated as the safest brand out of eleven popular brands. Indeed, upon using the ClickIt Utlity for ourselves, we found it secured our dogs very well. But there were a few inconvenient issues that make people turn away from it. And so, Sleepypod redesigned a better harness called the ClickIt Sport.
The issues with the ClickIt Utility aren’t safety issues, but issues with use. For one, the measuring method is not as simple as with other brands and people were often confused about what to measure. The ClickIt Sport dog car harness has a much easier measuring method. All one has to do is measure around the barrel of the dog’s chest behind the front legs.
The ClickIt Utility is also difficult to adjust for size. Despite Sleepypod’s videos, many people had a hard time getting the harness to fit their dog properly. The ClickIt Sport is much easier to adjust so it can fit perfectly without much trouble.
PUTTING IT ON
Relatively speaking, putting on the ClickIt Utility harness is about the same as putting on any other dog car harness. You basically have to put the harness over your dog’s head and then physically put his front legs through the openings. Some dogs are less than cooperative. The ClickIt Sport is a little easier. Have your dog sit, put the harness under him with his front feet in the leg spaces, then pull it up and buckle it.
SECURING IN THE CAR
A dog wearing the ClickIt Utility has to be secured in three different places in the car. Firstly, the seat belt of the car goes through the back. Then two side straps are connected to the baby seat latch bars. So if someone’s car doesn’t have the latch bars, then they can’t use this car harness. Trying to secure a dog at all three points is difficult and frustrating for some. With the ClickIt Sport, all you have to do is put the seat belt of the car through the back. There are no side straps.
Nothing has changed regarding safety. The ClickIt Sport has passed all the same tests as the ClickIt Utility and has received a CPS Certification authenticating its safety.
If you’re looking for a dog seat belt and are put off by some of the negative reviews about the ClickIt Utility, consider the new ClickIt Sport instead. It’s just as safe, but much easier to use. It is still very restrictive, but this is what makes it so safe.
More and more people are traveling with their pets and thinking of their safety. And as such, 2014 was a great year for new (or new to us) and innovative pet travel products. My dogs Maya and Pierson got to try out a few of them.
Pet Dek – We used the Kurgo Backseat Bridge for years and loved it. But then something better came along. The Pet Dek is flatter and much sturdier.
Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat – Shortly after we got the Pet Dek, a company contacted us about their new seat extender, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Although I love the Pet Dek, I love the Flat Seat more! I think Maya and Pierson do too.
Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter – My dogs Maya and Pierson are too big to try out the Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter, but I love the concept. It’s a great way for smaller dogs to ride in the back seat of the car or in the cargo area of the SUV. The Car-Go can even be used in the home.
Allsafe Dog Car Harness– This is not a new product. It has been around in Europe for years. The AllSafe dog car harness is German engineered and has been crash tested both in Europe and the US. Its quality is phenomenal and I absolutely love it. It looks great on my Maya.
Variocage – This is another German engineered and crash tested product. It has been so well designed and so thoroughly crash tested that no other product on the market can come close to its quality. I don’t have an SUV so I haven’t been able to try the Variocage, but I really want to someday.
ClickIt Sport Dog Seat Belt – Remember the ClickIt Utility? It was rated as the #1 safest dog seat belt by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013. It is still #1 today. But it can be a little difficult to adjust and to use so Sleepypod improved it. The ClickIt Sport came out in December 2014. Doesn’t my dog Pierson look great in it?
These products look great, don’t they? I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer in regards to pet travel safety. Happy New Year!
We’re still here and ready to do some more blogging! It’s been an interesting year, for both Pet Auto Safety and for me personally. Let’s talk about Pet Auto Safety first, then I will explain why I haven’t been blogging for a while.
At the beginning of 2014, I told you some of our goals. Let’s see how we did:
More Funny Videos – Maya and Pierson starred in a cute video in 2013. We vowed to make more in 2014. However, we just made one (below). But we also made a couple of pet travel product videos. And we plan on making more videos, funny or otherwise, in the future. See these and other videos of my dogs at www.YouTube.com/naturebydawn.
More Pet Travel Articles – 2014 was a decent year for our article writing. We wrote several articles and also hired a good free-lance writer. The word about pet auto safety is getting gout there, but we need to write and publish many more articles in 2015. And we’d like to publish them in places other than our own websites. So if you know of a blog or magazine who would like to publish an article about dogs riding safe in the car, let us know.
WIPIN – Women in the Pet Industry Network – Thanks to a friend, I became a member of WIPIN in 2014. It is a great place to connect with other pet lovers and share business ideas. However, due to personal life circumstances, I did not take advantage of everything this group had to offer. I am not sure whether I will renew my membership in 2015.
Inc. to LLC – In 2014, we successfully changed the company from a corporation to an LLC. This change made some administration processes easier and I’m glad we did it.
Outdoor Dog Gear – We did not create a new website for outdoor dog gear, but we did set up a new page on Pet Auto Safety for outdoor dog gear. After all, dogs who ride in cars are usually going somewhere. And if they are going hiking or swimming, they can get some supplies from us.
AllSafe Dog Car Harness – We have been wanting the AllSafe dog seat belts for some time, but had difficulty acquiring them. Luckily, the opportunity finally came a few months ago. We now have the AllSafe brand and I couldn’t be happier.
Some of our other new products in 2014 include the Car-Go pop-up shelter, Portable Pet Flat Seat, the Variocages, and the ClickIt Sport.
Pet Auto Safety Infographic – We never did implement our idea to create an infographic. Whether or not we will do so in 2015 is still being debated.
As you can see, 2014 was a success for us in many ways. If we fell short in some areas, it was because of some personal events. If you’ve kept up with this blog and if you also follow me on my American Dog Blog, then you have some idea of what’s been going on.
In mid-2014, my husband transferred to another job in Des Moines, Iowa. Things were in upheaval for Pet Auto Safety as I worked to relocate both our home and the business and to refile all the tax documents in the new state.
Just before this move, I found out my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was progressing rapidly and the doctors were not optimistic that she would live for much longer. She surprised us by making a good recovery a couple months ago. But the recovery was short lived.
My mom passed away just before Thanksgiving. I’ve never lost a parent before and so it is very hard for me. The holidays have been especially difficult. I have still managed Pet Auto Safety’s retail activities, but I took a break from all other tasks, including blogging, article writing, and videos.
While I still miss my mom, it’s time to get back on track. If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, please do so now and look for another post for our Pet Auto Safety 2015 goals. Also subscribe to my American Dog Blog, where I will be making a tribute to the woman who taught me many things, including that dogs are family too and deserve to be as loved and cared for as any other member of the family.
Want to know how a dog car harness secures your dog? You’d think the answer would be simple. In a way, it is. For most, it is as simple as clipping it on and clipping it in. But what makes it complicated is that each brand works differently. Let’s take the top 5 brands and show you how each of them work:
The ClickIt Utility dog car harness has three connection points. This makes it one of the most labor intensive to use, but also the safest. First, put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness. Then connect the two tethers on either side of the harness to each of the two latchbars located between the seat cushions. All cars 2001 and later should have the latchbars in the back seat.
Please note, the new ClickIt Sport coming out soon will not have the two side tethers.
Ruff Rider Roadie
The Ruff Rider Roadie also uses the seat belt of the car to secure your dog. Instead of going through the back of the harness, it goes through one of two loops on the tether. This tether is part of the harness and is not detachable. To give your dog more room to move, put the seat belt through the loop at the very end of the tether. To secure your dog more for safety, put the seat belt through the loop closer to the back of the harness.
AllSafe Dog Seat Belt
The AllSafe is also takes a bit more work to secure. First, you have to stabilize the seat belt of the car. Buckle it in without your dog. Then use the two red clips included with the harness to stabilize it. If the top part of the shoulder belt is like the picture indicated, then stabilizing is easy. If it is like mine where it comes out directly, then it can get a little troublesome. You have to make the shoulder belt lock, and then apply the red clip. This way the shoulder belt does not pull out when your dog moves. Once you have it stabilized, attach the tether to the seat belt. Once this is done, all you have to do is clip the tether onto the back off the AllSafe dog car harness.
Bergan Dog Car Harness
The Bergan brand is very easy to secure in the car. Either clip one end into the seat belt housing of the car, or clip it onto the latchbar. Then clip the other end to the back of the harness.
Kurgo Dog Seat Belt
The Kurgo Tru-Fit and the Kurgo Go Tech brands are also very easy to use. Simply put the seat belt of the car through the loop tether, and then clip the other end of the loop tether to the back of the harness. Kurgo also has the option to buy a direct connect tether, which clips directly into the seat belt receptacle.
Which Dog Car Harness is Best?
Determining which dog seat belt is best depends on your preference. While the Bergan and Kurgo are the easiest to attach, the ClickIt, Ruff Rider, and AllSafe are the safest. At the same times, the safest brand may also be the most uncomfortable for some dogs because they can’t move much. Keep this in mind and balance safety with your dog’s comfort. A super-safe dog car harness is not going to help if your pet is so uncomfortable that he chews it off.
One great thing about running Pet Auto Safety is that we get to try out all the products. Our recent acquisition is the AllSafe dog seat belt. And the lucky dog that gets to try it out is our lovely Labrador Retriever, Maya.
Maya presents a number of challenges when it comes to dog car harnesses because she doesn’t sit still. She’s got to stand up and stick her little brown nose wherever she can get it, sometimes in my ear. She also has a deep narrow chest, which occasionally makes harnesses pull to the side rather than hug the chest. Did we have these issues with the AllSafe? Let’s see.
First, though, let me give you my first impression of the AllSafe dog car harness. When I pulled it out of the box, I was absolutely amazed. The quality is fantastic. It is obviously very well made and highly durable. The straps are thick and sewn together very well. There are no plastic pieces on this seat belt, just strong webbing and very strong steel parts.
PUTTING ON/TAKING OFF
The AllSafe dog car harness does not clip on like most other dog seat belts do. As demonstrated in the below video, you have to pull your dog’s legs through the leg holes. Maya makes it look easy, but I can see how this might be a challenge for other dogs that are not yet used wearing a car harness. Because of my experience and because of Maya’s cooperation, I personally found the AllSafe very easy to put on.
SECURING IN THE CAR
It was very simple to secure my dog Maya in the car with her AllSafe harness. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with the instructions. Apparently, my box had the wrong instructions. But when I notified the company located here in the US, they walked me through the right way. Their customer service was fantastic.
Maya wore her harness perfectly. She could still stand up, sit, or lie down, but enough that she could stick her wet brown nose into my ear. This restriction is a good thing because it means if we are in a car accident, Maya will not be jerked around. A longer tether means more freedom and comfort, but it also means less security. I find the ClickIt the most restrictive and the Bergan the least. On the other hand, the Bergan is more comfortable and the ClickIt is the least. The AllSafe is right in between both.
The chest piece of the AllSafe still went off to the side if Maya tried to move around. But that is Maya’s fault because she won’t be still. If Pierson were to wear this harness, he would not have any trouble at all because he stays in one spot.
The AllSafe is very comparable to the ClickIt Utility in both quality and safety. The ClickIt Utility had a better safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety, but the AllSafe rated nearly as well. One drawback of the ClickIt Utility is it has three connection points that can make it more of a hassle to secure your dog in the car. It can also be more difficult to adjust for sizing. (Both these features of the ClickIt Utility are changing, though, with the release of the ClickIt Sport before the end of this year.) The AllSafe allows for the harness to be used as a walking harness much easier than the ClickIt Utility.
Overall, I am very pleased with the AllSafe. It is more expensive than most brands, but it is worth every penny.
It’s been a month since our last participation in the Barks & Bytes blog hop so we have a lot to cover. I’ll try very hard to be brief. First off, if you haven’t done so already, say Happy Birthday to my Maya who turned 7 at the end of August!
IMPROVED PET DEK
In a review of the Pet Dek that I made back in July, I mentioned how one of the legs kept coming off but I fixed it with a washer. The manufacturer of the Pet Dek saw my post and wanted to let me know that this issue has been fixed and is no longer a concern. Honest reviews really pay off!
FREE SHIPPING ON FLAT SEAT
The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is a comparable product and for the month of September, we are offering free shipping.
On Wednesday, September 10th, we shared the photos of three adorable Frenchies: Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur. Their mom first purchased the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat from us. And when she found out we were also in Iowa, she explained how difficult it has been for her to find a dog car seat belt that would fit the odd shape of a Frenchie. And so I offered to visit her in person to try some on. The Kurgo Tru-Fit brand fit them nicely, but the Bergan dog seat belt fit even better. So Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur all have one and they wore them on their recent road trip.
If you haven’t heard of Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews, then you’re really missing out. Her blog is funny and Flea is such a heartwarming person. We (Maya, Pierson, and I) have been lucky enough to have been able to meet her on two occasions. Once, during the holidays when we made our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas. And the second time just a couple of days ago as she traveled from Oklahoma to Illinois. It was a wonderful visit and Maya and Pierson were extremely spoiled with the Boo Bucket and other treats from Jones Natural Chews.
Remember earlier in the year where I mentioned one of our goals was to acquire the AllSafe dog car harness? Well, we finally got it! As of yesterday, the AllSafe pet seat belt is officially available on PetAutoSafety.com. For now, it has free shipping. This may change later so if you’ve been wanting one, now is the time to get one. Maya has hers already. Keep an eye out on this blog for our review.
The company that provides the AllSafe dog seat belt also has the VarioCage. If you haven’t heard of it before, it is the absolute best car cage on the market. We don’t have this one on our website yet, but it will be available before the end of the month.
LOST DOG COMMENTS
A special thanks to Barbara from K9sOverCoffee and Lindsay with ThatMutt for adding two more means to find a dog lost after a car accident. Post fliers, contact a radio station to see if they will mention the lost pet, and contact shelters and rescue groups every day to see if anyone has brought in the pet. I can’t believe I didn’t think of these. Thank you!!!
Thanks for stopping by, everyone and enjoy the rest of your week!
Having your dog wear a dog seat belt in the vehicle is a great way to keep them from distracting the driver. But you also want them to be safe, right? However, if your dog rides in the cargo area of your hatchback or SUV, you need to know that securing them to cargo rings may not be adequate.
The Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research facility for pet products, has recently reported that cargo connections may not have the necessary strength to hold your dog. This means the cargo ring can break if your dog is in a car accident, or even if your dog just pulls on it hard enough. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to find out what amount of force those cargo rings can withstand.
When we rented an SUV one year in order to make our annual trip from Kansas to Texas, we looked diligently for an SUV that had metal connections in the cargo area for Maya and Pierson. We did not find any. As a result, we found a way to connect their dog seat belt harnesses to the safety belt housing of the car located under the seat. However, the Center for Pet Safety advises against this as well.
If you need to have your dog ride in the cargo area, you may need to install a more secure connection in the cargo area. You can also opt to have your dog ride in a crate instead. Just be sure the crate can be secured in place.
We will soon have another option for dogs riding in cargo areas. By the end of September, you will see the VarioCage available on our PetAutoSafety.com retail site. The VarioCage is very expensive but it is also extremely durable. It has been extensively crash tested and even real-life situations have shown that the VarioCage remains intact.
Safety for our pets when we travel is very important and vehicle manufacturers are coming to realize this. More and more car commercials show a dog harnessed in the car. So if you have a vehicle with a cargo area and it doesn’t have cargo rings or just has plastic cargo rings, tell the manufacturer that you want this feature. You may not be able to get it this time around, but they will hear you and hopefully install better connections in future models.
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.
Welcome to Barks & Bytes where we share recent activities at Pet Auto Safety.com. Barks & Bytes is hosted by our favorite dog bloggers, Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs. Be sure to check them out, but not before you see what’s been going on with us!
NEW PET TRAVEL VIDEO
I’ve finally finished the dog video I started several months ago of Maya and Pierson in the car. This is the 3rd video (episode 2) of a series of videos. I’ve only had a little practice editing videos so I’m not sure this one is very good, but we are our own worst critics. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll really like it. And if you do, please hit the like button on YouTube and leave a comment.
NEW PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS
As you saw from our June Barks & Bytes, we’ve been in the process of adding several new products to our Pet Auto Safety site. One that we mentioned but didn’t have available yet is our dog backpacks. Check out our Outdoor Dog Gear page and see what we have.
The Rein Coat
I also mentioned the Rein Coat. I’m sorry to say that we don’t have it available on our site yet. I’ve asked if I could sell them and the company said yes, but they haven’t gotten back with me with more information yet. I think they forgot about me.
One of my greatest fans for PetAutoSafety saw our FaceBook post about the Rein Coat and asked if her dog Lily could wear it along with her dog car harness. Lily has terrible anxiety in the car and her mom, whose name is Lee, was hoping the Rein Coat could help. Unfortunately, the folks at Rein Coat said that although their product has been known to help dogs with anxiety in the car, it was not designed to be used with a dog seat belt.
The Pet Dek
We wrote a more detailed post about Maya and Pierson’s experience with the Pet Dek, so be sure to check out the July 10th post. As always, we share both the pros and cons of the products we sell so that you have as much information as possible, should you decide to purchase.
We did not talk about the Car-Go in our previous Barks & Bytes post because we didn’t know about it then. But I saw a great review from Oz the Terrier and so called the company that makes the Car-Go to see if they would let me sell it on Pet Auto Safety. I’m happy to say that they said yes! And so the Car-Go Single and the Car-Go Double is now available.
Pet First Aid Kits
This is another new product we didn’t mention on our last post but have added. This pet first aid kit is the most comprehensive first aid kit for dogs that I’ve ever seen. It has been put together by an entrepreneur named Denise. Denise is an amazing woman who teaches pet first aid and CPR and is also an author of a number of books, including Pet First Aid for Kids!
Dog Travel Bowls & Bottles
Yesterday we added two new travel products related to water. The cuee blue paw print water bottle with rollerball tip and the Bottle ‘n Bowl bag with collapsible dog bowl. These two items can be found on our pet travel bowls page.
BELLA & THE KURGO GO-TECH DOG CAR HARNESS
Bella’s mom purchased the Kurgo Go-Tech dog seat belt last year and had some concerns about the looped tether. She said Bella was awfully uncomfortable with the way the looped tether worked so I sent her a Bergan tether. To be honest, I am not a fan of Kurgo’s looped tethers either. In fact, when Maya wore her Kurgo Go-Tech harness, I immediately replaced the looped tether with the Bergan one. It is believed that the more restrictive a dog car harness is, the safer it is for the dog. This may be so, because if you stop suddenly or swerve, you don’t want your dog to get tossed around. But this sort of restriction can be very uncomfortable for dogs. Safety is important, but we need to consider the comfort of our best friend as well.
NEW PET TRAVEL ARTICLES
Last month I mentioned Patrice, our new writer for Pet Auto Safety. She has created another new great article for us that we posted on July 8th. I also have another great article written by Lindsay with That Mutt, which posted on July 15th. Be sure to check out these great pet safety articles and leave us a comment.
That’s all the Barks & Bytes I have for you this week. Thank you so much for stopping by!