Traveling in a pet crate or dog seat belt would be safer for your best friend. But some dogs just don’t like riding in them. We advise training them to get used to it, but we understand that is not always so easy. And sometimes you just need a short term solution until you can get them used to it. That’s where a dog car gate can come in handy.
The best safety feature of pet car barriers is that they can help keep your dog from being a distraction to the driver. Your dog can no longer stand on the center console. And a dog car gate will deter your dog from trying to climb over and into your lap.
Pet car barriers may provide some protection in a car accident. With a dog car gate in place, your dog won’t fly to the front seat and hit you or crash into the windshield.
We have three different kinds of pet car barriers. There is a metal dog car gate. This tends to have the most coverage, but they are installed with pressure mounts which may leave indentations on the ceiling and floor. Small dogs may be able to get through the bar gates. And the wire mesh gate is not a universal fit so there may still be some gaps for your dog to go through on the sides.
The next type of divider we have is called The Pet Net Brand. It is durable yet flexible, which means if your dog flies forward into it, the pet net will absorb some of the impact. But this divider does not go all the way to the top or the sides. So a determined dog might be able to climb over it or find a way over on the sides.
The third type of divider is the cloth dividers. This is the simplest, and oftentimes the least expensive, of the pet car barriers to install. They only cover the center console area, though. So a determined dog can climb over it, just like with the pet nets.
If your dog doesn’t like riding in the pet crate or hates wearing a dog seat belt, consider one of the three different kinds of pet car barriers. A metal dog car gate generally works best in SUVs while the pet net and cloth dividers will work in both cars and SUVs. The metal ones generally work best for larger dogs while the net and cloth ones are better at keeping smaller dogs in the back seat. Take the size and the temperament of your best friend into account. Think about which product would work best for your vehicle. And, as always, have happy and safe travels.
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My dog Pierson is great in the car. He sits so quietly in the back seat that I could almost forget he is there. If he were your dog, you might think, “Well, he doesn’t need a seat belt then.” But I think he still does. He may not be a distraction, but his safety is important to me. There is another reason to consider restraining your dog in the car. The following are three major points I’d like to make about pet safety belts:
REDUCES DRIVER DISTRACTION
Not all dogs behave in the car like my Pierson does. My Labrador Maya is crazy in the car. I do mean CRAZY! She loves it so much that she can hardly control herself. If she wasn’t wearing a dog seat belt, she’d be all over the place. Dogs like my Maya really can be a dangerous distraction and they really can cause car accidents. Don’t believe me? Here are some Real Life Examples.
Also, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studied drivers 70 and over found that those driving with their dogs were 50% more likely to get into a car accident. That article can be read on SpotNews in Alabama. I bet it is true for other age groups as well.
HELPS PROTECT YOUR DOG
If you consider a safety tested dog seat belt brand, your dog could be better off with their restraint than they would be without. Pet safety belts may prevent your dog from being thrown about the car, into other passengers, onto the floor, or through the windshield. A dog wearing a restraint won’t be able to run from the scene. And it will be easier for medical personnel to help a restrained pet.
New Jersey has made it the law that pets be restrained in the car. I was recently asked about this dog seat belt law in New Jersey. The question was whether a dog had to wear a seat belt or if a pet travel crate was okay for dogs riding in the car. Here is a quote directly from the New Jersey State Legislature regarding the law – “The driver of a passenger automobile shall secure or cause to be secured in an appropriately sized, properly adjusted, and fastened seat belt restraint system, any non-crated domestic dog or cat that is being transported in the vehicle.”
Trying to interpret laws can sometimes be difficult, but the wording ‘any non-crated domestic dog or cat’ tells me that if your pet is crated in the car, the law doesn’t apply. But if the pet is not crated, he must wear a dog seat belt.
It may not be law in your state yet, but you can be ticketed for unsafe driving in any state. So if your dog is acting crazy in the car or if your driving seems to be affected by the fact that you have a dog in your lap, you could be fined.
If your dog won’t wear a dog seat belt, then consider securing them in a pet travel crate. Or try some of our training tips to get your dog used to wearing the car restraint. Our training tips can be found on an article we wrote – Getting Your Dog Used to a Dog Car Harness.
I know our dogs love to stick their heads out the car window and they may even seem depressed when they suddenly find themselves confined in a dog seat belt. But it is important that we do what is best for them, and for ourselves. Protect your best friend, just as you do for yourself and your children.
I seem to feature GoPetFriendly.com a lot. But this is not because I am being paid for it. I genuinely enjoy their website and love how much information they share about pet friendly places. The first time I really noticed them was when they were talking about visiting pet friendly places in or near Austin, Texas. Since this is where I lived for many years, I was really excited to share my pet friendly experience there. I’ve been visiting GoPetFriendly.com’s site ever since.
So today’s post is about one of their recent articles - Go Pet Friendly Training Update. It is about training your dog to ride in the car. In their case, it is their dog Buster who likes to bark in the car. This can be exceedingly distracting. I should know. Maya does something similar. Even though she is wearing her dog seat belt, her continuous whining is very distracting. I am constantly telling her to sit and trying to concentrate on the road and not her.
Don’t get me wrong, her dog car seat belt helps tremendously with reducing the distractions she causes. But with a little more training, it could be perfect… perfectly quiet, that is.
The article from GoPetFriendly.com talked about training her by distracting her with treats. This is a fantastic idea as it helps Buster associate car rides with something fun rather than something to be anxious about. This technique might help Maya as well. Reward with treats when quiet – simple as that.
But I need to take it further. I need to get her used to riding in the car by desensitizing her to car rides. What does that mean? It means taking her in the car a lot more often. But I have to be careful. I don’t want to go to the grocery store and leave her in the car. If I take her for more car rides, I either have to go somewhere that she won’t have to wait for me in the car or I have to go nowhere. Going nowhere means driving around to nowhere in particular. I generally drive around the block.
It seems a bit mean to get Maya’s hopes up that we are going somewhere fun, only to end up back at home with nothing exciting in between. But this is beneficial because she will eventually learn that getting in the car does not necessarily mean going somewhere fun. This can work for dogs like Buster who get stressed about riding in the car. By going on short, simple, frequent car rides, Buster will hopefully realize that going in the car is not a big deal.
Training your dog to ride in the car definitely contributes to safety. It may not be as beneficial as keeping your dog in a dog seat belt, but it certainly helps to reduce driver distractions. And it reduces your dog’s stress as well as your own.
First, let me announce the winner of the Pet Travel Calm from the March contest giveaway. Congratulations to Danielle M. and her dog Sissy!
Now, let’s introduce one of our previos winners, Shelley and her dog Kandy. Shelley won the Bergan dog car harness in February. Just look at what a cutie Kandy is. Tell me what you think of her ears. ♥
What would you like to see as a giveaway for April?
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Because dogs can be different sizes even amongst the same dog breed, knowing your dog’s breed may not be enough information to determine which size of dog seat belt to get. Also, each dog can be narrower or thicker in the body so knowing your dog’s weight might not be enough information to determine size either. Take the Whippet dog breed (much smaller version of a Greyhound), for example. His weight may make one think of getting a small size. But the Whippet has a very deep chest. He may need a medium. The only way to know which size is best is to measure your dog. Here’s how:
1. Get a measuring tape.
2. Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your dog’s chest just behind his front legs. Put two fingers under the measuring tape to make sure the measured size isn’t too tight.
3. Notate the number of inches. Maya, our 70 pound Labrador, measured 31 inches around.
4. Compare the number of inches to the girth sizes indicated on the product descriptions.
The website may indicate either chest size or girth. These both mean the same thing. If you have any trouble determining which size of dog seat belt to get your dog, please feel free to contact us by email at email@example.com or by phone at (785) 393-2044.
Thanks! And ride safe!!!
Since we have now added the Ruff Rider Roadie and are phasing out the Guardian Gear / Cruising Companion brand dog seat belts, we are doing a new comparison. We now have four quality brands of dog car harnesses to choose from: Bergan, Kurgo Tru-Fit, Pet Buckle, and Roadie. Which one is best? They are all great, but each has a different style and feature. Compare them below:
Quality is hard to quantify. All of these four brands are well-made with strong materials. While some or all parts may have been constructed outside the United States, each of the companies that make these brands has strict quality control measures in place to ensure that each and every dog seat belt meets the same high standards.
Since each of these brands has been tested by a different strength and crash test specialist, it is difficult to determine which dog seat belt brand is the safest. We are confident in the safety and crash testing of each of these brands.
* Bergan was tested using the V9DT Pet Safety Durability standard.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit enhanced version was tested by the New Hampshire Materials Laboratory, Inc.
* Pet Buckle was tested by the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE).
* Roadie Ruff Rider was tested by both the Commercial Test Labs and the Allianz Insurance Crash Research Center.
Can dogs get out of them? Yes to all. A determined dog can get out of any pet travel harness. Keeping the seat belt harness too tight will not prevent this and will likely only make a dog more determined to get out of it. So when we look at how it fits, we are looking for any loose spots or any place that doesn’t adjust well.
* Bergan – Fits well and adjustable at both the neck and sides, although the chest piece may be a little long for some dogs.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Fits well and is adjustable at both the neck and sides.
* Pet Buckle – Fits well on small dogs or large dogs. It does not fit medium-sized dogs.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Fits well, and all except the smaller sizes are adjustable at both the neck and sides.
How it Works
* Bergan – Uses an adjustable length tether with a carabiner clip to attach directly to the seat belt webbing of the car.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Uses a loop that the seat belt of the car goes through.
* Pet Buckle – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through. An adjustable length Kwik Connect tether may be included. This tether clips directly onto the latchbar between the seat cushions of vehicles 2001 and later.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through.
Ease of Use
In trying out each of these brands, we have not found one that is particularly easier to put on than the others. All take a little thought when putting them on for the first time, but once you get a hang of it all of them are easy.
* Bergan – Padded chest piece; since no loop tether, tangling is less likely.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Slightly padded; enhanced version has steel buckles; allows for harness to also be used as a walking harness.
* Pet Buckle – Metal buckles; if the Kwik-Connect tether is used, tangling is less likely.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – No plastic parts; tested to ensure there is no pressure on dog’s throat; pleated design on straps under dog’s legs to prevent irritation; tether and harness is one piece and tether can be used as a short walking leash.
Listed from least expensive to most expensive:
* Kurgo Tru-Fit
* Pet Buckle
* Roadie Ruff Rider
If you have any questions regarding any other differences in these pet travel harness brands, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have had the opportunity to use these on our own dogs, including my own: Sephi wore the Kurgo, Maya wears the Kurgo with a Bergan tether (to prevent tangling), and Pierson wears the Bergan.
My dogs are a very important part of my family and I love them dearly. So I show them how much I care by protecting them in the car. You can do the same. If you’re concerned your dog won’t want to wear a dog seat belt or if you are skeptical about their use, enter to win one. You have nothing to lose!
In this month of love, we are giving away one Kurgo Tru-Fit dog car harness or one Bergan dog car harness in any size. To enter, put your entries in the Rafflecopter below. You can enter by commenting on this blog post about why your dog needs a dog seat belt. Also enter by liking our Facebook page and by following us on Twitter. Increase your chances further by liking our YouTube video and pinning our photo of Maya wearing her dog seat belt on Pinterest.
* Delivery to the continental US residents only, so please US entrants only.
* Contest ends on Thursday, February 28th at 11:59pm.
* One winner will be chosen at random by the Rafflecopter on March 1st and announced on our blog on March 2nd or 3rd.
* The winner can select from the available sizes of either a Kurgo Tru-Fit brand or Bergan brand dog seat belt.
* If you are a winner by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, you must still be liking us and following us by the end of the contest.
Both the Kurgo and the Bergan brands have been safety tested. For details on testing, visit our PetAutoSafety.com site.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
It’s almost time for the new year – 2013! What is your New Year’s resolution? Me, I’m going to try to exercise more and eat healthier. I get plenty of walks with the dogs but I need to do more. My dogs Maya and Pierson want to learn more tricks. Pierson also wants to keep his teeth cleaner so that I will stop brushing them. So what is your New Year’s resolution?
How about keeping your pets safer in the car? Perhaps your dog is good in the car, like my Pierson. Pierson just sits there very quietly. But he is my baby boy and I want to keep him safe for in case I have to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of something in the road or away from a crazy driver. Pierson wears his Bergan dog car harness and I have the back seat floor covered with the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.
Perhaps your dog is crazy in the car like my Labrador Maya. Maya LOVES to ride in the car. Even if I am taking her to the vet, she is super excited both on the ride there and on the ride back. She wears the Kurgo Tru-Fit smart dog seat belt but uses the Bergan replacement tether. I like the Bergan replacement tether because Maya likes to move around a lot and will get herself tangled in the loop tether provided with the Kurgo Tru-Fit.
If your dog is crazy in the car like my Maya, consider the Bergan brand dog car harness or even the Pet Buckle brand. For a small dog, make sure to get the one with the Kwik Connect tether included. Otherwise it uses a loop tether similar to the one from Kurgo. For a large dog, our large Pet Buckle travel kit comes with both the harness and the Kwik Connect tether.
If you don’t think your dog will tolerate a dog seat belt, consider a pet travel crate strapped in with the safety tested kennel restraints from Pet Buckle. Or use a pet car barrier. After all, our pets are family. We want to keep them safe like family. And pet travel safety supplies are easier than ever to get and most of them have been safety tested.
So practice pet travel safety and have a Happy New Year with your pets!
New Year’s Resolution – Protect your four-legged family member in the car with a dog seat belt. Enter to win a Kurgo Tru-Fit dog car harness or a Bergan dog car harness for your dog by entering the Rafflecopter entries below. Comment, like, and follow your way to a safer pet. Open to US entrants only. The contest ends on Sunday, January 20th at 11:59pm. One winner will be chosen at random on the 21st and announced between the 21st and 23rd. The winner can select from the available sizes of either a Kurgo Tru-Fit brand or Bergan brand dog seat belt.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit brand uses a loop system tether. The seat belt of your car goes through the loop on the harness in order to secure your pet in the car. The loop system keeps your dog more secure. It doesn’t allow for your dog to move around much so if your dog will try to move around while wearing the Kurgo brand, he may get tangled in the loop system. This brand is best for dogs that simply like to sit or lay down in the car. The Kurgo harness is slightly padded. Red is shown above with our dog Maya but we only have black available at this time for this contest. BTW, Maya has to use a Bergan tether with her Kurgo harness because she does like to move around a lot in the car.
The padded chest piece of the Bergan brand is a little longer than that of the Kurgo brand. The tether of the Bergan brand attaches directly to the seat belt webbing of your car. This allows your dog to move around more. The shorter you keep the tether (which is adjustable in length) the safer your dog. But if your dog likes to move around a lot despite the harness, the Bergan tether may be better for them than the Kurgo loop tether.
Both the Kurgo and the Bergan have been safety tested for strength. Feel free to check out their pages for more information on each brand – Kurgo and Bergan. If you are not a winner but would like to purchase a dog seat belt, feel free to use discount code petfriend for 10% off.
Thanks for entering!
I was curious to know what prompted lawmakers in New Jersey to propose the bill requiring that pets be restrained in the vehicle. I expected to find a politician who had had a personal bad experience. But the real inspiration for the new dog seat belt law was a fourth-grade elementary class.
While many feel it is silly for politicians to waste their time making insignificant laws when there are bigger fish to fry, I find it fascinating to know that the idea actually came from children. As parents, we may shelter our children from some of the more controversial issues of the day. They don’t understand the economic debates, why people have to fight in war, what the death penalty means, etc. But they do understand the simple concern for their four-legged siblings. I can just hear a child asking mom why she has to wear a seat belt but Fido doesn’t. After all, if she is safer wearing a seat belt, why wouldn’t her best friend wear one too? The world sure is different through the eyes of a child.
Assemblywoman Grace Spencer was visiting a Newark charter school when a fourth-grade class gave her the idea. She didn’t just disregard the children’s concern or label it as silly or stupid. She went further and decided to ask her veterinarian for more information. If you want to know more about Grace Spencer’s push for the dog seat belt law in New Jersey, click HERE. To review the proposed law, click HERE.