There are a lot of great pet travel products out there, so it can be difficult to make a choice. And what works perfectly for one person and their dog may not work as well for you and yours. How can you tell which product to get if all the companies are saying theirs is the best? Our Dog Travel Advisor at Pet Auto Safety can help.
We have a lot of experience with various pet travel products. After all, we’ve been in business since 2006! Our current dog travelers, Maya and Pierson, have tried out almost every single brand of dog car harness as well as many other products. So I think it’s safe to say that we can really help you with our new Pros and Cons series.
In our new Pros and Cons series, we will highlight a specific product and tell you what we found to be great and not-so-great based on our own perspective and the perspective of our customers. This week’s highlight is the ClickIt Sport dog seat belt from Sleepypod. This harness is an improvement on the ClickIt Utility. It is a brand new brand, introduced at the tail end of 2014.
Pro – #1 Safety
The ClickIt Sport is only dog car harness to date to receive the CPS certification for safety. CPS stands for the Center for Pet Safety. They are an independent non-profit organization that evaluates the safety of various pet products.
Pro – Easy to Use
Unlike the ClickIt Utility, the ClickIt Sport is easy to put on, easy to size, and it is easier to secure your dog in the car with it. To put it on, simply have your dog step in the leg openings, and then pull it up and clip it on. It sizes easily with straps on the sides. To secure your dog in the car, put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness straps. Please note the con with this method below.
Pro – Quality
This harness is much lighter than its older version. But it is just as strong and durable. The materials are of high quality and the construction is thorough. It should be noted that the harness uses plastic clips to be secured on your dog. However, these plastic clips are not tied into the security mechanism that secures your dog in the car.
Pro – Other Design Features
The ClickIt Sport is well padded and it can also be used as a walking harness. The neck line of the harness is curved so that it sits low and prevents choking.
Con – Securing Your Dog
While the ClickIt Sport is not as difficult to secure your dog in the car as the ClickIt Utility is, it is not the easiest as compared to some other dog seat belts. To put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness, your dog has to be sitting just right. If you have a hyper dog, this can be a challenge.
Con – Highly Restrictive
To be the safest, a car harness also has to be the most restrictive. Your dog will only be able to sit and lie down with the ClickIt Sport on in the vehicle. He will not be able to stand. This can mean that the harness can be highly uncomfortable, especially on longer road trips. It also means your dog might chew through or try to wiggle out of the harness. If the harness is not used correctly, the safety is diminished.
Con – Won’t Fit All Sizes
The ClickIt Sport does not come in extra-small or extra-large sizes. For smaller dogs, Sleepypod recommends their crash tested pet car seats instead. Sleepypod is still in the process of designing and extra-large harness.
Whether the price is a pro or con depends on your perspective. Compared to other quality crash tested dog car harnesses, the ClickIt Sport is priced relatively low. But it is high compared to car seat belts that didn’t do as well in safety testing or harnesses that haven’t been safety tested at all.
Despite the few cons, the ClickIt Sport is still an excellent choice. Consider it if your dog isn’t too small or too large, and if your dog isn’t going to mind the restriction. If you find the dog car harness difficult to secure in your car, it just takes a little getting used to. Once you and your dog has a hang of it, it’s easy. The ClickIt Sport is constantly being sold out, so visit our Pet Auto Safety site today and buy yours. Use discount code petsafeblogger for 10% off. (This code applies to all the ClickIts on our site but may not apply to a few of our other pet travel products.)
My dogs have been using dog seat belts for over 15 years. And I have been selling them for over eight years. And not just dog seat belts, but other pet travel products too. My dogs Sephi, Maya, and Pierson have been guinea pigs for more than half the products we sell (excluding those for small dogs since mine are big). If I haven’t used certain products, I’ve been listening to feedback from those that have used them.
As a result, I have become very knowledgeable about pet travel products. And so I am taking on a new task of being PetAutoSafety’s new dog travel advisor. You will start to see #DogTravelAdvisor in our tweets, on Facebook, and on Google Plus.
Go ahead, ask me anything about dog car travel. Anything, really! If I don’t know the answer, I will help you find out who does.
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 not 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.