The Center for Pet Safety has tested a number of dog seat belt brands and found the ClickIt Utility from Sleepypod to be the safest. We concur. It is very well made and does a great job at keeping your dog secure. Unlike other brands, a dog wearing the ClickIt will have less side-to-side and forward projection in the event of a car accident. This is great, but there are a few things you need to be aware of:
MORE SECURITY MEANS MORE RESTRICTIVE
Not all dogs will tolerate being so restricted in the car. The ClickIt Utility uses three anchor points to secure your dog. All three anchor points must be used in order for your dog to be secured properly when they are wearing the ClickIt. The first point is with the safety belt of your car. Take the safety belt of the car and put it through the back of the harness. Next, attach the two tethers. One end of the tethers clips onto a metal ring located between the rear seat cushions of all vehicles 2001 model and later. The other end of the tethers clips onto the sides of the harness. Yes, your dog can still lie down, but he won’t be able to stand up.
Not being able to stand up can be very frustrating to some dogs. When they try to stand up, they can’t. And so they may try to chew the straps connecting them. Or they may struggle to get out of the harness and hurt themselves in the process. Some reviews have said their dogs got tangled in the straps because they struggled so much.
MORE COMPLEX AND SIZING CONCERNS
Other reviews stated that the ClickIt was very complex and difficult to put on and take off. We agree that it is at first. It is definitely more involved than other pet car harness brands. But I think once you get used to it, it is actually pretty easy. Another review stated it was hard to find the right size. We agree. The extra-small is not for really small dogs. It is for larger small dogs. And measuring for the right size is not as simple as it is for other harnesses. And another review said it was difficult to adjust the size. We’ve found this to be the case as well. Luckily, Sleepypod has made a video to show us how to put the ClickIt on and how to adjust the size.
THE MOST COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR DOG
If you’re looking for the best dog seat belt, be sure to take these reviews into account. Remember that the safest is also the most restrictive. Consider what your furry best friend will tolerate. Your dog can be trained to wear the harness without struggling, but this could take time. While other pet car harness brands may not be as restrictive, they are still safer than wearing nothing at all.
Your dog can also ride in a secured pet travel carrier. By secured, we mean the carrier should be buckled or strapped into the car so that it can’t slide around. The makers of the ClickIt have stated that smaller dogs are safer in a pet travel carrier.
OTHER CAR HARNESS ALTERNATIVES
If your dog is calm in the car and doesn’t mind sitting or lying down in one spot for the entire ride, then the ClickIt Utility is the best thing you can do to protect his safety. If this is not your dog, consider other viable alternatives such as the Ruff Rider Roadie or the Bergan.
This post is inspired by someone who’s tried both the ClickIt and the AllSafe dog seat belts and weren’t satisfied with either. They were too difficult to use, too difficult to fit, and their dog was not comfortable in them. This post is not about bashing the ClickIt. It is a fantastic brand when it comes to providing the ultimate safety. But it is not for everyone and it is not for every dog.
I have had a lot of great questions and comments about dog seat belts this week, so let’s jump right in with the recap.
LAST WEEK’S FOLLOW UP
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog asked how to determine the correct size of pet car harness to get. Each brand has a different method, which can make things kind of confusing. So the first thing to do is determine which brand to get.
The Bergan makes it easy to determine what size is needed. All you need to know is the weight of your dog. Kurgo, too, can go by weight, but knowing your dog’s chest measurement also helps. The Ruff Rider Roadie also needs the chest measurement.
Measure your dog’s chest by wrapping a tape measure around the biggest part of his chest. Use the two-finger rule, which means put two fingers under the measure when you do this. The measurement is also called the girth. Maya’s girth is 31 inches. According to Kurgo’s measurement guidelines, Maya would need a large which fits dogs with a girth between 24 and 34 inches. According to the Ruff Rider Roadie, she’d need a medium 2.
The ClickIt Utility pet car harness requires a different measurement. You have to measure both your dog’s neck and chest in a figure 8. Here’s a video with detailed instructions – Sizing for ClickIt Utility dog seat belts.
Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews compared the use of a pet car harness to when seat belt laws for people first became mandatory. It took a lot of persuasion (and threats of getting a ticket) to convince people to wear them. Today, it still takes some convincing. Perhaps someday, we will all see the benefits for ourselves and our family, including our pets.
Hawk with Brown Dog CBR said, “I need a longer tether for my harness. I prefer my crate, but my size or rather the crate’s size prevents it fitting into the car. I HATE the harness and seat belt! It always get all twisted whenever I need to lay down. The harness fits perfectly, but the tether is WAY too short to allow any movement.” With the recent research that determined all dog seat belts may not be as safe as we like, a lot of people are considering pet travel crates. But you’re right, Hawk. This is not easy to do for big dogs. There is no way Maya and Pierson’s dog crate will fit in my car. Speaking of tangling in the tethers, the brand I’ve found the best is the Bergan tether. It is sold separately so that you don’t have to buy the whole harness. Kurgo also has a direct connect tether – Replacement Tethers for harnesses.
Regarding the importance of picking up your dog’s poop when traveling, Roxy with Roxy the Traveling Dog says, “Very true, because we are always traveling, I have bags in the truck, in my purse, sometimes in my pocket. I always pick up the poop.” Me too! I have poop bags in the car and in all my coat pockets. I don’t carry around a purse so my cell phone, driver’s license, and credit cards are always in my pants pockets, along with a few poop bags.
Sugar with Sugar the Golden Retriever noted about how some parks are beginning to restrict dogs to certain areas. This is because people aren’t picking up after their dogs. So it is very important that we show how responsible we can be when it comes to our furry best friends.
FUNNY DOGS CAR TALK ADVENTURES
The first episode of Maya and Pierson’s car travel video is finally finished! If you missed it, check it out below.
Be sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube! Maya, Pierson, and I would love it if you’d share it too.
Snoopy with Snoopy’s Dog Blog said, “I loved the video!! It was very informative, but in a cool and fun way – great job! Looking forward to the next videos – Maybe Maya and Pierson will be getting and Oscar for their performances?”
Thanks so much, Snoopy! They might not get an Oscar, but they got a lot of treats for cooperating so well. When Maya said, “Huh?” in the video, it was because I said the word “cookie”. And Pierson really does need bribing sometimes when it comes to getting in the car.
I have a bunch of figurines left over from another website I used to run for animal figurines, so I thought I would give some away. Sorry I’m not giving away something as exciting as pet travel supplies this time. But I will in December, I promise! In the meantime, there is still a chance to win a cute dog figurine. If you’re not interested in one for yourself, it might make a good gift. Or if your shelter or rescue group does auctions to raise money, you can give it to them. The contest is open until the end of the month.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. Thanks for stopping by! And thank you to Jodi and Donna for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Friday is here again! It’s time to recap the past week’s events. And let me tell you, it has been an eventful week. Before I get to that, though, let me thank Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Lynda from Two Ears and a Tail for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop. Thanks!
There were a lot of great comments from last week’s Follow Up Friday. One that needs special mention is the one from Flea with DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews. She knows we go from Kansas to Texas and back every year and that we drive through Oklahoma on the way. So she invited us to stop by on the way back! I’m so excited!!! I can’t wait to meet Flash, Patches, Jimmy, and all the lovely hens. And Flea would love to meet Pierson. So be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the post about our trip at the end of December.
The New ClickIt Utility Dog Safety Belt is Here!
I knew the ClickIt Utility was going to be nice but I didn’t really expect it to work well enough to keep my Maya in her seat. She is a crazy dog and likes to stand up and move around. This is the first pet car harness that keeps her in her seat. I really truly love it!
Ms. Phoebe the cat had a good question about the ClickIt Utility. She asked if her 70lb doggie sister would be able to lie down in the harness. The answer is yes. My Labrador Maya wanted to move around so badly, but the only thing she could do to move was to lie down. Having the Kurgo Backseat Bridge in place might help my big girl be able to lie down in the forward facing position without hanging off the seat. (The photo of Maya above does not show the Kurgo Backseat Bridge because I took the photo in my husband’s car. My car is a 1998 and does not have the latch system.)
Snoopy with Snoopy’s dog blog asked if the dog safety belt harness could also be used as a walking harness. Yes, Snoopy, it can. It has a ring on the back to allow for this. It does not, however, have a ring in the front like the Kurgo harness does.
Roxi asked if her 75lb German Shepherd and 30lb mixed breed could both ride in the back seat while wearing this pet car harness. Yes, Roxi, both can ride in the back seat. All vehicles 2001 model and later have the latchbar system in place for baby car seats. This latchbar system consists of these metal anchors located between the seat cushions. For both the left and right side of the seat (but not the middle) there are two anchors.
There are no anchors in the front seat so your dog will not be able to wear the ClickIt in the front. Other brands, however, may work in the front seat. We usually do not recommend dogs in the front seat, though, because front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs.
The Center for Pet Safety Report is Out
Remember the 2001 report where four harnesses failed, thereby mislabeling all pet seat belts as a failure? Well the October 2013 report showed that not all brands were failures. The ClickIt Utility dog safety belt got the highest marks. It outperformed all other brands. Other brands did okay and still others completely failed. If you haven’t read my post regarding this, please go check it out now. It was published October 3rd, 2013.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s mom from SamsNorthernGirl blog mentioned a couple of dogs probably would not be comfortable wearing the ClickIt Utility dog safety belt because it is too restrictive. Both Callie and Shadow have mild hip dysplasia that could be aggravated by being forced to stay in one place. The restriction of this particular brand is definitely something people want to consider. While it is good to be as restricted in the car as much as possible in most cases, I can see how something like hip problems could be an exception.
Thankfully, other brands did not fail the test. A brand like the Ruff Rider Roadie harness may not have done as well as the ClickIt, but it did not fail the testing done by the Center for Pet Safety. There are other methods of keeping your dog safe in the car as well. A secured pet travel crate might be just as good as a harness. The Center for Pet Safety has not yet conducted studies on this but will. We will keep you posted.
Thank you all for stopping by and for your comments. The more we engage in conversations about the safety of our pets, the better things will get.
It’s here! It’s finally here!!! This has got to be the best pet car harness yet. The ClickIt Utility is different from any other pet car harness we’ve ever had in one major way – Dogs are secured with three anchor points.
How the ClickIt Utility Dog Seat Belt Provides Superior Safety
How do three anchor points make a difference? There is less side-to-side tossing. Also, three attachment points help to evenly distribute pressure in a crash and help to restrain both the upper and lower portions of your dog’s body. According to the crash test studies completed by Sleepypod, the two anchor points also help to keep your dog from bearing too much tension by breaking away at high impacts. Don’t worry though, the third anchor point in the back stays in place to make sure your dog is not propelled forward off the seat in a frontal crash.
A third thing also helps to dissipate pressure in a crash and that is the broad padded chest piece of the ClickIt Utility pet car harness. This is a safety feature recognized by a number of dog seat belt manufacturers including our Kurgo and Bergan brands.
Why Other Brands May Be Different
If three anchor points are safer and if it is safer to have your dog restrained as much as possible, why do so many dog seat belt manufacturers have only one anchor point and long tethers? I suspect there are two reasons for this. First of all, while many manufacturers tested the strength and fit of their products, they may not have fully understood the dynamics of a car crash and the possible effects on the dog. Thank goodness the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), who has been significantly funded by Subaru, has the means to do a full evaluation. Sleepypod was able to use the information from CPS and combine it with their six years of experience with crash testing products. (If you have a small pet, you should seriously take a look at the Sleepypod pet car seats.)
The second reason why manufacturers may be using longer tethers and only have one anchor point is because of the nature of dogs themselves. This is a very important reason that everyone should consider before purchasing a pet car harness. Let’s consider my two dogs.
Important Things to Consider
Pierson sits still in the car. He doesn’t move around too much at all. He is quiet and calm. So the ClickIt Utility is perfect for him. Maya, on the other hand, will not hold still. She has to stand up and look around. She wants to know where she is going and the only thing I can do to keep her calm is to remember to use the Travel Calm beforehand. Even then, she still wants to stand up.
Despite Maya’s strong desire to move around, the ClickIt did an excellent job of keeping her still. She could not stand up or turn around like she normally can. This is a good thing because this restrictiveness is what will help her stay in her seat in the event of a car crash. Maya sat and was even able to lie down while wearing the ClickIt. I was extremely happy with it.
However, this restrictiveness may be too much for some dogs. Little dogs might be able to stand up and turn around in it, thereby getting tangled. And any dog can chew through the straps. I would strongly suggest that you consider how your dog will react to being so confined before you purchase this.
There is one another limitation to the ClickIt Utility pet car harness to consider. It can only be used in the back seat and only in vehicles that have the latch system anchors between the cushions. The latch system is used to secure baby seats. The good news is that all vehicles 2001 and later have these latchbars. A few older cars may have them too.
I also noticed that the small and extra-small are not really all that small. The chest piece is 9 inches long. This may be way too long for little dogs, especially if they have a short body. I’d say the extra-small is more suited to a larger toy breed while the small is more suited to a smaller medium-sized dog. Be sure to measure your dog before purchasing one. Sleepypod is aware of this and says that smaller dogs are safer in a secured pet carrier such as the crash tested Sleepypod pet car seats.
My Opinion and Our Conclusion
All-in-all, the ClickIt Utility pet car harness is a fantastic product. It is very well made and the safety features are awesome. I have to say with complete honesty that this is is the best dog seat belt I have ever seen! Just be sure to consider the nature of your dog before you purchase it or understand that training may be needed before your dog will wear it effectively. If you think this is the right product for you and your dog, feel free to visit our retail site and buy one. We are currently offering free shipping and you can also use the discount code, petsafeblogger, for 10% off. Keep an eye out for a giveaway in October!
It’s been a fun week for me with the Responsible Pet Owner’s Day event held last Sunday. And by the time this follow up posts, I will also have attended the Mutt Mixer event at the Lawrence Humane Society last evening. I will tell you more about the Mutt Mixer next week. For now, let’s start with comments from last week’s Follow Up Friday.
Follow Up Friday #12
Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews says, “Pierson is the prettiest. He should get all the attention. All the time.” Of all the info from the follow up and she only notices Pierson’s photo! I can’t blame her. He really is such a pretty boy. Not that Maya’s not pretty too. But there is just something about a dog with long silky hair. Pierson is the Fabio of the dog world. This one’s for you, Flea:
Flea also mentioned that we should stop in Tulsa on our next trip to Texas. My husband and I go from Kansas to Texas and back once a year to go visit my parents. We go right through Oklahoma and Tulsa would only be an hour off course. We generally break our 11 hour trip up into a two-day drive so Tulsa sounds like a great place to rest up and visit. So Flea, how does either just before or just after Christmas sound?
2BrownDawgs also commented on Pierson, “Awe that picture of Pierson on the first day is so cute. I think he knew he had found a new home.” He was scared when he first came here. I think he looks a little nervous in this photo. Pierson warmed up quickly, though. BTW, if you all don’t know Pierson’s story, read The Reward of Rescuing a Dog on my personal dog blog.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog said, “It is so true that people are stealing dogs. Personally, I can’t be careful enough.” This was in response to the information we posted that heat is not the only danger to dogs being left in the car. So it doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside; it is never a good idea to leave your dog in the car.
Mr. N’s mom with Tenacious Little Terrier says she’s interested in the ClickIt because Mr. N. keeps trying to jump out of his car seat. Well, good news! The ClickIt Utility pet car harness is here! Visit our retail site for lots of great information and videos and come back to our blog tomorrow for our personal take on it.
The Yellow Ribbon
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s mom Sue with The Golden Life agreed the yellow ribbon was a good idea and also agreed that some people still aren’t going to respect it and that we should still be responsible with our dogs. Jodi with Heart Like a Dog agreed too. Jodi also mentioned how dropping Delilah’s leash helps with her leash reactive behavior because she no longer feels trapped. I agree that this can work with some dogs. They are fine off a leash, but put that leash on and they go nuts! Pierson, however, is not good with other dogs whether he is on a leash or not. So letting go of his leash is not a good idea at all. I believe it is due to his breed mix tendencies. As a herding dog, his job is to not only herd but also to guard. So he has a very high prey drive and guarding instinct. We are working on these issues and making progress. But he still has a long ways to go.
Responsible Pet Owner’s Day Event
There were lots of comments about the dogs on this post. Many people liked the cute puppy Mia. SnowyDay with Life of Drool said, “I WANT MIA!“, Mollie and Alfie from Mollies Dog Treats said they liked the last photo (which was of Mia), and Lindsay with That Mutt said, “Oh my gosh, that puppy in that last photo is among the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen.” I agree. She is so cute! Here is another adorable picture of her:
Jackie with Pooch Smooches thought all the pups were good-looking. Bailey with Sheltie Times thought the event looked great. Maya and I had a good time at the event. We met so many wonderful people and dogs. For some reason, however, Maya was scared to death of the Dobermans. She hid under the table when they came by. They were nice dogs so I’m not sure why. Interesting.
A couple of people commented on the Wynn Dixie dog. Flea thought the dog in the dog from the movie was a mutt. And Donna with Donna and the Dogs never heard of the Berger Picard before. The owner of the dog told me, “Most people think the Wynn Dixie dog was a mutt,” and “There are only about 500 Berger Picards in the US.” I’m paraphrasing, but that is about what he said. Here is another photo of him.
Well, that’s all I have. Is it enough? More than enough, I’d say. I hope I didn’t bore you. If you want to hear more, though, come back tomorrow and check out the ClickIt Utility pet car harness!
Last Saturday, I talked about the reasons why a dog should be restrained in the car. The post mostly focused on the benefits of a pet car harness. But let’s face it, not every dog will wear one. Plus, there are a few legitimate concerns about dog seat belts. So here are some other pet travel products to consider:
Have your pet ride in a pet carrier. Make sure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that if the car goes out of control, the dog crate stays in place. You don’t want it and your dog to be thrown about. Whether a secured travel crate is as safe as a pet car harness is not known. Not much testing has been done on pet travel carriers. However, I imagine that a secured crate is probably just as safe (strictly an opinion). Traveling in this way covers all the reasons discussed last week about why it is better to have your dog secured in the car.
Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier can help keep your dog in the back seat and from being a distraction. Depending on the barrier, it may keep your dog from being ejected out the front windshield. However, it can’t keep your dog on the seat and it can’t keep him inside the vehicle if someone opens the door, a window breaks and he jumps out, or he hangs his head out the window and jumps or is thrown out.
I can’t tell you how much I really love the Kurgo Backseat Bridge. I have two big dogs and there is no way Maya can stay comfortably on the back seat, even with her pet car harness on. The seat is too narrow and Maya is too big. And she is too energetic to sit still. So covering the floor of the car helps keep her from being thrown onto the floor. If you’ve read some of the news about how dogs should stay on the seat when wearing their dog seat belts, you can see how difficult it would be to restrain a dog to such an extent that he wouldn’t get thrown forward or onto the floor. The Backseat Bridge can help because it covers the floor. The Backseat Bridge also has a barrier that covers the center console area. If your dog is not buckled in, at least the bridge can keep him from getting thrown onto the floor and possibly keep him in the back seat so that he is not a distraction. A dog car hammock has the same benefits as the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.
This is a brand new product. There hasn’t been much testing on it yet. But it sure looks promising. The K9 CarFence keeps your dog from being a distraction and it helps to keep him in his seat.
Breeze Guard Car Window Screens
This is another product I really love. I used to let my dogs put their heads out the window. After all, they really love it. But one time, Sephi yelped. I think she got hit in the face with something, probably a small pebble. Thankfully, it didn’t hit her in the eye or nose. She wasn’t injured. But it made me think that perhaps letting her have her head out the window wasn’t such a good idea. Also, a friend of mine on Facebook told me about how a friend of hers had her dog thrown out the car window. He was hanging out having a good time when they suddenly had to swerve their car. Their poor dog flew out and ended up getting run over by the rear tire. And, one final story, I had a dog years ago that actually jumped out the car window. Luckily, we were driving slowly down an old dirt road when Huckleberry saw some cows and jumped out to get at them. He was okay. It shocked us both. But all these incidents will never happen again because of my Breeze Guard car window screens. BTW, despite having screens on my windows to allow the breeze in, I never ever leave my dogs unattended in the car.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet but aren’t sure about the safety of pet travel products, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. A pet car harness and pet carrier have a lot more safety benefits, but every dog and every situation is different. Consider your various options and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
There weren’t as many questions this week so I’m going to talk about other stuff that has happened on my other blog, AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com, and things happening for us on other dog websites.
My Dog Pierson is to be on a Calendar!
I’m so happy that my dog Pierson is to be featured in the That Mutt calendar! Thank you to everyone who saw my post on Facebook and voted.
That Mutt Talks about Pet Auto Safety
Lindsay with That Mutt also talked about pet auto safety on one of her blog posts. Go check it out – Do Dogs Need Seat Belts? The article is well thought out and covers pros and cons. Feel free to comment.
Dogs Trapped in Cars After Accidents?
One of the questions Lindsay asked me prior to her post threw me off. She said she knew some people who were concerned about a pet car harness or pet travel carrier causing a dog to get trapped in the vehicle in a car accident. Can you believe that in all my years of running this business, no one has ever brought this up before?
Certainly, it can happen. I think this was a concern when seat belts for people first came out. But after years and years of research, statistics have shown that this risk is small and the likelihood of a seat belt saving a life is much greater.
If anything, I would be concerned about an unrestrained dog escaping from the vehicle after an accident. I get Google alerts for dogs in car accidents on a regular basis and so see a lot of news stories about dogs that went missing because they escaped the vehicle and ran off in terror. Think about it, after a car accident your dog is likely to be completely freaked out. His instinct is going to be to get as far away from the terrifying situation as quickly as possible. When a dog runs in terror, he runs blindly. This means he could run into the street, cause another car accident, and possibly get struck and killed by another vehicle.
Here’s a story with a happy ending. The video automatically plays, so I’m sorry about that. I don’t know how to keep it from doing that.
I understand we all have our different fears. The thing about a car accident is that it is unpredictable. You never know when you will be in a collision, let alone what kind of collision. What may be perfect for one situation may not be for another. Just consider the odds. While the above situation happens all the time, heroes like this aren’t always around to help.
SleepyPod’s New ClickIt Pet Car Harness
Sleepypod is coming out with the new ClickIt pet car harness soon and this design is also based on recommendations from the Center for Pet Safety! They are going to be expensive, but worth it. Keep posted here on this blog and I will let you know as soon as they are available.
My Interview with the Radio Pet Lady
I had an interview about pet auto safety on the Radio Pet Lady Dog Travel Experts show. Paris with Dog Tipper was there too! The show aired last night but will be archived at this link soon. Be sure to check it out. I think Gizmo with Terrier Torrent will be interviewed next week to talk about the fun of geocaching.
Bad Poetry Day
Hop on over to the AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com for Pierson’s Bad Poetry Day contest entry. Seriously, it will make you laugh! Maya will feature her bad poetry tomorrow.
Where is the Pet Auto Safety Car?
As you may have read, Maya and I were in a rear end collision on July 25th. It was bad enough that the insurance company considered my car as totaled, but not bad enough to cause serious injury. Even though the car is considered totaled, I am working with the repair shop to still have it fixed. Hopefully, they can get used parts instead of new and be able to fix it for the check amount the insurance company gave me. But as of today, I still don’t have my car back!!!
How is it that a car can be considered totaled for just a fender bender? First of all, it is a Ford. That should be enough explanation, but in case you’re wanting more… My car is a 1998. Why in the heck would I want to keep such an old car? Believe it or not, it only has 87,000 miles on it and it is still running well. Also, it was more than just the bumper that was damaged. It turns out the frame is bent too, and other stuff.
K9 Car Fence
A lot of you commented on what a great idea the K9 Car Fence is. Pierson didn’t think so, but I thought it was brilliant too! I wish I had thought of it.
Questions or Comments?
As always, if you have any questions about pet travel, feel free to ask them by commenting below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
Join the Blog Hop
Thank you for stopping by and reading my long-winded post today! Follow Up Friday is hosted by Heart Like a Dog and co-hosted by Flea with JonesNaturalChews so be sure to go check them out. Other dog blogs participating in Follow Up Friday can be found in the blog hop links below.
We’ve had a couple of wonderful questions about dog seat belts and the Backseat Bridge this week! Donna with WeLiveInAFlat had an incident where they had to slam on the brakes, causing the dog to get thrown onto the floor. The question was whether there was a difference between a regular harness and a pet car harness.
We were happy to hear that the dog was okay. Scary!!! And all just because of a quick stop! Yes, there is a difference between a harness and a pet car harness. There is a difference in safety. A regular harness might be okay for a sudden stop like the one described. But a dog car harness is designed to fit better and to be stronger in more serious incidents.
We directed them to our site where there was information on safety as well as some videos. One of the videos found was from Kurgo.
Notice the dog still flies off the seat. WeLiveInAFlat had some concerns about this. We agree that a dog would still fly off the seat. Keeping the tether short could help. The Center for Pet Safety is continuing to do more studies on the safety of dog seat belts. The tests are ongoing so there haven’t been any new publications. But I do know that most of the positive testing results they have had were on harnesses with short tethers.
Hawk with BrownDogCBR asks: “A bridge is a good idea. What happens when one front seat passenger has the seat forward and the other has it back and somewhat reclined?”
Our reply: “Very good question, Hawk! It will still work, but there will be gaps and this could be an issue. The Backseat Bridge has a flap that goes up along the back of the front seats in order to try to cover that gap. However, if you are loose in the back seat and step in that area just right, you could get your foot caught. I would try to lessen those gaps or cover them as much as possible. The bridge fits most average sized vehicles, but if your car is wider than most, you could also have those gaps on the sides.”
I would also like to add that the Backseat Bridge could help in the situation observed by WeLiveInAFlat by keeping dogs from getting thrown onto the floor.
Lindsay and her dog Ace with ThatMutt held a calendar contest this past month. I entered a great photo of Pierson playing in the snow, then I begged for Like votes on Facebook. The contest ended yesterday and I am happy to say that Pierson is a tentative winner! Why tentative? He received enough likes, but Lindsay needs to make sure the photo entry meets all the guidelines. The winners will be officially announced on Monday. In the meantime, go visit her Facebook contest page and go check out the ThatMutt blog.
Thanks again for all the wonderful questions. You all bring out some great points and possible drawbacks of some of the products. Keep them coming. They help people make educated decisions and I’d rather people know what to expect in advance than to find out later. These discussions also help stimulate the manufacturers into continuing to make improvements.
Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend!
Join the Blog Hop for Follow Up Friday below!
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 email@example.com.
You will never believe this, but my dog Maya was involved in her first (and hopefully only) auto accident. Thursday, July 25th, we were on our way to the Lawrence Humane Society for their Mutt Mixer event. I was to have a table of pet auto safety supplies set up and Maya was to model the new Kurgo Go-Tech pet car harness.
Before you get worried about us, we are both okay. I was at a full stop waiting for traffic when I was rear ended. It was on wet street going downhill. The impact was pretty jarring. My boxes of dog seat belts, which I was going to display at the event, went flying everywhere. My rear bumper was damaged. But Maya and I were wearing our seat belts and we were not noticeably injured.
I felt a little sore the next day, especially in the neck and shoulders, but Maya has been her usual happy-go-lucky self. Gotta love the resilient attitude of the Labrador! If it had been my Aussie mix Pierson involved in the car collision, he would have freaked out. And he would never want to ride in the car again.
Bad luck that Maya and I were in an auto accident, but good luck that it wasn’t too serious. Car collisions happen all the time with fender bender collisions being the most common. And even though you might be a safe driver, you never know what conditions or situations might arise that cause an auto accident to occur. This is why everyone in our family including my dogs wears a seat belt.
Be proactive, not reactive. And secure your pet in the vehicle now. It doesn’t have to be a seat belt. You can also use a pet trave crate.