We use Dog Seatbelts, You Should Too

dog seatbeltsI just thought I'd take a minute out of our day to encourage everyone that reads and follows us to use Dog Seatbelts or harnesses when transporting your puppies in a vehicle.  It's not just safe for our dogs, but safety for us humans too.

Most people are not aware but in the event of an accident having 1 person, or in this case a pet, not secured properly can be fatal to the other occupants inside a vehicle.  Many crash tests and real-life circumstances have shown that 1 unsecured body can seriously hurt others in a car.  That's why we feel it's necessary to use some sort of restraint for our dogs even if an auto accident is unlikely.  Better to be safe than sorry in our opinion.

I've written before about dog harnesses and restraints and posed the question on this blog, “Do Dog Seatbelts Really Protect your Dog?”  Studies have shown that dog seatbelts are not quite as effective as you would hope since there are no industry-wide standards for dog harness testing.  Test conducted in collaboration with the Center for Pet Safety, a non-profit advocacy group, and Subaru have shown that many of these dog seatbelts fail to perform properly.

While I appreciate the studies that the Center for Pet Safety and Subaru conducted and I believe that there should be some industry standards for pet harnesses, I still feel safer if both Cody and Sierra are secured in the car.  At least we have some safety mechanism in place and this makes it so that they can't roam around our car while it's in motion.  This can be distracting and dangerous for us.

That's why we use Dog Seatbelts and we encourage others to use them as well if you are inclined.  We'd love to hear people's thoughts about dog seatbelts and dog harnesses though.  Do you use dog seatblets?  Why?  If you don't have a dog restraint system in your car, have you thought about buying one?

Do Dog Seatbelts Really Protect your Dog?

During BlogPaws 2013 I learned a lot about the dog and pet blogging industry.  Something about Dog SeatBelts quite frankly surprised and shocked me though.  Do Dog Seatbelts Really Protect your Dog?  The answer, No they will not protect your dog nearly as well as you think.

The Center for Pet Safety has done testing with various dog seatbelts, harnesses, and restraints.  Their findings concluded that a lot of dog seatbelts don't provide adequate protection in the event of an car accident.

From the Center for Pet Safety‘s brochure they state;

many of the pet safety restraints currently on the market do not provide acceptable levels of protection to the animal and/or humans in a crash situation.

One thing to consider is that if a dog seatbelt or harness fails in your car it can hurt you and other passengers in the vehicle.  Other things to consider ;

In the US there are no performance standards or test protocols for many classes of pet product.  Manufactures are not required to test products before going to market!

Some manufactures claim to test their products, but with the absence of independently verified test standards, consumers are wise to cast a wary eye on these unsubstantiated claims.

This is a video of crash test conducted and you can view crash tests videos that the Center for Pet Safety here.

All the tests conducted were specially designed and mainly for larger dogs.  (I assume this is because larger dogs pose a greater risk in accidents.)  No animals were used in the testing and the crash tests conformed to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) specifications.

It should be noted that the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) is not affiliated with the pet product industry and does not endorse products.   The CPS also does not want to reveal what products they used in their testings since they believe the restraingts and seatbelts, while not providing enough protection, are better than if you let your pet roam freely in the car.

While the findings of the CPS are a bit concerning it is good they are raising awareness.  We personally use dog seatbelts with Cody and Sierra not only for their safety but ours too.  We have gotten both of our dogs are used to wearing dog seatbelts but we have noticed the restraints don't always seem to work adequately.  Cody manages to unlatch his seatbelt and make himself more comfortable.

Seems the companies that sell dog seatbelts and harnesses need to do mandate better testing on themselves.  Probably not something they will do easily but they will if enough pet owners let them know they need to change.  Kurgo, the dog seatbelts we have, will be getting a letter from us.

I will admit when we had our old dog, Roger, we let him roam freely in the car.  We knew this was dangerous but he liked the freedom and in those days I don't even think they sold dog seatbelts or restraint systems.  At least were we not aware of it.  These restraint systems seem rather new.

I'm curios to know if you use dog seatbelts or harnesses does that make you feel more safe?  What are your thoughts about the CPS findings?