We have car seats for kids but for years, we let our best pal ride in the front seat with their head sticking out the window. Or worst yet, sit on our laps. This causes accidents from distracted drivers but additionally with the advent of air bags, your dog can be seriously injured when an air bag explodes. One of the issues for testing dog safety was there was no dog crash dummy to test the harness.
To make the world safer for pets, Lindsey Wolko, whose dog was in a car accident, set out to design an indestructible dog and officially opened a dog safety center in July 2011, met with engineers and started building a bulldog dummy. The 55-pound bulldog is anatomically correct, stuffed with computer equipment and has the same center of gravity as the real animal. That model was used in the pilot project reviewing four products. MGA Resource Corp., an independent lab in Manassas, Va., conducted all the crash tests using Wolko's dog dummies. When the pilot results were released, Subaru of America Inc. signed on to fund the rest of the study. The final tests included a 75-pound golden retriever, 45-pound border collie and a 25-pound terrier mix. The Sleepypod Click-it Utility Harness was the only one out of seven that protected all the dummies in 30 mph crashes.
Since this study the Sleepypod Sports Harness also passed the study. "This was the only brand that consistently kept the dog on the seat for every test. It prevented the launch of the dogs and prevented side-to-side and fore-and-aft rotation of the dog and helped keep the spine fairly stable," Wolko said. The rest of the brands had hardware problems, construction issues, connection point failures, the stitching broke or there was catastrophic failure and the dog flew off the seat or out of the harness, she said. Kurgo has redesigned their dog safety harness since the crash test and it secures your dog but is not as safe as Sleepypod dog safety harnesses.
Here's a comparison guide for the two harnesses. As you can see, we strongly recommend the sports harness. It is easier to put on, works well as an every day harness. If you are on a budget, the Kurgo car safety harness is a good option. For additional safety, please be sure your dog always rides in the back seat away from the front air bags. If you are using a car seat belt, please only attach it to a dog harness, never a collar ! Happy Travels to you and your best friend.