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How Safe Is Your Dogs Car Harness? Not Too Safe! (Video)

This isn’t the most happiest post that we ever ever done, but as scary and sad as it is we felt obliged to raise awareness of how safe your dog really is in your car.

You have seen the old safety crash test systems with the human dummy being bashed around a car, well the same technology has been used to test the safety of our pooches. And it isn’t too comforting. 

Seven different harnesses were tested by Subaru and the Center on the MGA Research Corporation’s federally approved vehicle occupant testing lab to see how well some of the most popular pet restraints hold Fido during a crash. 

Check out the results below… (WARNING: Not for the faint or dog loving hearted!) 


This video was created by Wired who explained which of the harnesses actually withstood the test:

Of the seven harnesses tested at the lab, which conducts tests for the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, only one restraint ranked as a “top performer” in the Center for Pet Safety study. The other six exhibited everything from stitching and hardware problems to what researchers called “catastrophic failure.” How catastrophic? According to the CPS, the harness “fails in such a way that it allows the test dog to become a full projectile or releases the test dog from the restraint.”

The Subaru/CPS test highlights a larger problem: There are no standards or uniform testing procedures for dog restraint systems. That didn’t keep the manufacturers of the harnesses included in the tests from claiming in promotional materials or packaging that their products underwent “testing” or “crash testing” and provide “crash protection.”

In order to lay some groundwork for a standard, the CPS looked to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 that outlines how a child safety seat must perform during testing. That includes a dynamic test that mimics a 30 mph crash, with a sled that bursts into motion to see how the various restraints hold up to the force. It’s also the standard many of the companies making the dog restraint systems say they adhere to.

For the CPS study, the group used three plush test dogs – one representing a 25-pound terrier mix, another based on a 45-pound border collie, and a large 75-pound golden retriever – to represent the majority of canine companions in the U.S. Although some restraints did a good job keeping the dogs in place, limiting their spinal movement, and controlling rotation, only one aced all the tests: the Sleepypod ClickIt Utility.

This will definitely make us think twice about buying our next dog harness.

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