All dogs have to go for a car ride at some point. Most enjoy going for joy rides with their owners, but some only get in the car when it's time to go to the vet. Whether your pooch always rides shotgun or he only goes in the vehicle when he has an appointment, having the best seat belt for dogs is a must, all for the safety of your dog and anybody else inside the car.
Some people think it's silly to buckle in your dog, but it's actually a very important safety procedure for taking short or long trips in a car. What would you think if you saw a child roaming freely around a vehicle while driving down the road? You would be appalled!
So why is it any different for dog owners who allow their pets to roam around the cabin of the vehicle when it's in motion?
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, nearly 3 million people are killed or injured during a car accident in the United States every year. It's not a secret that car accidents happen all the time. Think about what could happen to your canine companion if he was in your vehicle during a crash.
In fact, the Center for Pets Safety has conducted a study in 2015 (PDF) to assess how safe our pets are in cars. The results show that unrestrained pets in cars are prone to serious injuries and are extremely dangerous to anybody within the vehicle as well.
A car accident would turn your dog into a dangerous projectile. Being thrown around the cabin of the vehicle could not only be dangerous to your pup but to you as well. While being jostled around, your dog could seriously injure himself, you, or other passengers.
That's why it is best to secure your pet using one of the best seat belts for dogs that will keep your pooch in securely in place. Some dog owners may use dog booster seats for cars to do this, or dog car travel crates, both of which are decent options but not ideal.
My attempt to find the best seat belt harness for dogs
Dog seat belts are one of the best options. You can find specific restraint belts and dog harness seat belts, but which is the best option? What features should you be looking for?
That's why I chose three of the most popular dog seat belts for testing:
Vastar. I tried a traditional dog safety restrain from Vastar. It's not a full dog car harness per se, but rather a simple lead that secures to your car's seat belt buckle and clips to your Fido's collar to keep him in place. It works similar to a dog car seat belt and is the cheapest dog car safety solution you can find.
Sleepypod. For the actual dog car harness, the first one I tried Sleepypod which was specifically designed for preventing injuries in dogs during roadway accidents and car crashes. It works as an effective seat belt for dogs but it's also the most expensive option out of all we've tested.
Ezydog. For the third testing pick, I found that Ezydog is the best in terms of cost for value as well as its proprietary design, choice of colors, and effectiveness in car rides. It's a very popular, simple, and affordable dog car harness that's proven to be one of the favorites among pet owners.
Whether the dog harnesses or traditional restraints are better, you can see in my dog car seat belt testing video above and read more details about my comparison below.
In my best seat belt for dogs review video above, you will notice that I made sure to test these products for several most important factors, including:
- Ease of use;
- Price and cost-effectiveness.
So which one of these three best-selling seat belts for dogs stood out? Let me show you.
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Comparing 3 Best Seat Belt for Dogs
Testing EzyDog vs. Sleepypod vs. Vastar
Similarities Between The Three Seat Belts for Dogs
Of course, the biggest similarity between these popular dog seat belts is that they all restrain your pet while he's in the vehicle. EzyDog and Sleepypod harness both wrap around your pet's body, and the seat in your car secures by looping through the harness.
All of these products are specifically designed to be used in a car, which is one of the most essential things you must do before going on a trip, according to experts. This isn't the case with all dog harnesses, so be very careful when you're making your purchase. Look for restraining harnesses that have been specifically designed to be used in a vehicle.
A traditional dog walking harness is not suitable for use in the car.
All three of these best seat belts for dogs are comfortable for your Fido while he's sitting. The two harnesses definitely would be the most comfortable if you were to hit the brakes quickly or get in an accident. Your pet will not be propelled forward and stays put.
Differences Between The Three Seat Belts for Dogs
Of course, all good comparisons have to include the differences between the products. These differences aren't always a bad thing, as all dogs have different needs and all pet parents have different expectations.
As I've already explained, the harness seat belts are much different from the standard restrain belts. The EzyDog and Sleepypod harnesses have a lot of similarities, but they are also very different. The Vastar dog seat belt is a completely different product that offers unique benefits.
EzyDog Chest Plate Custom Fit Dog Harness
This dog car harness features an ergonomically designed EVA foam chest plate. The harness design is what really sets this product (and the Sleepypod harnesses, featured below) apart from the traditional dog seat belt.
When you use a traditional seat belt, you can choose any harness that you want, but you don't get that option with these products.
There are two adjustment points to ensure you get a proper fit for your pooch. The EzyDog harness can be worn as an everyday walking dog harness, which is a huge benefit for owners that frequently take their dog with them in the car.
Instead of having to fit your pet with his car harness for every ride, which you have to do with the Sleepypod harness, he can wear it all the time. He'll be ready to go for a ride at a moment's notice as soon as you're at the location.
In my video review above you'll notice that this dog harness is made with high visibility reflective stitching. This is a quality that you need to look for if you usually walk your dog at night or early in the morning. You can attach a leash to the stainless steel D-ring.
I demonstrate how to attach this harness to your vehicle's seat belt in my video review. It comes with a separate seat belt restraint clip. You can easily slide the belt through this attachment to secure your pup.
This harness comes in a wide variety of colors and can be purchased in sizes from extra-small to 2X-L. Depending on the size your dog requires, you can buy them on Amazon for $24-$27.
FULL REVIEW: EzyDog Chest Plate Dog Harness Review
Sleepypod ClickIt Utility Dog Safety Harness
Similar in style, but a completely different harness is this product from Sleepypod. It is specifically designed to keep your dog safe while riding in the vehicle. Therefore, it should not be used as an everyday walking dog harness.
This harness has been designed with a three-point feature similar to child safety seats. This unique patent-pending design features a wide webbed harness structure and a padded vest that distributes the force evenly across your dog's chest in the event of an accident. This greatly reduces the risk of injury.
One thing the Sleepypod ClickIt Utility Dog Safety Harness offers that no similar product does is an anchor system that reduces lateral movement by holding your pet's back end in place. Your vehicle does need to have a baby seat latch system, which all vehicles manufactured after 2003 are required to have.
Sleepypod hasn't just designed this best seat belt for dogs, they've put it to the test. It has been through dynamic crash testing and static tensile testing of all of its critical safety components including the webbing, stitching, and hardware.
It was also tested using the FMVSS-213 30 mph crash test and earned the Top Performer in the Center for Pet Safety’s 2013 Safety Harness Study which we have discussed above. All of this safety is great, but it comes with a price.
As I demonstrate in my video review, this harness is much more difficult to install in your vehicle than the EzyDog harness. It also seems to be much less comfortable than the EzyDog harness.
The anchor system drastically limits your pet's movements, and it seemed to make our little Beagle uncomfortable. We used this harness nearly 10 times and she did get a bit more comfortable but was never really happy with it. Maybe over a long period of time, she'll come around to it.
Another drawback to this best seat belt for dogs is the price. Of course, the added safety features outweigh this disadvantage. This harness is available in multiple colors and sizes ranging from small to x-large. Depending on the size you need, you can buy a Sleepypod harness for $68-$84 at online retailers like Amazon.
Vastar – My Personal Favorite Best Seat Belt for Dogs
This best seat belt for dogs is much simpler than the harnesses I've already described. You can use your own harness with this one. I like that much better because I have the freedom to choose a harness that is comfortable and fits my pet perfectly.
The Vastar seat belt is made of high-quality nylon. It clips into your car's seat belt buckle and attaches to the D-ring on his harness. The metal buckle snaps in quickly and easily, and you can adjust the strap depending on your dog's height.
The tab on the seat belt clip is 2 cm. This is standard for most vehicles, but be sure to check just to be safe. As you'll see in my video review, the length adjusts from 16 to 27 inches. It works well for our chocolate Labrador and our small Beagle mix.
Unlike the Sleepypod harness, your dog can sit, lie down or stand up comfortably. It's also the most affordable option. You can buy one of these best seat belts for dogs on Amazon for just $6.99.
The ease of use and affordable price is what make this my choice for the best seat belt for dogs. I like having the freedom to choose the harness that my dog wears, while still having the peace of mind that she is secure and safe in the car.
Conclusion on Car Harness and Seat Belts for Dogs
The Sleepypod harness won't fit into everyone's budget and it's difficult to learn how to secure your dog in the car with this product. You also can't use it as a walking harness, which is a huge inconvenience.
The EzyDog harness is much more convenient, but it doesn't have as much padding as I like.
This Vastar dog seat belt gives you the security of protecting your dog in the car while still being able to choose a harness that he enjoys wearing. Like us, all dogs are different. A harness that is comfortable for one canine may not work well for another.
Now that you've chosen the best seat belt for dogs, you may need help fitting your pet with his new harness. This is crucial if you want him to be safe in the car.
If the harness is too loose, he could slip out of it in the event of a crash. If it's too tight, it could chafe his skin and cause him physical pain. My video guide below teaches you how to properly fit your dog with a harness.