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A dog harness is a perfect tool for securing your pooch in the car when extenuating factors prevent him from being safely crated. Not all dog harnesses for car travel are developed or approved for vehicular use though. So, today we’re looking at the three safest dog harness for car travel options on the market and how to choose the best one for your pooch.

When considering what makes a safe dog car harness, we referenced the criteria set out by the independent non-profit organization The Center for Pet Safety. The organization has three main points of consideration when determining the safety of a dog car harness.

One of the first and most obvious characteristics of a safe dog car harness is that it must keep your pets stable in their seat. If a dog has enough movement or “slack” in the dog harness, he can easily slide off the seat, get injured, or come free from the pet harness in the event of a car accident.

Rotation is the sideways movement (or rotation) of the body in the event of an accident. A pet car harness or a dog seatbelt system should allow as little rotation as possible to prevent damage to the spine at the time of the collision (read more here).

Head excursion is the how far the dog's head moves forward at the time of a collision. A good dog car harness should limit head excursion so that the dog’s head is unable to collide with the back of the seat in front of them in the event of an accident.

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The 3 Safest Dog Harness for Car Travel

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How to Pick a Safe Dog Harness for Car Travel

In addition to safety concerns, there are other features that make dog car harnesses more appealing to dog owners. These features should always come second to safety, but they can help you to make a choice when deciding between two options with the same safety rating.

1. Suitability

Testing dog harness for car travel

Depending on your dog’s breed, height, and weight, one car safety harness may be a better choice than another. For example, some harnesses simply aren’t suited to toy breeds because they offer no support for such small dogs.

2. Dual-Purpose Use

Some car safety harnesses can double as walking harnesses. If your dog uses a walking harness buying a dual-purpose harness can save time and avoid the hassle of switching over harnesses in the car.

3. Guarantee

A guarantee is not a must, but it does show a company has confidence in their product. Ideally, a lifetime warranty is the best option, but no guarantee is definitely something to question.

4. Adjustable Straps

Any dog harness for car travel should have adjustable straps to get the optimal fit for your dog. Although general sizing helps to identify a starting point for a harness, a personalized fit is what makes the difference in accident safety. Just be sure that the straps don’t adjust too readily or easily, or they could be shifted during travel.

5. Padding

Padding is present in most but not all car safety harnesses, but it makes a big difference in the comfort of your dog’s harness. The less padding, the more a harness will rub and cause your dog to dread wearing it.

6. Cost

Cost should be a minimal consideration (or not a consideration at all) when choosing a car safety harness. Just like buying a child seat, it’s important to get the best harness for your dog’s needs and the safest option on the market that meets those requirements. Of course, we're all on a budget, but you need to buy the best dog harness for car travel that you can afford.

7. Included Accessories

Not all safety car harnesses for dogs include the seatbelt accessories. Rather, the harness and seatbelt accessory is sold separately even though you need both to keep your dog safe. Again, this shouldn’t impact your buying decision, but it is something to keep in mind.

RELATED: How To Put On A Dog Harness (Step-by-Step)

 

Three Safest Dog Car Harnesses of 2018

  Sleepypod
Clickit Terrain
ZuGoPet
Rocketeer Pack
Sleepypod
Clickit Sport
Rank #1 #2 #3
Cost $89.99 $150 $69.99
Safety Tested Y Y Y
Safety Approved Y Y Y
Independently Tested Y Y Y
Independently Approved Y Y Y
Testing Report See Report See Report See Report

 

#1. Sleepypod Clickit Terrain

  • Cost: $89.99
  • Safety Testing: Certified for up to 90lbs by the Center for Pet Safety, July 2017
  • Guarantee: 1 Year Limited Warranty
Advantages Disadvantages
  • It’s approved as a car safety harness and for everyday walking.
  • It’s lightweight.
  • Webbing and light material construction keep your dog from overheating.
  • Reflective patches on the rear of the harness.
  • The reflective patches can be replaced with service patches for working dogs.
  • An optional backpack, seatbelt locking clip, and seatbelt buckle protector are available.
  • Not approved or certified for dogs over 90 lb. or under 18 lb.
  • Not structurally safe for use with Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Afghan Hounds, and Borzoi.
  • The harness leash attachment isn’t ideal for dogs lacking leash manners.

The SleepyPod ClickIt Terrain car safety harness for dogs features a three-point safety restraint that ensures that your dog’s entire torso is secured when traveling rather than securing them at a single anchor point. Adjustable straps form fit the harness to your dog’s individual body shape for optimal restraint and protection while traveling in the car.

Sleepypod Clickit TerrainShock absorbing sleeves reduce the impact of any collision and sturdy metal hardware provides strength even at the weakest points of the harness design. Fast connection and release capabilities make sure that should an accident occur, rescue crews can easily extract your dog from their harness. This ease of use also provides a simple, fast transition from car use to a walking harness.

The SleepyPod Clickit Terrain car safety dog harness is not only crash tested, but it is also strength tested for daily walking use. Double rings on the back of this dog harness for car travel offers secure leash attachment for small and large dogs but are not ideal for those dogs that lack leash-walking manners.

Added padding provides comfort for every situation and avoids excessive rubbing or chafing. Reflective patches on the front and rear of the harness also make nighttime walks a little safer, plus an optional saddlebag addition offers plenty of storage room for longer daytime hikes. Finally, the SleepyPod Clickit Terrain crash tested dog harness for car travel is available in sizes small through extra-large, and the colors include black, blue, orange, and red.

 

#2. ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack

  • Cost: $150
  • Safety Testing: Certified for up to 25lbs by the Center for Pet Safety, July 2017
  • Guarantee: Lifetime repair warranty on manufacturing defects.
Advantages Disadvantages
  • It’s approved as a car safety harness and for everyday walking.
  • A 7-year study has shown no impact on its use and spinal health.
  • Approved for use with dogs that have hip/knee concerns.
  • Every purchase results in a charitable donation.
  • Multiple accessories are included with purchase.
  • Tested and reviewed thoroughly by crash test and through veterinarian approval.
  • Not approved or certified for dogs over 25lb.
  • Dogs only seem to be comfortable for 60 – 90 mins.
  • Some dogs can be nervous having their bottom lifted off the seat.
  • A car must have baby seat connections in order for this harness to be used.
  • A second walking harness is needed.

The ZuGoPet Rocketeer Pack car safety harness for dogs features a multiple point safety restraint system much like the that used in child seats. An easy to use anchor strap fits over the back of the seat and the adjustable harness slips directly onto your dog.

The 3 Safest Dog Harness for Car TravelThe anchor and harness snap together with multiple sturdy metal buckles and a padded chest plate offers chest protection during a collision. Unlike the Sleepypod ClickIt Terrain dog car harness, the Rocketeer harness has a slightly more complicated restraint system which can be an advantage or disadvantage to some.

Ironically, while this system offers security in a collision, it can prove difficult for emergency workers who may need to remove your dog from the car quickly. While this dog harness for car travel does not double as an everyday walking harness, it does function as a chest carrier or backpack carrier. The carrier system is included in the purchase of the harness itself. The ZuGoPet Rocketeer car safety harness is available in sizes extra small through extra-large. The only color available at this time is black.

 

#3. Sleepypod Clickit Sport Utility

  • Cost: $69.99
  • Safety Testing: Certified for up to 90lbs by the Center for Pet Safety, July 2014
  • Guarantee: 1 Year Limited Warranty
Advantages Disadvantages
  • It’s approved as a car safety harness and for everyday walking.
  • The energy absorbing vest reduces impact in the event of a crash.
  • Reflective patches on the rear of the harness.
  • Ballistic nylon construction is strong and durable.
  • The reflective patches can be replaced with service patches for working dogs.
  • An optional seatbelt locking clip is available.

 

  • Not approved or certified for dogs over 90 lb. or under 18 lb.
  • Not structurally safe for use with Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Afghan Hounds, and Borzoi.
  • Lack of mesh or venting can contribute to overheating.
  • Plastic buckling is less sturdy and durable than metal.
  •  Not ideal for dogs that do not walk calmly on-leash.

The SleepyPod ClickIt Sport car safety harness also features a three-point safety restraint that secures your dog’s full torso in the event of an accident. Adjustable straps form fit the harness to your dog’s individual body shape like those of the Terrain harness, but plastic buckles offer less security and durability.

Sleepypod Clickit Sport Utility Safety HarnessThe SleepyPod ClickIt Sport has the fast connection and release capabilities of the Terrain harness but lacks the shock absorption sleeves that reduce the impact on collision. That said, the fast connection and release of this dog harness for car travel still provides for fast removal of your dog from the car in the event of an accident and an easy transition between restraint in the car and a walking harness.

The Sport harness features a neck D-ring for leash attachment making it ideal for walking small dogs as well as dogs that walk calmly on-leash. The lack of a front D-ring and just a singular back ring, however, makes this an unsuitable harness for excitable dogs, dogs that pull, and owners who have trouble controlling their dogs. Lastly, the SleepyPod Clickit Sport dog harness for car travel is available in sizes small through extra-large and colors include black, blue, orange, and red.

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The 3 Safest Dog Harness Choices for Car Travel