So, you’re exploring car safety products for your dog. That’s great news! However, when you start looking at what’s available, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the variety offered on the market. How do you decide which is best for your pet? We offer some insight to help you with this decision, as well as a few of our favorite recommendations!
Decide What You Want For Your Pet
It may seem common sense that safety for your pet is the primary concern. However, it’s important to understand that car safety products are not always intended for this. Many companies sell products whose purpose is only to restrain your pet and not be a distraction to the driver. But this is significantly different than a product whose purpose is also to keep your pet safe in an accident. Cars.com emphasizes this as well, stating “… it’s important to make the distinction between products that keep your pet from becoming a distraction while you drive… and those that will protect your pet, you and other passengers if there’s a sudden stop or accident” (Cars.com).
Car Safety Products For Your Dog: The Information We’re Missing
Some brands are relatively transparent about the function of their car safety products. Below is an excerpt from an EzyDog seatbelt: “Caution: This product is designed to be used with EzyDog harnesses to prevent driver distraction and restrain the dog to one position in the vehicle. In the event of a car accident, it may not prevent injury to the passengers or your dog.” (EzyDog).
However, there are many other brands out there that don’t reveal this information on their labels or even their website. In fact, there are no set regulations that require manufacturers to test their products before selling them to consumers. Now, there are some companies who do conduct in-house “safety testing.” But this can cause biased results and not objectively prove if their product works in a real-life scenario.
Independent Testing For Car Safety Products
As such, we recommend you research products that have been properly tested by a reliable third party. The Center for Pet Safety (CPS), for example, is a nonprofit organization (established in 2011) that has conducted independent crash testing for numerous harnesses, restraints, carriers, and crates. Check out this video to see how the CPS got started and what they’ve achieved in the pet safety industry. The CPS mimicked tests conducted on human car safety products, then recorded and posted the results of each. Take a look at one of their crash test videos. Additionally, their website has other helpful information on car safety and traveling with your pets. It’s a useful resource for any pet parent!
What To Ask Yourself Before You Buy
Cars.com states pet parents should first ask these questions when deciding if a product is worth purchasing: Was the product crash-tested? Who tested it? Accredited crash-test technicians from an independent third party are the best bet for objective results. How was it tested? Is there a website where you can watch a crash-test video, and does that video show acceleration, impact and impact aftermath? So be sure to select a product that is independently tested for both restraint and safety effectiveness.
You will also need to consider the size of your pup. Dogs under 20lbs should be first placed in an appropriately-sized carrier. Then, pet owners should place them on the floor behind the driver/passenger seat or secure with a seatbelt on the backseat. And remember, the carrier must be intentionally manufactured to work with seatbelts. Regular travel crates and carriers may not be appropriate for this purpose. Dogs over 20lbs can wear a safety harness. However, they can also be in a properly-sized crate and secured in the cargo space of a vehicle such as an SUV.
Our Favorite Brands
Brands such as Sleepypod are an excellent choice. This company has partnered with the CPS to ensure the integrity of their products. Additionally, their entire line of carriers work with seatbelts are all approved “at the standard set for child safety restraints… [and] proven to be one of the safest carriers in an auto collision” (Sleepypod). The CPS has also approved select products from Gen7, Gunner, and Zugopet. However, keep in mind that certain sizes and breeds may not be suitable for some of these options.
We want our pets to be safe as they travel with us and we know you do too. We hope this article was helpful in giving insight into car safety products for your dog and help you make the best choice for your pet!