How to Best Protect Your Dog in the Car
By Dawn Ross, October 7, 2015
In determining the best way to protect your best pal when he rides in the car consider your personal preferences, your dog's behavior, and the type of vehicle you have (that is a car or an SUV). For larger small dogs, medium sized dogs, or big dogs, we suggest the Variocage pet travel cage or a dog car harness. The Variocage is great for if your dog will travel in the cargo area of your SUV. A dog seat belt is great for if your dog will ride in the seat.
What about car seats for dogs? Car seats require a dog seat belt. Most pet car seats do not come with a dog car harness so you will still need to consider this item.
The Center for Pet Safety recently completed a study on the safety of pet travel carriers and crates. And while they didn’t name the Variocage pet travel cage as the top pick, they didn’t find anything viable against the Variocage either. Another thing you should know about this study is that The Center for Pet Safety only did frontal crash studies. They did not do side impact, rear impact, or rollover crash test studies. You may want to check out our article on The Truth About Pet Safety. The European company that designed the Variocage has done comprehensive crash testing for frontal, rear, side, and rollover car accidents.
The Center for Pet Safety also did a study on dog car harnesses. They determined the ClickIt from Sleepypod to be the best because it is the most restrictive. But the reality is that many dogs can’t stand this restriction. The AllSafe dog seat belt and Ruff Rider Roadie did not fail their study. But they did allow more movement. A dog that is able to move around a little more will likely be tossed around a bit more in a car accident. But they will also be more comfortable in normal driving conditions. A comfortable dog means a dog that is less likely to chew out of or escape his car harness. And if you use the short tether on the AllSafe and the shortest setting on the Ruff Rider, you can restrict your dog’s movement if you choose.
There are other dog car harness brands available. You can compare the top dog seat belts here. My favorite brand is the AllSafe and the Ruff Rider Roadie. In using the Ruff Rider Roadie, though, I use the clips that come with the AllSafe in order to prevent the seat belt of the car from being pulled out by my dog.
For very small dogs or even cats, consider the Sleepypod pet travel carrier. This product has been crash tested for frontal low speed crashes only, but it is still a great product. There may be other carriers for small animals available on the market today, but be sure to scrutinize their crash testing information before purchasing.
Note from Author: When discussing which brands are the best, I am voicing my own personal opinion. My opinion is based on personal experience and personal study. When discussing the crash testing information, however, it is a fact that as of the date this article was posted The Center for Pet Safety had only studied products for frontal crashes. And it is a fact that the Variocage manufactures have designed their products and tested them for multiple crash test scenarios.