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Our Take on the 2013 Dog Seat Belt Study Conducted by CPS
The Various Dog Car Harness Brands

By Dawn Ross, October 2015

You may find the 2013 dog seat belt report conducted by The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) to be quite confusing. We're here to help break down the results in simpler terms and to tell you what we understood from it.

Eleven dog car harness brands claiming to be crash tested were independently tested by The Center for Pet Safety in 2013. Those brand were as follows:
1.    AllSafe from Klein Metal
2.    Bergan
3.    Canine-Friendly from RC Pet
4.    Champion from USA-Outfitters
5.    Clix from Company of Animals
6.    EZ Rider from Coastal Pet Products
7.    Pet Buckle from IMMI
8.    Ruff Rider Roadie from Cover Craft
9.    ClickIt from Sleepypod
10. Snoozer Pet Safety Harness & Adapter from O’Donnell Industries
11. Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength from Kurgo.

Of these eleven brands, the following never made it to testing because they did not meet the load requirements set by CPS:
·         Champion
·         Clix
·         EZ Rider
·         Snoozer

The load amount of these harnesses was determined using quasi-static testing. My understanding of this type of test is that the harness was pulled with a specific amount of force and if the harness broke before 5 seconds was up, it did not move on to crash testing.

For the crash testing, four of the seven remaining brands exhibited catastrophic failure. According to CPS, catastrophic failure means the dummy dog became a full projectile or released the dog from the restraint. These brands are as follows:
·         Canine-Friendly for 75lb dog dummy size only.
·         Bergan for 75lb dog dummy size only.
·         Tru-Fit for 25lb and 75lb dog dummy size, but not 45lb medium size.
·         Pet Buckle for all sizes.

This means the following dog car harnesses did not allow the dummy dog to become a full projectile. In a sense, these brands passed the crash testing (but more on that later).
·         ClickIt
·         AllSafe
·         Ruff Rider Roadie
·         Canine-Friendly for 25lb and 45lb dog dummy sizes.
·         Bergan for 25lb and 45lbs dog dummy sizes.
·         Kurgo for 45lb dog dummy size.

The Center for Pet Safety has deemed the above 6 harnesses in their respective sizes as optimal, that is all but the ClickIt. For the ClickIt, they rated it as top performer.

Articles around the web would have you believe that the ClickIt was the only dog car harness in this study to pass the crash tests. Even though they were not considered top performers by CPS, it doesn’t mean they failed. They did very well.

Before you go out and buy the best dog car harness as determined by CPS, there are a couple of things you should know.

First, it was deemed the best because there was no rotation of the dummy dog and the dummy dog was not launched off the seat. The other brands did exhibit some rotation and some launching, but it depended on how long the tether was set to in the crash test. The study does not state. And the reason the ClickIt did not exhibit rotation or launching was because it was so restrictive. To be fair, most dogs will not tolerate that sort of restriction and may hurt themselves while trying to get out of the harness. Basically, they will defeat the purpose of the harness by wiggling or chewing out of the harness. The other harnesses allow for more movement. This not ideal in a car crash, but is more realistic for the behaviors of most dogs.

Second, in looking at Sleepypod’s website for the ClickIt, most pictures show dogs using it wrong. In some pictures, the seat belt of the car is loose. It is probably loose for the dog’s comfort. But by making it loose, its safeness is no better than the harnesses that performed optimally.

On a personal note, my Aussie mix Pierson can wear the ClickIt safely because he doesn’t try to move around. My Labrador Maya has worn the ClickIt and absolutely hates it. She wants to move but can’t move at all. She’s yelped twice in her attempt to try to move with the harness on. So I use the AllSafe for her. It is so much better because she can move around a bit more without being sorely uncomfortable. And although Pierson can wear the ClickIt, I prefer how the Ruff Rider Roadie fits him.

Copyright © Nature by Dawn