Just as we humans wear our seatbelts while riding in the car, dogs need to use a crash-tested car harness.
If an accident were to occur, it could keep your canine from flying through the windshield or crashing into the dashboard or the back of the front seat.
Not only can a pet safety restraint protect your pup in the event of a collision, but it can also prevent them from climbing to the front seat and unintentionally blocking your view, the blind spots, or move the steering wheel and the gear shift.
In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends that you restrain your furry friend during road trips.
Seeing how important that is, we’ve decided to put together some of the best-rated dog car safety harnesses on the market.
Here are our top 6 picks for dog car harnesses
** Remarks: The car harness safety certification may be updated by manufacturers from time to time.
1. Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Crash-Tested Car Safety Dog Harness
The Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Crash-Tested Dog Car Harness is one of the most trusted car harnesses among pet parents, and there’s a good reason for that.
It has a unique and patented Infinity Loop design, with an energy-absorbing padded vest to distribute and reduce the impact in the event of an accident. It is also crash tested and proven to be one of the safest car harnesses on the market, in which it has earned the safety certification from the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) for dogs that weigh from 18 to 90 pounds.
It is easy to use. All you need to do is slide your car seat belt through the loops on the back of the harness and click it into the buckle. Thanks to its double D-ring at the neck, you can also use it as a dog walking harness, with reflective strips to provide added visibility for night walks.
2. Sleepypod ClickIt Terrain Safety Harness
The Sleepypod ClickIt Terrain Safety Harness is another one of the few that the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) crash-test and certify for dogs weighing from 18 to 90 pounds.
It has new shock-absorbing webbing sleeves that work with a broad padded vest, award-winning travel safety technology, and three points of contact to minimize forward and lateral movement in an auto collision, thereby diminishing the risk of injury.
Additionally, it has adjustable seatbelt-grade straps with an anti-slip grip to keep your dog from sliding when you turn. Plus, it comes with double D-rings for attaching a leash and extra padding to maximize comfort when used for walking or hiking, along with reflective patches for enhanced visibility at night.
We also like that this vehicle restraint harness for dogs can also function as a service dog harness, allowing you to swap the reflective patches with service patches for working dogs.
3. EzyDog Drive Safety Travel Dog Car Harness
Built with safety, durability, and comfort in mind, the EzyDog Drive Safety Travel Dog Car Harness can surely help your fido stay safe on car rides.
It is made of high-quality automotive-grade seat belt webbing and aluminum alloy tri-glides for enhanced strength and security, with an ergonomically molded chest plate to evenly distribute the force across the chest and ensure maximum comfort. It is also crash tested and has passed all the relevant requirements for the US, Europe, and Australia safety standards.
What also makes this safety-tested vehicle harness stand out is that it uses a Mag-Lok Instant Fit closure system, meaning you only need to fit the harness to your dog once and don’t have to re-adjust it with every car trip.
Not only can it be used to restrain your four-legged friend in the car to minimize distractions while driving, but it also comes with double D-rings that allow you to attach a leash for daily walks.
4. Ruffwear Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs
The Ruffwear Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs is another top-rated dog car harness you can trust.
It is crafted with strength-rated all-metal hardware and components to withstand the force in an accident. It has also undergone and passed rigorous testing for dogs weighing up to 75 pounds at the MGA Research Corp (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contracted test facility) under the conditions outlined in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.
Additionally, this car dog harness has a comfortable design that provides enough room for your pup to sit, stand, and lie down while traveling in the car, making it an excellent option for both short and extended road trips.
5. Kurgo Impact Car Safety Harness for Dogs
Like all products on this list, the Kurgo Impact Car Safety Harness for Dogs can keep your furkid safe in the event of hard, sudden braking.
It is made of a 4,000 pounds tubular webbing with reinforced bartack stitching and all-steel nesting style buckles and hardware to prevent your canine from being thrown forward in a collision. Plus, it is crash-tested with simulated dogs up to 108 pounds using the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) for child restraint systems.
This car safety dog harness has four adjustment points to allow for a customized fit, and it includes a hassle-free lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
6. Kurgo Tru-Fit Car Dog Harness
No surprises, the Kurgo Tru-Fit Car Dog Harness is also crash tested and has passed with simulated dogs up to 75 pounds.
It has all-steel nested style buckles and hardware for strength and durability, with a padded chest plate and five adjustment points to ensure a comfortable fit. And it comes with a dog seat belt tether with an attached carabiner that is compatible with any vehicle seat belt system.
If you didn’t already know, it is also a top-rated dog walking harness and no-pull harness that includes a leash attachment point on the back for walks or run, along with a D-ring on the front to discourage pulling behavior.
Why Use a Car Harness for Dogs?
There are many reasons why you should be using a dog car harness while driving with your pooch, and below are some of them.
- To keep your dog safe. It can help minimize the risk of your dog being injured in sudden stops or an auto collision, especially if your pup wears a crash-tested car harness built to mitigate crash forces.
- To keep distractions at bay. Distracted driving is the leading cause of road accidents for the past decades, and letting your dog wander around in the car and jump to the front seat to sit in your lap is way too distracting and dangerous. A car harness can help secure your fido in the back seat and allow you to focus while you drive.
- To protect yourself and your passengers. Did you know that an unsecured dog can become a devastating projectile in a collision? Based on Newton’s Laws of Motion, an unrestrained 50-pound dog will exert approximately 2,000 pounds of force in a crash at 40 miles per hour. Just think about how much damage it can cause to the person that is in its path.
- It’s the law that your dog needs to buckle up. There are regulations in eight states in the US (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) that require you to retrain your dog while traveling with them in the car.
Dog Harnesses for Car Travel
Buyer’s Guide: Things to Look for
A dog car harness is just like our car seat belt. It can help protect and save your dog’s life in the event of an accident. So, it is crucial to pick the right one. And to help you make an informed decision, below are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing.
1. Is the car harness crash tested?
One common question that people often ask is whether they can select any harnesses like the Mighty Paw Vehicle Safety Harness to secure their dog in the back seat. No laws specify that you have to use a crash-tested dog harness while your dog rides in the car, so the answer to that is, yes, you can, if you wonder.
While those options are certainly cheaper, they are not the safest. If a collision were to occur, the forces may rip through the vest and cause your dog to be pitched forward and potentially lead to a very severe injury or even death. Accidents happen, so a crash-tested dog car harness is always a better option, which is also why we only recommend them.
2. Will the vehicle restraint harness for dogs fit your pup, and is it adjustable?
You would want to make sure to pick the size that fits your dog as an inappropriately sized car harness will give your canine the chance to slip out of it and put them at just as much risk of injury without wearing one. Also, it’s always better to select the one with multiple points of adjustment to ensure that your furkid will fit snugly in it.
3. Does the crash-tested dog harness have padding and comfy, wide straps?
4. How versatile is the dog car harness?
Some top-rated car harnesses are made with your maximum convenience in mind, with a clip on the back that allows you to use them as a conventional harness. Some examples include the Sleepypod ClickIt Sport, Sleepypod ClickIt Terrain, EzyDog Drive Safety Travel, and Kurgo Tru-Fit.
While you may think that is unnecessary, the truth is that the rear D-ring can be beneficial. They will make things a lot easier for you, in which you don’t have to keep switching between several harnesses when needing to let your four-legged friend hop in and out of the car for bathroom breaks.
Dog Car Safety Harness
Unlike child safety seats, there are no regulations for dog car harnesses nor any standard safety tests the products have to pass. What that essentially means is manufacturers can crash-test the product themselves, and the result can be biased.
So it’s best to look for those tested by non-profit groups like the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). There are currently three dog car harnesses that have been tested and certified by the CPS, which two of the three are on our list.
Since there are no federal standards for pet restraints, manufacturers can also go to other organizations to perform the test. In other words, the results can be varied, hence why you will find we’ve listed four more other car harnesses tested in different facilities. And because of that same reason, you can’t really say which product is the safest. Nonetheless, any crash-tested car harnesses are better than those that haven’t gone through any testing at all!
Where Should Your Canine Sit in the Car?
Just like human babies or children, the back seat is where your dog should be riding in your car. While most dogs would love to ride shotgun, they will be at risk of being severely injured or killed by the airbag during an impact.
Many owners will also let their dogs ride in the cargo area of their SUVs. Hate to break that to you, but the rear cargo portion can be problematic as well. It is also a crumple zone that will deform in an accident.
That makes the back seat the safest place for your pup to ride in. Just make sure to use a dog car harness to offer them maximum protection.
Dog Car Harness
Are traditional walking harnesses and dog car harnesses the same?
No. Normal walking harnesses and dog car harnesses are not the same, and restraining your dog with a walking harness on car rides can put your dog’s life at risk, even if you use the high-quality ones. The reason being is that they are not designed to withstand the pressure of a car crash. The jolt may rip the vest apart and send your pup flying through the windshield in a severe collision.
Can I use a dog seat belt and hook it up to a collar instead?
Never use a collar to secure your furry friend in a car, as that can be deadly for them. In the case of an accident, collars will essentially turn into a noose, which will strangle and choke your pup or break their neck as the forces cause it to tighten around their throat.