TRAVEL SAFE WITH A SMALL DOG CAR HARNESS
Your dog is your best buddy, shadow, and constant companion. He loves being with you, especially when that means a short trip to the park. But how safe is your small dog in the car when it is not in a small car harness?
In a collision small dogs are extremely vulnerable to injury or harm. An unrestrained four-legger flies forward like a missile to smash through the windscreen. Whilst being held on a lap makes them your pawsonal crash-cushion…plus an airbag deploying in his face can do serious harm to his head and neck.
With an eye to road safety, what is the best small dog car harness when in transit?
Doggy Dream Team looked at the options relating to small dog car harnesses in order to keep your smallest team member safe.
RAC Advanced 2 in 1 Car Safety Harness for Small Dogs
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Sleepypod ClickIt Car Safety Dog Harness (Small)
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CLIX CAR SAFE (small)
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Bergan Auto Harness (small)
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EzyDog Car Safety Harness (small)
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Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness with Seat Belt Tether
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Easy Rider Crash Tested Harness (Small) 41-60cm Girth
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Whatever your choice of harness for travel, be sure to look for crash-tested products using materials approved for making car restraints. Remember a regular dog walking harness is just that…and not designed to spread the extreme force of an emergency stop. Specialist car harnesses designed for small dogs are essential for dog and passenger safety.
Our top recommendation for an effective small dog car harness based on performance and cost is the:
- Easy Rider Small Dog Harness (review below)
But let’s take a closer look at all of the other contenders.
RAC Small Dog Car Harness
Max Chest 31-40cm (12-16″)
The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has links to road safety dating back to 1897, so any product with their name on it has to be good. This harness is made from strong but lightweight materials so that it does not weight the smaller dog down. It features a padded chest piece for comfort and to spread deceleration force over the brisket to reduce impact on the dog.
Outstanding value for money. One of the least expensive safety harnesses on the market and yet RAC endorsed. Got to be good!
The sizing comes up small. A ‘small’ harness is best suited to a teeny-tiny, whilst a medium fits a Jack Russell or Westie pawfectly
Really comfortable for the dog to travel with. It is easily fitted and can be used with a lead. The best you can get for the price in my opinion.Lisa, Amazon
This RAC harness is well-made, as you would expect from a product to which the RAC put its name. The size is adjustable and the harness easy to put onto the dog. The harness then clips into your regular seatbelt fastening point to secure the dog in place.
This harness anchors the dog in the event of an impact, and the design helps to minimize the bruising or trauma of a sudden stop. A nice feature is that you don’t have to switch harnesses to walk the dog, because this is comfortable enough to wear during exercise after arriving safely at the park.
Outstanding. This harness costs the same or less than many standard walking harnesses. What’s not to like about a product that keeps your dog safe in the car to boot?
Sleepypod Clickit Safety Harness
Pet safety experts Sleepypod use energy-absorbing materials to make this high-end safety harness. In the event of a collision the design offers exceptional head and lateral movement control so your dog is less likely to suffer whiplash.
LIKESQuicker to fit than other safety harnesses, which makes those motorway comfort stops all the smoother
DISLIKESOuch! Did we mention the price tag? On the other paw, can you put a price on your pet pal’s well-being?
It’s not cheap, but it’s the only dog harness crash tested up to 30 mph. How much would you pay to bring your dog back if you lost it in a car crash? I think it’s worth the moneyDebs Mc G, Amazon
Sleepypod are market leaders when it comes to crash testing dog safety equipment. This harness is their ‘next generation’ product that features refinements on their already widely approved and applauded design. Innovations include a news loop system of attachment which makes taking the dog in and out of the vehicle easier but without sacrificing stability.
But don’t just take our word for this harness’s safety. Sleepypod put all their products through rigorous crash testing, and only approve those that reach a similar safety standard as necessary for child restraints. Reassurance indeed that your purchase will keep your pet safe.
Be careful with the sizing of this product and measure your dog around the chest to find the right fit for them. This is not a cheap harness, but it has an outstanding safety pedigree which begs the question: How much would you pay to keep your dog safe in a crash?
Clix Car Safe
Clix Car Safe is another of those ‘Sit up and take notice’ products because of its’ pedigree. This is the brain child of dog-behaviour guru Dr Roger Mugford and his Company of Animals. If this sounds familiar but you aren’t sure why, Dr Mugford is responsible for the mighty KONG and other pawsome dog activity toys.
LIKESSoft neoprene acts a chest protector, whilst the harness itself is made from seatbelt grade materials
DISLIKESNot suitable for use in Volvos : The clip jams into the anchor pointVariable sizing: Big jumps between sizes mean finding the correct fit can be tricky
We were involved in a nasty car accident today and thanks to this seat belt harness our dog remained unharmed in the back seat. The police woman agreed that our lovely dog would have definitely died without it.Happy Customer, Amazon
As you would expect from a product designed by a dog behaviourist, this harness helps give anxious travellers a sense of security during travel. The dogs feel anchored and as a result struggle less against the motion of the car. Some pet parents even found the effect made such a difference that their perpetually travel sick dogs no longer vomited in transit.
On the minus side, the sizing can be tricky. Be aware that the harness is adjustable but with the limiting factor being the circumference of the harness around the neck. For reference, a medium size fits a 10 kg Cavalier well.
A bit of a Marmite product, pet parents tend to love or hate it. On the plus side its comfortable and has actually protected life in actual crashes, on the minus side the sizing can be tricky and it’s not officially crash tested to the standards of say, the Sleepypod harness.
Bergan Auto Harness
Bergan market their harness as “Crash tested”. Yes, this is true, but it’s also slightly misleading. The harness passed tests on the durability of its materials, but failed to hold a dog securely in a 30 mph crash.
LIKESFully adjustable, including the neck, chest, and anchor strapDurable materials and safer than a standard walking harness as a car restraint
DISLIKESSome ‘misleading’ claimsNot 100% wriggle proof for the dog determined to worm his way out
Size small was fine for my bichon/ min schnauzer, weight 10.5 kgs. Easy to put on as he sits and allows me to put each front leg in and attach at the back, no different from others we’ve used.B Stone, Amazon
This is a reasonably priced harness made from durable materials. The tether system is adjustable, giving you the option of securing the dog in a lying, sitting, or standing position. The tether is also tangle proof, so your dog is unlikely to get knotted up – unlike some of the loop fixing systems.
Many pet parents are fans of the Bergan car harness, however many are less impressed. They point to a lack of features such as an adequate fixing point for a lead, which makes this less practical as a walking harness.
EzyDog Car Safety Harness
EzyDog designed their harness with an eye to safety, comfort, and usability. The end product is a versatile harness that increases your dog’s safety in transit.
LIKESComfortable for the dog to wear and equally effective as a car restraint and walking harness
DISLIKESThe colour faded after washing.
Pet parents appreciate the EzyDog harness because it is easy to put on, comfortable, and is simple to clip into the car. The design helps to spread the force of an impact, but pet parents also found this a useful feature for dogs that pull on the lead.
The ergonomically shaped breastplate is an innovative design that features several TM features unique to Ezydog.
This is one of only three harnesses (The other being the Sleepypod Clickit Harness and Easy Rider) that is passed as certified to the highest standards of crash testing for pet harnesses. Whilst not inexpensive, this product has the edge on price over the Sleepypod.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness
Kurgo started from basic principles to design a car harness, rather than convert a walking harness to another purpose. They utilize the same methods used by rock-climbers to ensure the safety and reliability of their equipment.
LIKESThere are five points on the harness that can be adjusted for sizeValue for money price point
DISLIKESIronically for a product with Tru-fit in the title, the size tends to come up small.Some of the metal parts rust after contact with water
It’s easy to put on and he just loves being able to sit on the seat and be safe now when traveling. Since using the harness he can now see where he is going he hasn’t been sick when traveling.Suze, Amazon
Rock climbers trust their lives to the technology and design used in this harness, in fact in a cart-before-the-horse way this design was inspired by mountaineering harnesses. This harness also keeps the kinetic energy created during a crash, away from the throat and breastbone, and instead dissipates it over the whole of the chest area.
This harness deserves serious consideration for the pet parent concerned about their four-legger’s safety on the road. It offers a great combo of safety and value.
Easy Rider Crash Tested Harness
*Doggy Dream Team top choice for safety and value* – Tested and passed by Kettering University, Michigan, this harness passes to the same safety standards as a child’s safety harness.
LIKESFantastic value for money for a certified crash-tested harness
DISLIKESNope, can’t think of any.
The Easy Rider is a certified product at a reasonable price, which adds up to affordable peace of mind for your pet.
This Easy Rider harness wins the Doggy Dream Team gold star for effort on account of its superb safety rating at a reasonable price point.
A small dog lose in the car is a distraction to the driver. He’s also free to move around which could mean he gets into the foot well and interferes with the brake pedal. With this in mind, any restraint is better than no restraint. However, investing in a strengthened harness to secure your precious pup safe is a small price to pay for knowing he is safe in the event of a crash…isn’t it?
How does your dog travel in the car? Are you already a safety harness convert, and if not, are you know reconsidering? Do leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.