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I received this email quite a long time ago and am just getting to it now.  I think it's worth reading.  It's from Petmd.com. 

The link I copied is: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2013/oct/are-dog-seat-belts-...

Here is what I copied about the testing they did.  If you don't want to read it all, at least scroll down to the summary report (highlighted in blue - just click).  Somewhere on the bottom it lists the brands that were tested and how they were rated.  I found it interesting, but did not read the entire thing.

ARTICLE: 

Does your dog wear a seat belt (or more accurately, a safety harness) when traveling in the car? I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that mine doesn’t. I’ve thought about it, but a lack of independent confirmation regarding whether or not they would actually work in an accident and therefore be worth my time and money has stopped me. Now that information is available, and it looks like I was right to avoid many of the safety harnesses that are currently available.

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) has just released the results of its 2013 Harness Crashworthiness Study and the results are discouraging. Of eleven brands that made claims of “testing,” “crash testing,” or “crash protection,” all but one was deemed to have sub-optimal performance. A few even experienced “catastrophic failures,” which are defined by the CPS as allowing “the test dog to become a full projectile, or releases the test dog from the restraint.” (Don’t worry, the “test dogs” were not real dogs but the canine equivalent of human crash test dummies.)

In addition to the presence or absence of “catastrophic failures,” the CPS also considered the following during the study:

  • Does the testing indicate uniform brand performance across all sizes? (Ensuring that the product performs successfully and uniformly across the brand [i.e., all tested sizes] is an important indicator of the level of due diligence on the part of the manufacturer.)

  • Does the test dog stay on the seat for the entirety of the crash test? (This is a critically important for overall occupant safety. Without adequate restraint, the companion animal could strike a human occupant or internal vehicle structure.)

  • Does the harness have a tether that prevents adjustment to a length of 6” or less? (Long harness tethers are inherently dangerous. Products that have extension tethers that cannot be adjusted to at least 6” or less were considered more dangerous than those extension tethers that were already short or could be adjusted to a much shorter length by the consumer.)

    I’ve seen some pretty horrific injuries that resulted from dogs being unsecured in a vehicle when an accident occurred. Using safety harnesses is a relatively cheap and easy way to protect dogs and the human occupants of a car in the event of a sudden stop or accident … so long as the harness performs as advertised. Check out the full CPS summary report for more information, including which products performed well and which didn’t, along with an eye-opening slow motion video of what happened to some of the “dogs” that were supposedly restrained during crash testing.

    Now how confident are you that your dog’s safety harness will actually keep him and everyone else in the car safe should the unexpected happen?

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Comment by DonMarie & Picco on February 24, 2014 at 12:34pm

I understand this and think it's a great idea but Picco lays in the hatchback of our car where it's most comfortable for him. He rarely stands and when he does I tell him to lay down because he's going to fall or whatever during turns and stops. If I had a vehicle (which I might soon) that requires him to be in a seat I would get a harness for him.

Comment by Grace and Pemon The Gentle Giant on February 22, 2014 at 11:02am

Thanks for the information Jo.  I hate to say we don't use a harness on Pemon.  He doesn't like riding too much in the car or truck so Mark doesn't take him very often. 

Comment by Kathy, Elliott & Spencer on February 21, 2014 at 9:35pm

I debated harnesses for my guys for a while. I looked carefully at many brands and compared different aspects. I have to agree it seems possible that in a crash they might not be 100% reliable. Fortunately, we have not tested that.

But that is not the reason I chose to get harnesses. In an accident I know that my dogs would not allow help to get to me or anyone in our family because they would "protect" us from strangers. That might result in someone harming my beautiful dogs or my dogs harming someone who meant well. Also, if a door was open or a window blew out, my guys might be out on the highway and get run over. Having the harnesses also reassures me they won't likely come visiting me while I am driving.

For so many reasons, I concluded that having a harness, and choosing the best one I could, was better than no restraint at all. We have the EZRider harness with the extensions and they are easy to use. Dogs seem comfortable. Some places have laws regarding unrestrained pets in the car. There can be legal and insurance issues if the dog is deemed to be in any way responsible for an accident, or if an unrestrained dog injures someone.

It's a personal choice.

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