Most Dog Harnesses for Cars Unsafe, Study Finds

Buckling up Fido might not make him any safer, according to researchers

By Alyana Alfaro
|  Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013  |  Updated 6:00 PM EDT
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Most Dog Harnesses for Cars Unsafe, Study Finds

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Your dog's harness might not be doing much good in the car.

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How much does your dog's harness do to keep it safe in the car? Not much, according to a recent study.

In the Subaru-sponsored study by the Center for Pet Safety, researchers tested harnesses that claimed "testing," "crash testing" and "crash protection" on the packaging and what they found is more-than-a-little unsettling for dog owners.
All but one of the eleven harness brands that claimed testing had performance flaws, the study found — and three brands showed "catastrophic failures," where stuffed test dogs became in-vehicle projectiles that could strike vehicle surfaces or even other passengers, two-legged or four-legged.
 
For their tests, the researchers created three plush test dogs — one small (25 pounds), one medium (45 pounds) and one large (75 pounds) — to mimic real-life dogs. From there, they performed crash-testing and evaluated which harnesses kept Rover safe and which put him at risk of being injured.
 
The Sleepypod Clickit Dog Harness, which costs $89.99, was deemed the top performer in the test. It was the only harness that let the test dog stay on the seat for all three weight classifications.
 
The $30 IMMI Petbuckle, on the other hand, exhibited catastrophic failures for both small and large dogs in the study. (The IMMI doesn't come in a "medium" size, so a medium-sized dog was not tested in it.) The Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength harness, the Bergan Dog Auto Harness and the RC Pet Harness also all exhibited catastrophic failures in at least one weight class. 
 
Other than the Sleepypod harness, all harnesses were deemed "not optimal." The reasons: tethers long enough for a dog to strike the roof, over-rotation that could lead to spinal injuries or hardware integrity issues.
 
Check out some footage of the testing here:

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