Dog Car Harnesses

The most important question is: Are dog harnesses safe?

The answer depends on the dog harness you’ve chosen for your pup. While most harnesses keep the pet from roaming around in the car, they may not be safe in an accident. On the website of the Center for Pet Safety, one of the non-profit organization’s employees tells us the sad story of her Cocker Spaniel Maggie:

I was driving Virginia I-66 during the morning rush hour. A car cut in front of me and I had to slam on the brakes. Maggie was screaming in pain.  I discovered the harness tether had wrapped around her back legs and she was thrown and hit the back of the front seat. She was hurting and scared and I couldn’t get to her fast enough.

Maggie Centre for Pet Safety

The problem is that there are currently no government standards or tests in the pet accessories sector. Even the Consumer Products Safety Commission fails to deal with pet safety items.

Some manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested. This, however, can mean different things: the harness could have been tested in their own facilities, or maybe it was tested but failed.

There’s good news, though: the Centre for Pet Safety developed some testing standards, regularly carries out crash tests and publishes the results online. At the moment, they only recommend one harness: the Clickit by Sleepypod.

What’s important is that dog harnesses can only be used on the back seat, never on the passenger seat. In addition, make sure there’s little movement for your dog to prevent whiplash in the event of an accident.

dog harness in crash test


Dog car harness vs. crate

Harnesses won’t work for pups with very slim heads, such as Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Afghan Hounds, Russian Wolfhounds (Borzoi). Thus, a crate would be a safer alternative. Here’s some more info on dog crates.

Which type of dog harness is best?

Basically, there are two designs of dog harnesses, either with a loop for the seatbelt over the dog’s shoulders or a harness with a separate belt and a clip for the seat-belt buckle. The latter design is unsafe as the clips and the stitching of the belt failed in crash tests.

What size dog harness do I need?

The right size is paramount to the safety of the harness and the comfort of your pet. Measure around you dog’s chest just behind the front legs and then around the neck:how to measure the size of a dog harness

The image is taken from:


What’s your opinion on dog harnesses? Which product do you use?

Next week, I’ll take a closer look at mesh partitions for cars. Hope to see you again!


Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crates for Dogs


9 thoughts on “Dog Car Harnesses

    1. Thank you for the kind comment! And I’m glad it made you think about our beloved pets’ safety, that’s why I wrote these articles: to make people more aware of what they can do to keep their dogs safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was always wondering about the worse situation like an accident. But reading your article now I understand, if the harness is well-fit then it’s safe and gives maximum protection.


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