On your way to a fun adventure? Where is your dog in your car? While it’s fun and fuzzy to keep them in your lap or let them put their head out the window, it can be extremely hazardous in an accident. Any person or dog that’s not strapped down in a bad accident can potentially become a missile that hurts passengers that are strapped in.
The solution? The SleepyPod Clickit Sport Safety Harness.
Is it expensive? Yes.
Is it the only safety harness that’s crash-tested? Yes.
So really, the question you should be asking is: can you afford to have your dog flying around the car during an accident?
If you want to go the safety route without a harness, there are also other options listed at the end of this post.
We recently purchased the SleepyPod Clickit Sport Safety Harness and (once we figured out how to use it) love it. While it takes perhaps an extra few minutes to put it on and buckle your dog in, it’s a small price to pay for safety!
The lovely people at Sleepypod (they have seriously well thought out products) have also taken this beyond just being a car safety harness. Rather than it serving one purpose only, it serves three:
- Car safety harness
- Walking harness, with a double D-ring clip on the back
- Safety (DOUBLE SAFETY) reflective strips for walking at night
We tested it out both in the car and on some hiking and snowshoeing trips. Alfie didn’t seem to mind walking (and running) around in it and he looked pretty stinkin’ cute.
How to put it on
This is a step in vest-type harness. Your dog’s legs go in the holes to the side of the vest (1), then you buckle one buckle near their collar and the longer buckle a bit further back (2).
These straps both adjust a lot, so watch the how to adjust video to make sure the harness has a snug fit before buckling them into the car.
What connects the two buckled sections are the reflective straps. When you buckle your dog into the car, you feed the seatbelt through both of these straps (3) before you buckle it into the seat, leaving enough lose so your dog can lie down and isn’t suctioned to the seat.
Introduce your dog to it and make it fun
Before getting to the stage of using the harness in the car, first introduce your dog to it as you would a backpack – take some time to get it adjusted properly, then put it on your dog with lots of praise. Have them wear it around the house for a few hours, take a walk with them wearing it, and give them lots of treats in it.
If you have a squirrely dog, get the harness on first, then put them on the seat and distract them with treats, a toy, or a bone while you’re buckling them in. If they are still squirrely, you might want to consider exercising them a lot before car rides or keeping them restrained in a bag with safety straps or their crate.
A couple warnings
When buckling in your dog, make sure to position them so their front feet are pointing toward the door. While they can be positioned the other way, if their front feet are pointing toward the door, they are less likely to step on the buckle release of the seat belt.
DO NOT leave your dog buckled in to the seat belt if you leave them in the car, even for a few minutes. If they get squirrely, they can easily get their neck or other body parts tangled in the seat belt, then panic without you there to help them. Not good. Just leave the harness on and unbuckle them from the seat belt.
If you’d like to read lots more about it (how to fit, buckle in, and the crash test video), here is the link.
Non-Harness Options For Smaller Dogs
If you have a small dog (15 lbs or less) and your dog is too small for a harness or you don’t want to use one, you have the option of transporting your dog in a carrier that buckles into the seatbelt, like these ones:
We have the Teafco Argo Petagon and love it for air travel and keeping dog hair off the seats in rental cars. In our own car, we prefer to use the harness.
Non-Harness Options For Larger Dogs
If you have a larger dog and would rather they be contained during an accident, you can get a car hammock for the back seat so they are softly contained there, or put your dog in a plastic crate rated for plane transport (such as a VariKennel) in the back of your hatchback.