Your dog is your family, meaning you want to take it with you wherever and whenever possible, whether on foot or in your car. But did you know that whether you are going on a longer vacation or just taking a 15-minute trip to the store, you must consider keeping your furry friend safe and secure?

If you consider using standard harnesses to secure your dog, you make a mistake since they are not designed to protect your pet. Instead, you need crash-tested dog harnesses explicitly intended for travel. These harnesses have been strictly tested to withstand impact and protect your dog in a collision.

Never underestimate the importance of car safety equipment for your dog, and the following article will help you learn how to keep your canine companion comfortable and safe while on the road.

dog harness

What are Crash-Tested Dog Harnesses?

A dog car safety harnessis not at all the same as a regular harness designed for walks or any other outdoor activities with your canine friend. These crash-tested harnesses are specifically crafted and tested with one main goal: to keep your dog safe and secure in case of an accident.

While regular harnesses are not put through any tests, these special harnesses must undergo rigorous crash testing to ensure they can withstand the forces of an impact.

Durable materials, like actual car seat belts, extra padding, and attachments, are often used to craft these crash-tested harnesses, as they also offer long-term reliability and comfort for your dog.

The Importance of Safety Certifications

Choosing a dog harness for car travel takes some time since you must look for those with a valid safety certification. Without proper certification, there is a good chance you are buying a regular harness with no protection whatsoever.

Look for harnesses certified by independent testing organizations like the Center for Pet Safety or certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These certifications prove the harness has passed demanding simulated crash tests.

Your pet’s safety should be your top priority, so don’t settle for anything less than a harness with official safety credentials.

Using properly certified dog harnesses for car travel, securing them snugly, and taking general precautions like limiting your dog’s movement can drastically decrease the chance of injury in a crash.

Selecting the Right Harness

When choosing a dog travel safety equipment, you must consider several factors.

Firstly, you’ll need to remember the type of car you drive. Larger cars, like SUVs or minivans, require a longer harness strap so your dog has more room to move around. For their safety, you want to ensure your dog can sit, stand up, and lie comfortably while adequately restrained.

Now, the two most essential factors include your dog’s size and breed. For the first one, you need to measure your dog yourself. Start with measuring its chest right behind its front legs.

After that, check the size chart for the harness brand and model you plan to purchase to find the best fit. An extra small or small size is usually best for small dogs, while medium, large, or extra large are better for bigger breeds. The proper harness size is critical since, otherwise, it won’t protect your dog in an accident and can cause discomfort during everyday use.

Lastly, some harnesses are designed with specific breeds in mind. For example, harnesses for small dogs like corgis have a lower profile to suit their body shape, while those meant for Greyhounds are longer to accommodate deep chests.

Selecting the Right Dog Harness

Top-Rated Crash-Tested Dog Harnesses

Once you start searching for the perfect safety harness for your canine companion, keep in mind several features to look for:

  • The harness should have passed regulated safety testing, like those set by the Center for Pet Safety.
  • Choose a harness that distributes impact forces across your dog’s chest, not just the neck area. A Y-shaped harness design is perfect.
  • Padded straps will also help prevent discomfort, while adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit to your dog.
  • Plastic is far less durable than metal buckles and hardware. Moreover, double-stitching at stress points prevents tearing, while reflective trim helps with visibility at night.
  • Consider your dog’s size and breed.
  • Anchorage points allow you to securely attach the harness to your car’s seat belt or LATCH system. This prevents your dog from being ejected in a crash.

Some of the best crash-tested harnesses for dogs currently on the market include EzyDog Drive Harness, Sleepypod Clickit Sport, Ruffwear Dubbleback, and Kurgo Tru-Fit.

Using a Crash-Tested Harness

Once you have selected a crash-tested harness for your furry companion, consider several essential tips for using dog harnesses in cars.

Firstly, you should buckle your dog away from airbags, meaning it should take up only the back seat. Next, attach the harness to your car’s seat belt or LATCH system following the instructions. Always check whether the harness is fastened tightly by pulling on it.

Your dog should move around to sit, stand, and lie comfortably while buckling in.

Make your dog wear the harness briefly while giving them treats and praise before taking your first trip to help it get accustomed to it and associate it with positive experiences.

Benefits of Using a Crash-Tested Harness

Ensuring dog safety in vehicles with crash-tested harnesses features numerous benefits for your canine companion’s safety and well-being.

The most significant benefit is protection. These harnesses have been rigorously tested to ensure they will keep your dog secure and distribute the forces of an impact to minimize injury if you brake suddenly.

Moreover, it’s not only your dog who is protected, but you are also. By preventing your dog from being ejected in the event of an accident, you also avoid your potential injuries, as your dog may be thrown at you and hurt you or prevent you from taking necessary action.

Lastly, knowing your dog is adequately protected in the car will give you peace of mind during your travels together. You’ll be able to focus on the road ahead rather than worrying about your dog’s safety in an emergency.

Alternatives to Dog Harnesses for Car Travel

While less convenient than a harness, since they may take up some space in your vehicle, crates and barriers can also give you peace of mind that your dog will remain protected during your shared drive.

Crates made of high-impact plastic approved for vehicle travel can withstand impacts and contain your dog in an accident. Choose a crate that allows your dog to stand, sit, and lie down comfortably, with extra room for a water bowl.

A car barrier or gate also works perfectly for smaller dogs to contain them in a specific area of your vehicle during travel.

Maintaining and Replacing Your Harness

For the maximum safety of your furry companion, you must also constantly inspect its harness for signs of damage. Look for any fraying, damaged areas, or loose parts that could compromise its safety and efficiency. Usually, harnesses should be replaced after a few years of regular use or after an accident.

Ensure the harness still fits your dog correctly. With years, your dog loses or gains weight, and its body shape and size change. An ill-fitting harness will not correctly restrain or protect your dog in the event of an accident.

Lastly, observe your dog and its needs. If your dog has developed arthritis, you should buy a harness with extra padding and support.


As you have seen, safe car travel for dogs should be your top priority when preparing for a trip, as it will protect both you and your furry friend.

It’s a small price to pay for your peace of mind and their safety. Both your pet’s and your life are in your hands, so take the time to find a high-quality, certified harness that fits your dog well.

Remember that standard harnesses won’t do anything for protection if an accident occurs. The proper crash-tested harness can be a lifesaver, and you can be confident that your canine companion will remain securely controlled no matter what happens on the road.


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