TRAVEL SAFE WITH A SMALL DOG CAR HARNESS
Your dog is your best buddy, shadow, and constant companion. He loves being with you, especially when that means a short trip to the park. But how safe is your small dog in the car when it is not in a small car harness?
In a collision small dogs are extremely vulnerable to injury or harm. An unrestrained four-legger flies forward like a missile to smash through the windscreen. Whilst being held on a lap makes them your pawsonal crash-cushion…plus an airbag deploying in his face can do serious harm to his head and neck.
With an eye to road safety, what is the best small dog car harness when in transit?
Doggy Dream Team looked at the options relating to small dog car harnesses in order to keep your smallest team member safe.
RAC Car Harness, Small
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CLIX CAR SAFE (small)
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Bergan Auto Harness (small)
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EzyDog Car Safety Harness (small)
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Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness with Seat Belt Tether
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Easy Rider Crash Tested Harness (Small) 41-60cm Girth
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Whatever your choice of harness for travel, be sure to look for crash-tested products using materials approved for making car restraints. Remember a regular dog walking harness is just that…and not designed to spread the extreme force of an emergency stop. Specialist car harnesses designed for small dogs are essential for dog and passenger safety.
Our top recommendation for an effective small dog car harness based on performance and cost is the:
- Easy Rider Small Dog Harness (review below)
But let’s take a closer look at all of the other contenders.
RAC Small Dog Car Harness
Max Chest 30-41cm (12-16″)
- Extra comfort- This harness features a soft nylon pad for optimal comfort.
- Large surface area- This helps spread the mass of the dog in case of an emergency/sudden stop.
- Fully adjustable – This harness can be adjusted allowing comfort seating and standing
The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has links to road safety dating back to 1897, so any product with their name on it has to be good. This harness is made from strong but lightweight materials so that it does not weight the smaller dog down. A ‘small’ harness is best suited to a teeny-tiny, whilst a medium fits a Jack Russell or Westie pawfectly.
Outstanding value for money. One of the least expensive safety harnesses on the market and yet RAC endorsed. Got to be good!
Not much padding and very simple.
This RAC harness is well-made, as you would expect from a product to which the RAC put its name. The size is adjustable and the harness easy to put onto the dog. The harness then clips into your regular seatbelt fastening point to secure the dog in place.
This harness anchors the dog in the event of an impact, and the design helps to minimize the bruising or trauma of a sudden stop. A nice feature is that you don’t have to switch harnesses to walk the dog, because this is comfortable enough to wear during exercise after arriving safely at the park.
This is an inexpensive harness and lacks sufficient padding. It is very basic, so you get what you pay for here.
Clix Car Safe
- The patented COA CarSafe Harness provides comfort for the dog, both in the car and whilst walking.
- It is extremely strong, secure and safe as it is made from safety-standard seat-belt material.
- Extremely comfortable, padded material, featuring a unique 'X-Cross' design for strength and...
Clix Car Safe is another of those ‘Sit up and take notice’ products because of its’ pedigree. This is the brain child of dog-behaviour guru Dr Roger Mugford and his Company of Animals. If this sounds familiar but you aren’t sure why, Dr Mugford is responsible for the mighty KONG and other pawsome dog activity toys.
Soft neoprene acts a chest protector, whilst the harness itself is made from seatbelt grade materials
Not suitable for use in Volvos : The clip jams into the anchor point. Variable sizing: Big jumps between sizes mean finding the correct fit can be tricky
As you would expect from a product designed by a dog behaviourist, this harness helps give anxious travellers a sense of security during travel. The dogs feel anchored and as a result struggle less against the motion of the car. Some pet parents even found the effect made such a difference that their perpetually travel sick dogs no longer vomited in transit.
On the minus side, the sizing can be tricky. Be aware that the harness is adjustable but with the limiting factor being the circumference of the harness around the neck. For reference, a medium size fits a 10 kg Cavalier well.
A bit of a Marmite product, pet parents tend to love or hate it. On the plus side its comfortable and has actually protected life in actual crashes, on the minus side the sizing can be tricky and it’s not officially crash tested to the standards of say, the Sleepypod harness.
Bergan Auto Harness
- Minimise driving distractions and increase protection for both you and your dog.
- The minimum durability thresholds are designed to ensure confidence that a harness will withstand...
- The complete harness system comes equipped with adjustable safety tether and two high-grade aluminum...
Bergan market their harness as “Crash tested”. Yes, this is true, but it’s also slightly misleading. The harness passed tests on the durability of its materials, but failed to hold a dog securely in a 30 mph crash.
Fully adjustable, including the neck, chest, and anchor strap. Durable materials and safer than a standard walking harness as a car restraint
Some ‘misleading’ claims. Not 100% wriggle proof for the dog determined to worm his way out
This is a reasonably priced harness made from durable materials. The tether system is adjustable, giving you the option of securing the dog in a lying, sitting, or standing position. The tether is also tangle proof, so your dog is unlikely to get knotted up – unlike some of the loop fixing systems.
Many pet parents are fans of the Bergan car harness, however many are less impressed. They point to a lack of features such as an adequate fixing point for a lead, which makes this less practical as a walking harness.
EzyDog Car Safety Harness
- SAFETY TESTED VEHICLE HARNESS - conforms to all relevant requirements for the following standards:...
- ONE TIME FIT - Fit the harness to your dog once. From then on, the Harness can be taken on/off very...
- ENGINEERED TO LAST - We use only the strongest and highest quality materials. Tri-Glides are made...
EzyDog designed their harness with an eye to safety, comfort, and usability. The end product is a versatile harness that increases your dog’s safety in transit.
Comfortable for the dog to wear and equally effective as a car restraint and walking harness
The colour faded after washing. Did we say it’s very expensive?
Pet parents appreciate the EzyDog harness because it is easy to put on, comfortable, and is simple to clip into the car. The design helps to spread the force of an impact, but pet parents also found this a useful feature for dogs that pull on the lead.
The ergonomically shaped breastplate is an innovative design that features several TM features unique to Ezydog.
This is one of only three harnesses (The other being the Sleepypod Clickit Harness and Easy Rider) that is passed as certified to the highest standards of crash testing for pet harnesses. Whilst not inexpensive, this product has the edge on price over the Sleepypod.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness
- PERFECT EVERYDAY DOG WALKING HARNESS: Ideal for everyday activities such as walking around town or...
- TRAINS DOGS NOT TO PULL: Dog harness has a front D-ring clip to use as lead attachment to train dogs...
- DOG SEAT BELT LOOP INCLUDED: Comes with a 25.5cm tether that can be used as a dog seat belt in cars...
Kurgo started from basic principles to design a car harness, rather than convert a walking harness to another purpose. They utilize the same methods used by rock-climbers to ensure the safety and reliability of their equipment.
There are five points on the harness that can be adjusted for size. Value for money price point
Ironically for a product with Tru-fit in the title, the size tends to come up small. Some of the metal parts rust after contact with water
Rock climbers trust their lives to the technology and design used in this harness, in fact in a cart-before-the-horse way this design was inspired by mountaineering harnesses. This harness also keeps the kinetic energy created during a crash, away from the throat and breastbone, and instead dissipates it over the whole of the chest area.
This harness deserves serious consideration for the pet parent concerned about their four-legger’s safety on the road. It offers a great combo of safety and value.
Easy Rider Crash Tested Harness
*Doggy Dream Team top choice for safety and value*
Tested and passed by Kettering University, Michigan, this harness passes to the same safety standards as a child’s safety harness.
Fantastic value for money for a certified crash-tested harness
Nope, can’t think of any.
The Easy Rider is a certified product at a reasonable price, which adds up to affordable peace of mind for your pet.
This Easy Rider harness wins the Doggy Dream Team gold star for effort on account of its superb safety rating at a reasonable price point.
A small dog lose in the car is a distraction to the driver. He’s also free to move around which could mean he gets into the foot well and interferes with the brake pedal. With this in mind, any restraint is better than no restraint. However, investing in a strengthened harness to secure your precious pup safe is a small price to pay for knowing he is safe in the event of a crash…isn’t it?
How does your dog travel in the car? Are you already a safety harness convert, and if not, are you know reconsidering? Do leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.