Earlier this year we tested Sleepypod's Clickit Utility dog harness, the top performer in the Center for Pet Safety's 2013 crashworthy study. CPS now conducts voluntary certification tests of pet safety harnesses, and Sleepypod's newest harness — the Clickit Sport — is the first harness to achieve certification. The Clickit Sport earned CPS' top rating of five stars for each size in which it is offered (CPS ratings are assigned by size categories and not across a brand).
Related: Tested: Clickit Car Dog Harness
Since the Clickit Sport is significantly different from the Clickit Utility, we took it for a test drive and found the new harness to be more dog and human friendly.
Compared to the Utility, the Sport is easier to fit, and its design makes it easier to belt the dog into vehicles. It's a one-piece harness compared to the Utility's three pieces.
To adjust the Sport for proper fit simply tighten or loosen the neck and chest straps to ensure a snug fit; it's much easier than the adjustments required for the Utility, which has three straps on the harness and two other straps for Latch anchor attachment.
Once the Sport is initially adjusted, put your dog's front feet through it and click the straps around the neck and chest. You then should tighten the harness until there's just enough room for three fingers to fit between the harness and the dog.
The biggest difference between the two harnesses is that the Sport does not require Latch anchors and the seat belt for securing dogs to the vehicle seat. Instead you use just the seat belt, guiding the latchplate and strap through the Sport's "Infinity Loop" across the dog's back and into the seat belt buckle at the bottom of the seat. Then remove the slack from the seat belt to "lock" it. Watch a how-to video here.
Dogs are able to sit or lie down wearing either harness.
The Sport design also eliminates other issues related to the Utility's use of Latch anchors. Families who travel with kids and dogs may need the Latch anchors for child-safety seats; the Sport resolves that problem. Additionally, many cars have only two sets of Latch anchors and many three-row vehicles don't offer Latch anchors in the third row. Owners of more than two dogs (like me) would be unable to use the Utility for all their dogs because there may not be enough Latch anchors in their vehicle; the Sport takes care of that problem as well.
I tested the Sport on Tyler, my 65-pound golden retriever. Fitting the harness took less than 10 minutes and is likely something you would do once or on occasion depending on how much your dog grows. Strapping him into our 2004 GMC Safari van took just a couple of minutes, and releasing him took less than a minute. He was able to lie comfortably on the back bench during a 60-minute round trip. When I hit the brakes hard deliberately at low speed, Tyler stayed on the bench. He was startled by the abrupt stop, but that is his usual reaction to quick stops. Watch crash-test videos here.
The Sport also features D rings on the neck strap for leash attachment, and it incorporates reflective material for nighttime safety.
Right now the Sport comes in sizes small, medium and large, and can safely restrain dogs up to 75 pounds; it is priced from $69.99 to $79.99 (the Utility sells for $89.99 to $99.99). Through Dec. 31, all Sport harnesses are discounted by $5. Once the Center for Pet Safety has a bigger crash-test dog dummy available, Sleepypod will test an extra-large Sport harness for dogs heavier than 75 pounds, according to Sleepypod spokeswoman Jane Skuta.
All in all, the Clickit Sport improvements make it a solid bet for travel-happy dog owners.
Editor's note: We used a media sample harness supplied by Sleepypod, which was returned after testing.
Cars.com photos by Jen Burklow, manufacturer images