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Road-Tripping With Pets? Here’s What You Need to Know

We are a pet-loving crew here in Cars.com’s editorial and production departments. Collectively, we share life with 17 dogs, eight cats, one turtle and four fish, and many of them travel with us. With the summer travel season almost upon us, we looked for pet travel products that do more than keep pets from being a distraction.

Related: More Road-Trip News

A Petco-branded travel harness, Good2Go, crash-tested in 2018 by the Center for Pet Safety, shows promise. The nonprofit pet-safety research and advocacy organization tested store-brand travel harnesses from Petco and PetSmart; packaging for both harnesses claim the devices have been crash-tested. PetSmart’s Top Paw harness (a rebranded Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness) failed: The straps broke, and the dummy dog was flung from the seat. Petco’s Good2Go harness kept the dummy dog on the bench; harness hardware remained intact and straps performed as they should. The crash tests were sponsored by Piper’s Walk, a nonprofit dedicated to educating pet owners about canine safety in vehicles.

While CPS has not certified the Good2Go harness — getting certified is voluntary on the part of the manufacturer — the agency encouraged Petco to go through the certification process. I purchased a large Good2Go harness (the size CPS tested that’s designed for dogs weighing 50 to 80 pounds) to test on our dogs (yes, plural, as in four of them) for ease of use and comfort.

Here’s what I found:

  • It’s easy to adjust the Good2Go harness to fit the dog; our four dogs weigh from 50 to 70 pounds, and I was able to adjust the large harness to fit all of them easily and quickly.
  • Good2Go harnesses are affordably priced at $29.99 to $39.99 when compared to other harnesses we’ve tested that run from $69.99 to $99.99.
  • Threading the seat belt through the loop on the back of the harness and clicking it into the seat belt stalk is easy to do.
  • The dog is able to stand, sit or lie down comfortably.
  • The Good2Go doubles as a walking harness, which makes it easy to take breaks along the road, and it has reflective striping for visibility at night.
  • While driving 25 to 30 mph, I hit the hooks hard to simulate an emergency stop; our dog, 70-pound golden retriever Tyler, stayed on the bench each time. While this doesn’t replicate the testing CPS does, it did give me an idea of the Good2Go’s capability.

Based on the CPS crash-test video, the Good2Go harness seems to be a good alternative for budget-conscious dog owners who want their dogs to be safely restrained. The best pet-travel products are designed to keep pets and other passengers safe during a crash. Many of these products will keep pets from being a distraction; far fewer actually keep everyone in the vehicle safe.

When we contacted Petco to find out if the company would provide information about the crash-testing claims on the Good2Go packaging, we found out the harness is being redesigned and rebranded. Crash-test information was not provided, and the Petco spokeswoman was unable to provide a timeline for when the current harness will be phased out (the harness is currently available). She did offer this statement:

“The Good2Go harness’ design is being refreshed after a successful three-year run. We don’t have details on what the redesign will entail at this point, but we remain committed to ensuring all of our products are designed with pets’ safety as a top priority.”

Looking for other pet-travel products and tips for traveling safely with four-legged passengers this summer? From harnesses to crates to carriers to safety tips, our roundup of pet travel news below has you covered.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.