Restraining your dog while driving is an important part of any trip, whether it’s to the vet in town or tackling a cross-country summer road trip. In a crash, unsecured pets can become a serious hazard to human occupants, but they also can become a serious distraction before any accident occurs.
The issue of pet distraction is exacerbated by the fact that no federal safety standards exist for pet travel products — and there are many of them. Not many have been crash-tested, and consumers should be diligent about verifying crash-testing claims, according to the Center for Pet Safety.
The nonprofit CPS aims to create testing standards for pet harnesses, carriers, booster seats and crates while also educating pet owners about pet travel safety and encouraging manufacturers to design crash-tested, certifiable products, said Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of CPS.
With sponsorship from Subaru in 2013, CPS tested seven harnesses that secure dogs to the backseats of vehicles. Those harnesses were subjected to the type of crash-testing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses for child-safety seats. Only one harness performed in a safe manner across the board: Clickit by Sleepypod (which also makes crash-tested carriers for cats and small dogs).
“The one that came the closest to what they should do was the Sleepypod Clickit,” Wolko said. “It kept the dog from launching [off the backseat]; it kept the dog from coming into potential contact with a human occupant. It offered the dog the best possible chance of survival.”
We decided to test Clickit in the real world for ease of use, comfort and practicality.