Wearing a seatbelt is a no brainer when you go for a drive so it only makes sense that you ensure your dog is properly secured in their seat as well. Not only will a harness protect your fur baby from injury but it will also almost guarantee you won’t have them playing leap frog in the car or out the window during your road trip.
Unlike seat belts though, not one size fits all when it comes to doggy car harnesses. Here’s what you need to know about travelling in the car with your best friend and some recommendations on how to find safest dog harness for them.
Are there laws around restraining dogs?
Regulations and requirements for travelling with dogs vary from state to state. In NSW, it is a requirement that a dog should not hinder a driver's ability to have full control of their vehicle and being guilty of this would result in a penalty of $425 and loss of three demerit points. Under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it is also considered a criminal offence if an animal is found to be injured due to being unrestrained in a vehicle.
What to consider when looking for the best car harness:
The size and shape of your dog
Whether your dog is a cavoodle or a greyhound will matter when you come to selecting a good harness. To get the best out of the car harness, it will need to be fitted correctly and comfortably conform to the shape of your pup. You’ll also want to pay attention to the stitch and webbing on the harness, especially if you have a larger or heavier dog. This is to ensure the harness can fully support the weight of your dog during any sudden stops.
The way that the harness is attached to the seat
Harnesses vary in how they attach to the car’s seat belt system. Larger dogs may do better with a shorter strap or a harness that can be threaded directly with the seatbelt. This is probably the safest option in most cases. If you already have a harness that you think is suitable, there are loop strap clips-on solutions that can attach to existing harnesses so that they can be used in the car. For the more well behaved, smaller pup, there are also tether options that have ends which can plug directly into the seat belt buckle or you can consider installing a zipline in your back seat to allow your dog more flexibility to shift positions during the ride.
Whether the harness has been crash tested and approved
Not all car harnesses are made equal. In 2013, the NRMA crash tested a variety of car harnesses (on dummy dogs of course!) and found that only 2 passed their test. Splashing out a bit more for a crash tested harness could be worth it in the long run, especially if you have a larger, heavier dog.
Here are some of the best car harnesses for your best friend:
- Ezydog Drive harness
- Kurgo Car harness
- Ruffwear loop up harness
- Purina Petlife CLIX car harness
Restraining your dog with a harness while driving keeps everyone safe. However, there may be instances where a car harness may not be a good solution for your dog, however that doesn’t mean that they have to miss out on travelling. There are always other options such as dog crates, barriers, car seats and hammock car seat covers which can be used as well.
Let us know how you like to keep your best friend safe in the car.