Study Has a Bone To Pick With Pet Safety Harnesses | Edmunds

Study Has a Bone To Pick With Pet Safety Harnesses

Just the Facts:
  • A new study shows that almost all popular brands of pet harnesses fail to provide adequate crash protection for both animals and human passengers.
  • The study, from Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety, shows that only one brand provided thorough protection in a 30-mph crash.
  • According to the study, the Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness was the only product tested that achieved a "top performer" rating.

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey — A study sponsored by Subaru and conducted by the Center for Pet Safety shows that almost all of the popular brands of pet harnesses fail to protect animals adequately in automobile crashes.

As previously reported by Edmunds, Subaru backed the initiative to evaluate the performance of currently available pet restraints and also establish standards for future testing. The goal of the project is to help manufacturers improve their products and ultimately ensure the safety of both people and animals during automobile travel.

Most of the products, according to the new results, are not fit for a dog.

The top performer, according to the study, is the Clickit Utility Harness from Sleepypod. Incredibly, this was the only product in the study that consistently held the dog dummy securely in place on the seat and kept both the animal and passengers safe in crash testing.

The Clickit Utility Harness retails for $89.95 on the Sleepypod Web site. Subaru will also be offering this harness through its accessories catalogs and at dealers.

Although some of the six other brands tested on various sizes of doggy dummies did not suffer what the study calls "catastrophic failure," not one rose above "performance not optimal" status.

Four other models did not even qualify for testing because they didn't meet the study's minimum initial requirements for strength, hardware integrity, overall design or quality control. Brands that did not specifically state claims for "testing," "crash testing" or "crash protection" were also not included.

Since no standards for testing pet restraints exist, the study used federal standards for child safety seats as a starting point. Researchers used specially designed crash-test doggies, similar to the dummies used in human testing, to represent animals of 25, 45 and 75 pounds. Crashes were conducted according to Federal standards for a 30 mph collision.

"Safety for all passengers, including our pets, is very important to Subaru and to our drivers," said Michael McHale, director of communications for Subaru of America. "Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all. Most pet owners don't know the dangers of not properly harnessing their pet while in the car. With nearly half of Subaru drivers also being dog owners, we want them to be as informed as possible."

The information presented in this study should not only help keep drivers informed, but the Center for Pet Safety says it will also serve as a first step in establishing industry-wide standards for testing animal-safety products in the future.

Edmunds says: Only one pet harness passed the test? Woof!

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