I take my dog with me in the car often. You can see him in action here on YouTube. I wanted him to be as safe as possible when we travel or are just out for a drive to the dog park. I started searching for a harness to keep my medium-sized canine safe, yet one that was easy enough for everyday use.
I was surprised to find very few dog harnesses, even the ones meant for the car, are crash tested. I bought and tried a couple, and will share them so you can benefit from my experiences.
Out of the crash-tested dog auto harnesses, the EzyDog Harness, combined with the ALLSAFE tethering system worked the best. The Ezydog harness is strong and easy to put on for everyday use, and the ALLSAFE tether is strong, solid, and allowed my 50-pound, medium-sized dog to lay down on the seat during the drive.
- EZYDOG Drive Harness
- ALLSAFE Dog Harness
- Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
The EzyDog Drive Harness
The EZYDog harness is a crash-tested car harness. The harness is very well put together with solid hardware. The metal slides (for sizing) and rings (for leash use) are aluminum alloy so they are light and very durable.
All of the webbings are made from seat belt material so it is flexible but strong. EzyDog uses what they call Cross Link technology so the webbing for the straps is crossed at the top ⅓ of the chest plate.
The chest plate of the harness is generously padded and molded to fit a dog’s anatomy well. The chest plate is quite firm compared to other harnesses I have used. This may just be the generous amount of padding.
The harness is very easy to use. After just a couple of uses, my dog Jackson just began stepping into the leg holes of the harness. The harness then has 2 plastic buckles for closure on the dog’s back which are very easy to access and use. Once the harness is on, all you do is put your dog in the car, run the seat belt through the 2 very durable webbing handles on the harness, and click into the seat belt buckle.
What I liked about the EZYDog Harness:
The Ease of putting on the harness for everyday use after it was fitted the first time. This is so easy, at the dog park, I take the harness off and leave it in the car. When returning to the car, I simply have him step into the front legs, clip the two clips on his back, and off to home we go.
What I didn’t like about the EZYDog Harness:
What I don’t like about this particular harness is that the sizing was a little larger than expected. Jackson sized out for a medium, at 50 pounds, but the medium harness when set as small as it can be is just a bit too large. I probably could have taken advantage of what they claim is hassle-free returns but it wasn’t a big enough size difference to make the time and effort to return the harness and wait for a new one worth it.
A second thing and probably the biggest dislike of mine is that once Jackson was hooked into the seat belt, he wasn’t able to lay down comfortably. He is not heavy enough to pull out the seat belt to stretch it out initially to lay down. If I stretch it out initially when he moves at all, the seatbelt naturally retracts and tightens and he has to sit. Not a big deal, except that I’ve trained Jackson to lay down when he’s in the car.
This I solved by using the tether system from the ALLSAFE Dog Car Harness. This does mean I am not using the harness as designed.
ALLSAFE Original Dog Auto Harness
The ALLSAFE crash-tested dog harness is a German-engineered, automobile harness for dogs. This is an extremely well-put-together harness. The chest area has very thick padding and the company uses an extra thick nylon webbing on the chest and back areas of the harness, as well as where the connections for the sizing sliders and D rings are connected to the harness. There is a reflective V from the chest up to the shoulders and reflective strips on the back of the harness near the back D ring. The sliders and the D rings are stainless steel so they are strong and durable.
Picking up this harness you can feel by the weight of it that it is a quality product. Once you have the harness on your dog and your dog in the car you will attach the harness to a tether system that is attached to the seat belt.
The ALLSAFE harness claims to have a perfect safety record for almost 20 years.
What I liked about the ALLSAFE Canine Harness:
The tether system is probably my favorite piece to this harness. The tether is adjustable for length and is made of the same high-quality nylon as the harness.
The tether attaches to the harness with a heavy-duty stainless steel snap that is very simple to use. The other end of the tether attaches to the seat belt with 2 stainless steel carabiners that have screw locks.
Just unscrew the locks, slide the seat belt into the carabiners and then screw the locks back together. Leaving this tether on the seat belt does not prevent the seat belt from being used for a person instead. With the tether on carabiners, Jackson was able to slide the tether down low enough for him to be able to fully lay down on the seat as he was trained to do.
What I did not like about the ALLSAFE Canine Harness:
Although the ALLSAFE harness is incredibly well constructed, I do have a few issues with it. First, the sizing was way off. This harness says it’s a medium, which Jackson sized out to be, but it is way too big for Jackson.
It’s so big, that after a couple of attempts to use it with all of the adjustments made as small as they can be, I gave up on it.
Also, I did not find putting the harness on the dog or taking it off very easy. The harness is all one piece, so the dog’s legs go into the leg holes, and then the harness goes over the dog’s head. This was even more problematic for me when removing the harness.
Additionally, this was particularly a hassle when I was trying to get Jackson out of the car at the dog park or going for a walk downtown. When this harness is on, it is ON. I know the harness is designed to be used for walks as well, just clip your leash into the D rings, which leads me to the next issue.
I mentioned that you pick up this harness and you can feel the quality, well which also means that it’s heavy. For my preference and what I gathered from Jackson, it’s just too heavy and bulky to wear just for a walk.
This then circles around to the trouble I had getting it on and off easily which led to me just not bothering with it after a couple of tries.
The best safety equipment is the equipment you use.
KURGO TRU-FIT SMART HARNESS
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is a well-made, nice, lightweight walking harness. Kurgo has done a nice job manufacturing the Tru Fit Smart Harness. Using nylon seat belt webbing plus a padded chest piece for added comfort and safety as well as the solid hardware in adjustments and leash/tether attachment points.
At first, I found putting the harness on challenging. The harness slides over the dog’s head and then there are two straps, with plastic buckles (Kurgo describes them as easy release) that wrap under the front legs and connect to the other end of the buckles that are attached to the top (dog’s back) of the harness.
After fumbling around the first few times I used the harness, it’s now actually quite easy and quick.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is made of nylon webbing and ripstop fabric construction so it’s light and durable.
There are 5 adjustment points so the harness fits properly and comfortably.
The chest plate is padded to make it more comfortable for your dog and to add extra protection.
There are 2 leash attachments to choose from, one at the chest or the one on the dog’s back.
Includes a 10″ seat belt loop for use in your vehicle to prevent distracted driving (not crash-tested). Additionally, there is a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty.
What I liked about the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness:
- It is light and durable.
- Easy to adjust and fit properly
- Great walking harness
What I didn’t like about the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness:
Issues with this harness are the way the harness is put on the dog. I found it a bit frustrating at first, but even now if my dog lays down or doesn’t fully cooperate I cannot get the harness on.
Other harnesses with the traditional step-through design have not presented this problem.
Next, the tether for use in the car is very well made but when in use, my dogs have a tough time laying down when the car is moving. The loop on the tether is made so that both the shoulder belt and lap belt must go through the loop to connect to the seat belt buckle. This design limits the mobility of the dog to get comfortable when the vehicle is moving.
Lastly, it’s unfortunate this harness is not crash tested. Had this been done, this would be an outstanding all-around harness instead of just a very good walking harness.
I did find Kurgo does have a crash-tested dog harness, apparently, I clicked on the wrong one, and with my experience with the quality of the walking harness, I can recommend it, a link to it on Amazon is here. Look for Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness instead of Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness, or just follow the link to Amazon here for the Crash Tested harness.
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