Popular Dog Harnesses Fail Crash Test

maltese dog wearing seat beltThat harness you use to restrain your dog in your car is probably not as safe as you think it is.

In 2011 the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit dedicated to consumer and companion-animal safety, conducted a first-of-its-kind study to see how four popular brands of harnesses worn by a 55-pound dog dummy performed in 30-mile-per-hour crashes.

All of the harnesses failed the test.

Videos of the crash tests showed the dog dummy becoming airborne and slamming into the front seat. Depending on the brand of harness, dogs could suffer injuries ranging from broken bones, to brain damage, to near decapitation.

But that doesn’t mean you should let your dog ride unrestrained – in that case, the injuries would likely be even worse.

The answer? Currently there are no government performance standards or test protocols for dog harnesses, but CPS wants to change that.

“Manufacturers are not ignoring safety standards,” CPS stressed in the published study. “There simply are no existing standards in place. This is not the fault of the manufacturer. Pet product safety is an emerging issue, and the Center for Pet Safety was formed to address it.”

CPS did not mention the brand names tested. “Our primary concern is NOT to attack individual manufacturers for selling well-intentioned products,” it stated in the study. “If we share brands at this early stage in our work, we shift the focus away from what is truly needed: measurable, safe standards that manufacturers can follow for the benefit of consumers.”

The organization is now working with Subaru of America, Inc., on a landmark pet car safety restraint study in which harness data is being collected to support a standard that will be published later this year.

“We want to encourage pet product manufacturers to test their harnesses, crates and other travel equipment as part of their efforts to ensure that consumers and their pets are offered effective, measurable protection by these safety devices,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of CPS, in a press release.

CPS plans to announce the top-performing harness brands later this year.

In the meantime, on its Facebook page, CPS recommends that pet parents take the following steps when shopping for a safe harness:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s website or YouTube for a start-to-finish crash test video.
  2. Ask the manufacturer what weight they used to simulate the dog in the crash test. Most manufacturers only use a 30 to 35-pound dog dummy. Some are currently working to test heavier weights.
  3. Ask the manufacturer what speed was used in the crash test. Most tests, including those by CPS, are conducted at a speed of 30 miles per hour.

“If the manufacturer doesn’t want to answer your questions, keep shopping until you find one that is proud of the testing they have completed and are willing to share it with you,” CPS recommends. “Remember – telling you that they have tested is different than SHOWING you they have tested.”

PHOTO: ~ggvic~

Laura Goldman

Laura Goldman is senior social media writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. She does love dogs. And elephants and turtles. Along with writing about the loves of her life, Laura likes to play with her two pound pups and tell anyone who’ll listen just how awesome Pit Bulls are.

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  1. [...] Laura Goldman. Published October 17, 2013. As i Love Dog Friendly reported in May, in a 2011 Center for Pet Safety (CPS) study, four popular brands of harnesses were tested by a [...]


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