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Since the beginning of time … or at least as long as we have had dogs … we’ve used the same type of car harness for them. It was the most common kind – the ones with a tether that attaches to the back of the dog’s harness on one end and snaps into the seatbelt receptacle on the other. Of course, when the Center for Pet Safety started crash testing dog harnesses, it was a wake-up call for us all! It became clear that those single-point-of-connection harnesses were more likely to cause pet injuries in an accident.
Watching the crash test videos was terrifying, and when the results of the study were released the Sleepypod ClickIt Utility harness was – far and away – the top performer. And yet … I didn’t switch.
The ClickIt Utility required you to put the harness on your dog, slip the seatbelt through it and into the receptacle, and then attach two tethers connecting the harness to the anchors used to install child safety seats. Traveling in an RV meant we didn’t have the required hardware to allow us to use these harnesses and, to be honest, I was grateful for the excuse. On one level, I knew that Ty and Buster would be safer in a Sleepypod harness, but I was concerned that they’d be too uncomfortable if they couldn’t stand up and turn around while we were driving. I felt guilty about compromising on safety, but wanted a harness that was easy to use and keep the boys comfortable.
And then a few weeks ago, Sleepypod introduced their new ClickIt Sport harness. This next generation harness couldn’t be more simple to use, and with a 5-star rating from the Center for Pet Safety, the new infinity loop design makes it every bit as safe as the previous version. I couldn’t ignore these improvements … it was time to give Sleepypod a try.
On their website, Sleepypod has a video that shows how to put the harness on your pup and use the seatbelt to secure them in the car – though it’s so self-explanatory you really can’t mess it up. The harness is a step-in design with two clips that attach on the dog’s back.
There are two metal rings on the top clip that allow you to attach a leash for quick pit stops and two PPRS (Pet Passenger Restraint System) straps on each side where you slip the seatbelt through. We’re using the harnesses slightly differently than the Sleepypod video shows, because the sofas where the boys ride in the motorhome have only lap belts – no shoulder restraints.
This set up feels much safer for the boys than the harnesses we were using. The construction of the harness is top-notch, with a padded chest and strong webbing. And the only other component we’re using is the RV manufacturer-installed seatbelt, so there’s little to fail.
The dogs do have less room to move around than before, but that means they’re less likely to be injured in an accident – which is our ultimate goal. And, it’s better for all of us to plan more frequent breaks to stretch. It may mean we’ll get to our destination a few minutes later, but knowing Ty and Buster are safer is well worth the tradeoff.
The best part is, my fears that the dogs would be uncomfortable was completely unwarranted. They seem to be perfectly happy buckled up in their new harnesses!