Dog seat belts and car harnesses

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You wouldn't let your children travel in your car unbuckled, so why is your dog any different? Don't let your pooch become a crash test doggy.

You may well consider yourself to be a careful driver, but surveys reveal more than sixty percent of us admit to being distracted by our dog when we are behind the wheel, and distraction is the leading cause behind most road traffic accidents!

Its worth noting, at thirty-five miles per hour, a sixty pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds if unrestrained.

A dog harness, or dog seat belt, is one way of keeping your hound secure in the event of a road traffic accident. This guide from Loving Your Pet will help you choose the right one.

Dog harnesses and dog seat belts provide both safety and comfort, preventing your dog from suffering an injury or becoming a dangerous projectile in the event of a crash or sudden stop. Most dog harnesses or seat belts lock into your car's seat belt system; your main concerns being buying the right size for your dog and finding a product that meets safety standards.

"At thirty-five miles per hour, a sixty pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds if unrestrained."

What are the leading brands?

Safety products need safety standards, but not all dog harness brands come with testing assurances. Brands that do supply testing information based on safety, strength and fit include dog harnesses and dog seat belts manufactured by Bergan, Kurgo and PetBuckle.

What about sizes?

The one size fits all approach clearly wouldn't apply to dog harnesses. Sizes range from extra small through to extra large and nearly all harnesses or seatbelts are adjustable.

I know they're safe, but are they comfortable?

They're designed to be comfortable. It will take time for your dog to get used to wearing a harness - many brands come with padding for extra comfort. The benefits are that your dog is secure and doesn't get jolted and thrown around the inside of the car - a bump on the nose for a dog can be extremely painful as it's the most sensitive part of their body.

Once fitted into the harness, your dog should be able to sit, stand or lay down and not be stressed by having to brace itself when the car is manoeuvring.

Do I have to have one?

It's estimated ninety percent of dog owners don't secure their dog when driving. Some states in America insist on a harness or secure holding to be used. Under UK law, you are not permitted to transport an animal in a way that is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering.

The distraction of a loose dog may lead to you driving without due care and attention. There have been a number of reported cases where the shock of an accident has caused a loose dog to flee or sometimes attack members of the emergency services.

Where to buy

There are an abundance of online retailers stocking dog harnesses and dog seat belts. You might also be able to buy them from your local pet store, online pet retailer or veterinary practice.