With the advent of the modern automobile, spending the weekend with our canine best friends has become so much easier. Creating memories with our families together with our 4-legged furry friends has become all the more meaningful. However, just as we have to ensure the safety of our human passengers, it is also crucial to guarantee the safety of these four-legged creatures we now consider as important members of our modern family. A sturdy, easy to use, and highly durable dog car seat belt can, thus come in handy.
Like the human version, a dog safety belt helps ensure safer travel for our pooches. Additionally, this also helps minimize distracted driving activities involving our pets. It is not uncommon that, in their excitement of an expected fun times with your family pooches will jump onto the front passenger seat, paw or lick your face, or even entice you to play with it or give it its favorite treat. If you allow this to continue, this will increase the risk of vehicular accidents.
A dog seat belt will ensure car safety until you arrive at your intended destination. Then, you can play all you want. As such, choosing the best dog seat belts to keep your canine safe and your family while traveling becomes all the more important. And for that, we’ve got you covered.
The 12 Top-Rated Dog Seat Belts
- Fully adjustable strap made of durable nylon
- Sturdy swivel clip made of zinc alloy
- Durable metal buckles
Vastar currently enjoys the trust of many dog owners today because of its rather simple yet effective design coupled with 6 colorful designs to choose from and a good price to boot. The Vastar car restraints for dogs come with heavy-duty hardware to help secure your pooch while on the move including zinc allow clips that swivel 360 degrees for optimum movement for your dog. Unfortunately, you will have to find a suitable body harness to go with the Vastar to make the whole system complete.
- High-quality nylon leash
- Adjustable in length
- Convenient to attach and detach as needed
- Durable and practical
When you are buying a seat belt for your dog, your top priority should be that it is actually safe. This belt is made from top-quality nylon with a zinc alloy swivel snap and buckles. You can adjust the belt between 18 and 30 inches depending on the size of your four-legged friend.
Many pet owners don’t want their dog seat belt to be installed in their vehicle all the time, so this one is an ideal option as the nylon straps can be easily attached and removed from your headrest. The straps are tangle-free to stop this being an issue either. It also has the useful extra feature of being convertible into a traditional leash if you should need it.
- Swivel tether doesn’t get twisted or caught
- Direct to seat belt tether
- Universal sizing and fit
- Carabiner attachment
This broad dog tether is strong enough to keep your furry friend in place while you are driving, stopping them from bounding all over the car. You simply need to attach it to your dog’s harness, and it is compatible with any design. As for the installation, it clips into place quickly and easily whenever you need it.
The tether is a universal fit for the majority of vehicles, and it can be extended as needed. If anything should go wrong, there is a Kurgo lifetime guarantee backing you up.
- Combination safety seat belt and padded harness
- Can double as a walking harness
- Wide supportive vest
- Adjustable strap with quick-release buckle
It may be priced higher than the rest, but considering PAWABOO is already a combination of a dog harness for car and seat belt, it turns out to be an even better deal. The PAWABOO includes a super comfy, fully padded harness that is designed to be extra wide to allow for the more efficient distribution of impact forces and help minimize injuries to your pet’s internal organs. The closures are designed for easy-on, easy-off applications while the 100% Oxford polyester fabric construction gives it exceptional comfort for your pooch. It comes in 10 color designs, too.
- Available in four sizes for different breeds
- Padded chest area for comfort
- Numerous attachments
The PetSafe Deluxe Car Safety Dog Harness is available in four sizes to suit all breeds and has been crash tested for safety. The padded chest has a breathable liner to keep your dog cool. It includes a tether that attaches to your car seat belt and has numerous attachment locations. It is quick and easy to put on your dog and is compatible with all vehicles that have seatbelts.
- Chest harness with breathable fabric
- Easy to use, quick release style
- Fully adjustable
- Multi-function design
The next choice on our list is a highly popular option. It comes in a breathable mesh chest style, which is breathable enough for your dog to feel comfortable. The durable nylon strap is fully adjustable for the vehicle that you are driving – and your dog too.
The harness is very easy to use – all your dog needs to do is step inside. There are four areas of adjustment, so you can ensure that your pup feels entirely comfortable before hitting the road. It also doubles up as a regular harness too.
- Made of vinyl coated steel rope
- Attaches to latch bar of standard vehicles
- Five different sizes available
- Made in the USA with 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
This seat belt restraint is chew proof to ensure that your dog is not going to damage it. This style locks into the safety latch bar rather than the seat belt, which makes it less likely that it is going to accidentally unfasten. All standard vehicles have one of these, so you don’t have to worry so much about compatibility. It is designed to be used in conjunction with your dog’s vest harness. There are five different sizes available depending on the pet you own. As always, make sure to take the time to properly measure your dog to ensure that you get the size right.
- Adjustable belt length – customizable to the amount of freedom you want to give
- Tangle-free design
- Metal hardware for durability and strength
- Attaches to latch bar
Safety and security are essential in dog seat belts, and this one attaches directly to vehicle frame to ensure that it stays securely in place. There are no worries about your dog suddenly stepping on the buckle and getting free while you are driving, which takes one worry off your mind.
Another feature of this particular seat belt is the tangle-free attachment, which allows your dog to move around without getting stuck. If you are not entirely satisfied, there is a money-back guarantee, which gives you an extra sense of security.
- Fits any car that has seat belts
- Buckle made from cold rolled steel
- Reinforced nylon webbing for strength
A sturdy restraint for taking dogs on road trips, the EzyDog Universal Dog Car Restraint will fit into any car that has seatbelts. The strong cold rolled steel buckle attaches with just one click for speed and convenience and the strong nylon webbing has been reinforced with precision stitching to give it a 2400 pound breaking strength. The swivel clip helps to avoid your pooch getting tangled up on the journey.
- Clips directly into seat belt receiver of your vehicle
- Not compatible with all cars
- Strong nylon webbing with bungee buffer damping
The Vastar Dog Seat Belt Harness clips directly into the seat belt clip receiver of your car making it very quick to secure and release your dog. The clip is 2cm wide and therefore only compatible with vehicles that have a corresponding receiver width. The strong nylon material has a flexible bungee design that provides a buffer damping in case you need to brake sharply or are in a collision. The harness clip is made of a strong zinc alloy and has a swivel snap design to avoid tangles.
- Pack of two dog seat belts
- Made from high density nylon with elastic buffer
- Seat belt tab compatible with most but not all vehicles
CooYoo offers a pack of two dog seat belts that are useful for multi-car or multi-dog households. They are made from high-density and durable nylon with an elastic buffer to provide further protection. They attach to your dog’s harness via a zinc alloy swivel snap clip to avoid tangles. For car attachment, there is a seatbelt tab clip that is 0.83 inches wide. Whilst this is a universal fitting that will fit most cars, this should be checked before purchase.
- Fully adjustable five-point seat harness
- Crash tested and compatible with any seat belt system
- Chest pad to disperse energy and protect the sternum
With a more heavyweight design than some other dog seatbelts in our review, the Kurgo is a super-comfortable harness that can keep sizeable pooches up to 75 pounds safely in place. Crash-tested, this well-built harness comes with all the right credentials and its buckle system is based on harnesses used by rock climbers, so you know your pup is secure. But all that security doesn’t mean comfort is compromised, as the wide webbing reduces pressure and stress. It also includes a chest pad that spreads kinetic energy to help protect your pet should you experience a crash. Add in a no-pull D-ring for training and a fully adjustable design and with the Kurgo you get a lovely secure and easy to use dog seat belt for all your canine journeys.
How to Choose the Best Dog Seat Belt
Picking the right dog seat belt should be fairly easy, yet a lot of folks actually pick the wrong ones. Many pick just about any other harness that they can get their hands into since they practically look the same; well, almost. The thing is that there are a lot of things that you have to consider when buying products such as these. First and foremost will be the issue of whether it really is safer to put your pooch on a car seat harness than putting it inside a pet carrier or portable travel crate instead. This is just one of the several issues that we will try to answer in this comprehensive buyer’s guide we have prepared for you.
Are Seat Belts for Dogs Safe?
There really is a big question as to the safety of these products. There have been reports of incidents where the dog was severely injured after a car crash even though it was wearing a doggie seat belt. Let us try to examine what a doggie seat belt looks like because its safety is directly related to its design.
A dog seat belt is pretty much the same as your car’s seatbelt except that one end connects to your pet’s harness and the other one is equipped with a metal clasp that fits into the buckle of your car seatbelt. Some designs call for sliding your car’s seatbelt through the doggie safety seatbelt. The length of the tether is shorter than that of a leash to help keep your pooch stable and in place while the car is moving. The problem is that, in a car crash, the tether will stop the forward momentum of your dog’s body. If its body harness is not fully padded, there is a chance that the sudden acceleration-deceleration can result in internal injuries.
Let us try to compare this with two other dog safety systems that are employed in vehicles: secure gate and dog crate.
A secure gate is typically used in wagons and SUVs, providing a barrier between the rear compartment of the vehicle and its passenger cabin. Dogs have the entire space of the rear compartment to themselves. They are not tied down since they are already somewhat in a ‘cage’. Unfortunately, in the event of a car crash, the sudden increase in momentum can hurl the dog all the way to the front of the vehicle and smack right into the security gate. This can lead to injuries as well. Even in sudden stops without causing a vehicular crash, the dog can still be flung from its feet and against the bars of the gate.
On the other hand, a dog crate essentially reduces the space upon which dogs will be able to move. Most travel crates today are made of hard plastic which is a lot better than metal cages. The main issue is that, if the crate is not tied down or secured on the vehicle, it can get thrown in any direction in the event of a car crash. What’s worse is that the dog can sustain injuries from hitting the inside walls of the crate. At the very least, since the space is relatively smaller, the injuries should be lesser in severity and extent compared to those injuries found in secure gates. Even if the crate is tied down, the dog can still hit the insides of the crate in the event of sudden deceleration.
So, among these three methods of securing a dog while traveling, the use of a car seat belt for dogs remains the safest since it secures your pooch in its place and provides greater stability for your pet while the vehicle is moving. Do take note that in all three doggie vehicle safety systems, the risk of injury is ever-present in the event of a crash or an accident.
Read here our detailed guide on Car Seats for Dogs.
How Do You Use a Dog Seat Belt?
Depending on the type of dog seat belt that you purchase, using these vehicle safety contraptions for dogs is quite easy. However, it should be understood that under no circumstance should you connect such systems to a doggie collar. It should only be attached to a padded body harness for dogs.
A dog seat belt is more like a very short leash that you attach or connect to your car’s existing car seat. If it comes with a clasp, make sure that its size fits the buckle of your car seat belt. You will have to secure the clasp onto the buckle first. Most tethers are fully adjustable. You may want to lengthen the tether first before connecting the clip to your pooch’s harness. Then, readjust the tether to the desired length.
If the dog seat belt didn’t come with a clasp that can be buckled, it usually comes with a loop which you need to insert your car’s seat belt including the shoulder strap through. You will then buckle your car’s seat belt like you normally would. Now, adjust the length of the tether accordingly.
What to Look for in a Dog Seat Belt
Before you start looking for the best possible seat belt or harness for your pooch, let us first try to understand the legal basis for using such kinds of restraints.
Technically there are no laws requiring motorists or drivers to secure their dogs with harnesses or seatbelts whenever they are traveling on a motor vehicle. However, there are many states in the country that do implement distracted driving laws. Many of these legislations prohibit driving with a pet on the driver’s lap. Doing so, and if you do get caught, can automatically penalize you with a relatively small fine, but a fine nonetheless. And if you happen to be driving in New Jersey with your pooch on your lap, don’t be shocked to be penalized up to $1,000 for doing so. Even if your pooch was not on your lap, the mere fact that you are traveling with an unrestrained dog means you’re guilty of violating the law on distracted driving.
Other states may have different laws that apply to various situations. For instance, if you’re driving a truck in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island you’re actually expected to put your dog in a crate which is then placed on the flatbed of your truck. The crate is also supposed to be secured properly or cross-tied to allow for greater security.
It is, thus crucial to be fully cognizant of the distracted driving laws in your state so you can be guided accordingly on what kind of dog seat belt you have to purchase. That being said, let us now look at the things you may want to focus on when buying a dog seat belt.
Passed Crash Tests
This is perhaps the single most important factor that you have to look for in a dog safety belt. There are a lot of products in the market that is nothing more than a short-length leash with a clip on one end which you use to attach to your dog’s harness and a metal buckle on the other end that fits into the slot of your car seatbelt buckle. It is very easy to make a contraption like this. Virtually anyone who understands the basic elements of the design can make it. You can even make one yourself if you want to.
However, only those manufacturers that put their products to rigorous testing deserve your attention. Many of the products available today will only keep your dog from interfering with your driving. In no way do these help save your dog in the event of a car crash. Do take note that the dog car seat belt may survive the impact, but not necessarily your dog. As such, it is imperative that you read the fine print of these products to make sure that they are both crash-tested AND safety rated. This should make you feel good about your choice.
The construction of the safety harness matters. High-quality materials don’t always guarantee an excellent product, unfortunately. You will also have to take note of how these materials are used or fused together in the design. The stitching of the harness or safety belt should give you peace of mind about its durability and strength.
Safe to Use as a Walking Harness
The idea of securing your pooch while traveling is so that you can easily bring your dog anywhere. This means that the doggie safety harness should also allow for it to be used as a walking harness. It would simply be a waste of effort and time if you have a different harness for the car and for walking or strolling. While this is actually possible, it stresses your dog and puts undue pressure on you, too. Remember, once you reach your destination, your pooch will already be raring to go. Imagine the frustration when you still have to remove your dog from its car harness and put it into its walking harness.
This actually goes hand-in-hand with the versatility of the car safety harness as a walking harness. If you can attach a raincoat or even an outer garment onto the harness, then it would really be amazing.
Ease of Use
Since we’re essentially talking about putting the seat belt harness for dogs on your pooch every time you take it for a drive you might also want to make sure that it is rather easy to put on. But, if you don’t mind complicating its application, then, by all means, you can disregard this parameter altogether.
Getting Your Dog Used to a Seat Belt
Most dogs are not really comfortable with the use of dog seat belts since this restricts their freedom of movement. However, like all doggie contraptions, it takes training and lots of patience to get your dog used to a seat belt.
If your pooch is already trained to walk on a leash using a body harness, the process of learning should be a lot faster. The key, however, is to first introduce the idea of the seat belt to your pooch. Again, this is to make sure your pooch will learn to accept the safety harness as normal every time it gets onto your vehicle. You may want to put your pooch inside your car with the dog safety harness securely attached to your car’s seat belt. You don’t have to connect this to your dog yet and you don’t even have to drive your car. Just spend several minutes every day with your dog inside your car and the seat belt just lying on the car seat. This helps teach acceptance of the seat belt to your dog.
Once your pooch is no longer paying too much attention to this safety contraption, you can start attaching it to your pooch’s harness. Do so without running your car. This is just to acquaint your dog with the feel of the harness on its body tied down to your car seat belt. By the time your pooch is already relaxed and has grown accustomed to being ‘tied’ down into the seat belt, you can start your car’s engine.
Slowly but surely, you’ll next take your pooch for a short drive around your neighborhood. Go slow so that your dog will not injure itself by squirming against the safety harness.
Take your cue from your pooch. If it can already hold its place in your car with the safety harness on, then you can increase the speed and distance of your trial runs. It shouldn’t take long before your dog will already understand that it needs to wear its seatbelt every time your dog jumps into your car and you take it for a spin.
Take a look at our latest review of Dog Car Barriers.
Tips for Traveling with Dogs
Traveling with your canine best friend can be lots of fun. However, if not fully prepared for it, traveling can be a surrealistic nightmare. Here are some travel tips to make sure your trips with your dog are hassle-free.
- Make sure to keep your pooch in tip-top shape. Traveling can put a lot of stress on your pooch. This can be amplified further if your pet is simply not in excellent physical health.
- Use the appropriate vehicle safety and carriage system for dogs. You have three choices: secure gates, portable crates, and dog car seat belts with the appropriate harness. Always choose a crash-tested product.
- Don’t forget to bring appropriate documentation for your pooch including its identification papers, vaccination records, and medical or veterinary records. You might want to consider having your pet microchipped.
- If traveling by car, make sure not to feed your dog before you leave. This helps avoid motion or car sickness. Additionally, you may want to give it access to plenty of water while on the road. Also, plan for scheduled stops to give your pooch the opportunity to relieve itself and stretch.
- If traveling in an airplane, make sure you understand airline requirements on bringing your pet along. Airlines will require your pooch to be carried in appropriate crates. So, make sure you check these guidelines first.
- If you’re going to stay in a hotel or another accommodation, make sure to find out in advance their policies regarding pets. Some accommodations do allow guests to bring their pets with them. If your pet is allowed to stay, make sure you understand the etiquette related to having a pet in a hotel or similar types of accommodation.
Seat belts for dogs help provide a more stable platform for your pooch to enjoy traveling with you. While these systems cannot prevent injuries from car crashes, they can nevertheless help minimize the severity and extent of such injuries.
- John Gilpatrick, Dog Car Seats, and Seat Belts: Can They Keep Your Pup Safe?, PetMD