Car seatbelts

Next weekend we will travel to Saarland, Germany. We will go with our Renault Grande Espace and Finn will be in the boot. It is that no dog rack fits the boot space. Does one of you uses a seatbelt for their furry friend and if yes, which one to buy?
 
I use Hi Craft dog car harness with a clip Leash Strap Belt. I have always used these for all my dogs over the years. You can get them off Amazon

Adjustable Pet Dog Car Safety Seat Belt Harness Travel Car Clip Leash Strap Belt off ebay too, You don't need to use one of these you can just use the harness on the safety belt of your car.
 
If I were buying one, I would go for the Sleepypod one. It’s the safest on the market.
I was thinking I should finally get Carbon a proper "meant for the car" harness so looked at this again. While it clearly is the best on the market (the ONLY car harness safety tested for large dogs) actual user reviews make it sound quite uncomfortable for the dog (dogs can't lay down), fiddly to get attached to the seatbelt and useless as a walking harness (the straps slip off).

This could just be a small portion of users - most of Reddit I take with a grain of salt and that's where I found the majority of reviews.

Do you know anyone who has used these harnesses, @snowbunny ? I don't mind the high price if I actually end up using it, but if it's so fiddly that it makes me want to pull my hair out at every use and Carbon can only sit up with it on (not workable for the hours and hours we drive), then I'm not sure I want to go there...
 

Jacqui-S

Moderator
Location
Fife, Scotland
I ended up using a normal harness and the seatbelt on Oreo and she couldn't easily settle. Sophie uses a clip from collar to seatbelt (if she isn't in the boot) and although a harness would be better, oreo is a lot better with that set up. I don't think these straps that attach directly to the seatbelt come out well on crash testing (even with a harness)
 
And to answer @Anne123 's original question, what I use now is a seat belt attachment (it clips directly into the 'female' part of the seat belt buckle) which then attaches to Carbon's walking harness. I don't worry too much about him coming forward to the driver area or into glass because the way I set my car up, he's on the floor of the car and would go into the back of the front seats, which are padded. I have a sling type thing that forms a barrier between the front and the back up to height of the top of the seats. He isn't in the trunk/boot area so wouldn't be in harm's way in a rear collision either. Of course the weak point in all that is the strength of his harness and the seat belt attachment...
 
uses a clip from collar to seatbelt
Is she not afraid of possible choking or worse if she were in a crash?

I must confess I use nothing. Perhaps if we did a road trip with Snowie I’d buy a seatbelt attachment for his harness. I do drive very carefully when he’s in the car (I do anyway), but I guess there’s no accounting for other drivers.

There was an ad a little while ago that showed that the most dangerous object in a car was the unbelted person—during a crash, that person moves around the car injuring/killing all the belted passengers. I guess the same with an unrestrained dog in the car.
 
Restrained is good for all sorts of reasons, even if you don't have an actual accident. And while most of our dogs here are too big for the front seat, no dogs in the front is important because even a little fender bender could cause the airbag to go off and kill your dog from the impact. I'm constantly arguing with my friend with the chihuahua about that. She always wants her on her lap in the passenger seat.

No, no, no. :sad:

Three times that stand out to me...

  • Brogan being terrified by a watermelon which rolled free from my groceries and attempting leap out of the open back window - but his seatbelt stopped him.
  • Me getting a flat tire on the motorway and getting so flustered that I left the car door open when the tow truck got there - without her seatbelt, Mama Jodhi would have been in the traffic.
  • On my first drive with Carbon from the shelter I DIDN'T put him in a seatbelt as I thought it would be too much for him. He started calmly in the back but while on the motorway he launched himself across my lap and kept shifting the car out of drive with his weight. I pulled over as soon as I could safely, but it was a good lesson: seatbelts or crates and if they don't have them on, the car doesn't go.
 
Thank you all for your responses. The plan is now that my oh is going to try to put the safety rack into the car. He is determined we go with his car instead of mine who already has a rack. The one we bought a few month ago was compatible with a Renault and therefore he has to try harder to put it up. If we don’t succeed we have a beautiful bench, large enough for Finn. The one which is used for flying. It will give me some more time to way all the options for seatbelt or not...
 

snowbunny

Administrator
Do you know anyone who has used these harnesses, @snowbunny ?
I think @Emily might have tried the Sleepypod? When I do use a car harness, I have Allsafe ones which are tested, but to a lower standard. The dogs have more movement in them, can sit up, lay down and turn around. All that comes at a trade-off with the safety.
I don’t think any safety tested car harnesses will double up as walking harnesses; they’re designed for two very different purposes. The docco says you can use the Allsafe one as a walking harness, and even has a separate attachment point to do so, but it’s too bulky for me.

Other ways might be legal as far as restraint goes, but there are two things I consider: is the harness designed to stop my dog becoming a 20+kg projectile that would cause grievous harm or even death to anyone in the vehicle in the case of an accident; and would I consider it an adequate way of restraining a child? Attaching a tether to the collar makes me itch. Even moderately sharp braking without any impact could cause serious injury or death and I know I couldn’t live with myself if I were the cause of that.
 
No my dog car harness can only be used in the car and not for walking the dog. The tether is attached at the back of the harness not on the collar or neck area.
 

Oberon

Moderator
Location
Australia
We bought a Sleepypod. It was a massive pain in the arse. Very difficult to fit it properly. And your dog has to be in the back seat. It clips down on both sides of the dog and your dog has to remain sitting upright for the entire trip. Very few dogs would do that. Obi didn’t and also managed to get his hind leg tangled in in it while trying to lie down. Yes, it’s properly crash tested with a dummy but trying to use it on an actual live, large dog was totally impractical.
 

Oberon

Moderator
Location
Australia
We use the Allsafe. It’s very sturdy and has no weak points that will break under strain. Although it’s pretty chunky we can still get it on and off and Obi is comfortable in it. As far as walking in it goes it’s fine for short toilet breaks on a trip. Definitely not a walking harness though.

As Snowbunny said, with car harnesses it’s a trade off between practicality and safety....

I really wanted our Sleepypod to work but after all the expense, fiddliness, frustration, doggy discomfort and useless customer service I wanted to burn the stupid damn thing. Note: we bought the original generation Sleepypod. They may have improved it in the five years since. The thing that did not work for us were the two side attachment points that require the dog to sit upright. If they have a model without that then it’d be worth considering as the construction quality was very high. Just the design was unrealistic in its ambition.. I really hated that thing, can you tell 😄 Get over it, Rachael 😄
 
I really wanted our Sleepypod to work but after all the expense, fiddliness, frustration, doggy discomfort and useless customer service I wanted to burn the stupid damn thing.
Thanks for sharing your experience. From what I read on Reddit, you are not alone - if that's any consolation. The Sleepypod wouldn't be fair to Carbon to sit up during 6+ hour long drives. Such a bummer as I really do want to find a more secure option than what I use now - I know it isn't ideal and since we put in a lot of miles, it's important.

Allsafe sounds like it might be a good compromise for us. At least they show the dogs laying down using the harness. I'm not so convinced by the whole "it's tested by TÜV-Sud!" marketing, though. TÜV-Sud tests everything in Germany...even me when I took my driving test. So you could say that I'm TÜV-sud tested, too. ;)
 
@Emily_Babbelhund we have the SleepyPod and it is a bit of a pain. I didn't find it difficult to clip in, and Ella wasn't really worried about it but it's just not practical for long drives and the dog is restricted to one position. I have to confess that we don't tend to use the isofix points anymore (there are three connection points - a seatbelt through the harness and two straps attached to your car's isofix points) so that Ella can actually lie down.

Here it is being used properly
20151024_110804.jpg

I agree that it can't be used as a walking harness but that doesn't bother me as it's made for a different purpose so it makes sense that you can't use it as a walking harness.

When it needs replacing, I won't buy the same harness again.
 
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