The pet harness study was designed by the Center for Pet Safety, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety, to mirror the same crash tests used to measure the effectiveness of child safety products.
“Safety for all passengers, including our pets, is very important to Subaru and to our drivers,” Michael McHale, director of communications at Subaru of America, said. “Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all. Most pet owners don’t know the dangers of not properly harnessing their pet while in the car. With nearly half of Subaru drivers also being dog owners, we want them to be as informed as possible.”
The goal of the study was to enforce the importance of driving safely with pets. In addition, the performance data will assist in the development of the first harness safety standard and test protocols that will serve as guidelines to the pet products industry.
There are currently no performance standards or test protocols in the U.S. for pet travel products. The Center for Pet Safety is actively working toward publishing a harness standard later this year.
The overall results of the testing indicated Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility Harness as the top performing harness brand, as it was the only harness tested to consistently keep a dog from launching off of the seat and the only restraint deemed to offer substantial protection to all passengers, including the dog, in the event of an accident.
“Sleepypod has been researching and crash testing pet safety restraints in autos for six years because we’re serious about safety,” Michael Leung, Sleepypod co-founder and product designer, said. “We admire CPS and Subaru for conducting this study on behalf of pet owners and use the CPS testing protocols as an extension of our own safety program.”
All manufacturers whose products graduated to crash testing in the study were issued courtesy invitations to attend product testing. Those companies that were unable to attend were contacted with their test results, and several companies are already working to make improvements and enhance quality control.
To view the full study results visit www.CenterforPetSafety.org.
Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety enlisted MGA Research Corporation, an independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contracted testing laboratory, to conduct rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety harnesses using realistic, specially designed crash test dogs.
Testing was performed using multiple, specially designed crash test dogs developed by CPS, including a 25 pound terrier mix, a 45 pound border collie and a 75 pound golden retriever. The life-like dog models provided a realistic representation for testing purposes, similar to the testing conducted for human occupant safety.
“Subaru and CPS share a common love for pets and safety, and it is our mission to communicate to pet owners that an effective harness should keep the pet in place to prevent distraction to the driver as well as offer measurable levels of protection to all passengers in the event of a crash,” Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety, said.
The Center for Pet Safety is not affiliated with the pet product industry. The organization uses scientific testing and references Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to study pet products and establish criteria and test protocols to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.