May 24, 2013

Currently, there are no performance standards or test protocols in the U.S. for pet travel products. Together, Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety will create standards for testing restraints, while also announcing those that perform best.

“The Center for Pet Safety conducted a pilot study which showed that the majority of pet safety restraints currently on the market do not provide acceptable protection in a crash situation,” Michael McHale, Subaru’s director of corporate communications, said. “As many of our owners have dogs, we feel it’s our responsibility to help them keep their pets as safe as possible when they journey with us.”

The Center for Pet Safety conducted rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety restraints using realistic, specially designed, crash test dogs, not live animals.

A 55-pound crash dummy dog was used to see how the seat belts would hold up in a collision at 30 miles per hour, patterning the same motor vehicle safety standards used to test child seats.

Of four dog car harness brands, none held up in the tests, according to the company. All of them demonstrated that they either could lead to plausibly serious or fatal injuries for not only the canine but driver, too.

The names of those products were not released.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Subaru, as its love for pets is as deep as ours,” Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety’s founder and CEO, said. “We have received requests from all over the world from manufacturers who want guidance on developing a safer harness and, through this partnership, we can finally conduct additional testing to help develop a suitable standard, provide the needed knowledge-base to manufacturers, as well and determine the top performers.”

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.

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