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Sadly, car collisions are very common and it is not just humans that can get hurt. When a car comes to a sudden halt, all of the occupants are thrown around with considerable force. Therefore, an unrestrained dog is a danger to themselves and all the other occupants of the car. You can choose to restrain your dog in a crate in the trunk but if you want them to feel part of the family, you can use a dog car harness instead.
A dog car harness is made of durable material and works with your regular car seat belt. They are made of tough but durable and breathable material. Some will double up as a harness for going for walks as well. It is important that you choose the right size for your pooch and adjust it to fit correctly. Before you rush out and get one for yourself, check out our useful guide to the best dog car harnesses.
The Best Dog Car Harness
A sturdy and safe harness that has is available in red or black. It has been tested in crash simulations and certified as safe for dogs up to 75 pounds thanks to its enhanced strength. The simulations are equivalent to those conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on child car restraints.
The harness is not just for the car, it can also be used when you are out for a walk. It has a D-ring that stops your dog from pulling because it spins them around – this helps with leash training. There are also five adjustment points so you can alter it to exactly fit your pooch. It comes with a special tether which comprises a seat belt loop that has a carabiner and will suit all seat belts on any standard car. It also has a chest plate which is broad and padded to increase safety and comfort.
Sturdy and safe harness
Crash tested for car safety
Five adjustment points
D ring for leash training
- Weight13.6 ounces
Makes it impossible for even a large dog to pull
Company replaces any harness involved in a car accident
Very sturdy and strong
Stitching may itch some dogs
A lot of clips to adjust when you first fit it on
This harness is available in six colors and six sizes with a useful size chart to help you make the right choice for your dog. It is perfectly designed for car travel to retrain your pooch and keep them safe, even on long trips. It does not come with a car seatbelt attachment.
To keep your pooch safe and comfortable, the harness has a chest plate that is padded with a breathable fabric and features reflective sections for safety in poor light conditions. The harness has adjustable straps with sliding clips to achieve a perfect fit. It is lightweight and very quick and easy to put on.
Available in six colors and six sizes
No car seatbelt attachment included
Breathable fabric chest plate
- Weight0.64 ounces
Dogs can step into it
Even fussy dogs are happy to wear it
Will cause chaffing if not fitted correctly
Takes a while to figure out correct tightness
Available in five sizes, this is a secure and durable dog restraint that will keep your four-legged friend safe on car journeys and will restrain them in the event of an emergency stop. It is made from strong fabric and metal hardware and has been tested to make sure that it can stand up to the forces exerted in a car crash determined by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216.
Your pooch will be able to sit, stand and lie down in comfort even on long journeys when they are wearing this dog car safety harness. You can leave the restraint on during rest stops. It attaches quickly to the car seat belts and can be released quickly too.
Available in five sizes
Allows dog to sit and lie down
Car crash tested
Attaches quickly to car seatbelts
- Weight12.8 ounces
Seatbelt loop is low down which keeps dogs still
Rear straps don’t adjust that much
Dogs can chew through it
A stylish and practical dog car harness that can be used in the car or with a leash when you are out for a walk. It is available in several attractive colors and designs and will keep your dog safe in your car whilst still allowing them to stretch and get comfortable. It is an important safety aid as it cuts down on driver distraction and will stop your dog from being thrown around inside the car if a collision occurs.
It is made from polyester Oxford fabric and is both tough and comfortable against your dog’s skin. It is quick and easy to get on and off and has a sponge chest plate which is broad and padded to give your dog extra protection. For attachment, there is a stainless steel snap hook which is electroplated. It attaches to your seat belts using a loop hook and is compatible with most (but not all) family cars and SUVs.
Practical and stylish
Made from polyester Oxford fabric
Stainless steel snap attachment hook
Compatible with most cars
- Weight5.1 ounces
Sturdy and adjustable
Dogs can lie down in them
Stops pups pulling when walking
Some dogs have been known to open them
Does not fit all cars
This dog car harness is made from breathable fabric comprising a double mesh finished off edging made from flannelette for maximum comfort and is available in several colors. The strap that attaches to your car safety belt is made from a durable nylon fabric and is fully adjustable so it will fit most cars. Thanks to the lightweight and breathable design, your pooch will be more than happy to wear it. They will be able to stand, sit and lie down when wearing it.
This harness can also be used for walks with a leash. It is quick and easy to put on – there are just two chest-strap buckles. This is not a ‘step in’ design. The harness is adjustable in size so it can be altered to fit your dog perfectly and it is available in six sizes.
Available in six sizes
Available in several colors
Dogs can sit and lie down
Fits most cars
- Weight8.2 ounces
Proved to be very useful in collisions
Avoids ‘step-in’ design so easy to put on
Dogs can chew it
Some dogs learn how to get out of them
A harness that you can use with a seat belt in your car or with a leash when you are out and about. It is available in four sizes to ensure a comfortable and safe fit. As an example, the small size will fit dogs that weigh between six pounds and 25 pound and there is a handy size chart to help you select the right size. The strong, nylon construction has been tested in crash simulations and will withstand forces of up to 3,000 pounds. Thanks to the padded chest area it is both safe and comfortable.
There are several ways in which you can attach this harness to your car’s seatbelt so you can find the one that works best for your dog and your particular car. Your dog will be forced to stay on their seat which is safer and less distracting for the driver. The harness can also be used with a leash which makes it very convenient for potty breaks on long journeys.
Can be used in a car and with a leash
Crash tested up to 3,000 pounds
Padded chest area
Available in four sizes
- Weight12 ounces
Very easy to use
Can be adjusted to use over dog coats
May tilt to one side
Can fray with time
A black safety harness for when your pooch is travelling in your car. It’s available in five sizes (the small size is for dogs with a girth of 16 inches to 24 inches) and has been crash-tested in collision simulation tests.
It has a soft and padded chest plate and the hardware is made from strong metal to provide maximum safety. You can also use it with a leash when you are out for a walk.
Available in five sizes
Padded chest plate
- BrandEasy Rider
- Model06000 BLKSML
- Weight5.6 ounces
Stops dog from jumping out of car
Heavy duty straps
Stops dogs from climbing around the car
Instructions not easy to follow
Can be awkward to attach a leash
Your pooch will look smart and stay safe with this dog safety harness. It’s available in four striking colors and in four sizes. There is a three-point system which means that it secures your dog’s whole body. You use this dog car seat harness on the rear passenger seat of your car.
The dog travel harness incorporates a broad, cushioned pad at the chest which absorbs energy and affords protection during a collision. Connecting and releasing from your car’s seatbelt is quick and easy using two loops. It can also be used as a walking harness and reflective strips to make it more visible at night. The harness can be handwashed in cold water.
Three-point system for safety
Broad, cushioned chest pad
Two loops for fitting to seatbelts
Can be handwashed in cold water
- Weight8 ounces
Even nervous dogs don’t mind wearing it
Can help with travel sickness
Made from heavy duty material
Dogs can get tangled up in it
Larger dogs may struggle to lie down with it on
This comfortable multi-purpose dog car seat harness can be used in vehicles as well as on runs and hikes because it has two leash attachment points. It is available in four sizes but in order to achieve a perfect fit, it also has four tri-glide attachments. The soft padding on the chest plate is both soft and breathable to keep your pooch comfortable and cool on long journeys.
The stitching around the harness is reflective for low light conditions. Also, all of the hardware is metal so that it is strong and durable.
Soft padding on chest plate
- BrandMighty Paw
- Weight5 ounces
Excellent customer service
Easy to put on
Size chart a bit undersized
Dogs can chew through it
For your peace of mind, this travel harness complies with all the relevant safety requirements including the USA standard FMVSS 213. It makes car travel a lot safer and easier for you and your pooch.
All you have to do is feed your car seat belt through the webbing handles of the harness and click the buckle into the seat belt. It is available in three sizes and can be further adjusted. Then, it is easy to take on and off using a quick Mag-Lok system. To ensure strength and durability, the Tri-Glide clips are made from aluminum alloy and the webbing is made from the same material as car seat belts. For maximum comfort, the chest plate of the harness of this dog car restraint is both padded and contoured so it molds to the shape of your dog’s chest.
Passes all relevant safety standards
Chest plate molds to shape of your dog’s body
Clips made from aluminum alloy
Available in three sizes
- Weight1.19 pounds
Very well made
Velcro tabs to hide excess webbing
May be a bit stiff at first
A bit bulky for small dogs
Best Dog Car Harness Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for When Buying a Dog Car Harness
If you are thinking about investing in a dog safety harness for your four-legged friend, here’s what you should be looking for.
It is essential that the dog safety harness fits for safety and for comfort. Therefore, look for a model that is available in several sizes. It is very useful if the supplier provides a size chart to help you select the correct size for your pooch.
Once you have chosen the correct size, it is important that you can make some further minor adjustments with clips and buckles to get the perfect fit.
It is essential that the harness can do its job if a collision occurs. Therefore, look for a model that complies with the relevant safety standards and has been ‘crash tested’ in collision simulations.
The materials must be strong enough to withstand a collision but soft enough to avoid irritation of your dog’s skin. Tough nylon webbing is a good option. The chest plate should be padded with soft and breathable material. Also, metal hardware is tougher than plastic.
- Ease of putting on
Often, you will need to put the harness on and take it off again in a hurry. Therefore, you don’t want anything too fiddly.
- Can they get out?
You need an escape proof dog harness to make sure that your pooch stays in it! Getting one that fits correctly is also important in preventing escapes!
Why You Should Use a Dog Car Harness
Car safety is a serious subject and as car users we all want to do everything we can to stay safe on the roads. Investing in a dog car harness is a big part of that. Here are the main reasons why you should get one right now.
- Your safety
If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a collision, everything inside the car gets hurled around. Hopefully, you will be restrained by your seatbelt but anything else inside the car can collide with you and cause you injury. That includes your dog. When a car travelling at just 25 mph crashes, your dog will impact with you at 40 times its weight. That is enough to cause you a serious injury or even cause your death. The same applies to all the other human passengers in the car.
- Your dog’s safety
An unrestrained dog can get terribly injured or killed in a car accident. They will be hurled against the dashboard or even thrown out of the window.
- Your dog’s comfort
Dogs that are not used to travelling in a crate may find it very stressful to be put in a crate in the trunk. They may find a harness more comfortable.
It can be very distracting for a driver to have a dog wandering around a car. Some dogs may even want to come and sit on your lap whilst you are driving. This may seem adorable but it is actually very dangerous. If you love your pooch, you will not allow them to distract you when you are driving because it puts you both in danger.
In some States, it is required by law to restrain a dog when travelling in a vehicle. To make sure you stay on the right side of the law, it is sensible to get a harness.
Difference Between Walking Harnesses and Car Harnesses
Some harnesses are designed to be used in a car and some are designed to be used when you are out for a walk. Also, there are some models that can be used for both.
A true dog seat belt harness is a device that can only be used in a car. They function in the same way as a regular seatbelt and clip into the seatbelt receiver of your car. Instead of simply having a strap that fastens across the body (as in a human seatbelt) there is a harness structure that fits over your dog. Other dog car harnesses have loops that you pass a car seatbelt through.
A walking harness is often used for leash training and is a useful aid to stop dogs pulling on the leash. They are not constructed from such strong materials and do not have a padded chest pad. They will also not have appropriate attachment loops for a seatbelt. These are not safe to use as a car harness unless the manufacturer specifically states that they are.
Best Dog Car Harness FAQ:
Q: What is a dog car harness and how does it work?
A: A dog car harness is a harness that fits around your dog’s body and has attachments that allow it to be fixed to the seat belt of your car.
It is designed to fit around your dog’s chest much like a regular harness. However, it is stronger and has a more padded chest plate so that it can withstand the forces of a collision and reduce the possibility of serious injuries. Some dog harnesses can also be used as a regular harness with a leash.
Q: Do dogs have to be restrained in cars by law?
A: This depends on where you are driving your car. There are some US States where you are legally required to restrain a dog when they are in a motor vehicle. These States include New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Hawaii. However, new laws are being introduced all the time so it is always wise to keep checking the laws for the area where you will be driving. Even in areas that do not actually specify that dogs have to be restrained, there may be laws about preventing distractions when driving. If your dog is roaming around your car or even climbing on your lap, you could be convicted of distracted driving.
Q: Where should my dog ride in the car?
A: The safest place for a dog is in the back seat of a car wearing a harness or in the trunk in a dog crate. This is less distracting for a driver and puts the dog at a decreased risk of injury should a collision occur. If your car has side airbags, it is not safe for them to be in the front passenger seat.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best dog car harnesses is sturdy and safe. It has been tested in crash simulations and certified as safe for dogs up to 75 pounds. The harness is not just for the car, it can also be used when you are out for a walk because the D-ring stops them from pulling.
There are also five adjustment points so you can alter it to exactly fit your pooch. It comes with a special tether which comprises a seat belt loop that has a carabiner and will suit all seat belts on any standard car. It also has a chest plate which is broad and padded to increase safety and comfort. It comes in five sizes.