Pet retailers and dog owners are being told to beware of claims by some suppliers of car harnesses that they have been ‘crash tested’, making them safer to use.
The warning comes from Alex Wilson (pictured), sales and marketing director of AmPet Products, who argues: “It’s one thing to claim a car harness has been crash tested, but it’s another to say it has passed the test.”
AmPet distributes the Canine Friendly Car Harness from Canadian company RC Pet Products to UK pet stores.
The Canine Friendly Safety Harness has been independently crash tested by the MGA Research Corporation, an industry-leading auto testing facility in Detroit, and it exceeded the minimum safety standards.
At MGA each size of harness was dynamically sled tested using custom designed weighted dog mannequins. The testing process uses a traditional bench seat, which is mounted onto a sled that propels forward at 30mph and then suddenly stops, mimicking an auto accident.
“The testing by MGA is very stringent so retailers and owners can be certain that the Canine Friendly Car Harness is produced to the highest standards,” says Alex. “Unfortunately, there are some harnesses on the market, which claim to be crash tested yet they haven’t met the required standards.”
The Canine Friendly Safety Harness (pictured left) is designed to distribute pulling pressure broadly across the chest and to prevent a dog from being launched from its seat in the event of an impact.
The Safety Harness, which created huge interest on the AmPet stand at PATS Sandown earlier this year, is also easy to use. A vehicle seat belt threads through the reinforced webbing loop on the back of the harness. It leverages the braking power of a vehicle’s seat belt that is designed to activate when there is a change in pulling pressure as low as one G-force.
Alex says that stricter controls on securing dogs in travelling vehicles, including the crash testing of car harnesses, are needed in the UK.
He believes that incidents of serious injury or even death to pets involved in traffic accidents could become more common if animals aren't better restrained inside cars.
"Many of us have to travel great distances with our dogs, and yet so many of them are not restrained in cars. Or if they are, the equipment used is neither safe, nor tested to be suitable for the vehicle.
"The highway code states that a dog must not be a distraction...yet it does not state or offer any guidelines as to what equipment should be used.
"Even RoSPA in their information about travelling dogs in cars only talks about using a car harness but offers no guidelines on what is a suitable car harness for a dog.
"Here in the UK we have no legislation as to what is deemed a suitable safe car harness or crate.
"Most UK retailed car harnesses have had no crash testing and would fail crash testing if they were tested.”
Alex adds: “Safety for dogs in a car is not just about the dog, but the driver and passengers too. If there should be an accident and the dog is either unrestrained or in a harness that blows apart, then that dog will become a projectile and could injure or kill anyone in the car. The safest place for a dog in an accident is to end up in the footwell."
For information about the Canine Friendly Car Harness visit www.ampetproducts.com or email email@example.com