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Dogs make great car companions—until they try to jump in your lap while you’re driving! Even if your dog settles quietly in the back seat, it’s still a good idea to secure them with some kind of car restraint. The truth is that dogs on car rides are just as susceptible as humans to injury if an accident were to occur, which is why you should consider a car harness on your next ride.
Properly securing your pet with a car safety harness and/or a dog seat belt every time you drive is a smart idea. In fact, in some places, like Rhode Island, it’s even required by law. A car harness may save your dog’s life in the event of an accident, and it also has the added benefit of keeping dogs from jumping into the front seat during rides or outside when you open the car door.
When shopping for the best car harness for your dog, there are a couple of features you may want to evaluate along with price:
- Whether the harness is crash-tested: Only a few car harnesses have been crash-test certified by the Center for Pet Safety. Owning a crash-tested dog harness may give you extra piece of mind that the harness will hold up in the event of a crash. However, a crash-tested harness is usually higher in price.
- Whether a seatbelt is included: Although some harnesses are sold as a set along with the seat belt attachment, others may sell the seat belt attachment separately, so this is an important detail to look for.
- The sizing: Like with any harness, you’ll want to choose the size of a harness based on your dog’s chest, neck, and length measurements, rather than his weight, to ensure a good fit. Measure your dog carefully before buying.
- Comfort and construction: look for details like a padded chest plate, cushioning to prevent chafing, and durable stitching and materials. We especially love to see a lifetime warranty, as offered by Kurgo and Sleepypod.
We dug deep into reviews, research, and expert advice to curate this list of seven top dog car harnesses. After our research, one harness rose above the rest for overall safety, durability, and ease of use—the Sleepypod. Read on for more as well as other options.
One note of warning: Only use a car harness while traveling in the car with your dog. If you ever plan to leave your dog alone in a vehicle, make sure to unbuckle your dog first in order to avoid the dog becoming entangled or potentially injured from a seat belt strap.
With that in mind, take a look below at the seven best car harnesses for dogs.
Certified by the Center for Pet Safety, this Sleepypod ClickIt Sport car harness is made of durable nylon material and has undergone intensive safety testing. It features a three-point design to reduce forward and lateral movement and attaches to the seat belt directly. It can also be used as a walking harness, as it sports a D-ring leash attachment on the back of the neck strap. Rover’s Dog People Panel member and expert trainer, Nicole Ellis, highly recommended this dog car harness. “It’s unique because it’s actually crash-tested,” she explains.
Take note: this harness is not recommended for Whippet, Greyhound, Saluki, Afghan Hound, or Borzoi dog breeds.
Helpful Review: “Only harness on the market that is actually safety tested and passed to save a dogs life in a car accident. Used this when we had to take a 22 hour car ride to Maryland from Florida. Was great to keep my dog safe and secure and even worked well for short potty breaks/walks when we stopped. Still use to this day for solo car trips with just one person so that he cant climb in the front seat while I am trying to drive.”Shop on Chewy
The PetSafe car dog harness is easy to use and the padding in the front makes it comfortable for dogs to wear. In addition, the harness comes with a leash attachment so you can use it for walks and potty breaks, as well as the necessary strap needed to attach to the seat belt.
Helpful Review: “Just bought my second one! (wanted to make sure it worked well before I invested in two) Doesn’t stress out my chows to wear them or have them on and confined in the back seat. There is enough attachment strap for them to sit or lay down comfortably. Straps to secure the harness around the dog are easy to use, adjust and sturdy. I am VERY pleased, as are my big ole furbabies!!!”Shop on Chewy
For long road trips, this Ruffwear car harness is a great option for extended periods of time and has a low connection point that allows dogs to more comfortably lie down while wearing it. Plus, it’s safe to use during rest stops and potty breaks with a leash.
Helpful Review: “I would say that it was a bit difficult to get it all adjusted but once I figured it out I got faster and faster at doing it. My dog Emma seemed very comfortable and it didn’t seem to rub anywhere. Because of her size, I did have to add a short tether to attach her to the seatbelt because a direct attachment only allowed her to lay in one position and not sit at all. She rode 12 hours to Myrtle Beach for her first trip and did great! I added the tether for our return trip and she was much more comfortable. I realize that the short tether isn’t preferred for safety purposes but I was willing to compromise a little for her comfort. I would highly recommend this safety harness for all dogs.”Find on Amazon
Because of its heavy-duty construction, this 4×4 North America car harness has been given a thumbs-up by pet owners of extra-large dogs. It’s made of nylon and stainless steel and will withstand the heavier weight of larger dogs. It’s also able to be used as a walking harness and has reflective banding on it to increase a dog’s visibility in low-light conditions.
Helpful Review: “These harnesses are well worth the money. They’re easy to use and are sturdy. They are heavy, which is good for XXL dogs, but I may not get one for a small dog due to their weight. I love them and have many sizes due to my rapidly growing Leonbergers.”Find on Amazon
This Mighty Paw car harness easily slips over a dog’s head, making it a great option for dogs who are averse to step-in harnesses. It also has two leash attachment rings, including one in the front of the harness, which allows it to double as a no-pull style walking harness. Please note: You will need to purchase a seat belt attachment separately, as one is not included with this harness.
Helpful Review: “I bought this harness for my Doberman puppy who was starting puppy training. It fits him great he feel safe and secure in training class as well as driving in the car. It was very easy to hook up to the seat belt and then release with the lease on. I also like the quality it is made very well and I’m sure will last for a while.”Shop on Chewy
Whether you plan to use it in the car or while out on walks, this Kurgo Tru-Fit harness has you covered. It comes with a seat belt attachment, all steel buckles, and a no-pull style front D-ring leash attachment for walking. This harness also boasts five adjustment points on the straps to ensure a perfect fit for your dog.
Helpful Review: “So I got this to secure my anxious dog in the car to keep her safe and I really didn’t think this harness would be so heavy duty. It’s amazing. I finally found a harness that fits her large chest but also her neck and it’s got a heaviness too that made me feel secure in knowing I got a good product for my dog.”Shop on Chewy
This Lukovee harness is a wallet-friendly option for keeping your dog safe while driving in the car and contains a leash attachment ring so your dog can wear it on short walks, as well. Made of mesh fabric, it easily slips over a dog’s head and comes with a seat belt attachment made of elastic bungee to cut down on jerking. It’s also available in an XXX-small size to fit puppies and tiny dogs.
Helpful Review: “I’m very happy with this dog safety harness. The small size fits my 18-pound Terrier mix fine. It’s easy to put on and take off, only two clasps to click together. I use it for both the car and walks. She doesn’t mind wearing it so it must be comfortable on her. The tether fits into the seat belt and keeps her in the back seat but with some room to move around. Excellent value for the price.”Find on Amazon
More Dog Car Safety Tips
On a long road trip, your dog needs car snacks, water, and potty breaks, just like you do. Make water readily available to your pup to avoid dehydration. Meals, treats, and chew toys are great distractions for a busy dog in the car, too, and a Classic KONG is all of those things at once.
Ensure that you’re stopping every couple of hours so your pet can use the bathroom.
If you have to leave your dog in the car, be sure to first assess the temperature. What feels like a mild day outside won’t feel so mild inside the car. Surprisingly, the temperature inside the car on a 75-degree day can easily reach 100 degrees! Pets can die inside hot cars, even if the windows are cracked.
What’s more, in some places, leaving your dog in the car is illegal. When in doubt and whenever you can, keep your pup with you.
For more info on traveling in the car with your dog, check out the articles below.