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If you’ve recently got a puppy or adopted an older dog, you’ll want to kit him out with everything he needs to keep him safe. A puppy car harness is really important, as dogs are just as likely to get injured in a car accident as humans. You wouldn’t drive around without a seatbelt—so why should your dog? Plus, having a seatbelt will help your little mate settle nicely instead of jumping all around the car!
What to Look For
When evaluating car harnesses, there are a couple of features you may want to look at along with price:
- Whether the harness is crash-tested
Only a few car harnesses have been crash-test certified by the Centre for Pet Safety. Owning a crash-tested dog harness may give you extra peace of mind that the harness will hold up in the event of a crash. Expect a crash-tested harness to be at the higher end of the price range.
- Whether a seatbelt attachment is included
Although some harnesses are sold as a set along with the seatbelt attachment, others may sell the attachment separately.
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.
Safety note: Only use a car harness when you, or another person, are in the car with your puppy. If you ever plan to leave your dog alone in a vehicle, make sure to unbuckle her first. Left alone, she could become tangled in a car harness or seatbelt strap and injure herself.
The Best Car Dog Harnesses
We dug deep into reviews, research, and expert advice to curate this list of the best puppy car harnesses. One harness rose above the rest for overall safety, durability and ease of use: the Sleepypod Clickit Sport. Read on to find out more about it, as well as another eight great options—whatever your breed or budget.
Certified by the Centre for Pet Safety, this car dog harness is made of durable ballistic nylon and has undergone intensive safety testing. It features a three-point design to reduce forward and sideways movement and attaches to the seatbelt directly. It can also be used as a walking harness, as it sports a D-ring lead attachment on the back of the neck strap. Rover’s Dog People Panel member and expert trainer Nicole Ellis highly recommends this dog car harness: “It’s unique because it’s actually crash-tested.”
Note: This harness is not recommended for whippet, greyhound, saluki, Afghan hound or Borzoi dog breeds.Shop on Amazon
The PetSafe puppy car harness is easy to use and the padding in front makes it comfortable for dogs to wear. In addition, the harness comes with a lead attachment (so you can use it for walks or loo breaks) plus the strap needed to attach it to the seatbelt. Note that only the small, medium and large sizes of this harness are crash-tested certified by the manufacturer.Shop on Amazon
Going on a long road trip? This Ruffwear car harness is a great option for extended periods of time in the car. It has a low connection point that allows dogs to lie down comfortably while wearing it. Plus, it’s safe to use during rest stops and toilet breaks with a leash.Shop on Amazon
This Mighty Paw car harness slips easily over your dog’s head, making it a great option for dogs who are averse to step-in harnesses. With two lead attachment rings, on the front and back, it can double as a no-pull walking harness. You can also adjust the length of the tether.
Note: You will need to purchase a seatbelt attachment separately, as one is not included with this harness.Shop on Amazon
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 seatbelt attachment, all steel buckles, and a no-pull style front D-ring lead attachment for walking. This harness also boasts five adjustment points on the straps to ensure a perfect fit for your dog.
Verified review: “The fit was spot on. Whiskey is a boxer mix, medium-sized (20kg) and has a very broad chest but tiny waist. Sometimes it’s hard to find harnesses or coats that are big enough for his chest area. This one was perfect! Whiskey is a lead-puller, so it’s nice to have the option to clip in front or back. The firm fit gave better support and Whiskey seemed to like it a lot on our walk to the beach.”Shop on Amazon
This Lukovee car dog harness is a handbag-friendly option for keeping your furry friend safe while travelling and contains a lead attachment ring so your dog can wear it on short walks as well. Made of mesh fabric, it slips easily over a dog’s head and comes with an elastic bungee cord seat belt attachment, designed to prevent jerking if your car stops suddenly. This harness comes in seven sizes, including XXX-small for a young puppy or tiny dog. Plus there are plenty of fun colours to choose from too!Shop on Amazon
The Easy Rider car dog harness also functions as a walking harness, so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you arrive at your destination. It’s designed to connect to a front or rear seatbelt and incorporates a padded chest strap for comfort. This harness has been crash-tested by the manufacturer.Shop on Amazon
This top-of-the-line dog and puppy car harness from Kurgo is constructed from a single piece of high-tensile tubular webbing. It has a padded, broad chest plate for comfort and protection, and is designed to reduce forward motion in the event of sudden stopping or impact. It is also crash-tested by the manufacturer for extra peace of mind.Shop on Amazon
Certified by the Centre for Pet Safety, the Terrain harness from Sleepypod is designed for use in a rear passenger seat of your car. It features a three-point design that secures your dog’s entire torso and offers quick connection and release when used as a car seatbelt. Designed to double as a walking harness, it includes rear reflective patches that you can interchange with your choice of custom patches.Shop on Amazon
More Car Safety Tips
Packing for a road trip? Make sure you’ve got enough water to stop your pooch getting dehydrated (and also stop for loo breaks!). Meals, treats and chew toys are also all great options to keep your dog busy and distracted in the car.
If you have to leave your dog in the car briefly, be sure to first assess the temperature. What feels like a mild day outside won’t feel so mild inside the car. Even on a day in the low 20s, the temperature inside the car can easily reach almost 40 degrees! Pets can die inside hot cars, even if the windows are left slightly open, so you need to be very careful.
Keep in mind that while it might not be illegal to leave your dog in the car on a hot day, it is illegal to mistreat your pet in accordance with the 2006 Animal Welfare Act. When in doubt, and whenever possible, always take your pup with you when you leave the car. A harness that has both car and lead attachment points will make this seamless!
For more info on travelling in the car with your dog, check out the articles below.