Harness failure causes paws for safety

Harness failure causes paws for safety


State Insurance has revealed test results that show two out of 25 dog harnesses safely restrain pets in collisions; but only one is currently available to pre-order in New Zealand.

At its Research Centre in Sydney, State says it found 23 out of 25 harnesses from different manufacturers failed to adequately restrain life-sized and correctly-weighted dog dummies in simulated impacts, even at speeds as low as 35km/h.

State research manager Robert McDonald says an effective harness is critical when travelling with a pet as it keeps the animal safe and restrained and avoids the driver being distracted while driving with the animal moving around inside the vehicle.

“In a collision, an unrestrained pet also has the potential to injure the other passengers in the vehicle,” says McDonald.

The two restraints that passed the tests were the Purina Roadie and the Sleepypod Clickit Utility dog harnesses. Only the Clickit Utility harness is available to pre-order in New Zealand – high demand for the product has caused a back-log of orders but a new shipment is due at the end of this month.

The Roadie harness can be bought in Australia, but Purina could not confirm when it will be available for purchase in New Zealand.

McDonald says the tests prove how an unsecured pet travelling on the back seat of a car can hit the dashboard with enough force to cause serious injury to the animal, even at a low speeds.

“Most people using the commonly available harnesses are doing so in a genuine attempt to keep their pets safe,” he says. “However our testing has unfortunately shown that most harnesses, while effective at restraining pets, are not safety devices and do little to prevent injury in a common low speed crash.”

“Many dogs weigh more than 20kg, with some more than 50kg. The Purina Roadie harness proved effective at restraining dogs up to 35kg, while the more expensive Sleepypod Clickit harness tested to be more suitable for larger animals.

“We want to urge all dog owners to consider these results and ensure their furry friend is secured safely when travelling in the car.”

Tests were conducted by dropping weighted harnesses at speeds of up to 35km/h. The in-car testing was conducted using a specially modified crash test car at speeds of up to 20km/h.

SPCA Auckland executive director Bob Kerridge says independent tests prove only a limited number of harnesses appear to be effective, and accordingly consumers should be careful in their selection.

“We would certainly encourage the sale of proven products only, in the interests of safety, and would support those products that are proven to be effective,” says Kerridge.

“However persuading the dogs to accept them is another matter”.

Top five results for dog car restraints tested:


Purina Roadie Pass

Sleepypod Clickit Pass

Animates car safety harness Fail

Black Dog car harness Fail

Masterpet 2 in 1 car harness Fail

Ruddocks car harness Fail

High resolution videos of the test collisions are available on IAG NZ’s YouTube channel

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