Paws in car safety for Kiwi dogs

Research conducted in association with State Insurance has revealed just two out of 25 popular dog harnesses safely restrain pets in collisions; but only one is available to buy online in New Zealand.

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

Robert McDonald, Research Manager for State, said: “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.”

The two restraints that passed the tests were the Purina Roadie and the Sleepypod Clickit Utility dog harnesses. However, only the Clickit Utility harness is available to 
buy online in New Zealand.  While the Roadie harness can be bought in Australia, Purina could not confirm when it will be available for purchase in New Zealand. 

Robert said the tests proved 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 said. “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 over 20kg with some over 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. Just as you restrain a child in the car, 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.

Bob Kerridge, Executive Director of SPCA Auckland, said independent tests such as those carried out by State prove only a limited number of harnesses appear to be effective and accordingly consumers should be careful in their selection.

He said: “Although in principle such restraints are a precautionary method of ensuring the safety of both dogs and passengers in cars, some products offered for this purpose do not work effectively, and in general dogs do not accept such restraints making their use difficult.”

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

Footage of the test collisions is also available on IAG NZ’s YouTube channel.

Top five results for dog car harnesses tested

 Harness  Result
 Purina Roadie  Pass
 Sleepypod Clickit  Pass
 Animates Car Safety Harness  Fail
 Black Dog Car Harness  Fail
 Masterpet 2 in 1 Car Harness  Fail
 Rudducks Car Harness  Fail


4 responses to “Paws in car safety for Kiwi dogs

  1. Thanks for sharing this very informative post. I think a lot of people forget that their pets can also get hurt in accidents. They’re apart of the family and deserve to travel safely. The clips were a nice addition.

    • Hi – thanks for your question. You can find a full list of all the harnesses tested at the bottom of the article. Six different brands of harness were tested with several different sizes within the each brand but the wording in the story can be interpreted to mean that there were 25 different brands tested. I hope that makes sense and is helpful.

      Melanie Roberts – Corporate Communications at IAG

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