One New Year’s resolution that is easy to make and keep is to make sure your pets are as safe as possible. And securing your dog in your car with a seat belt will help make sure they aren’t injured or, worse, thrown from the vehicle if you’re involved in an accident.
That happened to one Arlington family after their car flipped in an accident on Glebe Road in 2009 and their scared Golden bolted out a window (Don’t worry, Taz was found and is home safe).
The Canine Friendly VestHarness™ from RC Pet Products is one seat belt for dogs that is available at many Arlington pet supply stores, including Dogma Dog Bakery and Wylie Wagg. (Full disclosure, the harness was provided at no cost, but a review was not required.)
The Canine Friendly harness covers the dog’s full chest, which is beneficial in comparison to other harnesses with thin nylon straps that might do more damage than good in a collision.
The other good thing about the chest piece is that it is ventilated mesh. RC makes a mesh version and one that is nylon lined in fleece, but the mesh is better for dog owners in the Arlington and mid-Atlantic area where the summers get extremely hot and heat exhaustion is a real danger for pets.
Both the chest and body straps are adjustable, which means it can fit a wide variety of breeds and body shapes. For example, the large (45 to 65 lb.) that was tested was easily adjusted to fit a barrel-chested, skinny-waisted Doberman just as comfortably as an average Golden Retriever.
To secure the dog, you pull the car’s seat belt out, slide it through the strap on the back of the harness, then insert the belt into the buckle just like a person would use it. The harness allows the dog to either sit up or lie down comfortably.
When you stop for potty breaks, there is no need to remove the harness, you can just unbuckle the car’s seat belt, clip the dog’s leash to the D-ring on the harness, and take your walk.
Overall, the harness worked great for a calm Golden, who is happy to sit still for many hours during car rides.
The Golden-Lab-Border Collie mix who hops from window to window got herself twisted enough that we had to pull over to untangle her twice during a 9-hour trip.
The VestHarness is fully washable, and was easy to hose off, hang to dry overnight, and then it’s good to go.
The VestHarness sells for around $25 to $34, depending on size. There are six size options, ranging from 5-lb. to 110-lb. dogs. You can find a retailer that carries RC Pet Products near you on their website www.rcpets.com.