Monday, May 25, 2015

Car travel safety - using a Sleepypod Clickit car harnesses!

Car harnesses: Sleepypod Clickit Utility and Sleepypod Clickit Sport

From left to right: Alpha (Utility), Starbuck (Sport) and Battlestar (Utility) on a 6 hour car ride

I put about 25k+ miles on my car a year and about 90% of the time I'm driving around with at least one dog in the car. Since I spend so much time with my dogs in the car I take car safety pretty seriously. Often times I see people asking for advice on how to travel with their dog so I thought I'd write this post on what I do.

Note - I paid for all of these products myself (although I would have loved getting any of these products discounted or for free in exchange for this review :)). When I first started looking around for travel options I checked out the Center For Pet Safety website (http://centerforpetsafety.org). I love that they are an independent testing facility and have developed a standardized way to crash test products. 

So - how do I travel with my dogs? Pretty much your only two options are to have your dog wear a car harness or ride in a crate. Please, please, please do not drive around with loose dogs in the car as it is dangerous!!! Not only can dogs be a pretty big distraction (even the little ones) but they can get thrown from the car if there is a wreck - posing a danger not only to themselves but to you. 

I use both a car harness and a crate and below you'll find my thoughts on the Sleepypod car harnesses that I use. The crate review will have it's own post. For reference, here are my dogs' measurements:

Starbuck (Klee Kai - miniature size)
    Weight: 12 lbs
    Height at withers: 14"
    Chest: 17"
    Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness size: XS
    Sleepypod Clickit Sport harness size: S 
Nari (Klee Kai - miniature size)
    Weight: 12 lbs
    Height at withers: 13.875"
    Chest: 17"
    Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness size: XS
Alpha (Klee Kai - toy size)
    Weight: 9 lbs
    Height at withers: 12.5"
    Chest: 16"
    Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness size: XS 
Battlestar (large Sheltie)
    Weight: 22 lbs
    Height at withers: 16.5"
    Chest: 
    Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness size: XS

Car: 2011 Subaru Outback 


Just a quick overview - this is a 3 point harness. This harness utilizes your car's LATCH system (used for baby car seats) as well as a shoulder seatbelt. I love this harness and much prefer it to the Sleepypod Clickit! Sport. 
      Pros: 
        - Excellent construction 
        - Attaches to the LATCH system - prevents the dog from twisting in case of accident
        - Hard to adjust - no way your dog is adjusting this themselves 
        - Only car harness on the market to pass crash tests 
        - My dogs find it comfortable 
        - Great quality materials - extremely strong and durable 
        - My dogs cannot wiggle their way out of it 
        - I can use them in any car - great if you are flying somewhere with a dog and need a rental car
      Cons:
        - Hard to adjust - my dogs each have their own because it's a pain to have to re-adjust this thing
        - It does come with a leash attachment but it's too bulky to use to walk small dogs 
        - Chest piece is a little wider than I would like for small dogs 
        - Takes longer to buckle your dogs in than to put them in a crate 
My dogs absolutely LOVE traveling in the car. They jump onto the seat, let me buckle them in and then either lay down right away or sit for the first couple minutes of the drive and then lay down. They've done 10+ hour car rides wearing these harnesses and take a nap. 

Alpha and Battlestar heading on a 12 hour car ride

Alpha and Battlestar a few minutes into their long car ride - Battlestar is already passed out! 
Here is a video of how to put on the harness and buckle them in the car (Nari is a mini AKK wearing the Sleepypod Clickit Utility in size XS):

If you want to see my large sheltie in the same harness - you can find the video HERE.

Above I mentioned how the Sleepypod Clickit Utility doesn't really work all that well as a walking harness. Here's a video of my toy AKK, mini AKK and large sheltie walking around in the harness.

You can see it's a bit clunky for the Klee Kai but the sheltie has no problem with it and was even racing around in it.

Here are some pictures to give you a better idea of what it looks like on (all the dogs are wearing XS size):

Alpha - toy AKK
Nari - mini AKK
Battlestar - large sheltie



This harness just requires a shoulder belt. It's less expensive than the Utility and doesn't require the LATCH system. Personally, the only reason I have this harness is so that I can travel with 3 dogs in the back seat. When traveling with 3 in harnesses, the ones in the driver and passenger sides in the back seat wear the Utility while the dog in the middle seat wears the Sport. If you need to travel with 3 dogs then the Sport works well. If you are going to travel with just 1 or 2 dogs then definitely go with the Utility. My dogs find the Utility more comfortable then the Sport.

Here is Starbuck demonstrating how to put on the Sleepypod Clickit Sport:


Here are a couple of pictures of Starbuck (mini AKK) in the Sport:


That's about it for my thoughts on the Sleepypod car harnesses. They are awesome and the only ones I feel confident in using. Again - I didn't receive any compensation for this - just my my view. Let me know if you have any questions! 

If you want to read about the crate I use for car trips - see THIS POST



        

14 comments:

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