Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Center for Pet Safety

It may come as a surprise to many pet owners, but there are no standards for pet safety devices. No governing body or independent organization requires companies to test their pet products, and recalls are normally at the discretion of the manufacturer even when a product has been shown to cause harm. Consequently, pet product companies can make all sorts of claims about their products.

Car safety harnesses are my pet peeve, because manufacturers can claim that their products will actually protect dogs in collisions. The vast majority of car harnesses are absolutely not built to withstand the force of an actual accident, and many dogs have been injured while wearing them because the harnesses fail in unpredictable ways.

Not long ago, someone decided to actually do something about this, and the Center for Pet Safety was formed. This is a non-profit organization devoted to testing products and developing safety standards for pet products. They launched their campaign by releasing these videos of car harnesses failing miserably. Most of these companies claimed their products were "crash tested", yet they failed in some horrific ways. One cinched down tight enough to cause crushing injuries, another failed in such a way that it nearly decapitated the stuffed test dog, a third simply failed at every seam and hardware point.

I saw this test and pretty quickly identified the "crash tested" harnesses as being made by Bergan, Kurgo, and Coastal Pet Products. I went looking for high-performance safety harnesses and had only the Champion or the Roadie harnesses to choose from. I ended up buying a couple of 2012 Roadies on Amazon for $25-30 because they were less expensive and didn't have huge hardware.

The Center for Pet Safety completed a landmark harness test in 2013, in which they stress tested, crash tested, and evaluated the performance of every crash-protection harness on the market. The SleepyPod Clickit was easily the best product, with the Klein Metal Allsafe harness coming in second and the Ruff Rider Roadie coming in third.

The Center for Pet Safety is currently finalizing their safety standards for crash protection harnesses, and the Sleepypod Clickit may be the only product that makes the grade. I am hoping the published standard spurs other companies to improve their harnesses too. CPS is also testing crates to see what happens in a collision.

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