Dog seat belt vs car harness. Which one is better for keeping your dog safe?

dog seat belt
dog safety

Dog seat belts?

Why a seat belt for your dog? When you get in the car, you put your seat belt on, right?  At least you’re supposed to because all the studies show that you’re much safer that way in case of an accident.  Same thing goes for your dog.  

I recently talked to Dwayne with Big Dog Seat Belt Company about their system and why you should buy it.  Here is what he said.

Why do dogs need seat belts?

You… your dog… other passengers… cargo… groceries… actually any object in your vehicle that is not secured will become a projectile in the event of an accident or hard braking event. In a 30 mph crash an object will project with the force equal to 30 times its weight. A Dog that weighs 60 pounds becomes an 1800 pound projectile. The force of momentum can kill the driver or other passengers.

Unrestrained dogs, can and do jump out of windows, sneak out open doors at gas stations, rest areas… anywhere they can. They can get on the road or highway causing a huge distraction and ultimately an accident. In an accident, they can be a huge problem on scene for first responders; running around or being aggressive. Often times a dog will flee the scene, causing resources to be diverted and anxiety and heartache for the injured parties.

How do your dog seat belts keep dogs safe?

Newtons First Law of Motion… an object in motion tends to stay in motion. If an object is secured to the vehicle frame it becomes part of the vehicle, preventing it from staying in motion and becoming a projectile. 

The OEM Seat Belt in your vehicle is attached to the frame. The Big Dog Seat Belt is held in place by the OEM Seat Belt. There are no tethers or straps allowing the dog to move forward so your dog is held securely in place.  

Think about it… The seat belt in your car goes across your hips keeping your lower body secure in the seat.  Just like the OEM 3 point system in your vehicle the Big Dog Seat Belt keeps your dog secure by restraining them lower on their body (Not the Neck or Shoulders) keeping their back legs and lower body in place.

Built with Automobile Seat Belt Webbing the Big Dog Seat Belt will actually stretch on impact reducing impact force by nearly 20 times. Exactly like the seat belt in your car.

How easy are they to install and use?

Before I started designing the Big Dog Seat Belt, I would go to dog parks and ask people exactly what they wanted and did not want in a car safety device for their pups. The Number One answer – “it has to be fast and easy or I wont use it.” 

The Big Dog Seat Belt company makes each seat belt to fit your dog. It arrives ready to put on your dog in less than 60 seconds. Over the head – click 2 buckles and your done. No additional product to buy or install. Your OEM Seat Belt goes thru the loop on the back.

Any tips to help or things to avoid?

They don’t regulate pet safety products for actual safety or quality, giving a false sense of security. After 12 years of working in Fire/EMS with real-life scenarios using so-called pet safety products, I have seen many dogs and other passengers actually injured directly by a product. Do your research so you can avoid needless injury to your canine.

Other devices:

– Car harnesses; designed to control your dog’s body by using the neck and front shoulders only.  

– Tethers or dog seat belt straps; Can tangle around your dogs leg or even other passengers in the vehicle. These devices also cause a “shock cord effect” during an accident or emergency stop, causing severe spinal injuries or worse.

– Hammocks or screens; don’t really restrain your dog.

Riding in the front seat is also unsafe for your dog since airbags deploy at over 200mph and will kill your dog. The safest place for your dog is in the back seat with a dog seat belt.

What size dog can use a Big Dog Seat Belt?

After talking to Dwayne, I took a look at the website,  The online site works for dogs that are 21″ long according to the measurement video.  You can watch the video here to make sure you get the right ones.  We make each dog seat belt just for your dog. 

Restraining smaller dogs safely

I researched online and found that, according to Pet MD, car seat belts aren’t as effective for smaller dogs.  In that case, a good car seat that attaches to the vehicle with the OEM seat belt and then restrains the dog with a harness in the seat can be a safer option than allowing them to roam. Dwayne recommends Pup Saver car seats because of their cocoon-like design.

Is the investment worth it?

I would say the investment and effort would be well worth it.  If you love your dogs like I love mine, you want to keep them as safe as possible.  The Big Dog Seat Belt Company seems to have found a very effective and affordable answer to this question.

What do you do to keep your dog safe? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

For more about dog safety, read my post about Dog CPR.

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