We purchased all of the products mentioned in this post at full price and did not receive any sort of discount in exchange for a review. We’re providing our honest review of products we use in our everyday life.
We love to travel and explore new places – but the first part of any adventure is getting there. If you travel with dogs or other pets, you know this to be especially true.
So much thought goes into packing for all of their needs and making sure all of the necessary details are covered can be exhausting. Anything that lowers or eliminates some of these stressors is definitely a win.
If you’re traveling by car, one of the questions you’ve most likely asked yourself is, “How do we keep our pups safe and secure while we drive to our destination?”
There are many schools of thought when it comes to securing pets in vehicles, and we’ve experimented with a few in our time traveling with our pups. When they were both young, we kept them in the backseat, unsecured. However, if you know our dogs, you know that their energy levels usually have them busting at the seams, so they would constantly pace around in the backseat.
Raleigh even liked to place her front paws on the center console, which is incredibly dangerous for two reasons: 1) If we had to brake suddenly she would likely go flying into the front seat or windshield, and 2) It was distracting for the driver to constantly be trying to get her off the console.
We quickly realized that this method was not going to work, as we wanted to secure our dogs better to ensure optimal safety for the whole family.
Our next thought was to kennel them while in the car, however that was difficult as well, because based on their size (and therefore the size of their kennels) we had to fold down the backseat to accommodate the two kennels. The backseat of our Ford Escape doesn’t fold entirely flat either, so their kennels weren’t very secure and they would still slide around. They also looked downright uncomfortable.
Enter the Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Dog Car Harness by Kurgo. I had never tried any sort of dog car harness before, but had heard only positive things about Kurgo, so we thought we’d give them a try. We purchased one harness for each of our dogs – a medium for Raleigh and a large for Iggy, although they have sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large, as well as a sizing table if you’re not sure what size your pup should be. Each harness costs approximately $45.
The harness itself is made of a strong material, with solid-feeling metal buckles. Over two years of use, they have not shown any signs of wear and tear, and have proven incredibly reliable. It is adjustable, and includes an alternate location for the abdominal section of the harness to tune it precisely to your dog’s shape.
We first put the harnesses on in the house (unsecured to anything) prior to using in the car to help our dogs get used to the feeling of having the harness on. Both were relatively comfortable with the harnesses from the beginning – the biggest hurdle was acclimating them to being attached to the seat belt in the car.
The harness attaches via a carabiner clip to the actual seat belt in the backseat, which is buckled and locked to restrict movement. The dog is then buckled into the harness facing forward in a seated position.
There are other types of doggy seat belts that will actually buckle into the seat belt buckle in the car. We like the Kurgo design better though, because securing them to the upper restraint of the seatbelt itself means that our dogs are able to stand, sit, or lie down without compromising the safety. We want them to be safe and secure, but we also don’t want to force them to stay in one potentially uncomfortable position for several hours at a time.
While the idea of restricting movement may seem like something that would bother pups, neither of ours mind it! In fact, Raleigh now eagerly climbs into the car, sits, and faces forward so she can be buckled in. Iggy is a little less enthusiastic about it, but neither of them fight it at all.
Their behavior in the car seems to indicate that they prefer the feeling of security that the harnesses bring – no dog enjoys being thrown around like a pinball while on a bumpy road.
There are other advantages to keeping dogs secured in the car that go beyond just protecting them in the event of an accident. With the harnesses, you can keep the dogs secured in the car while you’re loading or unloading the car, pumping gas, or doing whatever it is that you need to do. Having your dog secured means you can go about your business without worrying that your dog will jump out of the car, find its way into the trunk, or decide that your gear shifter is a chew toy.
We are so thankful we decided to purchase these harnesses – there have been plenty of times where they have come in handy!
The total cost for us to purchase both harnesses came to about $90.00, and it has been SO worth it. We’ve now had these harnesses for years, and taken many road trips (including one all the way from Minnesota to Florida when Iggy competed at Dock Diving Nationals) with our pups comfortably and safely secured by the harnesses. It makes driving with our dogs that much less stressful, and truly increases safety for our entire family.
How do you keep your dogs safe in the car? What has worked best for you?