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Crash Tested Dog Seat Belts, Carriers, Crates and Pet Seats that Failed Major Crash Test Studies

by Autobytel Staff
April 11, 2016
5 min. Reading Time
Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate with Strength Rated Anchor Straps in 2015 Toyota 4Runner

Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate with Strength Rated Anchor Straps in 2015 Toyota 4Runner

Unlike the children’s product industry, the pet products industry is highly unregulated and manufacturers can make claims of safety without any product testing or oversight. In fact, in some cases, claims of crash testing mean nothing at all. Pet product manufacturers typically only test one size (if they test at all), yet all sizes have the term “crash tested” printed on the box. The product may have failed the test altogether, but it was indeed crash tested by the manufacturer, so the label goes on the box. Without standardized testing and oversight, how do you, the pet owner, know which product to choose?

Center for Pet Safety uses our specially designed test dogs and uniform test procedures to evaluate pet product performance in a NHTSA contracted independent third-party test facility.

Written by: Lindsey Wolko, Founder, Center for Pet Safety

Distraction Prevention vs. Crash Protection

Over the last five years, Center for Pet Safety (CPS) has determined that pet travel products can be classified as either Distraction Prevention tools or Crash Protection tools.

Distraction prevention is critically important for anyone traveling with their pet. Preventing distractions while driving may help prevent a crash. Most pet travel products fit within this category; however, it is important to acclimate your pet to any travel device. If your pet is unruly, even when restrained or contained they can be a driving distraction. Pet owners should also understand that distraction prevention devices may not retain integrity in a crash.

Pet travel products that have been classified by CPS as crash protection tools help to protect the people in the vehicle and give your pet the best possible chance of survival if a crash occurs. CPS acknowledges these elite performing products through our Top Performer and Center for Pet Safety Certified programs. Pet owners can now look for our logo on CPS Certified products and know that the device has been independently tested by our non-profit organization and successfully met the rigorous CPS testing and performance requirements.

Jasper is shown wearing his CPS approved Sleepypod Clickit Utility dog harness, but remains unstrapped and a driver distraction in the 2015 Subaru Forester.



In 2013 Center for Pet Safety conducted the pet travel harness crashworthiness study – an extension of our 2011 Pilot Study. Subaru of America sponsored this landmark moment for pet owners. Popular harness brands that claimed “testing,” “crash-testing” or “crash protection” were sampled for examination. Out of 11 brands sampled across sizes Small, Medium and Large, seven brands were shortlisted for standardized 30 mph crash testing based on preliminary test results. Only one brand emerged that consistently outperformed all others in the 30 mph test: the Sleepypod Clickit Utility was named 2013 Center for Pet Safety Top Performer.

Currently, Sleepypod is the only brand that has voluntarily complied with the CPS standard, and through our independent testing was awarded a 5 Star Crash Test Rating from Center for Pet Safety for the Sleepypod Clickit Sport Harness. Pet owners can visit the CPS website to view all of the crash test evidence.

Sleepypod Clickit Utility –RC Pet Canine Friendly Crash Tested Klein Metal Allsafe Ruff Rider Bergan Car Harness Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness IMMI Pet Buckle

USA K-9 Outfitters; Champion Harness. In the Company of Animals; CLIX Car Harness Coastal EZ Rider (Also Private Labeled under the Petsmart Top Paw brand). Snoozer Pet Safety Harness and Adapter

Our model China is shown in the 2016 Kia Sedona wearing the Coastal EZ Rider dog harness, which is sold in major pet retail stores, but is recommended by CPS. You can adopt China at Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue.

 Photo by TJ Keon

Photo by TJ Keon


Crates are commonly recommended by veterinarians for pet travel, but how do you know which one to choose? In 2015 thanks to sponsorship by Subaru of America, Center for Pet Safety measured crate crash performance to guide pet owners.

Investigative testing was conducted on wire crates, the most common crate selected by pet owners. The test results indicate that wire crates are distraction prevention devices and do not offer crash protection.  

The above photo shows crash testing of the Midwest Wire Kennel with rubber anchor straps purchased from Lowes. Test results showed the wire crate slid forward directly into the seatback fixture. The crate was severely deformed on impact. The rubber straps fail to provide any protection to the crate, the dog or the human passengers in the case of an accident. View the crate study results at the CPS website.

Surprisingly, only one crate/connection held up under the 30 mph test. The Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate with Strength Rated Anchor Straps was named 2015 Top Performing Crate by Center for Pet Safety.

Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with Strength Rated Anchor Straps – Rotomold, LLC Ruff Tough Kennel MIM Safe Variocage Single 4Pets Proline Milan Midwest Wire Kennel

Note: Pet owners should be aware that vehicle cargo area connection strength varies. Please review the cargo area connection advisory to learn more about connection limitations in vehicles.



Pet carriers are common tools used by pet owners to contain their pets during travel. As with harnesses, several brands are now claiming “crash testing” in their marketing—but without standards in place, what does “crash testing” really mean? In 2015 Center for Pet Safety sampled a variety of carriers and conducted scientific evaluation to verify marketing claims and determine if those claims indicated any genuine level of safety.

While most carrier brands state they are appropriate for travel, the test results indicate that they are merely distraction prevention tools, which means they may not retain integrity if you are involved in a crash. Out of the brands claiming “crash testing” only two met basic performance requirements: the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock and the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection were named 2015 Top Performers by Center for Pet Safety. 

The above photo shows crash testing of the Kurgo Wander Carrier. Test results revealed that upon impact, the connection point released producing a complete failure. View the carrier study results at the CPS website.

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock: PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier (and ISOFIX-Latch Connection): PetBuckle Auto Kennel Restraint Snoozer Roll Around Travel Dog Carrier Backpack 4-in-1 Petmate Compass Dog Carrier (tested with the PetBuckle Auto Kennel Restraint) Petmate Vari-Kennel Plastic Carrier Kurgo Wander Carrier PetEgo Pet Tube


Pet Travel Seats

Little dogs need protecting too, so in 2015 Center for Pet Safety examined pet travel seats to see how they would hold up in a crash as part of an initial pilot study. What surprised us is that the pet seat manufacturers recommended connecting their travel devices to your dog’s collars or walking harness. Collars and walking harnesses are not designed as travel safety products—therefore manufacturers should not use them as connection options for travel seats. Additionally, we were surprised at the weakness of some of the connections that came with the pet seats.

There was no Top Performer in the Pet Travel Seat Category. At this time, Center for Pet Safety does not recommend the use of pet travel seats and instead recommends full containment for the smaller dog (15 lbs. and under). Pet owners should select from one of the two 2015 Top Performing Carriers: the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock or the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection. Larger dogs should travel in a 2015 Top Performing Crate, or in a CPS certified harness.

PupSaver Snoozer Lookout I Car Seat: Medium PetSmart Top Paw Booster Seat (Private Label of Solvit Booster Seat) Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat

Based on our findings, CPS does not currently recommend the use of pet travel seats. CPS advises that small dogs and cats travel in one of the 2015 Top Performing Carriers.

The above photo shows the Snoozer Lookout I Car Seat, which is not recommended by CPS.


Where do we go from here?

Center for Pet Safety is pleased to report that many pet products manufacturers have reached out to learn more about our testing and how they can improve the safety of their products. We regularly speak with manufacturers to share what we have learned to help guide their footsteps and many are working hard in the background to bring new, improved products to market.

Unfortunately, because the pet products industry is highly unregulated, some manufacturers continue to use marketing spin to sell their products to the unsuspecting pet owner. Center for Pet Safety is working to fund and expand our testing programs, encourage the pet products industry to embrace standardized, scientific testing and ensure truth-in-marketing. Our independent comparative testing helps us to weed out fact from fiction and ensure you have the knowledge and evidence you need to make an educated buying decision.



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