Buckle Up Fido!
Suki loves, loves, loves car rides! I say “let’s go bye bye” and she takes off like a bat out of hell for the car door. I’m all for taking her with me in the car when possible, but I also want her safe and sound.
I found some helpful car travel tips on ASPCA’s website to make the experience better. Next came the task of safely restraining her. We buckle ourselves up, and Suki was going to be no different. So, I started looking into car safety restraints for my precious baby. I don’t like the idea of a crate in the car for a couple of reasons. One, Suki doesn’t like being in a crate with the door closed. Two, even with the crate secured, Suki would still be tossed around in the crate during an accident. That’s not acceptable to me. Due to her size (especially that buddha belly), a car seat was out of question. So, I was left with a restraint harness.
Now there are many restraint harnesses on the market. Some I wouldn’t trust to hold a stuffed animal in place during a crash. I wanted a heavy duty, crash tested harness for my baby, which narrowed it down to two harnesses: Champion Canine Seat Belt System and Ruff Rider Roadie Canine Vehicle Restraint. I liked both of these harnesses based on all the research I performed, and I think you’d do great with either. Dogster.com has a great forum thread about these 2 harnesses if you want to see the comparisons. My final decision came down to a design issue. The new Ruff Rider Roadie has to be slipped over a dog whereas the Champion can be stepped into and buckled. I don’t like having to pull Suki’s legs back to squeeze her into a harness, so I went with the Champion. I ordered mine in black through USA K9 Outfitters.
What I Like About the Champion Harness
- It’s easy to fit! The harness comes up under the dog and buckles in 2 places. Suki can basically step into the harness without having to be maneuvered into it with limbs being pulled into place. This makes it quick and easy to put on and take off.
- Ease of attachment. The restraint strap attaches to multiple vehicle seat belt styles, luggage clips, and cargo hooks,. It’s easily moved from one vehicle to another, and it’s also quick to get Suki in and out of the car.
- Comfort. The harness can be adjusted to allow Suki to sit, stand, or lay down. It has a padded chest strap, doesn’t bunch, and isn’t covered in hot fleece material like others. It also has a strong metal swivel clip, so she doesn’t get tangled up in the harness or restraint strap.
- Strong metal D rings. The restraint strap attaches to two very strong metal D rings, not plastic buckles. These rings are seriously strong! I wouldn’t trust plastic buckles to hold in a crash, so this was a big selling point for me.
- Doubles as walking harness. When we need to stop on a car trip, I want to be able to easily take Suki out for a potty break or walk. A leash can be attached to the D rings on the Champion (there’s another hook for smaller leashes) and used to walk her. I don’t have to worry about putting on a separate walking harness.
- Doesn’t take up much room. I didn’t want a harness system that I had to mess with removing anytime someone was sitting in the back seat. The restraint strap is easily pushed between the seat and out of the way.
What I Don’t Like About the Champion Harness
- Weight. It’s heavier than a regular harness due to the heavy duty metal D rings. It’s not too heavy to use, but you’ll definitely notice a difference. Suki seemed to feel it at first too, but now could care less.
- Dexterity Needed. The clip on the restraint strap takes some hand dexterity to open. It opens the opposite way of a normal clip and is large. My hands aren’t that big, so it took me awhile to get used to it. I’ve heard you can request an easier clip, but I don’t know if that changes the safety rating or not.
Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws):
Posted on November 5, 2012, in Product Reviews and tagged buckle up, car harness, champion canine safety, dog, dog car harness, dog car safety, dog restraint, dog safety harness, dog seatbelt, pet car safety, pet restraint, ruff rider roadie, safety restraint. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.