If you're looking for the safest and most versatile dog harness for traveling in the car with your best friend, Sleepypod's Clickit brand may be the answer for dogs weighing 18-90 pounds.
Last August, I purchased two Sleepypod Clickit Sport harnesses for Bernie and Lizzie, and one year later, I'm thrilled with how well they've held up and the peace of mind they give me as we drive around Tucson.
Car Safety Plan #1: Tethering our Labradoodles
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Before August 2017, I didn't have a car. If we needed to go anywhere with Bernie, we'd all load into Matthew's almost 25-year-old Land Rover Discovery, an automotive wonder that accelerates like a brick. One positive to this historic relic is the steel infrastructure. The Discovery is sturdy, which makes us feel pretty safe. We had been using a tether for Bernie, and when we added Lizzie, we just bought another.
The more I read about dog safety, though, the more I realized that tethering our dogs into a car was a terrible and potentially tragic decision. If we were ever in a car accident, the exterior of the Discovery might take the hit just fine, but inside the tethers around our dogs' necks would act as ligatures focusing all the force from impact around their neck!
Basically, the tether was for the convenience of us, the humans. We knew that Bernie and Lizzie couldn't try hopping into the front seat if they were tethered.
Watching how the tether worked concerned us. Matthew is a safe driver. He's fine with driving the Land Rover Discovery because he's not in a hurry like so many other drivers are. Even so, there were a few times where he'd make a quick turn or have to stop short. I'd see Bernie thrown off balance. Matthew felt terrible about causing our favorite Doodle guy to slide around, and wanted the safest travel option we could find for our Doodles.
We also knew that I'd be leasing a car in the fall of 2017, so our pups would be even more mobile. We'd be driving to different places for our daily walks, taking a variety of classes, and visiting dog-friendly stores.
Car Safety Plan #2: Harnessing our Labradoodles
When I started researching dog harnesses for car safety, I quickly found the Center for Pet Safety. Knowing how unregulated the pet industry is, I wasn't certain if this organization was real or a corporate shill, so I checked the IRS search page for tax exempt organizations, and they were really there. Sorry for doubting you Center for Pet Safety, but I grew up in the Reagan years, so you know: "trust, but verify."
What impressed me more was their statement that they accept no funding from the pet product industry or anyone associated with the pet product industry. The Center for Pet Safety is an actual third-party independent non-profit organization that truly cares about promoting pet safety!
Once I trusted the Center for Pet Safety, I knew I'd be buying one of the harnesses they recommended. I wondered how many I would have to choose from. Turns out, not many. In fact the Sleepypod Clickit and Clickit Sport were the only two listed back then.
Reading reviews about the Sleepypod products concerned me a little. A few people were complaining that their dog was unable to move into a comfortable position inside the car. In their various promotional materials, though, Sleepypod shows dogs sitting up and lying down, so I decided to buy a small for Lizzie (less than her current 22 pounds at the time) and a medium for Bernie (36 pounds at the time; 37 pounds now).
Sleepypod Clickit Sport PROs:
Receives a five-star crash test certified safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety passing their rigorous testing standards for all four sizes of dog harness offered!
Peace of mind that your dogs are safer when they're in the car with you. There's no guarantee that your dogs will survive any car crash, but the Sleepypod Clickit Sport Harness gives them a fighting chance. Read testimonials from Sleepypod customers whose dogs did survive a car accident thanks to their Sleepypod Harness!
Comes in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) for dogs weighing 18-90 pounds.
Available in five different colors (jet black, strawberry red, robin egg blue, violet, and orange). We like our construction zone orange since it's so close to one of our brand colors.
Fits each dog well. We adjusted Lizzie's harness once or twice as she grew. We've adjusted Bernie's harness maybe 2-3 times when people loosen his straps by mistake trying to put the harness on him.
Our two Labradoodles can sit up and lie down in the car as they like. The longest trip they've been on has been up to Phoenix, so that's about two hours or so in the car. They both did well. For longer trips I do bring along toys they can safely chew on in the car.
Easy for dogs to walk around in their harnesses. Sometimes I'll take the harness off, usually either because I would like pictures without the harness or it's getting so hot that any kind of harness would be uncomfortable for them to wear.
Wipes clean. I rarely think about cleaning their harnesses. Desert dust is just a fact of life around here, but after almost a year of use, I sprayed some vinegar on each harness, wiped, and repeated in a few tougher spots. The results are pretty nice...
Sleepypod Clickit Sport Kind of CONs:
When you first receive your Sleepypod Clickit Harness, be sure to leave yourself enough time to adjust the harness to fit your dog. I remember spending several minutes moving the buckles on the straps to get the fit just so. There was a lot of trying the harness on and then tweaking the fit just a little more. I will admit that the process frustrated me, but I had never adjusted a dog harness either, so I had no idea what I was doing. However, I was determined that our dogs would wear these harnesses to keep them safe!
Also give yourself a little more time as you learn to strap your dogs into their harnesses in the car. I swear it's not hard, but it takes time for you to get used to how to slide the seat belt through the loops, and for your dogs to understand the new procedure. I use a car seat protector too, so finding the hole for locking the buckle into place can be a quest. I don't remember how long it took me to ace strapping Bernie and Lizzie in, but I can usually get them ready to go in less than two minutes.
One of the plastic buckles on Bernie's harness has cracked. I have not contacted Sleppypod about how I might replace the buckle, mainly because Sleepypod has a newer dog harness that I'm going to purchase.
Helpful Instructional Videos from Sleepypod:
Car Safety Plan #3: Upgrading to Sleepypod's latest technology
The majority of my research on dog harnesses for travel occurred during the summer of 2017. I made the decision to buy the Clickit Sport as soon as I knew I'd be leasing a new car. I decided pairing a new vehicle with a new system would make the transition to being more restrained in the car easier for Bernie and Lizzie.
I never checked for updated research on newer models from Sleepypod, so I was kicking myself months later when I learned the Clickit Terrain, an even more sophisticated piece of safety equipment, had also received the Center for Pet Safety's five-star crash test certified safety rating.
Look at that even more gorgeous Infinity Loop on the Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Safety Harness still available in our favorite shade of orange! Even better, the buckles are metal, so no worrying about future cracks in any plastic. This harness just exudes sturdy!
Last August, I purchased Lizzie's small Clickit Sport Harness for $67.99 on Amazon. Bernie's medium harness was $72.99. We've been so happy with our experiences with these harnesses that we are going to upgrade to the Clickit Terrain. Unfortunately, this model is currently out-of-stock, so I've added an action item to my weekend lists to check for availability.
This more advanced model costs a bit more. Lizzie still needs a small and Bernie a medium, so I'm looking at $89.99 for Missy Moo and $93.99 for the Bernster. That's $184 if I buy through Amazon using our Prime membership for the free shipping.
Spending $184 on two dog harnesses is outrageously expensive!
I'm going to disagree with anyone who balks at the price of Sleepypod's Clickit Safety Harnesses. You get what you pay for, and with Sleepypod you're paying for a quality product from a company based in America that actually cares about its customers and their companion pets.
Sleepypod is the first pet product manufacturer to crash test their travel products at the child safety restraint system standards for the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
They also have the Sleepypod Crash Replacement Program.
They will replace your damaged harness even if it's not a Sleepypod harness. Shipping fees are not included. I interpret a corporate program like this on two levels. First, the people at Sleepypod genuinely want our pets to be safer. Second, they're confident that people who use their product will love it.
Spending $184 to try to keep our two precious pups safe is a sound investment to give them the very best chance of surviving a car accident. Besides, that expense pales in comparison to the unpredictable cost of emergency veterinarian treatment.
Both Matthew and I feel that spending $184 for two top-of-the-line safety certified dog harnesses is the ONLY choice to best protect our Bernie and Lizzie.