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I prefer crates now, but when I used to use seat belts, I used something like this:

 

http://www.ohmydogsupplies.com/basic-colored-car-harnesses.html

 

From my experience, you want one that will hook right into the car's seat belt hook, not the kind that loops around the car's seat belt itself. Those get tangled easily.

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I have a Kur-Go harness that comes with a seat belt attachment. I bought it for Hoot when he was little and outgrew his puppy crate (crates don't fit in a Jetta sedan!). I would NOT recommend it for a seat belt. For one, it's a "loop over the seat belt" type, which gave Hoot way too much room to move. Second, it didn't fit Hoots deep but narrow chest well at all and ended up rubbing his hair out on a spot on his back.

 

There was a thread awhile back on seat belts and crates in an accident. Someone posted a link to a review of seat belts. I'd post the link, but it's trapped on my broken computer.

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Same issue, Civic sedan. My Papillons can ride in crates but the Border Collies are too big. I would love one that was less nylon strapping and more fabric, preferably a padded chest pad, thinking that if they get thrown in an accident maybe they would have less pain from straps digging in...I am having a hard time finding one that has a cloth chest pad AND hooks right into the seatbelt. Any ideas?

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Question:

 

I know a hard crates helps absorb some of the impact and therefore is a great choice for dog restraint, and that a seatbelt can't do that, but it can keep the dog from being a projectile and/or getting loose when frightened.

 

I wonder if a soft crate, attached securely in some way to the cars seatbelt system, would have the safe effect as a harness? I don't think a zipper would open via impact, and the dog might get thrown within the confines of the crate, but he wouldn't fly into the back of my head or out of the car, and it would be easier to use...in addition, I would think being thrown within a cloth crate might be less painful than the impact of the harness straps.

 

Thoughts?

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Although I have no experience with cloth crates in cars, my gut feeling is that a cloth crate would be no better than leaving the dog free in the car -- i.e. absolutely no protection.

 

On another note, I was reminded today that the size of the crate can be very important in a car crash. A friend of a friend hit a deer. At the time, she had her lab puppy (not sure of age) in a crate in her car (Subaru Forester). The crate was much too big for a puppy. As a result of the impact, the puppy was thrown with enough force against the side of the crate that puppy now has two messed-up elbows &/or shoulders. The vet felt that the damage would have been much less severe if the crate had been an appropriate size for the dog.

 

Jovi

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A friend was in a head on collision- the car was thrown end over end- & her dog was in a cloth crate. The dog did not get injured severely (sore shoulder I think) but did escape the crate when paramedics, police etc.. came to their aid. Luckily they were traveling to a flyball tourney & the people stuck in traffic (the road was closed from the accident) behind them recognized the dog running down the highway & caught her & kept her safe. I was not there but hearing about it was really our worst nightmare.

 

Personally I believe it was just luck that the dog wasn't severely injured in the crash- perhaps it was because the car was jam packed & she didn't get thrown too far? The other dog was in a wire crate & got poked by some of the broken wires. Fabric crates generally have some sort of metal frame. I'd imagine that if it broke it could do some serious damage to a dog.

 

If you use a seat belt you need to be sure there are no other projectiles in the car. Lots of dogs & people are injured by objects in the car hitting them. The straps should be wide enough (like a human seat belt) to distribute the forces with out cutting in. You want a seat belt to have minimal buckles & clips- those are the weak points & where they will break when the forces that occur during a crash are applied. If you read on the Roadie site I posted earlier it goes into all of that info. It is a helpful read even if you don't buy that brand.

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