Dog car harness or torture chamber? Pets are not people. Making them sit as shown in the picture must be uncomfortable. In addition, suspending them has got to be cruel. My opinion. What do you think?

This picture and a similar question were posted recently on LinkedIn. (Yes, the business site). Claire Harris, who runs Pets2Places, is presenting the Dog Car Harness Safety topic for discussion. She is in the United Kingdom 

She says, “I’m shocked this was deemed ok for dogs. It may have covered crash testing, but it certainly didn’t cover animal comfort/wellbeing. Does the crash testing mean they just stayed attached to the seat? What would be the likely damage to the dog? Wonder if these points were covered?”

(Claire is the subject of a recent blog interview here.)

Dog Car Harness Safety Responses

“Honestly?! I have no words! Most dogs would panic in that position. It is very restrictive and prevents normal behaviours.” – Ben Sweeney, Vet. Founder of VidiVet

“The laws regarding restraint of animals while traveling in an owner’s car, motorbike, etc. need looking at as a matter of urgency. I have frequently raised concerns for dogs and cats being transported on motorbikes, in harnesses strapped to owners, or adapted top boxes. I appreciate people want to take their pets with them – I do myself, but their comfort and safety is first priority. Perhaps we need specific legislation to cover pet animals in transit.” – Michelle Charlton, Retired RSPCA Chief Inspector

“That really does not look comfortable at all :'( This pup’s poor feet aren’t even touching the seat :'( “ – Lisa Berry, business owner Cheeky Little Prints

“This harness was on the market years ago. I’m surprised they are still sold there was such uproar back then. Aside from the lack of safety, you have adverse effects on the lumbar spine – dogs’ organs are suspended toward their underside, here I can only imagine the compression on these organs as they are suspended toward the taiI. This on top of the respiratory difficulties dogs would face in this position – awful in the extreme.” – Angela Day,  Canine Massage Practitioner & CCA Core Fitness Coach

“How bizarre. They’re dogs, not children, much as we like to think otherwise sometimes! Whilst it looks like it would provide relatively good protection in case of an accident, I’d be concerned about stress of daily use. Dogs aren’t meant to be that way up, much the same as we wouldn’t want to be restrained on all fours. I would also be concerned it would increase the risk of certain types of injury, as their body plan is just not built for this…” – Joanna Woodnutt,  freelance writer and Vet

Dog Safety Regulations in the US

Here in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of regulatory oversight for devices intended for animal use. So, it can (emphasis on “can”) take “appropriate regulatory action if an animal device is misbranded or adulterated.”

Scratching my head now. Stick with me. This is from the FDA website:

“Pre-market Approval is Not Required: The FDA does not require submission of a 510(k), PMA, or any pre-market approval for devices intended for animal use.

Device manufacturers who exclusively manufacture or distribute animal devices are not required to register their establishments or list animal devices with FDA and are exempt from post-marketing reporting.”

Wait for it. Wait for it…

“It is the responsibility of the manufacturer and/or distributor of these articles to assure that these animal devices are safe, effective, and properly labeled.”

To keep with the animal theme, isn’t that like letting the wolf be in charge of security for the hen house?

What You Can Do

If you see something, say something. You hear it everywhere. And that’s because it works. Pets can’t speak for themselves. Therefore, they need you as advocates when it comes to dog car harness safety issues. 

The FDA offers a process for complaints about adverse drug experiences and product defects associated with animal devices. Use Form FDA 1932a.

(What type of content should your business website blog offer? Advice rather than product promotion. Be a valuable info resource rather than an irritating source of sales pitches. For example, if you owned a pet shop or veterinary practice, then you might share this type of content. Contact me if interested.)