The 5 Best Dog Car Harnesses Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Finding the best dog harness for your pooch is never easy.
In Australia, drivers caught with unrestrained dogs can risk fines of more than $400.00.
This means that no matter how long your trip will be, your dog needs the proper safety gear to protect both you and themselves. A dog car harness is the best solution, acting like a seatbelt in the event of an accident.
Today’s guide will help you find the right car harness and seat belt for your dog. We teamed up with veterinarians, doggy parents, and other canine experts to try out literally dozens and dozens of dog car harnesses. And after months of research, we compiled this list of the best of the best. What we found might just surprise you! Without further ado, here are the best dog car harnesses Australia offers and a guide on how to use them.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
EzyDog Drive Harness
- Ergonomic chest plate
- Crash tested
- Easy to set up and adjust
- Lead attachment on the back for walking to the car
Runner Up -
SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set
- Comfortable and secure
- Includes an elastic seat belt leash
- Wide range of sizes
- Good value for money
- Doubles as a walking harness
Third Choice -
Beau Pets Dog Seat Belt Car Harness
- Easy to set up
- Adjustable straps
- Lead attachment on the back for walking
Australia's Best Dog Car Harnesses Reviewed
We’ve checked out all of the car safety harnesses for dogs available on the market, and there is quite a lot to choose from. After months of research and conjecture, our team of veterinarians, canine parents, and other experts have come together to compile this list. Below you’ll find our top picks:
What sets this product apart from the rest?
"The EzyDog Drive Harness is my choice for the top spot for dog car harnesses. The company has invested in the development of their crosslink technology. It's also been crash tested. A great option for dog owners."
The EzyDog Drive Harness was made with one thing in mind: safety. For this reason, it’s also a bit bulkier than most other harnesses. It features an ergonomic chest plate created using what EzyDog calls “crosslink technology”. In essence, it has been shaped and stitched in such a manner that there is no way your dog will slip out of the harness, no matter what.
Our expert testers love how the chest plate is connected to the back piece through thick straps that are made of the same material seat belts are made of. Unlike our number two choice, which comprises breathable mesh material, this harness is not the most comfortable. But as we said, comfort should be secondary to its protective capabilities.
On the back, you’ll find a large loop made of webbing. To get my canine companion set up in the car, I needed to pull the seat belt through this loop and then snap it into the buckle just as if a human was sitting there. Then I had to adjust the harness so it fit my dog perfectly. Luckily, that was also quite easy to do thanks to the buckle system created by EzyDog to make adjusting the harness easier.
And that’s it! You should be ready to start your journey.
The EzyDog Drive Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
This harness has been crash tested according to EU, USA, and Australian standards. That’s always good to know, even though we always hope we won’t end up in situations where we need such features.
This harness from SlowTon is another car harness for dogs that, like our number one choice, doubles as a walking harness. Overall, our expert researchers found it to be a great harness for both purposes.
This is a standard H-shaped harness with a wide chest piece made of breathable mesh material. We loved the design of the chest piece. On some harnesses, this part can be quite thick and, although soft, it can trap in heat. On this harness, however, there are just two layers of breathable mesh material with quality stitching along the edges. This way, your dog can enjoy wearing a comfortable harness without also feeling like they're wearing a sweater.
The SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set being tested by our independent expert team.
The chest piece is connected with two straps - one going around the chest and the other around the belly. They are both highly adjustable and on the back there are two large metal rings to attach the harness to the dog car seat belt.
I like that when you buy this harness, you will get the seat belt too. It looks like a leash that you can snap into any standard seat belt buckle. The leash is short enough to not let your dog roam around too much but long enough to let them settle comfortably. The leash also has a bungee cord part which gives it elasticity, which is great as it provides flex in case any accidents happen.
The car harness from Beau Pets is a simple harness that’s not overly bulky, but will still keep your canine companion safely in place. The harness mostly consists of straps made of quality nylon webbing and looks like a car seat belt themselves.
The belly strap and the neck strap are both adjustable to achieve a perfect fit. They each have a quick-release buckle on them which you’ll need to snap into place when putting the harness on. Unlike our number two option, this is limited in size and is not ideal for dogs larger than 30 kg.
With this harness, you’ll also get a separate strap that you will use to connect to a seat belt. I was able to take one side of the strap and snap it right into a quick-release buckle on the back of the harness. Then, I put the other side into a seat belt buckle, just like an actual seat belt. Setting up all of this didn't take more than a couple of minutes of my time.
Finally, the Beau Pets car harness also features a large D-ring on the back for attaching the lead. In this way, it transforms into a regular walking harness. It’s not the best harness for walking, and we wouldn’t recommend it for long walks, but for getting into and out of the car, it will work just fine.
The PetSafe Happy Ride Dog Safety Harness is another good option for those who’d like to keep their pets safe and comfortable. This harness features a wide chest piece with thick padding on the inside and a breathable liner to ensure your pet doesn’t get too warm in the hot car (don’t ever leave the dog unsupervised in the car though).
The PetSafe Happy Ride Dog Safety Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
Our panel of expert researchers note that the large chest piece is connected with two straps that meet on the back. There, you will find two large loops you can feed the car seat belt through and attach to the standard socket. Alternatively, you can also use a car seat belt designed specifically for dogs and attach it to the same place.
Unlike our previous three choices, this is the least escape proof, so if your dog is a little Houdini, other options on this list may do a better job of protecting him or her.
If you are looking for a small dog car harness, you might also want to consider a booster seat for your canine companion. For small and tiny dogs, travelling in the car can look quite sad because they can’t even look out of the window. And if you have a small or tiny breeed like I do, you already know that some of them love to watch the passing world from the car window. A booster seat helps solve this issue by creating a safe space for your dog that’s also higher.
The All for Paws Travel Dog Booster Seat being tested by our independent expert team.
This booster seat from All For Paws can be easily attached to a seat in your car. What you’ll get is essentially a large pouch hanging from the seat inside which your furbaby can settle comfortably.
This booster seat comes with an inflatable pillow at the base which you can also remove for easier portability. Our researchers want you to keep in mind that you’ll also need to use some kind of a dog seat belt and harness setup even though your pup is in a booster seat if you want to keep them safe. These are not included and need to be purchased extra.
The Best Dog Seat Belt Options
Speaking of doggy seat belts, our expert tests also checked out all top rated dog seat belts available in Australia. Below you’ll find our top picks:
Once you have a car harness for your dog, you’ll also need to attach it to something for it to be functional. The easiest solution I have found is definitely a dog seatbelt like this one.
This belt from EzyDog is basically just a mini version of a real seat belt for your dog. The belt itself is made of a similar material to normal seat belts, and it snaps right into a seat belt buckle. On the other end, you’ll find an attachment for connecting it to your dog’s harness. This will work on just about any harness.
The EzyDog Car Seat Belt Attachment being tested by our independent expert team.
What our team thinks is especially great about this dog seatbelt is that its length is adjustable. Depending on the size of your dog and your car, you’ll be able to adjust the seat belt to the right length so your dog remains safe but comfortable.
This dog seat belt from Zenify is another simple seat belt for dogs, only with the addition of a bungee cord. I have personally found the bungee cord feature really useful. In case of any sudden turns or movements, the elastic part will ensure my canine companion does not get strangled by the belt.
Another nice thing about this seat belt is that its length is adjustable, like our number one seat belt choice from EzyDog. You can adjust it anywhere between 50cm (the shortest setting) and 74cm (the longest setting). When fully stretched, the bungee cord will extend the belt another 14cm. One end of the belt goes into a standard seat belt socket and the other one attaches to any harness.
The Zenify Dog Car Seat Belt being tested by our independent expert team.
Does your pet like chewing through any seat belt or restraint you get for him? If yes, you are not the only one, as myself and several panel members have the same issue with our dogs. The Mighty Paw Dog Seat Belt was made specifically to keep the chewers safe. Namely, the core of this belt is thick braided steel wire which is impossible to chew through.
During our testing phase, we discovered another benefit of using this form of seat belt is that it will never get tangled. The wire core simply makes it impossible.
Unlike the other two options so far, you don’t need to attach it to the seat belt buckle. Instead, you just attach it to the LATCH anchor in your car - the same place where baby seats get attached. This way, you can also leave the dog seat belt in the car when not in use.
The Mighty Paw Dog Seat Belt being tested by our independent expert team.
I love how this dog seat belt has a different setup than most other options on this list. I didn’t need to attach it anywhere since it just wraps around the headrest instead. The top part of the belt simply goes around the head rest and you can attach it with a quick release buckle that’s also lockable to ensure safety. The top part is adjustable so you can get the right fit around any headrest.
The longer part of this seatbelt is adjustable too - so you can find the length that is just right for your pup. Part of this belt also comes with a bungee cord inside which softens any sudden movements, similar to our number two selection.
The SlowTon Dog Seatbelt being tested by our independent expert team.
One great thing our panel of pros pointed out about this car belt is that it will turn into a regular leash in a pinch. Simply take it off and hold the part that would go around the headrest in your hand. And I appreciate how the belt even features reflective stitching for better visibility when walking at night.
Do I Really Need a Car Harness for the Dog?
In general, cars were not built with dogs in mind. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about their safety. The truth is, pet safety in cars is a heavily under-researched area, but using a puppy car harness and a puppy seat belt seems to be the safest option.
Even though there are no strict universal regulations in Australia when it comes to restraining a dog in a car, the RSPCA does recommend using a car harness.
Besides increased security in case of an accident, a tethered harness will also prevent a dog from jumping out of the window or distracting the driver.
But how exactly do you choose a car harness for your dog? Here are some things our team of experts ask you to consider:
Construction & Comfort
Especially if you are going for a long ride, the harness your dog will wear needs to be comfortable. This is even more important for dogs like mine who suffer from anxiety when in the car. The rules for this are the same as with regular harnesses: a harness that fits well is more likely to be comfortable, and soft padding on the inside will definitely help.
However, when it comes to car harnesses, security is more important than comfort. For this reason, it’s also important to look for harnesses with strong construction and quality stitching.
When it comes to car harnesses, sizing is always important. When a harness fits well, my dog is much less likely to get out of it - and this is especially important in the car. A dog roaming around freely can be a danger to themselves and the driver.
To get the right fit, make sure to measure the chest and neck girth of your dog. For the chest circumference, measure the widest part of the chest. The same goes for the neck - measure it at the widest part, close to the base.
Most harnesses you can get today are adjustable too, so you can make little tweaks to get the perfect fit. An ideally fitted harness should fit snugly, but not too tight. Our experts point out that you should always be able to insert two fingers between the harness and your dog’s skin.
Is it Crash Tested?
Lack of testing for dog car safety equipment is a serious issue, and the few studies that have been conducted suggest that many car harnesses aren’t really effective in the case of an accident (2).
In Australia, there are currently no specific standards for safety testing a dog harness and seat belt. However, some manufacturers choose to do some crash tests voluntarily, so getting a harness that says “crash tested” might be a good idea.
My Final Verdict
While there is definitely a lack of testing when it comes to dog car harnesses, they are most likely the safest option - and certainly better than using a collar (3). In our best dog car harness Australia list, our panel of experts focused on finding the safest and most secure harnesses and seat belts available.
After months of testing, the EzyDog Drive Harness is one of our favourites because it’s a really well-made harness that focusses on security. The SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set is a good alternative because it also includes a dedicated seat belt for your canine companion.
After more dog harness information? Check out our below guides:
Technically, you could use most dog harnesses in the car too. However, you should be fairly sure that your pooch can’t escape the harness while you’re driving. In addition to this, the harness needs to be attached to a seat belt securely - and this is not possible with all walking harnesses. The easiest solution is probably to get a dedicated harness for the car.
In general, the back seat should be the safest option. If you want your canine companion to ride in the front, remember the rule that children small shouldn’t ride in the front seat due to airbag danger. This applies to dogs too - so either disable the airbag or stick to the back seat (recommended) (4).
A dog car harness is what allows you to make your dog “fasten” the seat belt. That means that a car harness will also only work if attached to some kind of a seatbelt, be it the real seat belt in your car or a special belt for the dog. In any case, the seat belt is attached to the back of the harness, thus preventing the dog from roaming around the car freely.
- “Do I need to restrain my dog when travelling in my car?” RSPCA. Retrieved February 12, 2023. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/do-i-need-to-restrain-my-dog-when-travelling-in-my-car/
- “Paws and secure your puppy” NRMA. Retrieved February 12, 2023. https://www.nrma.com.au/paws-and-secure-your-puppy
- Gordon Sala, R. January 26, 2014. “Incorrectly used collars, leashes can do harm”. Retrieved February 12, 2023. https://nypost.com/2014/01/26/incorrectly-used-collars-leashes-can-do-harm/
- Miller, P. July 13, 2019. “Driving Safely with Your Dog”. Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2023. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/care/driving-safely-with-your-dog/