dog using a car harness

Best Dog Car Harness Options - The Canine Seatbelt

Our #1 Pick

Kurgo Car Harness for Dogs

The Best Value for Money

Kurgo Car Harness for Dogs

  • Well-made and durable
  • Doubles as a walking harness
  • Front and back lead attachment
  • Crash tested

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.

What this means is that no matter how long your trip will be, your dog needs proper safety gear to protect both you and themselves, and 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.


Do I Really Need a Car Harness for the Dog?

In general, cars were not really 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.

“in a collision, the dog [properly restrained with a harness] may be less likely to become a projectile thereby potentially decreasing the risk of injury to the driver or passengers." - RSPCA

Besides increased security in case of an accident, a tethered harness will also prevent a dog from jumping out of the window and from distracting the driver.

But how exactly do you choose a car harness for your dog? Here are some things 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 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 surely 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 a strong construction and quality stitching.

Sizing

When it comes to car harnesses, sizing is especially important. If a harness fits well, the dog is much less likely to get out of it - and this is especially important in the care. A dog roaming around freely can be a danger to himself and to the driver too.

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 - 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.

labrador puppy using a dog seatbelt harness

Dog Harness For Cars -  A Review

We’ve checked out all of the car safety harnesses for dogs available on the market, and there is actually quite a lot to choose from. Below you’ll find our top picks:

Kurgo Car Harness for Dogs
  • Well-made and durable
  • Doubles as a walking harness
  • Front and back lead attachment
  • Crash tested

This car harness from Kurgo is one of the most popular car harnesses out there for dogs of all sizes. And it is not just hype - this harness really works great.

First of all, the harness itself is really well-made and works perfectly in the car as well as when walking outside. The harness features a wide, padded chest panel that distributes pressure evenly and ensures maximum comfort. Along the back, you’ll find thick straps with strong stitching. All of the straps are adjustable, and most of the buckles and attachment points are made of metal which makes them much more durable.

When you take your dog for a walk with this harness, you’ll have the option to attach the lead at the front or on the back. However, what is most important for today’s topic is how this Kurgo harness turns into a dog car safety harness. Well, it’s done with the help of a simple loop that you attach to the harness which has a carabinier at the net that you attach to the seatbelt - that’s it!

Even though it’s quite simple, this is a system that works. The Kurgo car harness has been crash tested for weights up to 34kg using the same methodology used for testing child restraint systems in the US.

Pros

Cons

  • Well-made and durable
  • Limited range of sizes
  • Doubles as a walking harness
Cell
  • Front and back lead attachment
Cell
  • Crash tested
Cell

SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set
  • Comfortable and secure
  • Includes an elastic seat belt leashWide range of sizes
  • Good value for money
  • Doubles as a walking harness

This harness from SlowTon is another car harness for dogs that also doubles as a walking harness. Overall, we 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 really 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 wearing a sweater.

The chest piece is connected with two straps - one going around the chest and the other around the belly. They are both highly adjustable. On the back, there are two large metal rings to attach the harness to the dog car seat belt.

When you buy this harness, you will get the seat belt too. It looks somewhat 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 amortization in case any accidents happen.

Pros

Cons

  • Comfortable and secure
  • Lead attachment rings on the back are quite large and heavy
  • Includes an elastic seat belt leashWide range of sizes
  • Not the most durable
  • Good value for money
Cell
  • Doubles as a walking harness
Cell

EzyDog Drive Harness
  • Ergonomic chest plate
  • Crash tested
  • Easy to set up and adjust
  • Lead attachment on the back for walking to the car

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 the “crosslink technology”. In essence, it has been shaped and stitched through in such a manner that there is no way your dog will end up out of the harness, no matter what.

The chest plate is connected with the back piece by means of thick straps that are actually made of the same material seat belts are made of. On the back, you’ll find a large loop made of webbing. To get your canine companion set up in the car, you’ll need to pull the seat belt through this loop and snap it into the buckle just like a human was sitting there. And that’s it, you should be ready to start your journey. If you have adjusted the harness so it fits your dog perfectly, that is. Luckily, that’s also quite easy to do thanks to the buckle system created by EzyDog to make adjusting the harness easier.

Finally, 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Ergonomic chest plate
  • Not the most comfortable harness
  • Crash tested
Cell
  • Easy to set up and adjust
Cell
  • Lead attachment on the back for walking to the car
Cell

Beau Pets Dog Seat Belt Car Harness
  • Easy to set up
  • Adjustable straps
  • Lead attachment on the back for walking

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 looking somewhat 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 your dog.

With the harness, you’ll also get a separate strap that you will use to connect the harness to a seat belt. One side of the strap will snap right into a quick-release buckle on the back of the harness, and the other side simply goes into a seat belt buckle, just like an actual seat belt. Setting up all of this shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Finally, the Beau Pets car harness also features a large D-ring on the back for attaching the lead. In this way, it transforms itself 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 to and from the car it will work just fine.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to set up
  • Not for dogs heavier than 30kg
  • Adjustable straps
Cell
  • Lead attachment on the back for walking
Cell

PetSafe Happy Ride Dog Safety Harness
  • Wide padded chest piece for extra comfort
  • Attaches easily to the seat belt in your car
  • Easy to put on

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 if it gets hot in the car (don’t ever leave the dog unsupervised in the car though).

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 it to the standard socket. Alternatively, you can also use a car seat belt designed specifically for dogs and attach it to the same place.

Pros

Cons

  • Wide padded chest piece for extra comfort
  • Not escape proof
  • Attaches easily to the seat belt in your car
  • Not the most durable
  • Easy to put on
Cell

All for Paws Travel Dog Booster Seat
  • Ease to set up
  • Affordable
  • Great for tiny dogs
  • Comfortable

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 we know some of them love to. A booster seat helps solve this issue by creating a safe space for your dog that’s also higher so they can look out of the window.

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. Just 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Ease to set up
  • A bit flimsy
  • Affordable
  • Not for large dogs
  • Great for tiny dogs
Cell
  • Comfortable
Cell
  • List Element
Cell

Best Dog Seat Belt Options

We’ve also checked out all top rated dog seat belts available in Australia. Below you’ll find our top picks:

EzyDog Car Seat Belt Attachment
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Clips right into the seat belt buckle
  • Strong and durable
  • Adjustable length

Once you have a car harness for your dog, you’ll also need to attach it to something in order for it to be functional. The easiest solution 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 like real 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.

What’s 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 just the right length so your dog remains safe but comfortable.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple and easy to use
  • The clip for attaching the seat belt is a bit small
  • Clips right into the seat belt buckle
Cell
  • Strong and durable
Cell
  • Adjustable length
Cell

Zenify Dog Car Seat Belt
  • Attaches to any harness
  • Elastic bungee cord softens sudden movements
  • Adjustable length
  • Good value for money

This dog seat belt from Zenify is another simple seat belt for dogs, only with the addition of a bungee cord. We found the bungee cord feature really useful. In case of any sudden turns or movements, the elastic part will ensure your canine companion does not get strangled by the belt.

Another nice thing about this seat belt is that its length is adjustable. You can adjust it anywhere between 50cm (the shortest setting) and 74cm (the longer setting). When fully stretched, the bungee cord will extend the belt for another 14cm. One end of this belt goes into a standard seat belt socket and the other one attaches to any harness.

Pros

Cons

  • Attaches to any harness
  • Small harness attachment clip
  • Elastic bungee cord softens sudden movements
Cell
  • Adjustable length
Cell
  • Good value for money
Cell

Mighty Paw Dog Seat Belt
  • Chew-proof
  • Easy to set up
  • Connects to LATCH anchor
  • Tangle-free

Does your pet like chewing through any seat belt or restraint you get for him? If yes, you are not the only one. 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 literally impossible to chew through. Another benefit of using this form of seat belt is that it will never get tangled. The wire core simply makes it impossible.

Another great thing about this dog seat belt is that 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Chew-proof
  • Length not adjustable
  • Easy to set up
Cell
  • Connects to LATCH anchor
Cell
  • Tangle-free
Cell

SlowTon Dog Seatbelt
  • Easy headrest attachment
  • Doubles as an everyday leash
  • Adjustable length
  • Elastic

This dog seat belt has a different setup than most other car seatbelts. You don’t need to attach it anywhere, just wrap it around the headrest instead. The top part of the belt simply goes around the headers 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.

One great thing 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. The belt even features reflective stitching for better visibility when walking at night.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy headrest attachment
  • Not for vehicles without headrests
  • Doubles as an everyday leash
Cell
  • Adjustable length
Cell
  • Elastic
Cell

Dog Car Restraint Options: The 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, we focused on finding the safest and most secure harnesses and seat belts available.

The Kurgo Car Harness for Dogs is one of our favorites because it’s a really well-made harness that works both as a regular working harness and as a security harness for your car. By default, the Kurgo harness should be attached to your car’s seat belt, which some pet parents find annoying. If you agree, the SlowTon Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Set is a good alternative because it also includes a dedicated seat belt for your canine companion.

After work dog harness information? Check out our below guides:

FAQ

Can you use a regular dog harness in the car?

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.

Where is the safest place for a dog in a 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).

How does a dog car harness work?

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.

References
  1. “Do I need to restrain my dog when travelling in my car?” RSPCA. Retrieved October 5, 2020. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/do-i-need-to-restrain-my-dog-when-travelling-in-my-car/
  2. “Paws and secure your puppy” NRMA. Retrieved October 5, 2020. https://www.nrma.com.au/paws-and-secure-your-puppy
  3. Gordon Sala, R. January 26, 2014. “Incorrectly used collars, leashes can do harm” Retrieved October 5, 2020. https://nypost.com/2014/01/26/incorrectly-used-collars-leashes-can-do-harm/
  4. Miller, P. July 13, 2019. “Driving Safely with Your Dog”. Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2020. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/care/driving-safely-with-your-dog/
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & a dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: