When it comes to car safety, I'll freely admit I didn't think about it much when Merry first came home. But the more I learn about what can happen to a pet when they're loose in your car during an accident, the more I become determined to make sure that my famous little pug princess stays safe and sound.
What I've come to understand is just how terribly under-represented this area of pet products is. Sure, there are a ton of pet products for your car, but most of them revolve around protecting your vehicle from your pet - blankets, covers and gates to keep your car free of pet hair or stinky pet smells.
But when it comes to safety, there's just not as much out there. Yes, Merry has been wearing a harness in the car for a few years, but my biggest beef with most harness designs is that they're essentially depending on a nylon loop with a quick-release buckle to hold your pet to the already-fastened seatbelt in the car.
Frankly, I worry about those buckles.
Which is why, when I heard about the new product (the "Snoozer" car harness) GW Little was offering, Merry and I jumped at the chance to check it out. Not only does this safety harness look a great deal more sturdy and tough than the majority of pet car harnesses on the market, it offered one additional feature that had us foaming at the mouth to check out: it fastened to the car by sliding directly into the seatbelt buckle.
Once we saw the harness in person, we were impressed. It's made of ballistic nylon (very sturdy), well padded on the inside and at the arms to reduce friction. It's a single piece with holes cut for the legs, which makes it even sturdier.
Fit is not too bad - we liked the fact that it fastened with two adjustable nylon straps over the shoulders and lower back. But these harnesses fit small - Merry's at the top end of the Small size range, and as a result it was a very snug fit, with a bit of buckling at the chest. My instinct would be to tell you that if your dog fell near the end of the range to try the next size up.
The entire harness is double and triple stitched in every conceivable place. A nylon strip runs down both sides of the harness, stitched down very heavily. This strip extends another 6-8 inches from the back of the harness and meets at a loop. Attached to the loop is the brass ring - that is, the universal metal buckle that you can slide right into a seat buckle in your car. Indeed, it slid in and held securely with no problems.
What's more, this is the only car harness for dogs that I've heard of that's been actually crash tested - and using the same standards as child safety seats. That's pretty impressive, and long overdue in the world of pet car products.
With this seatbelt car harness in place, Merry and I both rest a little easier every time we get into the car. And that peace of mind is invaluable.
You can find out more about GW Little from their web site at www.gwlittle.com.