The pet care market is a multi-billion dollar industry with a solution for just about every want or need our pups could ever have. On an issue as important as safety, we expect the pet product suppliers to do their research and steer us in the right direction - but what if they don't?
When we take our pets with us on road trips, or even just to the vet, it is vital that we are assured of their safety. However, to every dog lover's dismay, after the Center for Pet Safety
(CPS) conducted crash tests on dozens of common dog harnesses, the 501(c)(3) non-profit deemed most of the products on the current market unsafe.
Beginning in 2011, the CPS has conducted several crash tests using harnesses on the market. After they concluded their pilot study, they wrote about their findings: "Alarmingly, the [study] revealed a 100 percent failure rate. None of the harnesses were deemed safe enough to protect both the dog and the humans in the event of an accident."
Future studies conducted by the CPS revealed similar results; to this date, of the dozens of harnesses tested, only one--the Sleepypod Clickit Sport
-- has been crash test certified
and approved by the CPS.
The CPS's mission to ensure products on the market are safe hits very close to home for its founder. Just months after adopting her British Cocker Spaniel Maggie, CPS's founder and CEO Lindsey Wolko was driving on the Virginia I-66 when she had to slam on the brakes, leaving Maggie tangled in her harness and "screaming in pain". Maggie endured a strained spine and strained hips--and it could have been worse.
I discovered the harness tether had wrapped around her back legs and she was thrown and hit the back of the front seat. She was hurting and scared and I couldn’t get to her fast enough.
- CPS founder and CEO Lindsey Wolko
Following Maggie's incident, Wolko set out to learn more about the safety standards in the pet industry and was surprised to discover that there weren't any. “Pet products, unbeknownst to most pet owners, are not considered consumer products,” Wolko said to the Huffington Post
. According to Wolko, the Consumer Product Safety Commission considers pet products to be out of their jurisdiction.
Luckily for our dogs, Wolko was willing to make pet safety her priority, and in July of 2011 she founded the Center for Pet Safety. Currently the CPS is working to fund studies on the safety of certain pet foods, canine flotation devices, and dog toys.
For concerned dog owners who are looking to buy a dog harness, Wolko told the Huffington Post that owners should avoid products with extension tethers or zip lines that connect to your dog's harness or collar, since they still allow for your dog to move around inside the car. Owners may also purchase the Sleepypod Clickit Sport, the only CPS crash test certified harness. The American Kennel Club
(AKC) also recommends using a crate if possible, but if a crate doesn't fit, use a harness that attaches to the seatbelt.
H/t to the Huffington Post
Featured image via Center for Pet Safety