I have a smallish mutt at 21 lbs. and besides not wanting her to become a projectile should we be in a crash, she tends to fly around the van when I take my corners on two wheels.  I’ve always secured my dogs when I drive by using a normal harness on them and knotting their leash tightly to a head restraint post, but I know it’s not the safest.

Back in October, I needed to make a longish trip with my dog, so I decided to try out the PetBuckle harness.  I’ve heard great things about it and I much prefer to have her anchored to the seat belt instead of the head restraint post anyway.  I picked up the last package at PetSmart.  The Universal Size fits all dogs from 10 lbs. to 200 lbs.  It’s made of harness material, criss-crosses over the chest, and buckles on the back.  The straps are extra long to fit the large range of dog sizes and the instructions tell you how to cut and singe the end of the webbing once you have a custom fit for your dog.

Our adventure began the night before our trip.  I put her in the harness.  The wide (1.5″) straps make the fit comfortable, but I found it difficult to get a good snug fit on her because of all her fur!  She’s got an extreme amount of shaggy fur–hence the nickname “Mop”–and the harness slid around on her a bit.  Once I did get it snug, I was concerned that the edges might be too sharp against her armpits (legpits?).  Thanks either to abuse or some other pre-us injury, she’s very sensitive in that area.  She did OK, but didn’t act like she usually does in her regular doggy harness.

When we left for our trip, I set her on the vehicle seat and buckled her in; the seat belt is routed through a loop on the back of the harness.  She’s normally fine in the van and enjoys rides.  By the time I drove the .7 mile to Costco to get gas, she had flipped herself backwards in the van seat and was stuck.  She had also managed to get one of her front legs out of the harness.  Not wanting to spend the next 6 hours constantly pulling over to fix her, I immediately changed her back to her regular doggy harness.

Thinking it was a fluke in the way I put her in the PetBuckle harness, I tried the harness for the trip home.  The same thing happened again.  It just didn’t work for us.  I really wish it had because it is a much better way to buckle up dogs than a regular harness.

Pros: made by IMMI, the seat belt makers; lightweight locking latchplates provide secure fit on Fido; real buckles, not just plastic clips; LATCH strap sold separately; easy to use

Cons: harness may bother tender underarms