Month: August 2017

Dog car harnesses shocking results! – Essex Pet Photography

As I write this I’m preparing to pack up my caravan and head down to the west country for a recharge of my batteries. It got me to thinking... I always secure Layla, my whippet, in the back seat with a car harness but I know a lot of people don’t. Even with her seat belt on, when I’ve had to brake sharpish on occasion she’s slid on the seat and her belt has caught her before she landed in the foot well. It brings me goose bumps to think what would happen in a crash if she was unrestrained....not something I dwell on...and not something I’d take a chance with.

The law says that a dog should be “adequately restrained” in a car so that the dog cannot move around and distract the driver. I don't think there is enough thought given to the safety of our dogs in a crash. For those of you out there that don’t currently restrain your dog on the back seat and are considering starting, I’ve had a look at some of the options available.

There are many car harnesses available on the market many claiming to be crash tested. The only information I can find online to verify these claims comes from The Centre for Pet Safety (CPS). They are an American non-profit research organisation who “conduct rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety products using realistic, specially designed, crash test dogs” (not real dogs!).

In 2013 they conducted a dog harness crash test and the results may surprise you. Videos of the testing can be found on their website.

All harnesses went through preliminary strength testing and those that passed then went on for the full crash testing.  Of the 12 harnesses tested, 4 failed preliminary testing! The four that failed are:

USA K-9 Outfitters; Champion Harness


Image taken from website

In the Company of Animals; CLIX Car Harness


Image taken from website

Coastal EZ Rider (Also Private Labelled under the  Petsmart Top Paw brand)


Image taken from website

Snoozer Pet Safety Harness and Adapter

(Website - I think they have removed this item from their website, but it's still available through

Image taken from

I was amazed, and quite honestly shocked, to read the CLIX harness failed preliminary testing. I have been using these harnesses for the last 9-10 years and they were originally sold as safety tested (back then claiming to be the only crash tested harness on the market). I will be buying Layla a new harness immediately!

Seven harnesses progressed onto full simulated crash testing and the results were just as astounding.

• Sleepypod Clickit Utility
• RC Pet Canine Friendly Crash Tested
• Klein Metal Allsafe (see notes later regarding improvements to this harness)
• Ruff Rider
• Bergan Car Harness
• Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength
• IMMI PetBuckle

All harnesses were tested separately for small, medium and large dogs. All three sizes of harness had to pass testing in order for the product to pass as a whole. Now, bear in mind that this testing is only at 30mph! The results are as follows:

The only harness to pass the testing was the Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness. The other harnesses either failed on hardware issues (buckles and clips), allowing the dog to launch off the seat (causing a secondary collision), severe harness deformation, catastrophic failure, tearing of the webbing, and/or stitching failure at the connection point. Is anyone else utterly shocked at this? I certainly am!

The test on the final harness, Solvit Safety Harness Original, was “conducted to illustrate the crash protection offered by a product that would be considered a Distracted Driving Tether. The manufacturer did not claim testing. The manufacturer did not claim crash protection.” The test was performed to show the protection (or lack of) offered by a harness where the manufacturer did not claim crash testing.

Full analysis, along with the videos of the testing is available to view here.

Screenshot of crash testing simulation from CPS website

So, the Sleepypod Clickit Utility stands head and shoulders above the competition.  This harness controlled and restrained all three sizes of dog during every test simulation. The manufacturer even attended the testing and approved the setup of all tests.

Image taken from Sleepypod website

The only other harness to mention is the Kleinmetall Allsafe harness.  This manufacturer also attended the testing and approved the setup of all tests.  This harness has its own case study on the test site which can be found here.

Image taken from

Long story short, the Allsafe harness originally failed testing due to the use of an extension tether, which meant that during testing the harness could not keep the dog(s) on the seat.  The CPS educated the manufacturer on the necessity for the harness to keep the dog on the seat.  As a result, they tested different lengths of tether extension and came to the conclusion that having no tether was the safest method.  The seat belt now threads through the back of the harness and prevents the dog from launching off the seat in a collision.  Even knowing that the extension tethers reduce the safety of the harness they still offer them for sale at an additional cost!  Although it is not stated on the site, I would think that used correctly, this harness is now compliant with their testing guidelines.

I have done some research and have found the Sleepypod Clickit harness available through, although it can be shipped from the U.S.

The Kleinmetal Allsafe harness seems more readily available in the UK (it’s German made), and cheaper than the Sleepypod. It seems these two are the safest bet when it comes to securing your 4 legged family in the back seat of the car.

The Sleepypod Clickit is expensive, and there are obviously cheaper alternatives available, but after researching this and viewing the videos there seems little point it buying an inferior harness as all it’s going to give is a false sense of security. A number of manufacturers claim their harnesses have been crash tested (a true statement) ….they just fail to mention the harness didn’t pass the test!

As a side note, having been onto the Sleepypod site there is a disclaimer at the bottom of the page stating: “Due to the unique characteristics and body types of Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Afghan Hounds and Borzois, our harnesses will not work properly on these breeds.  We are looking into developing harnesses that will fit them in the near future.”  So it seems until then sighthound owners are still at a loss for something to really protect their furry family in an impact.  My search for a sighthound friendly harness continues.

I’d love to know what you think of the blog, I look forward to hearing your comments on my Facebook page 

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised

August bank holiday, where fetes and summer sun combine….sometimes – Essex Pet Photography

A long weekend lazing in the summer’s the dream of a summer bank holiday! This weekend sees the last bank holiday Monday for the year (except maybe Christmas, but in August I consider the C word swearing!) August bank holiday weekend usually gives a lovely variety of village fetes and fun dog shows, and with that in mind here are some fun fetes and shows you can take your dog to this weekend. Needless to say, it’s August bank holiday, and we all know that probably means a few showers, after all, what’s a bank holiday Monday without a deluge or two 😉

Sunday 27th August

Essex Dog Day, Hatfield Peverel, CM3 2EU

You couldn’t talk about fun dog shows without including the Essex Dog Day! The largest dog show in the county, it has loads of classes for both pedigrees and non-pedigrees alike. There is a shopping village with everything for you and your dog, displays in the main arena including the Essex Police Dog Display Team
The show opens at 10 am and closes at 5 pm. An entertaining, fun filled day out for all the family and should be enough to make even the most energetic of dogs doze on the way home.


Monday 28th August

Langley Village Fete - Langley Upper Green, CB11 4RY

Langley dog show has classes for pedigree dogs and plenty of novelty classes. The show opens at 10 am and judging for the Pedigree classes starts at 11 am (Novelty classes are judged once the pedigree classes are finished. With novelty classes including fancy dress, best 6 legs and Irish brace (two dogs most unalike) there’s sure to be something for everyone. 

Run under Kennel Club rules it means that the pedigree classes have some restrictions: No puppies under 6 months old can enter the pedigree class, neither can dogs that have won CCs, RCCs, Junior Warrants or any award counting towards the title of Champion.  There are also no American Pit Bull Terriers allowed on the showground.

There are no such age restrictions or showing restrictions in the novelty class, so all may enter.  Other attractions at the Fete include a bar, BBQ, bouncy castle and a Car Boot Sale (starting at 10 am).

Langley dog show schedule

Much Hadham Village Fete and Dog Show - at the Recreation Ground, SG10 6DL

Held annually for over 50 years, this fete advertises itself as “combining traditional and modern elements for a truly entertaining afternoon.” The show runs from 12 noon until 4.30 pm. Having been to this fete myself for a few years, I can vouch that there is plenty there to keep you occupied for the whole afternoon. The show is free to enter, though I remember paying to park.

The dog show is registered with the Kennel Club as a companion show, and as such does not have the same restrictions as the pedigree classes at Langley Fete.  There’s also a Dog Agility competition so you can test your teamwork skills and undoubtedly raise a laugh or two as your dog makes up their own course!

There are refreshments galore with the usual fare including BBQ, pork roast, cream teas and beer tent; along with more unusual stalls that include Veggie and chicken satay, paella and chorizo rolls and a gin and fizz bar!  So there is something to suit even the more adventurous palate.


Sunday 27th and Monday 28th August


The Countess of Warwick’s Country Show – Little Easton, CM6 2JJ

An array of exhibitions and displays, the Countess of Warwick Show is on for both Sunday and Monday.  There’s a main arena with equestrian displays, sheepdog skills, egg and spoon, and sack races. A horticultural show, classic car display by P&A Wood, music, a bar, shopping, an art exhibition in the church and of course a fun dog show!  There’s even a ploughing match taking place on Sunday.  It really is a show with something for everyone and all laid out so that you don’t have to walk too far between all the events.

On both days the show opens at 12 noon and closes at 5 pm.


And if the weather decides not to cooperate (after all it is a bank holiday), or you’re not quite finished with this year's rosette collection, then there's one more show to try:


Saturday 2nd September


Birchanger Fete - Birchanger Social Club, CM23 5QJ

A lovely little village fete with an affordable dog show, lots of stalls, falconry display, live music and a hog roast.  A nice relaxing day out on the village green, and one of the last fun shows of the year. The show starts at 1 pm.

For the show's Facebook page click here

I wish you luck with your rossette winning and fun, relaxing days spent with your furry family.  Whether the weather is a blazer or a blow out, enjoy your long weekend and recharge your batteries, the next bank holiday involves the 'C' word. 😮

Posted by 4 Legs Photography in Uncategorised