While your car and your baby seat undergo rigorous crash testing, the same can't be said for your pet carrier, even if the manufacturer says otherwise.
The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and Subaru of America once again teamed up to put popular pet carriers and crates to the test and found that many did not offer the protection they claimed. Of those tested, only one crate and two carriers performed well enough to keep a pet safe in a crash.
"While many crate and carrier manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested and safe for use in a vehicle, there are currently no test protocols or performance standards in the U.S. to substantiate these claims," wrote CPS and Subaru in a joint statement.
In some cases products that claimed to be tested for safety completely failed crash tests.
It's not uncommon for pet owners to drive without securing their pets. A dog on a driver's lap, in the bed of a pickup truck, or sticking its head out the window are regular occurrences. Doing so, though, puts the dog and passengers at risk of injury during a crash. Not only can the dog get hurt, it can become a projectile, flying through the car and hurting those inside.
In 2013 CPS and Subaru tested 12 harnesses made for securing dogs in cars. Of those, only one, the Sleepypod Clickit Utility, offered any protection. Four harnesses didn't score well enough on preliminary testing to even make it to the crash test phase.
This round of testing looked at both crates and carriers that claimed they were crash tested by manufacturers. Tests also include those that made no such claims, but said they could be used for car travel.
Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with eight-inch tie-down straps was the only crate that withstood crash testing and lived up to its claims. The other four did not and had varied results. Some kept the dog contained, but suffered structural damage, while other held up well, but suffered enough damage that the dog could fly out of the crate.
A wire crate that made no crash test claims and tested for investigative purposes, was a complete failure even with strengthened tethers. CPS says that they should only be used to keep the dog from becoming a distraction and owners should not expect any crash protection.
Crates that didn't make the cut include:
- 4Pets Proline Milan
- Mim Safe Variocage Single
- Roto Mold, LLC. Ruff Tough Kennel
- Midwest Wire Kennel with Rubber Anchor Straps
- Midwest Wire Kennel with Reinforced Cage Support System
For small dogs and cats, two carriers were awarded top honors: the Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch connection and Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock. Both carriers from Pet Ego and Sleepypod remained securely on the seat and did not suffer significant structural damage.
Others, like the Snoozer Roll Around stayed put, but the crash test dog was launched out of the carrier. Many of the other carriers disconnected from their straps and flew off the seats. It's worth noting that many of the carrier options do not claim that they were crash tested or offer crash protection, but do say they are appropriate for car travel.
Carriers that didn't make the cut include:
- PetBuckle Auto Kennel Restraint
- Snoozer Roll Around Travel Dog Carrier Backpack 4-in-1
- PetMate Vari-Kennel Plastic Carrier
- Kurgo Wander Carrier
- Pet Ego Pet Tube
Full test results along with crash test videos can be found on the CPS website.