Top Performing Dog Car Harness – Designed to Safely Transport Pets

(updated: October 25, 2018)

Choosing Car Restraint for Dog

If you are transporting your dog in your car, his or her safety needs to be one of the first things you consider. The best dog car harness and seat belts are those that will keep your dog safe, no matter what life throws at you.

Even if you are in an accident, a dog harness for the car should keep your dog in place.

When used properly and correctly, you don’t have to fear taking your dog on long distance road trips or onto the highways. In fact, it can calm both you and your dog.

Even more importantly, however, you need to consider how much safer a dog harness or dog seat belt will make you. Essentially, they tether your dog to the car, making it impossible for him or her to run around and wreak havoc on your car.

Keeping your dog in place means that

  • Your children will be safe
  • Your passengers won’t be distracted
  • You can put all of your focus on the road in front of you

The best dog harnesses have passed all of the tests and reviews in both fronts: keeping the inside of your car safe and keeping your dog safe at the same time.

They are comfortable enough that the dog won’t mind being in one, made of materials that won’t irritate your dog’s skin or catch on his hair. However, they are also strong, able to withstand the pulling and torque of a dog who wants to break free.


Jump to reviews of the best devices for safely tethering a dog to the car

Dog Car Harness
Harness for Dogs
for strapping medium-sized and​ big dogs to car belts
For bigger dogs, a car harness is the perfect option to keep them comfortable and safe when commuting. They won’t take up any extra room and work just as well as a seat.
Dog Car Seat Belts
Restraint Systems
for attaching a harness to car seat belts
A dog car seat belt helps to attach the harness to your car using the seat belts. This gives you an added layer of protection for some dogs or can be used alone when transporting smaller dogs.

Why is it dangerous if a large dog is not fixed in the car with a special harness

Big Dog in Vehicle

Larger dogs are extremely strong, something all owners should know just by walking the dog. They can easily snap leashes, belts, and even seat belts.

Even worse, it is difficult (and costly) to find booster seats that will hold them. Therefore, the only way to avoid a dangerous situation is to buy a special harness that is built specifically for large dogs.

Bigger dogs can cause a commotion that will distract the driver and can cause an accident. This can lead to some serious repercussions for everyone, including the dog.

Keeping your dog fixed will keep your

  • Passengers safe
  • Driver safe
  • Dog safe

Even better, it will keep your dog where you want him. Big dogs can seriously damage your car if they aren’t tethered somewhere.

Even if your dog doesn’t typically pull, the weight of the dog and the movement of the car is enough to snap harnesses. Typically, big dog harnesses are going to be made out of a heavyweight material that feels almost like a seatbelt used for humans – and that makes sense, considering some dogs are bigger than humans. Fixing your dog with a special harness will keep everyone safe.

NHTSA - Road Safety

The best car seats for dogs help to keep your dog in place while you are traveling and keeps him or her safe so that you can get from one place to another. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 10​% of all​ fatal crashes and 18​% of injury crashes involve some type of distraction.

To avoid that dangerous situation, keep your dog fixed to the car with a special harness that fits within the weight limits of your dog. Do your research to secure the best one. Make sure to test the integrity of the harness after some use as well, as the wear and tear can degrade them.


Best Dog Car Harnesses – Independent Review & Safety Tests 2017-2018

We have tested car harness for the safest ones from systematized customer reviews from the US.

EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness – Crash Tested US Ruffwear – Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness SOFI’S DOG CAR HARNESS + FREE Connector Strap
EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness – Crash Tested US
Price: High
Our Rating:
9.1
Ruffwear – Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs
Price: High
Our Rating:
9
Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness
Price: Average
Our Rating:
8.9
Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness
Price: Average
Our Rating:
8.7
SOFI’S DOG CAR HARNESS + FREE Connector Strap
Price: Low
Our Rating:
8.4

EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness – Crash Tested US​

EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness – Crash Tested US
Check EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness – Crash Tested US price
Price: High Our rating:
9.1
Our Choice

The EzyDog DRIVE Dog Car Harness is a premium dog car harness at a premium price. Made in three sizes, the fit will depend on the girth of your dog, which is the circumference of the body behind the front legs.

One of the few car harnesses with crash safety results on video, the EzyDog Drive is a real contender as a safe and reliable harness, especially for large dogs.

SizeGirth (behind front legs)
Small11-25 in
Medium15-34 in
Large19-42 in

Go to ReviewRead Our Review of the EzyDog DRIVE

Pros

Owners love the fact that it has a “Mag Lok” closure system that allows them to fit the harness once and not have to readjust it with every car trip. The moldable, ergonomic chest plate provides a good fit for most dogs.

The harness can also be used as a walking harness. Strong high-quality fabric and stitching in the straps make this a very sturdy and safe harness.

Cons

The wide straps, long neck cuff, and overall stiffness of the harness could be uncomfortable for small dogs and dogs with short necks. Dogs that like to lie down a lot may find the stiffness to be uncomfortable as well. It may also be too stiff for some dogs as a walking harness.

Dogs that are habitual chewers may be able to chew into the shoulder straps. Hair may accumulate in the Velcro, so frequent inspections and handwashing may be necessary.

Different Models

The EzyDog CLICK seat belt attachment is a good option for smaller dogs and will attach to your dog's existing harness.

The EzyDog 2XL Chest Plate Harness is a good option for larger dogs up to 53 inches in girth.

Ruffwear – Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs​

Ruffwear – Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs
Check Ruffwear – Load Up Vehicle Restraint Harness for Dogs price
Price: High Our rating:
9

One of the most highly regarded dog harnesses on the market, the Ruffwear option is for those who are serious about protection for their pets. Made using premium materials and methods, this is an investment into your dog’s safety.

SizeGirth (behind front legs)
XXSmall13-17 in
XSmall17-22 in
Small22-27 in
Medium27-32 in
Large32-42 in
Pros

This harness works with almost any other type of car, including sports cars. Users have said that it is extremely easy to install and even easier to move around your car.

Cons

There isn’t a lot of wiggle room within the sizes, so order up if your dog seems to fall between the sizes.

Different Models

If you need a specific model for a dog, this is the best option for those who need something unique or want something really, really small or really, really large. This one is available in at least 5 different sizes. Make sure to pay attention to the size variants.

Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness​

Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness
Check Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness price
Price: Average Our rating:
8.9

The Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness is another obvious choice for many people, especially those that make shorter trips with their dogs. It is a lightweight option that is easy to remove and put into your car.

SizeChestNeckWeight
Small12-21 in12-18 in6-25 lbs
Medium15-24 in16-24 in20-55 lbs
Large18-33 in18-28 in45-85 lbs
X-Large23-40 in24-32 in60-120 lbs
Pros

The price point is an obvious pro here for many people, who feel this is one of the best values that you can get. It is also extremely easy to clean and adjust, making it the perfect option if you have more than one dog.

Cons

Since this is a bit thinner and “cheaper”, your dog likely won’t be as comfortable for longer trips. You also don’t get many personalization options.

Different Models

The Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Harness is available in four sizes, small through extra large.

Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness​

Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness
Check Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness price
Price: Average Our rating:
8.7

Made for medium sized dogs, the Kurgo Tru-Fit fits dogs up to 75 pounds. It is designed to be easily adjusted, which means that many different types of dogs can use this one, including dogs that have somewhat strange body construction (Greyhounds, for example).

Made with steel and natural fibers, this is the best option for people who plan to travel further distances with their dogs.

X-SmallSmallMediumLargeX-Large
Neck9-13 in12-20 in16-25 in18-30 in24-35 in
Chest12-18 in16-22 in18-28 in24-34 in28-44 in
Dog Weight5-10 lbs10-25 lbs25-50 lbs50-80 lbs80-110 lbs
Pros

The ability to personalize each aspect of this harness is something that many dog owners enjoy. That, and the fact that it cleans easily and installs even more easily.

Cons

People who have extremely small dogs may want to look elsewhere, as this doesn’t go as small as some other models.

Different Models

The Kurgo Tru-Fit comes in different sizes, from extra small to extra large, and each has different sizing, so make sure to do some research there. You can also choose between red and black.

SOFI’S DOG CAR HARNESS + FREE Connector Strap​

SOFI’S DOG CAR HARNESS + FREE Connector Strap
Check SOFI’S DOG CAR HARNESS + FREE Connector Strap price
Price: Low Our rating:
8.4

Sofi’s Dog Car Harness is a fantastic option for people who have smaller dogs that may be older or have medical needs. It is a gentler approach to the dog harness.

XSSML
Dog's Neck14 in14-18 in16-22 in20-28 in
Dog's Girth14-18 in18-26 in20-28 in30-44 in
Pros

For small dogs, this harness is perfect because it takes into consideration their weaker points (necks) and takes the pressure off of them. When you stop, you won’t have to worry about a collapsed trachea or discomfort.

Cons

Note that as the harness gets larger, the reviews seem to go down quite a bit. If you have a bigger dog, you may want to take some of the sizing into consideration.

Different Models

There are different sizes and a few color options for Sofi’s Dog Car Harness and the free connector strap. Just note that the harness and strap will likely be the same color.


Secure Seat Belt Restraints for Dogs

The best cheap devices for fixing your dog or puppy.

The best dog seat belts do quite a few different things for you, they help you to ensure that your dog is safe, but even more, a seat belt restraint will keep you self.

Seat belt restraints may come with your dog harness, or they may not be part of the kit. In any case, it is also the part of the harness that will get the most torque and abuse, which means that it needs to be replaced from time to time.

  • A seat belt harness also allows you to save some money here – you can buy a cheaper harness but pay a little more for a seat belt restraint. Some people will even use them as a doubled-up option for bigger dogs that like to move around quite a bit.
  • Make sure that the model you purchase works with your particular car and the harness that you have. Still, it is something essential that you need if you plan on transporting your dog – whether across the country or just to the vet.

Mighty Paw Safety Belt Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts Vastar 2 Packs Adjustable Pet Dog Cat Car Seat Belt Leegoal Nylon Harness
Mighty Paw Safety Belt
Price: Low
Our Rating:
9.8
Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts
Price: Low
Our Rating:
9
Vastar 2 Packs Adjustable Pet Dog Cat Car Seat Belt
Price: Low
Our Rating:
9
Leegoal Nylon Harness
Price: Low
Our Rating:
8.2

Mighty Paw Safety Belt​

Mighty Paw Safety Belt
Check Mighty Paw Safety Belt price
Price: Low Our rating:
9.8

The Mighty Paw Safety Belt is one of the safest car seat restraints that you can find on the market. Made out of lightweight but strong materials, it is the perfect option for dogs of any size.

Pros

Extremely easy to install and use, this is made out of premium materials that will last for quite a long time.

Cons

The design of this is pretty boring and doesn’t really add any aesthetic appeal to your car. It also isn’t compatible with some harnesses, including European models.

Different Models

You can purchase this in either a black or a gray color.

Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts​

Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts
Check Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts price
Price: Low Our rating:
9

The most colorful and personalized option, the Blueberry Pet Dog Collars & Seat Belts are great for dogs of any size and many different cars.

Pros

A basic seat belt, the colors and the variety make this a premium choice. You can even match the collar to the seat belt.

Cons

For larger dogs, you might want to consider measuring the neck carefully because some owners discovered that these run a little bit smaller than anticipated. For small dogs, make sure it can go down that small.

Different Models

There are PLENTY of color options for this one.

Vastar 2 Packs Adjustable Pet Dog Cat Car Seat Belt​

Vastar 2 Packs Adjustable Pet Dog Cat Car Seat Belt
Check Vastar 2 Packs Adjustable Pet Dog Cat Car Seat Belt price
Price: Low Our rating:
9

With two for the price of one, the Vastar 2 pack car seat belt for dogs AND cats is another option.

Pros

The price point for these car seat belts is a huge benefit. It is also a great option for homes that have a few different animals because you get two and they are easy to adjust.

Cons

Since you get two for a lower price, the quality isn’t really the greatest. However, if you don’t use them all that hard, they should be great.

Different Models

For people looking for different color options, you get them here: black, green, pink, blue, orange, and red.

Leegoal Nylon Harness​

Leegoal Nylon Harness
Check Leegoal Nylon Harness price
Price: Low Our rating:
8.2

Extremely simple and easy to use, the Leegoal Nylon Harness is the perfect no-muss, no fuss option.

Pros

Extremely easy to use and compact, this option fits right into your glove compartment.

Cons

This is really designed for use in standard mid-sized cars because there is a lack of options when it comes to personalization. For larger cars, it is a bit too small.

Different Models
The Leegoal Nylon Harness is available in black, blue, and red.

A traditional dog walking harness is UNSAFE for transporting dogs in the car

Walking harness UNSAFE in car

While many of us look at a traditional harness and a car harness and thing they look alike, they certainly are not. In fact, using a walking harness in the car can be deadly for your dog.

They aren’t made to withstand the pressure put on them by the seatbelt, meaning they can break and send your dog flying or they can choke your dog.

Using your dog’s walking harness in the car can render it uses less in both places because you are putting unwanted force on the bearing, seams, and metals that make up the harness. It is likely that the O-ring on the back will rip out.

Comments

  1. Oliver and Neala and Georgia says:

    I have a bone to pick with the review of the Kurgo TruFit Harness!! You write that it is ideal for “…dogs that have somewhat strange body construction (Greyhounds, for example).” This is NOT true!!!!! Absolutely not! Excuse my emphatic response, but I am very annoyed by the company because of this harness.

    The short of it is that these harnesses do not fit hounds or dogs with deep chests and long, skinny necks–and I was so told by a company customer service rep! It is so irresponsible to market these as fitting all types of dogs when the company KNOWS otherwise. Please correct this in your article.

    The long of it is:

    I have two dogs; one, a German Shorthaired Pointer, and the other, a hound/German Shepherd mix. They are both lean and long-torsoed, with deep chests and long, skinny necks–though not as skinny as a greyhound’s. I have a size Large, purchased before I got the GSP, and two size Mediums.

    The Large was way too large in the neck for my hound, as the straps were already as short as they could go. So the harness would be sagging around her neck, and if she leaned a certain way in the car, the neck straps would choke her. (By the way, the snap for adjusting the length of the harness’ torso completely tore out of the strap, and not from any car travel! It just happened one day.) So the harness would sag around her neck, and if she leaned a certain way in the car, the neck straps would choke her.

    I didn’t trust my observations about the fit, but when I got the GSP, I figured the damage was a good excuse to get two new harnesses instead of just the one for the new pup.

    So I got them both a size Medium. It fit in the neck–but the center torso strap was too short, and the chest straps were as long as they could go. If these bitches put on any weight at all (hello… winter…) it would not fit.

    ON TOP OF THAT, the two Mediums weren’t the same. On one of them, the buckles for the chest straps lay on the top of the loop along the spine. On the other, the buckles lay under the loop along the spine.

    When I directly called the company to ask about the fit and the damage and the different constructions, I was told that: 1) the harnesses would not fit hounds or dogs with similar body types, and 2) one of the Medium harnesses was sewn in wrong. Of course, I would need the receipts for proof of purchase to exchange them.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi, and thanks so much for your feedback. According to some reviews from customers with greyhounds and other hound breeds, these harnesses have fit their dogs. But of course, every individual dog is shaped differently, so not everyone will have the same experience. We’ll note feedback for our next round of updates.

      You did the right thing in calling the manufacturer. Anytime there is a problem or doubt in the performance of a safety harness, that’s the first thing a customer should do. We also recommend getting measurements that are as accurate as possible before purchasing any harness since weight alone is not a good measurement.

      First is the chest measurement, the girth right behind the armpits. Then measure the lower neck. Kurgo has a video on how to do that here: https://www.kurgo.com/blog/tag/how+to+measure+your+dog

      And a good infographic here: https://www.kurgo.com/how-to-measure-your-dog/

  2. Janine Stanley says:

    I realize that most safety dog harnesses also allow the dog to lie down, but the safest position is sitting. Since that is the case, how long can a dog sit in the same position without lying down?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Janine, thanks for your question. Just like you, your dog will benefit from frequent breaks on a long car trip. A good rule of thumb is every two hours for both your and your dog to stretch your legs and rehydrate, go to the bathroom, etc. Of course, it depends on your dog’s demeanor. He or she may need to stop more or less often.

      As far as lying down goes, there’s really not any danger. If you need to travel overnight or your dog is older or sick, as long as he is secured with a harness, seat belt, or carrier, it should be fine to let them lie down in the backseat.

  3. Red Dog says:

    Thank you for allowing me to make an informed choice about which car harness to acquire for my dog. Could you tell me which harness would be appropriate for a cocker spaniel, thanks.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Red Dog, thanks for your question. Your best bet from our list would probably be the Solvit PetSafe Deluxe harness in either small or medium. Second to that would be the Kurgu Tru-Fit. Just be sure to take accurate measurements before ordering either one.

  4. Carolyn Emole says:

    The Center for Pet Safety has recommended the Zugopet for smaller dogs. I call Sleepypod and they recommend a carrier for my small dog. However, she’ll hate it as she loves to look out. I’m wondering why you didn’t report on either one of these since thee have been crash tested.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Carolyn, thanks for your comment. We usually review the products that are among the most popular and best rated on the market. These are a little lesser known, so we haven’t had the pleasure of reviewing them yet. Our lists are continually expanding, however, so we will look into those as well. Thanks for your recommendations.

  5. Karl Keener says:

    We have a small dog (11 lbs) who very much enjoys sightseeing while sitting in her car seat. We have been using her walking harness and a restraining belt attached to the seat belt which looks very similar to the Mighty Paw Safety Belt. I definitely want to get a more secure safety harness for her and hope to find one that will also permit her to ride in her car seat. Do you have any suggestions (pros and cons) as to which would and would not work from the safety harnesses listed above?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Karl, thanks for your question. It sounds like you’d like a harness for both walking and car rides. For a dog of that size, the Sofi’s Dog Car Harness + Connector Strap would be a good option. It’s meant for use in the back seat and clips right into the seat belt receptacle. The connector strap allows for some movement so your dog can look out the window, lie down, and not feel too restrained. You’ll want to measure your dog’s neck circumference and girth (circumference of the body right behind the front shoulders) for adequate sizing.

      We wouldn’t recommend an EzyDog DRIVE harness because several owners have noted that it’s too stiff and uncomfortable for small dogs and dogs with short necks.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Sandra says:

    Emma Lachey thank you for the reply. 8 bought the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart harness today and I will see how it all works out.
    As for people complaining about the safety testing, There are many variables to consider and when you look at all the other brands available it there… HOW MANY of them were even tested? If you don’t take a test you can’t fail or pass… Just something to think about.

  7. Rescue Mom says:

    I read the article linked in Emma Lachey’s June 12, 2018 response to Loz Jewell’s comments above. The article states the harness was tested at an “independent , accredited test laboratory” BUT DOES NOT provide the name of the facility. For credibility purposes, what is the name of the lab that conducted the test? How reputable is this lab? Please provide specifics. Thank you.

  8. Loz jewell says:

    Interested in where this information comes from as according to the Center for Pet Safety NONE of the above products actually passed ? So advertising that they are safety tested does not imply their safety for use which is kind of misleading. Look forward to evidence of independent research .

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Loz, thank you for your question. We use several sources to determine safety specs for the products listed. For instance, the EzyDog DRIVE harness won the New Product Award for Dog Accessories at the PATS Sandown for exceeding requirements of crash testing while maintaining easy use for the owner. The harness met crash testing standards for Australia, Europe and the US. Check this link for the article.

      We also look at crash test videos and comb through customer reviews so we can list both the pros and cons that might affect safety. We encourage all pet owners to do thorough research from more than one source before determining which product would be safest for their dogs.

    2. Claire Braid says:

      I’m still not convinced that a frightened do wouldn’t chew through a car seat belt in the event of a car accident?

  9. Sandra says:

    With all that being said… Would it be OK to walk a dog in a Car harness thus eliminating the need to use & change harnesses (from walk type to car type)? Are the car harnesses suitable for regular dog harness use? This to me would seem ideal.

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your question. Most car harnesses can be used for walking your dog if they are designed to do so. Be sure to read the product information and look at customer Q&A on the retailer to see what others say about it. For instance, the Kurgo Tru-Fit product page says this car harness: “is a 2-in-1 harness, it can also be used as a no-pull walking harness, that comes with a halt ring on the front chest plate. If your dog tends to pull, this will turn your pup around and will train him to not pull.”

      If you have a large dog, that harness would be a great choice.

      Another harness, the Solvit Deluxe, works great as a car harness, but may not be ideal for walking. Customers have have said it makes their pet too hot on walks and doesn’t hold up well to large dogs pulling.

      Hopefully that answers your question!

  10. Noah says:

    Do I need a car seat belt AND a harness?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Not necessarily. The seat belt restraints are designed to work with your harness for an added layer of security. For dogs that are rambunctious, it might be a good idea to invest in one along with your harness. They work by attaching to your car’s LATCH system – the bars located in the crease of your backseat.

  11. Dog Mom says:

    It seems like passing or failing crash tests would be a determining factor in rating a harness. Failing tests = definite con.

  12. Matthew Q says:

    Why can’t I just use my dog’s walking harness and attach the seat belt to that?

    1. Emma Lachey says:

      Walking harnesses aren’t designed to withstand the pressure and tension of the seatbelt during a wreck, whereas car harnesses are. A walking harness could break much easier during an accident since they’re designed for only the force of your dog’s weight and not the extreme forces of collisions.

Add Comment