Dog car safety is an important topic for us here at The Constant Rambler. Our dogs have spent countless hours in the back of our VW GTI as we’ve driven back and forth across the country. For many years we, like many other dog owners, just let them roam around in the back seat (or wherever else they felt like plopping). Recently though, due to a heightened awareness of the issue, we’ve come to realize that not only is it unsafe to our dogs, it’s also unsafe for us humans to let them do that. We’re now out on a mission to increase dog car safety, by highlighting products and companies that are making it easier and safer to harness your pets in the car. We recently had the opportunity to test out the Tru-Fit Smart Harness and Auto Zip Line from Kurgo and were pretty happy with the results.
Before I get into the specifics about the products we tested with Kurgo, I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve come to realize about letting our dogs roam loose in the car, or worse in the drivers lap. First of all, we are so worried about driver distraction we have laws banning cell phone usage and other items, but no one considers a 90-lb dog running back and forth a distraction? Secondly, we require all kinds of safety restraints and seats for children in cars, but we have no requirements whatsoever to prevent the injury of pets? I mean come on, why does this incite the rage of the masses.
Yet so few people get angry at this?
Ultimately it’s up to us, as responsible pet parents, to make sure we keep our doggies safe while driving. That’s why we jumped at the chance to review another auto safety product from one of the nations leading dog travel product manufacturers. The Kurgo Smart Harness combined with their innovative Auto Zip Line proved to be a potent combination for keeping our pets comfortable and safe in the car. The Kurgo system comes in two separate components depending on your needs. The first is the Tru-Fit Smart Harness designed to fit comfortably on your pet, and restrain them in a seat or other traditional space.
Out of the package, the Tru-Fit Smart Harness includes everything you would need to harness your dog in the car and tether him to an anchor or seatbelt strap. Positives that stood out with this product were it’s very sturdy stitching and construction and the use of steel buckles at the anchor points. To be candid, it was a bit difficult for me to adjust the buckles on the small harness and a touch easier on the large one. I have pretty big hands and the buckles are a little small for me. Once I had the harness all sized up, it was easy on and off from there. The other big plus, is that these harnesses have been crash tested and pass all basic safety standards. The harness has loops in the front for walking, as well as a loop at the top for securing your dog in the car. The large harness was just as easy to put on Zoe, and fit her quite well.
The second item we tested along with the Tru-Fit Auto Harness was the Auto Zip line. The zip line is designed to accomplish two things. It allows you to anchor your dog in a larger space, while also giving your pooch the ability to move back and forth across the length of the zip line. It works out very well for dogs in the back seat that like to go from window to window, or for use across a large cargo space. The zip line package included the zip line itself, plus a handy tether/leash combo. The leash has two carabiners on it, one to clip to the harness and the second to clip to the zip line. The Auto Zip Line itself, is a simple sturdy strap with two hooks on the end and an adjustment buckle. The attention to detail was great with the hooks being rubberized to prevent scratching.
There are several different ways to install the zip line depending on your needs. It can be used between two seat belts or between the two handles over the doors in the back seat. In our case, we fold down the seats in our car to create a large cargo area, so we just spanned across the two seat anchors. Doing so gave us a great place to hook the two dogs.
It took me all of two minutes to set this up in the back of my car. It was a matter of just hooking the two ends on and then tightening the strap through the buckle. The strap is very long, so I imagine it fitting well in any car. For us, it was too long, but Kurgo’s attention to detail solved that problem. The Auto Zip Line included a stitched on tie up for the slack or leftover strap.
After the Auto Zip Line was installed, it was just a matter of hooking the included leash/harness strap to the line. The leash has multiple mounting points for the hook, so you can adjust it appropriately to how much room your doggie needs.
Overall, the system worked out very well for us. We used it on a short 3-day trip, and it filled all of our needs for keeping our dogs safe. I will say, as with anything new, there was a bit of an adjustment period for the dogs to get used to the presence of the zip line. Over the course of several days we put the dogs in and out of the car quite a bit, and both the harnesses and zip line went on and off very easily. We will be using the zip line system again in our future travels and are happy to add Kurgo products to our list of great dog travel gear.
If you are a pet owner reading this review, thanks for taking an interest in keeping your dogs safe. I implore you to go out there and purchase an dog safety harness for your pooch, before the unthinkable happens. Not only do harnesses keep your pet safe in case of an accident, but they will also keep you safe, as your drive will be distraction-free.
note: kurgo provided products for this review. no other compensation was given. all opinions are our own. purchasing products from the Amazon link below will help support us and allow us to continue travelling with our pets and providing reviews.