Best Car Harnesses for Dogs – Fully Reviewed With A Complete Buyer’s Guide

We’re dog owners—we get it. You want to take your best friend with you everywhere. Unfortunately, in a moving vehicle that can be problematic if your dog wants in your lap, won’t sit still, or decides windows are an exit.

Even if you have a dog with a chill attitude, just as you would by securing your child with a car seat, it is also a good idea to secure your dog with a car safety harness.

The American Humane Society reports that an estimated 100,000 dogs die from riding in the beds of trucks each year. This figure increases if you count unsecured dogs who sustain trauma during a collision or those that jump out of open car windows as the cars are moving.

So, what features should you look for when buying a safety harness for your dog?

We have researched and reviewed the best dog car harness choices on the market, focusing on fit, size, padding, and design. We’ve also considered real user opinions, as well as our personal experience before settling on these top choices.

The Top Dog Car Harnesses – At a Glance

  1. Ezy Dog Drive – Best Large Dog Car Harness
  2. Kurgo Dog – Best Dual Strap Dog Car Harness
  3. Sleepy Dog ClickIt – Best Dog Safety Car Harness
  4. Easy Rider – Best Padded Chest Dog Car Harness
  5. Ruffwear Load Up – Best Dog Car Harness with Seatbelt Attachment
  6. Mighty Paw Vehicle Safety – Best Over-head Dog Car Harness
  7. Pawaboo Safety – Best Step-in Dog Car Harness
  8. DexDog Chest Plate – Best Vest Dog Car Harness
  9. Kurgo Trufit – Best Small Dog Car Harness

 

The Best Car Harnesses for Dogs Reviewed

Ezy Dog Drive– Best Large Dog Car Harness

 

This large dog safety car harness comes in black and fits dogs with a circumference of 16 – 24 inches. It has a quick one-time fit, and an ergonomic, molded chest plate.

 

Key Features

  • Padded chest plate
  • Available in small, medium, and large sizes
  • Crash tested
  • Weight: 5.6 oz.

 

What We Liked

We loved the range of fits, sizes, and colors available. This harness will snugly fit all manner of dogs but does particularly well with medium to large dogs. It has double-D rings to ensure a secure latch, while an instant fit closure system will keep your dog snug and safe.

 

What We Didn’t Like

This car harness is quite stiff and a bit on the bulky side. It may not be suitable for a dog that likes to lay down on the back seat as you drive.

 

Pros

  • Easy to use and put on
  • Easy to maintain and keep clean
  • Heavy-duty, durable straps
  • Can double up as a walking harness

 

Cons

  • Some users found it bulky and stiff
  • Works best when your dog is in a seated position

 

Although this padded car harness comes in small, medium, and large fits, it fits large dogs particularly well. It’s of excellent quality and made with durable, easy to clean materials.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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Kurgo Dog – Best Dual Strap Dog Car Harness

 

Kurgo is a well-known name when it comes to dog car harnesses. Their dual-strap model is sturdy and safe and has been certified safe for dogs weighing up to 75 lbs.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in x-small, small, medium, large, and x-large
  • Crash tested
  • Adjustable and comfortable harness
  • Padded chest plate
  • Weight: 13.6 oz.

 

What We Liked

This harness combines safety and comfort very well. Go from riding in the car to walking your dog with ease. Five adjustment points make this harness very easy to fit, and it comes with a unique fastener that suits all seatbelts in most cars. The padded chest provides extra protection for your pet, and peace of mind for you.

 

What We Didn’t Like

The front latch should be fitted tighter. Should it come off mid-drive, the consequences would not be good.

 

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Comfortable and safe with an ample padded chest
  • Comes with five adjustment points for the perfect fit
  • Doubles up as a walking harness

 

Cons

  • The interior stitching was sharp in places and could be uncomfortable
  • The front snap can undo itself on occasion

 

If you’re looking for durability and adjustability, as well as safety and comfort, this Kurgo Dog car harness has it all.

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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Sleepy Dog ClickIt – Best Dog Safety Car Harness

 

Sleepy Dog Click It Safety Harness is built for comfort, but more importantly for safety. The chest area is wide and amply padded, to absorb crash forces efficiently.

 

Key Features

  • Wide padded chest covering
  • Two loops that aid seat belt attachment
  • Comes in small, medium, large, and x-large
  • Tough nylon exterior
  • Weight: 8 oz.

 

What We Liked

The construction and protection offer this harness are superb. Although it is not suitable for long-bodied dogs, for other breeds it is a top-notch choice. The three-point design is perfect for use in the back seat of your car, and the quick connection and release mechanism makes it easy to fit onto your dog.

 

What We Didn’t Like

You’ll need to tighten the straps very well, or your dog could easily wiggle out of it. It’s also not suitable for Whippets, Greyhounds, Afghan hounds, Salukis, and Borzois.

 

Pros

  • Easy to maintain and keep clean
  • Fits very well and snugly – even nervous dogs can wear these
  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • Reflective strips make them visible at night
  • Crash tested

 

Cons

  • Not suitable for all dog breeds

 

This dog car harness is well-built and well-padded in the chest area affording your dog maximum protection in case of a collision. Although some dog breeds can’t use this model, for those that can, it’s especially useful if your dog is of a nervous temperament.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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Easy Rider – Best Padded Chest Dog Car Harness

 

This Easy Rider dog car harness keeps dogs safe and secure while riding in the car but can also double up as a walking harness.

 

Key Features

  • 16- to 24-inch girth
  • Padded chest with secure metal hardware
  • Comes in x-small, small, medium, large, and x-large
  • Easily connects to the front or rear standard seatbelts
  • Weight: 15.8 oz.

 

What We Liked

This harness has passed all the safety standards in the industry, including the USA standard FMVSS 213, which adds much-needed peace of mind for every dog owner. The Easy Rider also features durable metal hardware at strategic stress points that keep it in place in case of a collision.

It has passed independent safety crash testing to further add to its credibility and attest to its quality.

 

What We Didn’t Like

This harness is bulky and stiff and takes considerable time to soften. Also, the part that hooks the leash to the harness is thick and rigid and hard to fix.

 

Pros

  • The chest plate is flexible yet sturdy and molds to your dog’s body
  • Well-constructed and durable
  • Clips are durable and latch onto place easily
  • Crash tested for added peace of mind

 

Cons

  • It is stiff and needs to be broken in
  • May be too heavy for smaller dogs

 

The padding on this harness is superior. As it comes in five sizes to fit most dogs, so you won’t have trouble installing this harness on small, medium, and large dog breeds. It’s a perfect all-rounder.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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Ruffwear Load Up – Best Dog Car Harness with Seatbelt Attachment

This seatbelt compatible harness is well constructed to keep your dog restrained and secure during a collision. It is crash tested and certified according to USA FMVSS 216 standards.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in five sizes – xx-small, x-small, medium, large, x-large
  • Comfortable construction
  • Strong materials with durable meta hardware built-in
  • Weight: 12.8 oz.

 

What We Liked

It’s a pretty rigid harness. The seatbelt attachment allows for the seatbelt threading through the harness, so that in case of an impact, the seatbelt will not slip. If you’re going on a long journey, this car harness is one of the best choices to keep your dog snug and comfortable. Additionally, it attaches quickly to and off car seat belts adding to the protection of your furry friend.

 

What We Didn’t Like

We didn’t like the price. You’ll have to dig into your pocket, but it’s worth it. We also wish it was chew-proof. While you shouldn’t be leaving your dog unattended, you do have to watch the road, which could allow a particularly destructive dog enough time to have some fun.

 

Pros

  • Crash tested
  • Excellent fit that keeps dogs calm and comfortable
  • High-quality harness with durable materials
  • Allows the dog to lay down comfortably

 

Cons

  • These harnesses are not chew-proof
  • More expensive than similar harnesses

 

This harness is one of the best out there for safety. The seatbelt weaves through the harness and amps up the protective and crash-resistant factors.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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Mighty Paw Vehicle Safety – Best Over-Head Dog Car Harness

Mighty Paw is a well-known dog accessories brand. Their car harnesses are well made and certainly don’t disappoint.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in four sizes-small, medium, large, and x-large
  • Top-quality metal hardware that provides lasting protection
  • Reflective stitching in-built
  • Weight: 5 oz.

 

What We Liked

We loved the tri-glide attachments. This feature makes it easy to fit onto your dog and is especially suitable for nervous dogs. It has two leash attachment points and four tri-glide attachments for the perfect fit.

Reflective stitching is also in-built for low-light or night visibility, and the soft chest padding is breathable, keeping your pooch comfortable on those long or hot journeys.

 

What We Didn’t Like

It is not chew-proof. If you have a pup that chews, you could lose this investment much faster than planned.

 

Pros

  • Easy to use for nervous dogs – place over your dog’s head and fit
  • Durable and comfortable
  • Has high night visibility from the reflective stitching
  • Doubles up as a walking harness

 

Cons

  • The size chart is inaccurate—double-check with your dog’s actual measurements
  • Not chew-proof

 

This multi-purpose, breathable harness is safe for those long car journeys, as well as for walks or runs. Place it over your dog and fit in snugly to keep even the most nervous dogs protected.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

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Pawaboo Safety – Best Step-in Dog Car Harness

The Pawaboo Safety car harness is practical and well made. They come in several designs and colors, as well as four convenient sizes.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in four sizes-small, medium, large, x-large
  • Detachable seat belt
  • Wide, amply padded chest pads
  • Polyester Oxford fabric
  • Weight: 5.1 oz.

 

What We Liked

This harness is compatible with most cars, pointing to its versatility. The Oxford polyester fabric adds to its durability as well, and the padded chest plate protects your dog from the toughest of crash forces.

 

What We Didn’t Like

We do see some safety issues with this option as it tends to get looser with time. You will need to readjust it to fit your dog pretty regularly, which could become rather tedious.

 

Pros

  • Light-weight and comfortable
  • Strong materials and durable
  • Suitable for small to medium dogs
  • Stylish and well-constructed

 

Cons

  • Some dogs have managed to wiggle out of them
  • Sometimes the harness turns sideways, which can allow the dog to shake out of the restraint.

 

This is a well-made and durable harness that is perfect for small to medium dog breeds. The polyester Oxford fabric makes this a very durable harness that will last you a while.

 

Overall Rating – 4.6/5

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DexDog Chest Plate – Best Vest Dog Car Harness

The DexDog Chest Plate harness is just as pretty as it is functional. These harnesses come in six colors and sizes to fit a myriad of dogs.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in six colors and sizes
  • The breathable fabric used to construct the chest plate
  • Adjustable harness
  • Reflective stitching
  • Weight: 4.3 oz.

 

What We Liked

There’s very little material on this harness to cause friction, allowing your dog a full range of movement. The vest is also well made from breathable material that makes those long or hot car journeys bearable for your pooch. Reflective stitching is weaved into the harness for low-light or night-time visibility, too.

 

What We Didn’t Like

Unfortunately, this harness does not come with a seatbelt attachment, which has to be purchased separately, and although this harness has a snug fit, it can still shift, even with very little pressure so watch out for this while the harness is on your dog.

 

Pros

  • Comes with a 1-year money-back guarantee
  • Reflective stitching gives low-light or night-time visibility
  • Suitable for small dogs like Yorkies, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus, as well as large dogs like Boxers and Pitbulls
  • Provides a full range of movement

 

Cons

  • Can chaff if not fitted to your dog carefully
  • Does not come with a seatbelt attachment

 

Choose this dog car harness if you’re planning a long journey or traveling in hot weather. It allows your dog to breathe and is light-weight and easy to put on.

 

Overall Rating – 4.1/5

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Kurgo Trufit – Best Small Dog Car Harness

 

This well-fitting dog car harness can also double up as a convenient walking harness. It comes with all-steel buckles, seat belt attachment, and a D-ring leash attachment for when you’re out walking.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in five sizes – x-small, small, medium, large, x-large
  • Crash tested
  • Adjustable harness with a no-pull D-ring
  • Dog seat belt tether included
  • Weight: 12.8 oz.

 

What We Liked

With five adjustment sizes, this harness is incredibly adaptable, comfortable, and flexible. For small dog breeds, this is a vital feature to ensure they fit snugly, and tightly providing the ultimate full-body protection.

 

What We Didn’t Like

We would like this harness more if the clip that attaches the lanyard of the leash to the harness had a swivel. That feature would make it much easier to handle.

 

Pros

  • Five adjustment points to suits dogs of all breeds, but specifically well-constructed for small dogs
  • Crash tested for maximum safety
  • Doubles up as a walking harness, with a D-ring for training
  • Affordably priced
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects

 

Cons

  • Very small dogs have been known to easily slip out of this harness so keep an eye out for this
  • The buckle is too slim, which means it can open with minimal effort, exposing your dog to danger in case of a collision

 

If you have a puppy or a small dog like a Yorkie or Chihuahua, this harness is the one to choose. It is easy to put on, and your dog will have no problems lying down due to their flexibility and safety.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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Buying Guide – All You Need to Know About Dog Car Harnesses

Dog car harnesses, unlike child safety seats, are not regulated under federal safety standards. Any tests done to determine if a dog harness is fit for market are conducted by manufacturers or independent bodies such as the Center for Pet Safety.

You must, therefore, exercise your judgment as only you know your dog. However, while searching for the best dog harness for cars, there are several considerations to bear in mind that will help you make an informed choice.

In this best buy guide, we cover these features to ensure that you get only the best product.

 

What Is a Dog Car Harness?

A dog car harness is a unique piece of gear that restrains your dog as you in the car as you drive. They help to keep your furry friend safe and secure and are much easier to use and cheaper compared to similar restraint options.

They secure your dog’s sternum and chest area and withstand any collision forces by distributing the crash force and thus helping to prevent injury. Most harnesses are used with a seat belt.

 

Why Do Dogs Need Car Harnesses?

Dogs need car harnesses much for the same reason we need seatbelts. They enhance the safety of your dog as you drive, preventing them from jumping up on you and distracting you or trying to jump from your vehicle.

Car safety harnesses also increase the chances of your dog surviving in case of an accident. For the sake of everyone on the road, a dog car harness is an essential piece of kit to have.

 

Can a Dog Ride in the Front Seat?

It’s not illegal, but it isn’t safe either. You don’t want your dog to wander onto the driver’s seat area, and distract you, causing an accident. As much as possible, have your dog in the back seat or boot area of the car if it’s big enough—and remember, ideally they should be restrained.

 

Does The Law Require the Use of Dog Car Harnesses?

This requirement, unfortunately, varies according to your particular state. Only eight states in the US— New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Hawaii—require that your dog wear a car harness by law.

Other states have distracted driving laws in place. These laws could garner you a fine from law enforcement if your dog is found riding on your lap or distracting you while you’re on the road.

 

What to Look for in the Best Dog Car Harness

Crash-Test Certified

The best dog car harness should be one that has undergone crash testing by the manufacturer or safety independent bodies. This testing should include rigorous tensile testing to make sure that they are sturdy enough to stand up to collision forces.

The Center for Pet Safety has crash-test certified only a few dog car harnesses. These certified dog car harnesses have the added benefit of giving owners extra peace of mind, but they usually come with a more expensive price tag.

 

Size

Dogs come in various sizes, and so do their car harnesses.

Make sure you get the correct size dog car harness to fit your four-legged friend. Check measuring guides to learn how to measure your dog. Confirm sizes based on your dog’s neck, chest, and length measurements, rather than weight, to make sure the harness is a good fit.

 

Adjustability

It’s essential to have a harness that can adjust to fit your dog perfectly. Your chosen harness should have a few adjustment points that have sturdy hooks, which are easy to hook and unhook.

Different breeds fit differently into harnesses, so look out for this when buying one for your dog.

 

Comfort and Construction

You would not want your dog to be uncomfortable in their harness; they’ll come to hate car rides otherwise.

While safety is essential, comfort is a close second. Look for wide, padded straps when choosing your harness. These straps will spread out the friction and prevent your dog from getting burnt on the chest, as well as chafing.

Check for harnesses that are well-constructed with durable materials and stitching.

Seatbelt Restraints

Some dog harnesses come with seat belt restraints. The seat belt restraint is a vital piece of a good harness that allows you to secure your dog to the car’s seat belt connector.

If your harness doesn’t come one, you will need to buy one.

 

Ease of Use

Choose a car harness that’s easy to fit onto your dog. Some go over your dog’s head, while others have a step-in design. Some models secure your dog from the side, by buckling them in.

Choose the one that’s ideal for your dog’s temperament and your car.

 

Safety

Safety is one of the top considerations when looking for a dog car harness. A harness should give you the ultimate peace of mind, and give you an assurance that your dog is protected.

Ensure that the harness and belt work well together to secure Fido, and restrict their movement.

 

Color

While color is not an essential feature, it doesn’t hurt for your car harness to have some aesthetic appeal. These harnesses come in a range of designs, patterns, and colors, from which you can pick your favorites.

 

Final Thoughts

We hope our review of the best dog harness for a car has given you ample ideas to choose your dog’s next car safety harness. We’ve covered the fit, design, adjustability, and price to help you make your perfect choice.

Expert Tip – Never hook up your harness to your dog’s collar!

Do not under any circumstances hook up your dog’s seat belts to their collar.

In the event of an accident, this set up will become a “hangman’s noose” for your dog, and could easily break their neck or worse.

The best dog car harness is specifically designed to evenly distribute the force of the crash force over your dog’s body. Most safety harnesses can be worn with your dog’s collar, so make sure to hook up the seat belt to the harness and not the collar.

Also, never substitute a traditional walking harness like those usually seen on support dogs for a car harness.

Do you have any other best dog harness for car recommendations? Have we missed out on any worthy mentions? Let us know in the comments below, and happy shopping!

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Gail Ramirez

Gail Ramirez

Gail is an aspiring blogger, pet lover and Greys Anatomy, addict. Gail shares her experience on Pet Fashion Week as she studies to become a qualified vet.