Posted by: twodogtales | December 14, 2011

Travel safely with your dog: Canine Friendly VestHarness review

As you pack up the car and head to Grandma’s house for the holidays, will your dog be as securely strapped in as you are?

I’ve used seat belts for my dogs ever since I had a convertible with my first Golden. I wasn’t worried about her jumping out of the car, but about her being flung out into traffic if someone hit me.

That can happen even in regular cars, as one Arlington family found out after their car flipped in an accident on Glebe Road in 2009 and their scared Golden bolted out a window (Don’t worry, Taz was found and is home safe).

My first “dog seat belt” was a nylon harness with a short strap that Saab sold that slid over the car’s seat belt shoulder strap at one end, and you clipped the other end to the ring on the harness.

But dog seat belts have come a long way since then.

I recently had the chance to try out the Canine Friendly VestHarness™ from RC Pet Products. Full disclosure, RC gave me the harness at no cost, but they did not ask me to review it on this blog.

The VestHarness fully covers the dog's chest area.

The first thing I noticed and really like about the harness is that it covers the full chest. With the harness I used to use I always worried that the thin straps would do more damage than good in a collision.

The other good thing about the chest piece is that it is ventilated mesh. RC makes a mesh version and one that is nylon lined in fleece, but I prefer the mesh since I take a lot of road trips with the dogs in the summer and they get hot quickly.

I also liked that both the chest and body straps are adjustable, which means it can fit a wide variety of breeds and body shapes. For example, the large (45 to 65 lb.) I tried was easily adjusted to fit a barrel-chested, skinny-waisted Doberman just as comfortably as an average Golden Retriever.

There are adjustable straps across both the chest and torso.

To secure the dog, I pulled the car’s seat belt out, slid it through the strap on the back of the harness, then inserted the belt into the buckle just like a person would use it. The harness allowed the dogs to either sit up or lie down comfortably.

When we stopped for potty breaks, there no need to remove the harness, I just unbuckled the car’s seat belt, clipped the dogs’ leashes to the D-ring on the harness, and walked them.

Overall, the harness worked great for my calm Golden, who is happy to sit still for many hours during car rides.

Chatham was very comfortable during long car rides.

 The Golden-Lab-Border Collie mix who hops from window to window got herself twisted enough that I had to pull over to untangle her twice during a D.C.-to-Cape Cod trip. Not bad for a nine-hour ride, however, and I’m not sure anything short of puppy Prozac would keep her sitting calmly for that long.

"Can't sit still" Sundae got tangled a few times.

The VestHarness is fully washable, which is nice since my little shedding machines left enough hair on them to build a new puppy. I hosed the harnesses off, hung them up to dry overnight, and they were good to go.

The VestHarness sells for around $25 to $34, depending on size. There are six size options, ranging from 5-lb. to 110-lb. dogs. You can find a retailer that carries RC Pet Products near you on their website



  1. An added advantage to having a dog wear a harness during travel is that it give you a sturdy handle to grab hold of when needed. I have found this helpful when dogs are in the water and when helping them over difficult obstacles on a hike.

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I’m going to look into it. I have a 6 month old puppy and am in the market for something that will be more safe than what I currently have her using, which is nothing!

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