Subaru Working On Canine Seat Belts Using Crash-Test Dummy Dogs

Rover McFuzzyBottoms III might like the feel of the wind in his fur as his tongue lolls out happily on a breezy car ride, but many pet advocates say it’s dangerous to have unrestrained pets in the car in the event of an accident. But it’s not like there are crash-test dummy dogs to test safety belts for pets… until now, that is.

Subaru teamed up with the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety to run a few tests on 11 pet safety belts currently out there, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Center wanted to find out which restraints could work well enough to be approved across the board from pet-advocacy groups and perhaps lead to national safety standards.

But before tests could begin, researchers had to specially design a canine dummy to undergo the simulations, some of the first crash-test dogs ever. The dummies included a 25-pound terrier mix, a 45-pound border collie and a 75-pound golden retriever.

The results of that study are expected this week, but it seems there won’t be a rush on pet seat belts: Researchers say only Sleepypod’s Clickit three-point safety harness consistently kept a dog in its place on the seat, and was also the only one that offered enough protection to passengers and the dog in an accident.

While pet restraints aren’t currently tested by the American Pet Products Association (or the federal government, traffic-safety groups or other product-safety groups, for that matter) the chief executive of the group says he hopes consumers will keep using them.

“Our members are continuously striving to develop products that enhance the lives, health and safety of pets,” he says.

At least they’ve finally got their own crash-test dummies, right? Cats are probably jealous when they’re not busy being indifferent.

For Crash-Test Dummy Dogs, Seat Belts A Bust [The Wall Street Journal]