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Thread: Car travel harness

  1. #1

    Cool Car travel harness

    My tri colour cavalier, Alfie, was a rather ill puppy when I rescued him at 12 weeks in January 2007. We visited the vets on numerous occasions whilst he was small, and he was always happy to travel in the boot of my car (a 206) for rides of 30 minutes or more. Our vet is 10 minutes away and Alfie would always jump out with his tail wagging.

    However, we returned to the vets for his neutering post-op check-up, and Alfie was clearly unhappy with being in the car. We returned to the vet again a week later and Alfie was sick during the journey. I started putting his bed in the passenger's footwell and placed him in there for journeys so that he could see me. We had to return to the vets again a few days later, to have the final pieces of stitches pulled out, and Alfie was again sick in the car.

    Alfie then started to run to the back of the car every time that we walked through the car park. When I opened the passenger door and called him, Alfie would come near to me but not actually to me and would stay near the back of the car.

    Alfie then started to drool every time that we were in the car for more than 15 minutes. By the start of 2008 the drooling was occurring during any short trip, including to the vets or in to town. A 45 minute trip to my parents would always result in his vomiting. Towards the end of 2008 he would drool every time that I just sat him in the passengers footwell, even without the engine running.

    In 2009, I started putting him in the stationary car in an attempt to get him used to just being in there, and he was still shaking and drooling, so I sat him on the passenger seat one day and he was fine. I decided to buy a car harness for him so that he could be secured on the seat, rather than being secured in front of the seat.

    On his maiden voyage with the new harness, I laid him across the passengers seat and took him on a 50 minute drive on a hot sunny day. Whilst he still wasn't overly happy with being in the car - not only did he not vomit, but there was absolutely no sign of drool at all.
    Means this 2 ½ year old likes to be a co-pilot, and I can take him further afield now and completely cure his car anxiety.


    Technical bit
    I believe that there are numerous makes and types of harness on the market.

    The joys of Dorset is that we get traffic queues on any hot sunny day, due to people flocking to the coast. The joys, or downside, of a 206 hatch is that it has a small roof area and sloping windows that allow loads of sunlight to shine directly on to the seats and especially the back seat, and therefore any dog that's laying on them.
    Alfie used to get protection from the sun when he was sat in the footwell. I even tried to source one of those step effect rear window exterior grills, that were trendy back in the 80's, with the thought of travelling him in the boot again. Alfie is a pet and my companion, and throwing a towel over a cage in the boot doesn't appeal to me as a way to keep the sun off him. Incidentally, he had enough tablets and medication in his first year to last him a lifetime, so travel pills were out.

    I'm lucky in that I live in a rural village with loads of green Public Open Spaces and copses etc, so don't really need to take him anywhere in the car.

    As I wasn't sure if a harness was the way that I wanted to go, due to the direct sunlight, or if it would even make any difference due to the heat, I brought the one from Halfords as it was the cheapest.

    It has the big loop on the back, and the 2 rings for attaching a lead. To be honest it isn't the best design, as the part where the loop is attached is supposed to stay along his back. Now this if fine if the dog is sat and facing forward. But when he lays across the seat than it slides down his side, so the whole harness rotates on him. This means that as the two straps are stitched quite close together on the back plate, then he would never be able to walk with the harness in that position – but it's fine in the car and works.
    Alfie has been able to get up, but has preferred to lay across the seat. I confess to the seatbelt not being taught, but tight enough to stop him falling off the seat in an emergency break situation.

    I believe that some harnesses have a short lead piece that attaches the harness to the belt, which does away with the loop – but the adverts never seem to mention how it attaches to the belt, and I wonder how strong a clipped on attachment would be in an emergency break.

    Click on the Thumbnails for a bigger picture.

    Last edited by Mark Ellis; 05-27-2010 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Harness photo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Worcestershire UK


    And what a darling he is too I always use harnesses with mine too. They love being near us in the car and I can always put a fleece over the seat to minimise hair - hubby has a Jag though and it's a case of 'No dogs allowed' Meanie
    x Donna, Maxx & Sweep x

  3. #3


    I have to confess to placing an old sheet over the seat to limit the hair impact, along with a towel under him to catch anything unpleasant, although thankfully it wasn't needed in his new travel location.

    I'm new here, and will tell his rescue and health story at sometime in the near future. But in the meantime here's some pictures that will make you go aw.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. Default

    the harness harley has doent seem to fasten properly, it has a big loop on the back that you pass the seat belt though, but it seem to tie him down, are they all the same. di

  5. #5


    When you say passenger seat, you do mean the back don't you?
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    ,¸„ø¤º°¨'*"¨°º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨ "*'¨°º¤ø„¸

  6. #6


    No, I mean across the front seat, hence buying the harness to keep him safe.
    The back seat of my car catches far too much direct sunlight.


  7. #7


    It's much safer in the back. If you hit the breaks, could he hit the dashboard?
    ....¨°º¤ø„¸¨°º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨ „ø¤º°¨
    ¨°º¤ø„¸ Dylan, Poppy's & Kipling's¸„ø¤º°¨
    ¸„ø¤º°¨''' ¤ø' " Mummy`` "*'¨°º¤ø„¸
    ,¸„ø¤º°¨'*"¨°º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨ "*'¨°º¤ø„¸

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    Hi Mark

    Welcome to ''Our Gang''

    Love the pics of Alfie,especially the one of him in his blue striped T-Shirt.......does that come in Pink?????? I don't have any boys!!!!


  9. #9


    Hi Pauline

    Things (such as people and dogs) hit windows and dashboards due to the momentum of the weight of the human head and upper body when the vehicle has been abruptly stopped – hence drivers of racing cars having a full four point harness that straps both shoulders against the seat - compared our using basic three point seatbelts.

    Alfie is in a harness. The seatbelt is passed through the harness's loop, snapped into the buckle and pulled tight to remove any slack. Due to modern inertia belts, the belt stays tightish across the back of the seat, so the dog and its harness also stay at the back of the seat, but releases enough to allow him to stand up if he wishes.
    As he is laying across the back of the seat squab - in an emergency break (or accident) he might move towards the front of the seat due to the inertia belt system, but would not fall off the front of the seat. In a rollover situation he would be suspended in the harness and flop between the seat squab and seat back, or be suspended the right way up in his harness. Most rollover situations result from too much speed, inexperience or not concentrating.

    However, if I fixed his harness to the static two point seat belt in the middle seat of the back seat, then I could leave the belt long. Whilst this would allow him to wander and look around etc, it would also allow him in an accident to either crash into the back of the seats, crash into the front passengers or go through the gap of the front seats.

    If my dog was bigger than a Cavalier then I definitely wouldn't have him in the front. If I had two Cavs then I'd probably secure them with harnesses in the back seat and find another way to resolve the direct sunlight issue.


  10. #10


    Thanks for the welcome Wendy,

    Due to his Kennel cough , chest, etc as a pup, the blue t-shirt was a 50 p special child's t-shirt from a charity shop. Just had a look and Its actually a “first size” 9 lbs from George (Asda). Don't know as to why I've still got it I'm sure

    He was so small at 12 weeks that when he first wore it, I watched him walk straight out of the head end so I had to stitch the hole up a bit.

    He's a lot healthier now and hasn't worn it since about 2007


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