* Prices may differ from that shown
You wouldn't put those you love in the back of your car with no seat belt protection, and for me this includes my dogs. It makes me feel a whole lot better knowing they are safe in the back of the car with the help of these Hi Craft Dog Harness'.
The harness I'm going to review is the first one I bought, 3 years ago.
~What Hi-Craft Say About This Harness~
The Hi-Craft dog car harness is the original safety harness. Under heavy breaking or in an accident your dogs weight is absorbed across the shoulders and through the padded chest piece. The harness prevents your dog from being forced forward during an emergency stop, this helps to prevent injury to both your dog and other passengers.
~Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness~
I bought the first harness as soon as Red was big enough to wear one, it was quite a while before he was big enough but when he was I ordered the smallest size for him which is extra small, the harness comes in 5 sizes, so there is one available for any size dog, from XS right through to XL. The harness I got is red with sturdy black plastic clips, it is also fitted with a D attachment so I can use the harness with his lead, i couldn't really use this harness as a walking harness though as it's really only suitable for car safety, although I find walking a short distance example: from car to vet's is fine.
~A little confusing~
When I first looked at the harness, I didn't have a clue which strap went where, even with the instructions (with diagrams) I found it confusing to understand. I must admit it took me a while to figure it out and I had to practice putting it on right, on one of my son's toy dogs. I eventually worked it out and then proceeded to put it on to Red. This was impossible, he never stands still at the best of times, getting his lead on is still, even to this day a major operation, so you can imagine the fun (not) that I had trying to get this harness on him, there were legs and ears (being a mini poodle, he has very long fluffy ears, that tangle up in everything!) everywhere, it probably looked quite funny to anyone watching but it certainly wasn't funny to me.
The harness is, in actual fact one piece with a chest piece that slips over the straps, the chest piece in this case is not padded as it's the XS size all the other sizes however are padded, I don't know why this one isn't, but I'm not complaining, it does the job. I'm struggling now to try and actually describe this thing to you but I'll try my best. There are 2 thin straps which like I said are attached together, one of these goes around Red's neck and the other goes around his body and they both click shut with tight clips. Then there's the bit of the harness that I clip around the seat belt which has the D attachment fastened to the top of it. I'm sorry if my explanation has got you confused, but you really have to see it to understand what I mean. It all fastens together nice and neatly and once on, it's a nice neat looking little harness.
~You might need a qualification in Dog Harness'~
The instructions show you how to do it, and I guess any normal person would be able to understand them, but to me I just see 3 little diagrams of a dog with letters A to F and instructions that might as well say: Pass A here, pass B around there, C has slots for adjustment, D attaches diagonally around E or F. that's all the sense it made to me when I first got this harness. No one said I would need a degree in dog harness' because it is more or less impossible to actually get it on your dog!
~But it's so worth it~
Aside from my little episode getting it onto Red that first time. It really was worth the effort, I can do it a lot quicker these days, I no longer have to set an extra hour aside before I take him out in the car. The harness is fully adjustable and allows Red sufficient freedom to sit or turn round or even lie down on the seat. I always have him in the back of the car, I feel better knowing he is safe and won't distract me while I'm driving. The harness fits him well, I thought that I would have to buy a bigger size over time, but because it is adjustable, and I have adjusted it now too as big as it will go, and it still fit's him fine, he's not going to grow anymore so this one little harness is going to see him through. It is still in great condition, almost as good as when I first got it about 3 years ago. I can't remember how much I paid for it now, but I do know you can get these harness' from EBay from around £10.00.
Please remember not to leave your dog in direct sunlight, unattended in your car, make sure your dog has plenty of water and fresh air. Also on long journeys remember to make regular stops so your dog can get a little exercise and go to the toilet if he needs to.
I have to give this Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness 5 stars because it has proved invaluable to me and Red, well worth the money and still in great condition after 3 years of use.
Thank you for reading my review which may also be posted on other sites.
We bought this item when our dog was still quite young. He used to love travelling in the car with his Mum and loved to have the wind in his hair.
Although he never showed any signs of wanting to jump out, we were concerned from the safety perspective so invested in a lovely red Hi-Craft harness which we have to this day, some 10 years after we bought it. Sadly, the hound is no longer with us, but we have sentimentally kept all his things, even this harness.
It still has his dog hair on the chest piece - Sob!
We found the harness to be very good in all respects. It comprises a network of straps and clips and it fitted around his chest, shoulders and back and was fastened by means of the sturdy plastic clips - very easy to use. You could then fasten the harnessed dog to the car seat belt via the swivel clip and strap and he would be safe if we had to brake suddenly.
He didn't mind wearing it at all - in fact he knew to lift his feet up as his mum used to put it on him. It was a good strong fit, was adjustable and very hardwearing as well as being attractive to look at.
We lived in the country and our dog was lucky enough to spend lots of his time off the lead. However, when we were in built-up areas or we had to negotiate tight spaces or when there were a lot of people around, we used this harness to give us better control of his movements - boy, could he pull. The swivel clip and strap merely fastened to his lead instead of to the car seat belt. Then when we returned to the car, he could simply be clipped securely back in the car.
We would certainly recommend this harness. It wasn't the cheapest option at the time of purchase, but the dog's safety was the most important factor. He was going to grow into a big strong dog so we needed a decent one and it certainly did the job required of it.
We miss our dog.
The Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness was the first canine car harness I used for my Jack Russell cross and it's a brilliant concept. The dog wears the harness, which, once adjusted, simply clips together around the neck and chest, and the other end attaches to the seatbelt, thus holding the dog in place and using the seatbelt's mechanism to protect him in the event of heavy braking.
The harness fitted well and was easily adjusted, and because the loose end (the part that attaches to the seatbelt) can be clipped together when your dog is outside of the car, you can also use it as a walking harness by simply attaching a lead. My dog was happy enough to wear it and he jumped into the car ready for the journey. I could tell straight away that he had plenty of room for movement and could sit down or lie down as he wished. All was well.
Unfortunately, as most Jack Russell owners will know, these are not "sit down and do nothing" dogs. They don't "have a rest" because there's nothing much else happening. They find something to do. I was suddenly aware that my dog seemed to be up to something in the back of the car. I pulled over and found him standing in the rear footwell, still wearing his harness and still attached to the seatbelt. He had somehow managed to extend the seatbelt slowly to its full capacity and then use the slack to give himself the freedom to get down to the floor. I was worried that he could injure himself in this position, so I hoped it was somehow a fluke. After putting him back in place, we set off again.
Shortly afterwards, I heard shuffling from the back of the car. After pulling over again, I found that my dog had managed to - as the product description advertises - turn around... and around... and tangle himself up in knots around the seatbelt, and the only way to release him was to completely remove the harness. I said we should give it one more shot. He agreed. Off we went.
After lots of whining and singing from the back seat, it suddenly went quiet. I was forced to pull the car over a third time. Now the harness was still securely attached to the seatbelt - minus dog. This time, he had managed to back out of the harness completely, leaving it inside out on the back seat. He was now totally loose in the car, and a complete distraction. This third option became his default method of escape and he implemented it on many occasions.
I tried tightening the harness as far as possible without hurting my dog, but alas, this didn't work either. He was soon free and patrolling the vehicle again. This was a huge disappointment as I really wanted him to be safe on car journeys. Incidentally, I kept hold of this harness and tried it on my other dog a few years later with better results. She's the sort of dog that just lies down on long journeys, so there were no breaks for freedom, but even so, I would say the harness functioned adequately at best. The problem with the other dog is that she has fine fur and quite delicate skin and this time the harness rubbed in all the wrong places.
Whilst it's a great idea, I'm afraid I don't really like the design or fit of this canine car harness. One useful aspect of this type of harness is that you can attach a lead and get the dog straight out of the car without having to remove it and put a separate lead on. However, sadly I didn't find it very good in this respect either. If the dog pulls at all, the harness doesn't do much to reduce this and it also tends to rub in hot weather.
My final criticism of this harness is that after a while - and I did persist with it until I found a replacement - the stitching started to come undone on the strap that attaches to the seatbelt. Perhaps this was a result of my dog's high level of back-seat activity.
In conclusion, I can't really recommend this product, particularly as I have since found a much better one, the Canine Equipment 3-in-1 Vest Harness, that fits differently so it doesn't rub, and completely secures my hyperactive Jack Russell (I have also reviewed this product). Fortunately, he is now content - and still - in the back of the car. Perhaps the Hi-Craft harness would be sufficient for a quiet and well behaved dog that doesn't like to move about too much - and has a thick coat!
In my opinion at least, high-craft dog harnesses are brilliant. They have adjustable straps to ensure security and a padded breast bone section for comfort and protection on breaking. The harness is easy to put on and clips around the seat belt when in a fastened position; very simple! The harness is fabulous for those of us who do not have, or do not want a large car to fit a crate in the back. My two dogs sit on the back seat, but the harness allows them to freely move around somewhat, but should an accident happen the seat beat mechanism works as it would with us and halts them. I have had an accident with my dog in the back and she although shaken, was unharmed. I feel they are very good value for money - mine has lasted 9 years so far and is still in brilliant condition. They are washable too!
*What is the Hi-Craft Dog Car Harness?*
This valuable car safety device for dogs is produced by the Hi-Craft brand that make and produces a large variety of dog associated items and pet care equipment but specialise mainly in these Car Safety Harness.
*The product itself*
Grace and Benson travel in the car very regularly, generally at least once a day. They come to work me with so they're in the car on my journey to and from the surgery and on the days I'm not working, I like to take them out somewhere a bit different for their walk, like the beach and we get there via car. Even, if I am just popping out for something, and it's safe to leave the dogs in the car whilst I get whatever I need, I'll generally take at least one of them, just for a ride and a bit of company for me!
They've always travelled in the boot. I have a Land Rover Discovery, so there is plenty of room in there for them and it just seemed to be the most practical and comfortable way of transporting two large dogs- they have the space to lay down and chill out back there and also when they return soaking wet and covered in mud from walks, the boot is pretty easy to clean out afterwards. It's the way they have always travelled, right from when I got Benson as a pup four years ago, and then Grace a couple of years later and it never really crossed my mind that there was anything wrong with it.
That was until we nearly had a huge lorry go into the back of us on the motorway a couple of months ago. Thank god, the lorry driver managed to slam on his breaks in time, and no body was hurt but if he hadn't of done so, the effects could of obviously have been devastating. Although this time, everything was ok, the thought alone of what could have happened was enough for me to seriously re-think the way I travel with Grace and Benson and I decided I'd feel a lot happier if they were on the back seat, so if, god forbid, a vehicle did ever go into the back of us, the boot would take the majority of the force, and not my dogs.
If they were going to be on the back seat though, this proposed a new problem. If I ever had to break suddenly, they could be thrown forward, possibly killing themselves, me and a passenger if I had one in the car so I needed something that would keep them securely restrained and safe on the back seat in case of emergency. I remembered using a car harness for Ruby, my old dog who use to travel on the passenger seat and thought they seemed like a good idea for Grace and Benson.
I had a look around and finally settled on these Hi-Craft ones as it was the brand I had used with Ruby and I had been very happy with her harness. They claim to be the Original car safety harness for dogs and in the form of an easy to fit, comfortable padded harness, provide safety and peace of mind should you ever need to suddenly break hard or are involved in a car accident. The majority of the force of your dog moving forward is absorbed by the heavily padded chest and shoulder pieces and in return, this helps to reduce the risk of any injury to your pet.
The harness then has a loop in which you can pass the car seat belt through, and click into the regular seat belt holder and this keeps the dog securely on the seat. This not only provides safety in the event of an accident, it also prevents your dog from moving around or climbing onto the front seat, distracting the driver.
The Hi-Craft harness comes in five sizes (XS, S, M, L & XL) so there should be something to fit most dogs, except perhaps the very tiny or giant breeds of dog and they are fully adjustable, allowing you to alter the straps to get the best possible fit for your dog and the unobtrusive red and black design of the harnesses makes them an attractive item for any dog to wear!
The Hi-Craft harness comes packaged in a clear plastic box which has been heat sealed- you need a pair of scissors and a lot of force to get into them, trust me! Inside you'll find a cardboard insert which gives full details of about the product and how to use it and also some information giving advice on how to travel safely with dogs. Lastly, as you'd expect, there are contact details for Hi-Craft should you have any questions or comments.
*Price & Availability*
The Hi-Craft harness, along with the RAC one, seems to be the most popular on the market and therefore available in most pet shops, both on and offline. I purchased Grace and Benson's harnesses online from www.valuepets.com where the prices are as follows:
X Small (suitable for Yorkies etc) - £11.45
Small (suitable for Westies, JRTs etc) - £13.45
Medium (suitable for Springers, Collies etc) - £13.95
Large (suitable for Labs, Retrievers etc) - £14.95
X Large (suitable for Rotties, GSDs, Huskies etc) - £15.75
To give you some idea of actual size, Benson who is a Bernese Mountain Dog wears the X Large size and Grace, who is a Rottweiler bitch, uses the Large.
I think it is safe to say I have never in my life been as frightened as I was when I saw that lorry coming up behind me and knowing there was no where I could go as I had cars both in front of me and on both sides. My initial thought was of course, sheer panic that I was just about the be hit, but that soon turned to pure fear for Grace and Benson who were in the boot and would have taken the full force of the lorry, hadn't the driver stopped in time. Thank god, on this occasion, we were lucky but I realised next time we might not be and as soon as I had calmed down enough to drive home, the first thing I done when I stepped foot inside my front door, was jump on the computer to order some car harnesses so I could have Grace and Benson travel in a much safer location- on the back seat.
As I mentioned earlier, it was the Hi-Craft harnesses I ordered as I had used them before with my old Ruby and was pleased with their quality, they were also very reasonably priced too, which sealed the deal for me! Once my order was submitted, I waited eagerly for them to arrive so I could start taking the dogs out and about with me once again. Sure enough, they did a few days later and I tried them on Grace and Benson immediately.
When I took the harnesses out of their packet, I was instantly very impressed with their quality- the straps felt thick and strong, but were also padded and lined with a soft fleece material so I knew they'd be comfortable for the dogs to wear and lastly, the plastic buckles which fastened the harnesses on the dogs felt very strong and sturdy and I felt there was little chance of them letting me down. A D-Ring was also attached to the back of the harness, which I couldn't really see much use for, but a quick read of the information that came with the harnesses, informs me that this is to attach your dogs lead when walking them to/from the car, but must not be used for long periods of time.
I called Grace through to have her harness fitted first. Initially, it was all a bit confusing and the fitting instructions weren't much help either but I soon figured out that there were two red straps, one to fasten around your dogs neck, just below their collar and then another to secure behind your dogs front legs, with the chest panel running straight down the middle of your dogs chest and the seatbelt loop at the back of your dog. Once fitted, it looked quite smart on her and moving on to Benson, I put his harness on him and he looked equally good. At first they were a little bit bothered by the presence of the harness as they had never worn anything like it before but they soon settled down and forgot all about them, so I took them for a ride in the car to try them out.
After the initial battle of actually trying to get Grace and Benson on the back seat (they kept insisting on going in the boot!), the harnesses were a breeze to secure. I simply needed to put the car seat belt through the loop at the back of their harnesses and then clip the seatbelt buckle into the holder as usual. The dog is then securely attached to the seat, but still has the freedom to turn, sit and lay down comfortably. Grace and Benson quite liked their new position I think- they were both sat as proud as punch next to each other on the back seat, looking out their windows waiting to see where I took them!
When I started driving, Benson did start to try and stand up like he normally does when he travels in the boot but he soon realised he wasn't able to do this and settled back down quite comfortably whilst Grace, bless her, sat as good as gold the entire way just looking out of her window. Once at our destination, the harnesses were equally easy to remove from the car as they were to attach and I kept them on the dogs whilst they went for their walk. This was the first, and last time, I did this however as they got incredibly wet and muddy. I now take the harnesses off the dogs when we get to our destination, chuck them on the backseat and then reattach them when it is time for the dogs to go back in the car, it only takes a minute or so for each dog so is worth doing to keep the harnesses in best possible condition.
All in all, a great item and one of the best dog related purchases I have made, I am extremely happy and confident knowing they are safe on the back seat and are in less danger in the event of an accident- I, and any passenger I may have, are also a lot safer too as the dogs cannot be thrown forward should I need to break suddenly. Also, god forbid, I am ever in a car accident and am seriously injured and need medical treatment at the scene, I know that if paramedics were to open the car door, Grace and Benson can't freak and run off, possibly killing or injuring themselves on the motorway or getting lost. Instead, they are there, safe and secure, for a friend or relative to take for me. Also, they're incredibly protective dogs, and if they could get near me in the event of an accident, I'm sure they wouldn't allow anyone else to get to me if I was seriously injured meaning I couldn't be treated. Not a nice thing to have to think of I know, but it's just one of those things.
The quality of the harnesses are exceptional, being very well made from incredibly tough yet soft material and strong plastic buckles made them excellent value for money, whilst at the same time, making car travel an awful lot safer for both you and your pet. Highly recommended to any dog owner, you may never have to use them to their full potential, but the peace of mind is always there.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask all those who do travel with their dog in the boot to seriously re-think things. It may seem safe enough, I certainly thought it was for many years, and I know the chances of anything happening are slim, but I'd hate anyone to learn the hard way what could potentially happen to a dog travelling in the boot should a vehicle ever crash into the back of your car.
This is a car safety harness which claims to be "The Original" dog car safety harness.
So why do I need a dog car safety harness?
Well basically if you don't have a dog then you don't need one, however if you do then you should have a way to have your dog safely secure when in the car. There are 2 ways of doing this, you can have the dog in a crate (dog cage) in your boot or in a harness in your back seat. We chose to use a harness, firstly because it means we can still use our boot for storage, secondly if a car ran into the back of you the dog does not have much chance and also if you stopped suddenly the dog could still get thrown around the crate.
There is currently no legislation that says you dog must be restrained while in the car but there have been rumours that this may be introduced in the future. Personally I think this would be a good idea for both the dog and the human passengers in the car. If your car is involved in a collision the dog could get thrown through the front windscreen likely resulting in death or it could get thrown into the back of the front seats causing serious injury or death to the dog and/or front seat passengers. This becomes an increasing problem with larger dogs and as our 8 month puppy is fast approaching 40kg (he is a Rhodesian Ridgeback) then its not a risk I want to take. Anyway enough safety lecturing lets get back to the harness itself.
What does it look like?
It is a black and red harness with the main chest part of the harness being constructed of the same material that car seatbelts are made of. This piece is padded (except in the XS harness) and this is where the dogs weight is absorbed in the event of an accident or sudden braking. There are two red straps and these fasten one around the dogs neck, sitting lower than where the dogs collar is and then behind the front legs. They attach via black plastic buckles of the variety you might find on a rucksack. There is then a loop which the seatbelt can be passed through and attached as normal. It can be used with standard or lap belt seatbelts. There is also a D ring attachment at the end of the loop to allow you to attach a dog lead. The manufacturers do reinforce though that this is not a walking harness and the dog lead attachment should only be used over short distances i.e. getting in and out of the car and walking to/from the house.
The straps can be fully adjusted to allow a comfortable fit for your dog and will allow for growth. When the dog is attached in the car the harness although restraining the dog will still allow the dog to turn, sit or lie down on the back seat.
What sizes are available?
The harness is available from Extra Small (XS) to Extra Large (XL) which should cover most dogs except perhaps very small dogs like Chihuahuas and very large dogs e.g. Great Danes. The rear of the packaging gives a sizing chart and shows you a picture of how to measure your dog. The measurement is taken of the maximum chest circumference and the chart then shows which size of harness you need. There are 5 sizes:-
XS - 17"/43cm e.g. Yorkshire Terrier
S - 24"/60cm e.g. West Highland Terrier
M- 30"/75cm e.g. Cocker Spaniel
L - 36"/90cm e.g. Setters
XL - 42"/106 cm e.g. Rottweiler
My puppy is almost 8 months old but as he is a Rhodesian Ridgeback with a very deep chest he is now in the XL size.
You can buy it at Pets at home which has stores nationwide, its also available at most of the online pet stores. We bought ours online at PetPlanet as our local Pets at Home did not have any of the XL size in stock.
The XL size cost us £16.99. The prices on PetPlanet range from £11.99 for the XS to £16.99 for the XL.
My Final Thoughts
This is a product which is both useful, practical and a safe thing for your dog and you. Once your puppy has stopped growing it should last you a long time. We had one smaller harness when our puppy was smaller and then changed onto the XL harness. The fact that each harness can be altered in size means the sizes overlap so you don't have to keep buying new harnesses as your dog grows.
Our puppy isn't that keen on travelling in the car due to being carsick when he was younger so he sometimes runs when we bring out the harness as he knows what is going to happen. However he does stand when we put it on and it is a comfortable fit when it is on. Its easy to attach, the straps don't get tangled and its easy to fit and release once in the car. He now lies down across the back seat or sits up and looks out the window. It is reassuring to know he is safely attached incase of an accident. Its definitely a product I would recommend if your dog travels in the back of your car. You can't put a price on your or your dogs safety but if you could then £16.99 isn't too much to pay, its cheaper than a trip to the vets.