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Friday, 4 May 2012

Easy rider


Now my elderly Labrador is getting older, she has more than a few fatty lumps and is growing out of her car harness. She has a Roadie Ruff Rider currently which has been excellent.

I bought this over 10 years ago at the recommendation of Dogs Today. What harness is recommended now? Is there a car harness out there that also doubles as a walking harness, as she has outgrown her walking harness some time ago?


Lynn Walker, by email


  1. For when Inka needs to read on the back seat of the car, he has his own seat belt. It's an adjustable length of seatbelt, with a large lobster clasp at one end (to attach to his harness) and a selection of clips at the other end to fit various seat belts.

  2. Has to be the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness. A fab feature is handle on top which enables you to give your dog a helping hand in and out of the car, over obstacles and out of the river. This harness made all the difference in the car (with a seatbelt attachment) and on walks to my elderly collie in the last couple of years of her life. It is well made out of a comfortable padded neoprene type of fabric, with reflective strips. It comes in several sizes and adjustable in five places for a very comfortable fit. These harnesses are used for search and rescue dogs. Also the physio therapist at our local vet recommends them.

    1. This looks like a really nice harness, especially for an elderly or disabled dog. However, it will not be suitable for us, as I really need a good car harness. I emailed Ruffwear customer support and got this reply
      "The intended use of the Webmaster harness is to lift and assist. It is not intended as a safety restraint and has never been tested for that. For this reason we can not recommend using it as such."

  3. When choosing a car harness, one of the most important things to look out for is whether or not it has had proper crash testing (ideally to human safety standards). Unfortunately, many car harnesses sold in the UK are not properly tested and there is no legislation to make sure that they are as there is with child car seats.

    A couple of years ago, our customers started asking for a car harness and we struggled to find anything in the UK which we would have been happy to use on our own dogs, let alone offer to our customers. Our searches took us to Monkey Island in Oklahoma where we came across the crash tested Bergan car harness. This car harness has had extensive independent safety testing in the United States and is one of the few harnesses available in the UK manufactured with this level of safety in mind.

    The manufacturer states that it can also be used as a walking harness, and it would certainly be comfortable for the dog taking pressure off the neck and wind pipe as you would hope from a walking harness. As a company though, we prefer a walking harness to have more padding which is why we manufacture ours with either fleece or foam linings, but neither of those would be suitable as car harnesses.

    If you would like more information about the Bergan car harness, visit or give us a call on 0330 088 3647

  4. The Champion seat belt system would be suitable for your elderly lady! It can be used in any vehicle and either with luggage fixings in the boot or using the seat belt fittings on the rear seats. The strength of the webbing used exceeds UK government standards for human seat belts & the harness rotates around the dog¹s body reducing potential injuries in an emergency situation. It's adjustable & also allows your dog to adopt any position so it is comfortable to wear. The harness can also be used for walking & matching collars & leads are also available. Whether you have a Chihuahua or a Great Dane, the Champion has sizes available for all breeds of dog. There is more information & an online shop at

  5. We just discovered Bergan dog car harnesses. They have published the most testing standards. The roadie has been tested too, but I don't know the details of their testing. Other tested harnesses include Pet Buckle and Kurgo Tru-Fit.

  6. I purchased a Bergan harness. The only problem that I have had with it is finding a way of fastening it to the car. My dog travels on the back seat of the car. Unfortunately, the are no child seat connection points, and the sockets that the seatbelt locks into are solid plastic - Bergan recommends either using the child seat connection points or fastening on to the webbing strap that holds the sockets. I contacted Bergan and they suggested that if no other option is available then clip directly on to the seatbelt. We decided that the best way to do this is to loop the fastening strap so that both clips attach to the harness, then the seatbelt goes through the loop - this is similar to how the old Roadie harness works. Other than that it is a nice harness that fits well, is easy to put on, and can be used as a walking harness too.