New crash tests show pet carriers and crates that are supposed to be designed for safety may actually hurt pets and passengers in vehicle crashes. The not-for-profit Center for Pet Safety conducted crash tests on commercially available pet crates and carriers that claimed to offer protection in vehicles. The testing involved the same experts who do crash tests on vehicles for humans and used specially-designed crash test dummy dogs. The test dummies are designed to match the approximate size and weight of real dogs. Listen above to the PetsPodcast interview with Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety Founder and CEO.
The group tested a total of four crates and eight carriers and the safety evaluations included analysis of crate connections as well as crash testing. In order to pass the tests, crates and carriers had to be able to contain the dog and prevent it from becoming a projectile, maintain its structural integrity and remain full secured at all connection points.
CPS selected the Gunner Kennels G-1 Intermediate with 8-foot Tie Down Straps as the 2015 Top Performing Crate. The center selected the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with P-P-R-S Handilock and the Pet-Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection as the 2015 Top Performing Carriers. In tests of the other brands, crates or carriers became projectiles, became unsecured and in the worst result, crushed the test dummy dog.
While many crate and carrier manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested and safe, the Center for Pet Safety says there are currently NO test protocols or performance standards to substantiate those claims.
“If you’re a dog owner like me, you want to protect your pet in the worst case scenario,” says Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety Founder and CEO. “The words ‘safe’ and ‘crash-tested’ are often just marketing claims. It’s very subjective, so this is working to bring oversight and accountability.”
In 2013, CPS conducted crash tests involving safety harness products for pets.
“After our findings in 2013, we were eager to continue working to bring accountability to the pet products industry, while highlighting the products that will help improve safety for the entire family during their travels together,” says Wolko.
Subaru of America underwrote the CPS crash tests for crates and carriers.
“We at Subaru recognize the importance of keeping the entire family safe on the road, including our beloved pets,” says Subaru Director of Corporate Communications Michael McHale. “Alongside Center for Pet Safety, we are proud to help lead the charge in identifying the best crates and carriers for pet lovers everywhere, while, more importantly, making pet parents aware of the safety measures they can take and the dangers that can occur if they don’t. We recommend that owners choose the right sized crate for their dog, which is generally six inches longer than the body of the dog. We are also pleased that our crossover vehicles, which are award winners themselves for safety, accept most crate and carrier sizes.”
The Center for Pet Safety, based in Reston, VA, is not affiliated with the pet product industry and uses uses scientific testing and ‘references Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to study pet products and establish criteria and test protocols’ to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection ‘claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.’
Wolko says CPS would like to test pet food and pet life jackets next and has launched a fundraising campaign for those projects. You can contribute here.