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When I was the editor of a dog magazine, I learned about the importance of using a car restraint for dogs. In a car crash, unrestrained dogs face the same risks as humans — they can be thrown into the dashboard, through the windshield, or out a window. Due to the forces at play, dogs can even become projectiles, injuring the driver or another passenger.
Soon after bringing home my miniature poodle Jäger, I purchased a dog car seat belt from a pet store, but it felt flimsy and I was worried it might not be the best quality. As luck would have it, I attended a pet product trade show in 2014 where the Sleepypod Clickit Sport harness made its debut.
I met the engineers who designed the dog car harness, and they showed me what made it so safe, namely an infinity loop design combined with an energy-absorbing padded chest plate. These two components work together to distribute and reduce damaging forces in an accident. Its effectiveness has also been verified through crash-testing by the Center for Pet Safety, an independent research and consumer advocacy organization.
I bought the Sleepypod Clickit Sport Car Harness in 2015 and have been using it ever since. It is a little pricey, but it’s the only car harness I recommend to family and friends.
To use the safety-tested harness as a car restraint, I simply thread my car’s seat belt through the two loops on either side of the harness and fasten the seat belt as usual. Once belted in, Jäger can sit, stand, or lie down — whatever he feels like doing.
For some dogs, wearing a seat belt may take some getting used to, especially if they are used to roaming in the car without a harness. My dog did not protest, and in fact, he gets excited when he sees the harness because he knows we’re about to embark on a fun car ride. The Sleepypod Clickit Sport is lightweight and comfortable for Jäger to wear. It does not impede or restrict his leg movement, so it works great as a harness once we reach our destination, too.
The harness comes in a variety of colors and four sizes (small, medium, large, and extra large). The sizing guide makes it easy to order the right size, and the straps are also adjustable so you can make sure it fits perfectly.
The harness is made from ballistic nylon with neoprene padding on the interior. The straps are made of seat belt grade material, and the buckles and other components are made from stress-tested plastic and metal.
The Clickit Sport harness does not require any additional hardware or straps to use it as a car restraint, but two accessories are available, either separately or as a bundle. An S-clip allows you to preset your dog’s seat belt length for convenience and a buckle shield prevents your dog from stepping on the seat belt buckle and accidentally unlatching it.
What makes it stand out
Only three dog car restraints are third-party safety-certified by the Center for Pet Safety, an independent research and consumer advocacy organization that evaluates the safety of pet products. Two of the three certified car restraints are Sleepypod harnesses: the Clickit Sport and the Clickit Terrain, which was originally designed for working and service dogs and has extra paddling and other features.
The Clickit Sport is certified for dogs for weighing 18 to 90 pounds and has a five-star rating, the CPS’s highest award. You can watch the crash test video for the Sleepypod Clickit Sport here.
I can also attest that this is a high-quality, long-lasting harness. It looks practically brand new and functions just like it did seven years ago when I bought it. If it gets dirty, it’s easy to clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth.
The biggest downside is the price. A bundle with the Clickit Sport, S-clip, and buckle shield ranges from about $90 to $105 depending on the size.
Also, like other dog harnesses, the Clickit Sport may not fit certain dog breeds with unique body types, including greyhounds, whippets, salukis, Afghan hounds, and borzoi. You can email Sleepypod if you have questions about your dog’s body type and the fit of the Sleepypod Clickit Sport.
The bottom line
My dog does not ride in the car without his Sleepypod Clickit Sport. Knowing Jäger will be safe if I am involved in a car crash gives me peace of mind. Even if I just stop short, it could send him flying, but the Clickit Sport keeps him in his seat.
And since Jäger can’t roam around in the car, he’s never a distraction for me while I’m driving. Yes, the Clickit Sport is expensive, but for me, it’s worth every penny because it’s crash-tested for safety, well-made, easy to use, versatile, and comfortable for my dog to wear.