Links in our articles are for companies who’s products we use and love. When you make purchases clicking these links, we might or might not be compensated for sending you to their website. We are not compensated for reviewing products, and the opinions on this site are purely the writer’s. We appreciate your support and trust as we know your time and money is valuable!
A nice summer day, driving with the wind in your best friends fur, can be something straight out of a dream, but it can also be an unintended nightmare. Riding in cars with dogs can be scary, messy, and quite honestly dangerous without the proper equipment and products to help us keep us (and them) safe. (I know this from experience, unrestrained dogs are more than capable of hitting a gear shift and sending you into the bumper of a box truck.)
Ruffwear has developed a restraint harness called the Load Up Car Harness that is built with strength-rated hardware and it has been successfully tested to withstand the rigors of a vehicle crash test. It ATTACHES to existing seat belts for a universal fit which I loved. A lot of the vehicle restraints we have used in the past click into the actual buckle of the vehicle, which isn’t always reliable or universal. It was a little hard with large breed dogs to lean over the dog, thread the seatbelt, get it clicked and tightened all at once but after a few uses the dogs (and I) figured it out!
The seatbelt attachment point is low, and the harness is constructed to reach back further long the spine and torso. The biggest thing I noticed about this harness is the extension along the body, it does NOT sit right behind the shoulder blades like most harness attachments. Axel and Gio were comfortable, no pinching or tangling while they sat down or laid in the seat. It gave them enough room to sit, lay, and look out the window but it did not allow them to dangerously move up front or OUT of the vehicle.
The first time the harness is sized, it is like any sizeable item but it was EASY to adjust. The buckles are not the usual “clips” that are on most equipment. They are an anodized aluminum sliding clip that was so EASY, my 7 year old was able to accurately put the harness on and figure it out!
The harness is OK for stopping at rest stops and potty breaks, but it does NOT have a solid anchor to attach a lead. The attachment point is designed low on the back for restraint, but it is not ideal for walking. It worked for Axel who is calm, older, and able to be hand walked along while he does his thing. Gio was harder, he is young, a puller, and all over. He was confused why the pressure from the harness was so low and along his back. We had to use his normal neck lead to take him out on breaks while traveling.
I LOVED the mesh carry case included, it was so easy to leave in the car and clip to the travel bags, etc. Ruffwear has always been GREAT about being clear and concise about instructions, and they are even included ON the harness, which was great for the “dog sitters” when my dogs needed to be transported! I used this harness for almost a year, on multiple dogs, over 40 – 50 times and there was MINIMAL wear, the material is easy to wipe down and keep clean, and the durability for being used on 75-90 pound dogs was IMPRESSIVE!