Pet harnesses and carriers – not as safe as you think

Center for Pet Safety logoPet owners, a group I’m a long time member of, are a trusting sort. We’ve trusted pet food manufacturers to make products that were safe for our “best friends” – until we discovered that there were some deadly health-related issues. We’ve also trusted the manufacturers’ claims that pet harnesses and pet carriers will keep our four-legged buddies safe when we travel. Sadly, once again the claims don’t stand up to reality, and can have serious repercussions.

Astonishingly, pet product manufacturers aren’t required to meet safety standards, yet can make claims that they do! But there is a ray of hope amidst this very dark cloud.

A registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization called the Center for Pet Safety is working “to have an enduring, positive impact on the survivability, health, safety and well-being of companion animals and the consumer through scientific research and product testing.”  This research and advocacy organization is dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety.

The CPS uses scientific testing and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard specifications to study pet products, conducting rigorous crash testing on commonly available pet safety products to see whether they provide the protection claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.An independent safety entity, they don’t use live animals for their tests, using instead realistic, specially designed crash test “dogs”.

Pet safety picThe data from their pilot study,whose costs ran at over $10,000, revealed that “the majority of pet safety restraints currently on the market do not provide acceptable levels of protection to the animal and/or the humans in a crash situation.”   Here are some sobering facts:

  • Manufacturers are not required to test products before going to market for many classes of pet product – including pet travel products!
  • There is no oversight agent for the pet product industry outside of the FDA and USDA for consumable products (including some toys) and pharmaceuticals.
  • Some manufacturers claim to test their products, but with the absence of test standards, these claims cannot be substantiated.

The Center for Pet Safety is actively researching pet travel product performance including harnesses, crates, carriers, barriers and miscellaneous travel products. Their plans for the future include studying other product categories and providing continuing oversight of the pet product industry.

Nice to know that there’s an organization like CPS on our side. This is a non-profit whose work is truly worth supporting

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