Kurgo Car Harness Review
Eve Flanigan 04.28.20
Dog-walking has been named in a gubernatorial tweet as one of the few lockdown-approved activities in my state. Exercising a teensy bit of civil disobedience, I can drive to any number of state or federal lands that remain open for hiking to enjoy dog-walking with new scenery. So it’s been a great time to test the Kurgo Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Dog Car Harness.
This harness is unusual in that it’s been crash-tested in a laboratory with dummy dogs. Since our four-legged children suffer comparable risk of injury when riding in a car as our two-legged ones, it makes sense to strap them in. Or, if you’re among the set that doesn’t consider animals as family, consider the carefully chosen words of my high school driver’s ed instructor: securing people and goods in the cab allows the driver to stay in control as much as possible when things get dicey.
We chose the red harness for this test; it also comes in black. It’s available in five sizes; buyers are advised to not do as I did and go strictly by weight but also measure the dog to judge the proper size. My 50-pound bull terrier mix is a “medium” by weight and wears a medium in another company’s harness, however this one won’t go around her barrel-ish chest. Our test subject then became wire-haired foster dog, Jack, about 22 pounds.
The weight of the harness set caught my attention when I initially handled it. Compared to Jack’s fabric-and-plastic harness, it weighs 0.75 pounds. The carabiner/tether that comes with the product adds another 0.25 pounds. This weight didn’t seem to bother this energetic dog on his walks.
The buckles are metal, and one reason for the heaviness—and sturdiness—of this accessory.
Adjusting it to fit took some time on the first wearing; there are four adjustment points, two around the torso and two around the chest/neck, and to keep the buckles balanced it’s necessary to be precise in adjusting them. Once the it is adjusted to fit, putting it on is pretty simple: over the head, one leg through the “T” of the belly strap, and then hook the belly strap to itself. The belly buckle is quite unusual and very strong. Locking it entails sliding one of the metal adjustment sliders through another. It rotates, and locks into place. It took me a few reps to get it right; on a rambunctious dog like Jack it took a few extra seconds until I figured out the right direction to start threading the smaller metal piece through the larger one.
Under the chest and belly, the body of the harness is made of a satiny but strong-feeling nylon fabric, well-padded and secured all around by web binding. Unlike the mesh cloth harness Jack usually wears, this one didn’t pick up stickers or dirt as we walked around the farm—though his hair gathered many of those annoying foxtail seeds.
Kurgo meant business when they stitched the webbing on this product. Every attachment point is tacked down with primary, backup, and more backup stitches. Six rows of triple bar stitching, in addition to the regular stitching, secure the juncture of fabric atop of and behind the neck. This stitching should last a very, very long time.
There are two leash attachments, one on the top rear of the harness, around mid-back on little Jack, and one in the center of the chest. Kurgo says the center-of-chest loop is to prevent pulling. That would probably be useful on a larger, stronger dog, but with Jack, who’s a spiritedly, wandering kind of walker, having the leash snapped to his chest resulted in the leash getting tangled under his legs almost constantly. By contrast, with the leash snapped onto the top-of-back, V-shaped ring, he stayed tangle-free.
Stout construction continues with the carabiner and seat belt tether. Both the car’s shoulder and lap belts are to pass through the carabiner, to secure the dog back and down in the seat. (Please note: the photo shows only the shoulder belt being attached). The tether not only keeps Jack’s nose from going past the front edge of the seat; it also keeps him from jumping out the door though he can turn sideways and peer outside. It would be interesting to see if these safety-related limitations are also applied to much larger dogs using the setup.
I suspect no one will need to use it, but the car Kurgo harness/tether is covered by a lifetime guarantee. It’s available by direct order for $44.99 and can enrich your adventures with your dog both on the road and on the trail.