Why you need a dog car harness for your Morkie

Why you need a dog car harness for your Morkie

The safest way for your Morkie to ride in the car with you? Hands down, it’s a dog car harness. In fact if you don’t restrain your Morkie, he could cause an accident by distracting you. And in an accident, he becomes a dangerous projectile. A Dog Car Harness can solve that.

Dog on lap?

It’s just plain stupid when you think about it. As a former fan of letting my pup “help” me drive, I know it’s a big distraction. Way worse than texting and driving, I’m sure.

And just because you’ve always done it, doesn’t make it safer or smarter. A study done by AAA and Kurgo study found that 65 percent of respondents had engaged in one or more distracting activities while driving with their dog.

Besides being a distraction, an unrestrained dog is literally a loose canon. In the smallest of fender benders, your dog becomes a missile, hurtling through the air at a tremendous speed.

Letting your dog sit on your lap when you’re the passenger, isn’t a lot better. In the case of an accident, there’s no way you can hold on to that little pup.

Or, he could be crushed by the airbag. They explode with so much force that they can severely injure or even kill lightweight front-seat passengers, including small children and pets.

Is it legal to drive with an unrestrained dog?

In many places, it is illegal. In England for example, VetsNow.com tells us:

According to the Highway Code, motorists must ensure “dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly”.

And guess what? If you have an accident and it’s clear you were distracted by your dog, your insurance doesn’t have to pay out!

airbags deploy with tremendous force


Any object in your car becomes a projectile or rocket in an accident. Even your precious Morkie.

Sure, we all used to do it

Ride without seatbelts that is. And we even encouraged kids to stick their heads out the window.

Cute, but oh so dangerous!

When dogs stick their heads out the window…

… they’re getting a big, HUGE gulp of air scented with all sorts of wonderful things. Since their power of scent is somewhere around FORTY TIMES GREATER than ours!

But, their eyes are vulnerable to grit and bits in the air, larger particles, even stone chips. All that stuff can scratch his eye and certainly irritate it. 

Plus, what if your Morkie fell out of the car!?

The solution: dog car harness or carrier cage

To protect your Morkie, keep him in the back seat, in a carrier cage that’s strapped in. Or, in the back seat, in a dog car harness.

He probably won’t like it at first, especially if he’s used to sitting on your lap or roaming around unrestrained. But tell him it’s for his own good 🙂

What to look for in a good dog car harness

You’ll want a harness that’s passed independent crash tests; they’re not all equal. The Centre for Pet Safety has tested many different restraints, and has recommendations based on the results. (Trust the Center – they don’t accept funding from pet product manufacturers; they’re independent and work in the consumer’s interest.)

CPS Certified Dog Car Harnesses, recommended by the Center for Pet Safety

Sleepypod Clickit Sport  (Sm, Med, Lg, XL)

Sleepypod Clickit Terrain  Sm, Med, Lg, XL)

ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack

We gotta do better

A recent study by Volvo of 2,000 dog-owning motorists shows we’re not thinking pet safety.

Though 97% said they take their dogs for a ride, 48% don’t own any safety gear and 41% let their dogs ride in the front seat. Just 5% have a pet-safety system built into in their car.

And that’s Volvo owners, generally pretty safety conscious.

Sleepypod Clickit Sport – Certified and Crash-Tested Dog Safety Harness

Clickit Sport is Sleepypod’s next generation dog safety harness.

The unique Infinity Loop design, in combination with an energy absorbing padded vest, is engineered to work together to distribute and reduce damaging forces in an accident without the need of additional hardware or attachment straps. (There are loops on the sides, along the rib cage, through which you thread the seatbelt.) 

Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Safety Harness

  • Crash tested for use as a car seat belt.
  • Three-point design for use in rear passenger seat secures a dog’s entire torso
  • Strength tested for use as a walking harnessQuick connection and release when used as a car seat belt
  • Rear reflective patches for night visibility can be interchanged for service patches or custom patches
  • Loops for quick connection and release of optional Terrain Pack

Check it out at your local pet supply store, or check them out at Amazon.com:

More Reading

You can check out how the Center for Pet Safety monitors restraints here.

This book is a PDF file – that you download instantly.

With over 300 pages packed with pictures, tips and information.

Read it on your computer, laptop, iPad or smartphone.

Just $9.99



Want to learn more about your Morkie?

Whether you’re just thinking of getting a Morkie, or you’re a dedicated Morkie parent, this is the book you need: the comprehensive guide to raising a happy, healthy Morkie.

The Mega-Guide is a practical, easy-to-read manual. It’s filled with useful information about the unique needs of the adorable Morkie, with chapters on Morkie temperament, nutrition, exercise, training, grooming and the special health care needs of small dogs.

Read about the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese dog, and learn how these two parent-breeds have shaped the Morkie temperament, health and looks.

Indispensable to Morkie parents, this comprehensive guide is right up-to-date with the latest on small dog care, written from one dedicated pet lover to another.

Restrain your Morkie in the Car

Restrain your Morkie in the Car


Yorkie in a seat belt; this picture has made the rounds on the internet.

Dogs who ride unrestrained in cars can cause accidents; plus they can get carsick or anxious when they’re not contained.

The biggest reason to restrain your Morkie – in the event of an accident, or even a sharp stop, your little dog becomes a projectile, hurling through your car at a tremendous speed.

steve carrell movie with morkei

Unrestrained pets may cause car accidents

Even in a minor collision, an unrestrained dog can be thrown into the dashboard or the windshield. Like any other projectile, the dog will fly forward with tremendous speed and force and can seriously injure you and your passengers. During a 30 MPH collision, for example, a dog can exert a force of up to 20 times his bodyweight! So a 10 pound Morkie will hit an object ten inches in front of him at a force of 200 pounds per square inch!)

And a small dog held on your lap in the front seat will almost certainly be killed by the airbag going off. Sorry to be graphic but it’s something to think about.

It’s illegal. In most jurisdictions across Canada and the U.S. you’ll be charged with “something” if your Morkie is roaming all over the car as you drive, so why not get a reliable dog restraint now!

maltese dog on car seat

A Maltese dog being strapped into a car safety harness.

The safest place for dogs is in the back seat – properly restrained. Here are some ways you can do that:

  1. keep your Morkie in a crate, that itself is safely attached to the seat belt system
  2. a proper-fitting animal harness that holds the dog in, via a strap attached to the seat belt mechanism
  3. one of the new booster seats for small dogs, with built-in seat belt or harness restraint
  4. a barrier for the back of SUVs – not really a solution for small dogs like Morkies.

All these measures will restrain your dog from flying around in the car; however they are not ‘crash proof’ and so will not protect him in the event of an accident.


Are all restraints the same?

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) released a summary of its 2013 Harness Crashworthiness Study and the results are disappointing. Many harnesses, restraints and seat belts failed when tested with “crash test doggies.” Their newest, the 2015 Pet Travel Seat Summary, confirmed the original findings.

After extensive tests, the CPS has determined that these restraints are NOT effective in protecting your dog since they open and release during impact:Fail

  • USA K-9 Outfitters; by Champion
  • In the Company of Animals; Clix
  • Coastal; EZ-Rider
  • Snoozer; Pet Safety Harness & Adapter and Snoozer Lookout  Car Seat
  • PetSmart Top Paw Booster Seat
  • Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat

Top Performers in Restraints

SLEEPYPOD Clickit was the top performer in restraints.

This is a three-point dog safety harness – three points like our own seatbelts.  It comes in all sizes as well as several colours. You can buy it at major pet retailers or online at Amazon.com

These restraints got a passing grade in protection and safety:

  • Allsafe from Klein Metal
  • RuffRider Roadie, from Cover Craft
  • Canine Friendly Crash Tested, RC Pet
  • Bergan Dog Auto Harness, Bergan
  • Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength, Kurgo
  • Pet Buckle, IMMI

(See this page to download the complete 2013 report; and the 2015 report on safe crates for cars)


To truly protect your dog in the car, consider a crash-proof crate.

The Center for Pet Safety generally recommends a crash-proof crate for your dog for optimum safety in the car. However, not all the crates performed as claimed in the tests.

These two did not fail during testing and were named a 2015 Top Performer by Center for Pet Safety. They stood up to a severe crash without releasing the crash-test dog, and were not crushed in the simulated accident. Both units must be carefully tied down as described with the product.

The Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection 

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock

This unit is very highly rated by purchasers on Amazon, and can be used on airlines as well. It’s recommended that you get the medium size, to allow your Morkie a bit of room to turn around, have a toy and so on.


When it comes to restraining your Morkie in the car, better act fast… or this may be YOUR car in the near future.

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