How to have the safest traveling dog. A review of Sleepypod
We travel, it’s what we do.
I will be the first one to tell you that I have been a bad dog mom in regards to restraints in the truck for the dogs. Sure, I’ve thought about it, but never really did anything about finding the best restraint. But recently I found myself looking more and more at what would be a good safe thing for the dogs. Torrey is in the back seat. She likes to look out the window, lay down sprawled out on the seat, and maybe have a nice chew of a toy now and then. But she also will stand up and put her front paws on the center console to see out the front window. Her favorite thing is to creep up behind me, and put her head on my shoulder. While this is cute and endearing, it’s not exactly safe.
Roxy has always been the queen of the front seat. She will ride on the console if there is a blanket for her, or she sits beside me in the passenger seat. Yep again, cute, but not safe. I started having nightmares of idiots pulling in front of us, Al slamming on the brakes, and two dogs going into the dashboard. So I started researching dog restraints. Life is full of coincidences, and this was a big one. Shortly after I started looking for restraints, the SleepyPod company contacted me. I looked at their website and couldn’t believe the quality and testing that goes into their products. They actually have a crash test dummy dog. They are the only company I know of that developed and uses dog crash test dummies. They put them in the same simulators that are used for people car restraints. You can read more on their safety page.
So after emailing the rep of SleepyPod and letting her know what our needs are, they sent us a SleepyPod for Roxy, and the Clickit three point harness for Torrey. My very biggest concern was they would hate being in one spot. They both have been able to move about the truck freely, and this was going to be a big change. For me, I loved the idea they would be safer, and that Torrey would stay in the backseat, not in the way like she can be sometimes.
I started by putting the harness on Torrey so she could get used to it. Same for Roxy and the Sleepypod. They recommend dogs get used to the SleepyPod by having it in the house for a while so they can lay in it, or even use it as a bed. Roxy didn’t want to use it as a bed, but I would put her in it, give her treats, talk to her nicely, and I put in one of her little blankets. The next step was putting it in the back seat without the top on it. I drove down the road, and she actually stayed right there.
Torrey wore the harness around the house for an afternoon. I am so impressed with the Clickit harness. Very well made!! Metal buckles and everything. The tethers that come with the Clickit are clipped to the child safety seat anchors that are in the back seat. They stay there all the time so I can put the harness on Torrey and just hook her in the back seat. This page gives more information on the safety and function of the Clickit harness.
With all of Torrey’s fur it took a minute to adjust it, but that’s a one time thing.
It obviously was OK.
The next step was a 30 minute drive to visit my mom. I put Torrey in the back seat in the Clickit. She couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, and why she couldn’t move very far. But she soon settled down, and pouted. Yep, she silently pouted the whole drive there. We put Roxy in the SleepyPod with the top on and put her in the front between us. This first trip, I wanted to be able to comfort her through the top if needed. They really aren’t supposed to be in the front because of the airbags. So I broke that rule, but just for that first short trip.
After that first trip, she now rides in the back were it’s safe. I thought she would whine about it, but she hasn’t made one sound. She will stare at me through the mesh in the top, as if willing me to get her out, but she eventually curls up and goes to sleep.
Torrey is OK with the Clickit now. Not thrilled, but OK. And again, no whining like I thought there would be. She can move enough to get comfortable and lay down, and that’s all she really needs. I love that she can’t sneak onto the front console, or bolt out of the truck when we stop. And there is a D ring on the back to connect her leash.
Our first long trip was last week when we drove to St. George. About 4 hours. Both dogs did great, and it was nice to have the front seat all to myself. We try to keep our driving days around 5 or 6 hours with lots of breaks, so I think the SleepyPod and the Clickit are going to be just fine for these guys. I know I feel much better knowing they are safe.
Disclaimer: I was sent the SleepyPod and Clickit in exchange for my honest review.