Q: I see the Gunner Kennel was awarded a Dual Certification. What does that mean and why do you test differently for Crates and Carriers?
A. In 2015 we studied containment devices – and made a distinction between crates and carriers. Crates are typically anchored in the cargo area of an SUV or van. Carriers are typically for smaller pets and secured on the rear seat of the vehicle with the latch anchors or seatbelt. It is because of this we opted to separate containment into two categories because the performance requirements were different based on where the product was placed and how it is connected.
Gunner’s dual certification means that we put it through two different tests and it passed.
Carrier Testing: The test for the carrier requires that the product be secured in the “back seat” (ie: test bench) (per the manufacturer’s instructions) and the test condition is approximately 30 MPH. (We reference the test conditions of FMVSS 213 – for child safety seats.) A product undergoing testing to our standard needs to remain connected and completely contain the test dog, before during and after the test. We also look at other performance factors, but Pet Crash Protection Carriers can be soft sided or hard sided and typically contain a small dog (30 lbs and under), and are designed/specified for use on the rear seat of the vehicle.
For additional details please see our 2015 Carrier Study Results
Crate Testing: The test for the crate is a robust test of the overall structural integrity of the product including the door and latching mechanism. A crate is typically anchored in the cargo area of an SUV or station wagon, using connections to the cargo area anchors. Pet Crash Protection Crates can house small to x-large dog breeds and are hard-sided. There are very specific performance factors we look for, including the integrity of the connectors specified by the manufacturer.
The Gunner Kennel G1 Small was designed by the manufacturer to use in the vehicle on the rear seat – or – connected to the cargo area anchors in an SUV or Van. Hence the reason we had to test using two different test standards.
For additional details please see our 2015 Crate Study Results
Q: I use a Booster Seat for my dog. Are they safe?
A: We recommend you reference our advisory on Booster Seats.
Q: Why do you test with the dog in a seated position?
A: When we test harnesses, we want to be sure to test the product in a “worse case scenario” situation to see what the product can and cannot do. We have found that by positioning our test dogs in a vertical seated position, it allows us to see if the harness product can protect against rotation. We want the dog’s spine to be as stable as possible to help prevent injury. If a harness allows the test dog to rotate and launch off of the seat, we know that there is an increased risk for injury. When you watch test video posted by manufacturers it is important to note if there is any rotation of the test dog and if the test dog launches off of the seat. Rotation and launching can be a predictor of risk of injury in the case of an accident.
Q: When are you testing Crates?
A: We tested Crates, Carriers and Pet Travel Seats (boosters) in 2015. Please reference the information under test results on our website.
Q: I want to buy a long extension tether to attach to my dog’s harness. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Consumers should look for harnesses that do NOT have an extension tether. We are working to re-educate consumers to rein in their dogs during travel. Extension tethers increase the risks to your family and their pets. We also advise you to forego the add-on products like extension tethers and zipline style products because these add-on devices are likely not tested and will negate the testing results of the “crash tested harness” you are using. If you go through the trouble to source a quality crash tested harness, then use it with an untested add-on product, it will likely fail to offer any protection to the consumer or the pet if an accident occurs. It is important pet owners adopt a buyer beware attitude when selecting travel products for pets.
Q: I am a pet products retailer – how do we let consumers know we offer the safest pet products on the market?
A: At CPS we understand the need of the pet products retailer to set yourself apart from the competition. However, we caution retailers to refrain from embellishing on product efficacy claims beyond what is provided by the manufacturer.
CPS is encouraging pet product manufacturers to adopt a protocol (similar to the MAP pricing agreements) to ensure that retailers “stick to the script” and do not overstate the capabilities of their products. Our goal in this effort is to ensure accurate communication to the consumer. The added benefit of this effort also mitigates risk to both the manufacturer and retailer.
Why do we encourage this? We have seen description variations of many products, including safety devices. Retailers have embellished product descriptions with claims of crash protection or crash testing – where we know for a fact that the manufacturer hasn’t made such claims. We feel that embellishing product descriptions is potentially misleading to the consumer. It is important for manufacturers (and their supporting distributors) to work to take ownership of the descriptions they provide to their retailers to ensure the accuracy of product efficacy claims.
Q: I see the Center for Pet Safety referenced in product advertising. Did you endorse their product?
A: Manufacturers are starting to reference CPS in their marketing, and while we appreciate their enthusiasm about our organization, it is important for the consumer to know that we don’t endorse ANY product.
We are developing a certification program to follow the publication of the harness standard we’re working on. Once the certification program is implemented, consumers can look for the CPS versioned certification seal on product packaging and know they are sourcing a quality, independently tested product.
Q: What are some tips for traveling with my pet?
A: When taking to the road together, don’t forget to prepare your pet:
- Make sure your pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations, flea, tick and heartworm treatments.
- Microchip – a very important tool to help you locate your pets should they wander during your adventures together. This little rice-grain sized object can help bring them back to you.
- Pack their bags! Be sure to bring along extra collars, leashes, toys as well as food and water bowls for your pets.
- Bring extra food, treats – and don’t forget the water. Water content changes from city to city so it’s best to prevent digestive upset and bring bottled water or bottled tap water from home.
- Locate a veterinary medical provider near your travel destination. Being prepared will give you peace of mind. There are many sources to help you locate a qualified veterinarian near your destination location.
- Bring medical records, medications and identification, including pictures of you with your pets.
- Remember, pets don’t belong in hot cars! Heat stroke can be deadly and happens in minutes.