Limitations of Cargo Area Connections
At Center for Pet Safety we routinely receive questions from pet owners about how to anchor a pet in the cargo area with a harness or a crate. While many pet product brands recommend this as a viable option, at CPS we believe pet owners need to be aware of the structural integrity limitations of the cargo area platform and the connections therein.
Cargo area anchors are not necessarily weight-rated to the requirements needed to properly anchor your pet. Additionally, the cargo area platform is not necessarily as solid as you think it may be.
Before choosing to anchor your pet in the cargo area, we recommend that you reach out to your vehicle’s manufacturer and confirm the connection strength in the cargo area.
In some cases the anchors can be upgraded, speak to the vehicle manufacturer to see if this is possible for your specific automobile.
To do a quick check of the amount of force your dog can exert in an accident:
Mass* x Acceleration = Force
*For harness connections: Mass = weight of your dog
*For crate connections: Mass = weight of your dog PLUS the weight of the crate
In many cases, a cargo area connection recommended by a harness manufacturer requires the use of an extension tether, and as a rule, CPS does not recommend extension tethers or zipline-style products because we have proven they increase the risk to both you, your passengers and your pet in the case of a sudden stop or accident. Crates should be anchored with strength rated anchor straps to provide the best possible outcome in the case of a crash. As we found in our 2015 Crate Crashworthiness Study, the anchor straps are critically important to mitigate the excursion of the crate forward into the seatback or into the passenger compartment. We know that many connection options in vehicles have limitations, however these are limitations that even pet product manufacturers are faced with.
CPS recommends pet owners complete added due diligence while considering a cargo area connection.