Subaru of America, Inc. and Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and consumer advocacy organization, just announced the results of the 2015 Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies – a collaborative initiative to examine the effectiveness and safety of pet crates and carriers in the event of a crash.
While many crate and carrier manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested and safe for use in a vehicle, there are currently no test protocols or performance standards in the U.S. to substantiate these claims. The data gathered from these studies will assist CPS in formulating these much needed crate and carrier testing and performance standards.
Subaru and CPS again worked with MGA Research Corporation, an independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contracted testing laboratory, to conduct rigorous crash testing on leading pet crates and carriers that claimed to be ”Tested”, “Crash 3 Tested,” offer “Crash Protection” or claim they are for use in a vehicle. The 2015 Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies were performed using specially-designed crash test dogs, designed to approximate the size and weight of real dogs while providing vital baseline performance data. The partnership continues the work that began in 2013 with CPS’ testing of pet harnesses. The resulting Harness Crashworthiness Study uncovered major differences in performance of popular pet restraints, with many resulting in catastrophic failure that could cause serious injury to both the pet and vehicle passengers.
After several eye-opening and informative tests – including instances of complete failure – three top products emerged:
- Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps as the 2015 Top Performing Crate
- PetEgo Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection 2015 Top Performing Carrier
- Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock 2015 Top Performing Carrier
What They Looked For
The top performers surpassed all competing products in the CPS-designed studies, which included testing of crate connections and rigorous crash testing to examine crate and carrier structural integrity. In the event of a crash, it is important for pet crates and carriers to contain the dog and prevent the animal from becoming a projectile. It is also important for the containment device to remain 2 fully secured at the connection points. If a pet is unrestrained, or the structural integrity should fail, the dog can potentially strike and injure a human passenger.
“We at Subaru recognize the importance of keeping the entire family safe on the road, including our beloved pets,” said Michael McHale, Subaru’s director of corporate communications. “Alongside Center for Pet Safety, we are proud to help lead the charge in identifying the best crates and carriers for pet lovers everywhere, while, more importantly, making pet parents aware of the safety measures they can take and the dangers that can occur if they don’t. We recommend that owners choose the right sized crate for their dog, which is generally six inches longer than the body of the dog. We are also pleased that our crossover vehicles, which are award winners themselves for safety, accept most crate and carrier sizes.”
They tested the following crates:
- Gunner Kennel G1 Intermediate
- 4Pets Proline Milan
- Mim Safe Variocage Single
- Roto Mold, LLC. Ruff Tough Kennel
- Midwest Wire Kennel with Rubber Anchor Straps
- Midwest Wire Kennel with Reinforced Cage Support System
Far and away the most impressive crate tested was the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps, a sturdy travel device that was able to withstand the most significant forces generated in CPS testing with a combination of strong structural support and integrity.
Here is the information regarding the test from the CPS test results:
Test Dog Size: 75#
Connection Notations: Centrally Located; Gunner Reinforced Connection Straps
A connection kit (4 anchor straps included in the kit) was purchased with the Gunner Kennel and was used to secure the crate to the connections in the simulated cargo area per manufacturer instructions.
Test Results: The anchor straps held firmly with no hardware deformation or webbing migration. The anchor pins on the crate experienced minor deformation.
The Gunner Kennel did not strike the seatback.
The kennel experienced no structural integrity issues with the overall crate body. The locked door retained integrity and was unlocked and opened easily.
The crash test dog was retained.
The test results from the first test of the Gunner Kennel were superior and a second test was deemed “not necessary” by Center for Pet Safety.
Here is their onboard test video. More video from the crash testing can be seen here.
Manufacturer claims Crash Testing:
- Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
- Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier (and ISOFIX-Latch Connection)
- PetBuckle Auto Kennel Restraint
- Snoozer Roll Around Travel Dog Carrier Backpack 4-in-1
Manufacturer does not specify testing, however product is marketed for use in a vehicle:
- Petmate Compass Dog Carrier (tested with the PetBuckle Auto Kennel Restraint)
- PetMate Vari-Kennel Plastic Carrier
- Kurgo Wander Carrier
- Pet Ego Pet Tube
The Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier used an innovative ISOFIX-Latch connection, to snap the carrier firmly into place and fully contain the test dog throughout the crash test. NOTE: The Pet Ego without the ISOFIX-Latch Connection failed miserably.
According to their test results:
Test Dog Size: 15#
Connection Notations: ISOFIX-Latch Connection
Test Results: The Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection performed admirably. The test dog remained fully contained, and the connection system remained wholly connected to the test bench throughout the testing. Expected deformation to the connection base and the plastic buckle system was anticipated based on discussion with manufacturer.
Here is a video of the Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection. For more crash-test videos, go here.
Lastly, 2013 CPS Harness Crashworthiness Study honoree, Sleepypod, was also recognized in the carrier category for the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock, a product that snugly straps into the seat and showed no evidence of damage after crash testing.
The full product performance report studies can be found at CenterforPetSafety.org.
Safety is The Goal
“After our findings in 2013, we were eager to continue working to bring accountability to the pet products industry, while highlighting the products that will help improve safety for the entire family during their travels together,” said Lindsey Wolko, Founder and CEO of Center for Pet Safety. “In partnership with Subaru, the 2015 studies were truly eye-opening and will once again help bring pet safety awareness to millions of pet parents around the globe.”
Based on findings from both the Harness Crashworthiness Study in 2013 and this year’s Crate and Carrier Crashworthiness Studies, Subaru and CPS can offer practical safety tips for pet parents traveling with their four-legged friends. Proper crate sizing is vitally important to ensuring safe travels, as pets should always fit snugly in their crate with just enough room to be comfortable. This will help minimize the risk of pet injury in the case of a sudden stop or accident. It is also imperative that pet owners secure crates and carriers for travel using strength-rated cargo area anchor straps and not elastic or rubber bungee cords. Pets come in all shapes, sizes and personalities, any of which may dictate whether to use a crate, carrier or harness when traveling.
To view the full study results or for more information on how to keep pets safe in vehicles, including best practices and travel tips, please visit CenterforPetSafety.org.
The Center for Pet Safety is not affiliated with the pet product industry. The organization uses scientific testing and references Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to study pet products and establish criteria and test protocols to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.