Crash-testing new vehicles to evaluate their ability to keep humans safe in accidents is nothing new, but thus far there has been little in the way of crash testing for dogs. Subaru, a company that portrays itself as pet friendly, hopes to raise awareness on the issue of pet safety by funding initial crash testing by the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety, Automotive News reports.

Real dogs were not used in the crash tests; three dummy dogs representing a 25-pound terrier, a 45-pound border collie and a 75-pound golden retriever were used. There are a variety of devices for sale that are supposed to restrain dogs from entering the front-seat area and distracting the driver - tethers, cages, nets and crates - but their effectiveness in a crash is unknown.

In Subaru's crash test, performed at a Virginia laboratory that tests child seats on a device that speeds down a track and stops abruptly, the results show that devices such as dog tethers are prone to break in a crash, sending the dog rocketing into whatever is in front of it. Rather alarmingly, the organization reports a 100-percent failure rate. In other words, "None of the harnesses were deemed safe enough to protect both the dog and the humans in the event of an accident." Yikes.

Dave Sullivan, the marketing, launch and strategy manager at Subaru of America, says, "We'd like to see something developed over time, but it's not really our job. We're trying to do our best to raise the issue," Automotive News reports. In the end, official crash-testing procedures must be devised by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Society of Automotive Engineers International, Sullivan says.

See for yourself what happens to a dog in a crash in the video below (viewer discretion advised). And keep in mind that this dummy dog is wearing a tether, which is relatively rare (16 percent of dog owners use them), according to a AAA study in 2011.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Real dogs were not used in the crash tests". Thanks for that clarification.
        S.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        You just can't overestimate the stupidity of the average person anymore :)
      benjamin_braddock
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doggy seat belts do work in accidents. Both of our terrier dogs came to no harm at all in a heavy rear end shunt. They were more interested by the ambulance sirens for the drink driver in the crappy car that failed to brake in time. The Police Officer was so impressed by them, that he wanted to know what brand they were and where we got them. Would highly recommend them!
      Smooth Motor
      • 1 Year Ago
      Im not a big animal lover but I cringe every time I see some idiot driving with a dog on thier lap inches away from the airbag. People idolize their pets yet act so reckless with them when driving.
      aacfx09
      • 1 Year Ago
      Subaru looking to mainstream or stay niche? I think we have our answer! And I'm glad, I love my Subaru.
      dinobot666
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd really, really appreciate it if Subaru would open a head gasket research center. I like owning their cars, just not replacing the head gaskets all the time.
        GR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dinobot666
        Doesn't the problem only apply to the EJ25? I had an Impreza with the EJ22 and it never had gasket problems or even consume oil. Bought it at 100k. Drove it another 120k. Sold it to a buddy who then drove it cross-country. Not one inkling of a head gasket issue with that car.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 1 Year Ago
      My Golden Retrievers are 100 pounds each. They don’t fit in my Subaru.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Hernan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've seen these tests before when researching harnesses for my dog. I picked the Kurgo Smart Harness with steel buckles. Maybe it won't save the dog (I hope it does!), but I'm at least optimistic that he won't become a projectile in the event of a crash. http://www.kurgostore.com/dog-harnesses/enhanced-strength-tru-fit-smart-harness-with-steel-nesting-buckles/
      ligourird
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is good to see and chilling at the same time. I used to use a typical doggie gate between the front and back seats to keep us separated. We hit a patch of ice one time and did a 720 before coming to a stop. He got banged around a bit and was fine but at 65lbs he broke the gate. We keep him in the back compartment of the vehicles now (suv and 5-door hatch), the structure is all above shoulder height back there.
      Lisa Boynton
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love this. I think it's fantastic. I'm planning a big move from Toronto to Portland, Oregon later this year and I have yet to buy a new car, or a pet safety harness. I think I know where to start, now. YAY Subaru!