PetBuckle Review (Pic heavy!)

rodentranger

New member
I had to break this into parts due to the number of pics.
As a Child Passenger Safety Technician, I often encounter parents with dogs who ride in the family vehicle. Some people, parents or not, opt to use pressure mounted gates to contain their dogs in the car. My experience with these products has been less than favorable as many will rattle loose and I have actually had the bars fall on my dog while the vehicle was moving! I typically advise pet owners to purchase and use the Pet Buckle Restraint System by IMMI Outdoor to safely restrain their pet in the car or truck. I feel this system provides adequate safety for all of the occupants of the vehicle-canine and human. At the very least, it should prevent the dog from becoming a lethal projectile. I doubt anyone wants to know what a 60 pound dog feels like when they are hurtling through the air at 60 mph. It will also safely restrain your dog if emergency response crews need to approach your vehicle after a collision.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the PetBuckle restraint has been crash tested at their Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE). I am reviewing both harness sizes-Small and Universal/Standard as well as the Truck Tether System. I am using my 2003 Honda Pilot for my review as it is our only vehicle with LATCH. Please pardon the mess! Also note that the checkered Britax Marathon is NOT installed during these pictures. It is normally installed in the seating position in which I was putting the dogs, so I just moved it over out of my way. It should not be installed at the recline angle it is sitting in in these photos.
The newer models of the PetBuckle harness have push-button adjusters to make them more secure. Mine are older and have tilt adjusters that tend to loosen, so I have tied knots in the excess webbing to prevent loosening. Another improvement with the newer harnesses is that IMMI has replaced the rigid plastic chest plate with a softer more rubbery piece.

The PetBuckle Package
When you purchase the Standard PetBuckle restraint, the package typically includes the harness, a LATCHable Kwik-Connect strap, a D-ring and a handy little storage bag. When you purchase a Small PetBuckle restraint, you only get the harness without the connector strap. The connector strap is available for purchase separately.

The connector strap can be adjusted in length from 15 to 20 inches.

When the D-ring is attached to the connector strap, you have a handy out-of-car temporary leash too!

For dogs weighing less than 40 lbs, you can connect the LATCH connector strap to your vehicle’s lower LATCH anchors. For dogs over 40 lbs, use of the D-ring loop is required. You simply buckle the vehicle seatbelt through the loop and attach the connector strap to the d-ring. If your vehicle has the type of buckle release button that is on the front as opposed to on the top like in my Pilot, I can see it becoming unbuckled if the dog steps on it. In this situation, I would try pushing the buckle between the seatback and the seat bottom, or try another seating position.

I’ve lost the D-ring that came with one of my harnesses, so I just buckle the belt though the loop of the connector strap.
 
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WhatAboutPuppy

New member
Would it be beneficial to have us add our own pictures also once you've posted all parts? I have a couple pictures of Kira using her PB. She's 53 lbs and I've attached her D-ring to a piece on the floor (where the rear vehicle seat in my Element latches/hooks to the floor), it would seem given the size of the hook that it's built to hold a LOT more than a 40 pound LATCH anchor in the seat.

Thanks for all your hard work!
 

rodentranger

New member
The Small Breed Harness
The Small Breed Harness is designed for dogs under 20 lbs. I am using my mother’s 6 lb Poodle as my model for demo purposes.
The Small harness fits the 6 lb dog pretty well, though with no opening buckles you have to pull the dog’s legs through the straps as though you were putting a shirt on the dog. I see no reason it wouldn’t also fit a cat that is used to wearing a harness. Some cats like road trips too!


It doesn’t come with the connector strap, but threading the belt through the loop on the back of the harness resulted in a stuck unhappy pup. It also caused a lot of twisting of the harness on the dog. The center strap that should be between her shoulders was down almost at her elbow. I feel that it is worth it to buy the extra connector strap.

When I used the connector strap at its shortest length, I felt that I had much better results. Bella could move but not too far and was able to lie comfortably.

I felt that the connector strap at its longest length was way too long! I attached the connector to the outer lower anchor bar and Bella was barely able to touch the ground. If I had attached the tether to the inner anchor, she would have been hanging.


The Standard Harness
The Standard sized harness is designed to fit dogs 20 lbs and up. I am using my 55 lb American Pit Bull (white dog with K on the harness) and my 80 lb Black and Tan Coonhound mix (black dog with Y on his harness) to model with.
The Standard fits both of my dogs quite well.




It does tend to twist on Kailie, but she really doesn’t do well in the car anyway. Hence the extreme tail tuck!
The connector strap loosened all the way out to its 20 inch length allows both dogs to lie down, but also to enter the front passenger space.


I shortened the strap to the 15 inch length and the dogs were still able to get comfortable while remaining contained in the rear seat.


You also have the option of using the loop on the back of the harness and eliminating extra potential failure points. This is probably the safest option for other occupants in the vehicle as it will greatly reduce the range of movement the dog has in a collision.
 
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rodentranger

New member
The Truck Tether System
I don’t have a proper and true truck with which to demonstrate the Truck Tether System’s use, so I’ve improvised using the back cargo area of my Pilot. Personally, I don’t feel that there is any truly safe way to transport a dog in the bed of a truck. There is no protection from projectiles in the bed, and in a roll-over collision the dog will likely be crushed. When possible, dogs should ride safely restrained in the passenger cabin.
The Truck Tether is a length of seatbelt webbing with a heavy duty hook on each end and a heavy duty D-ring in the center. The instructions from IMMI state that the hooks must be connected to metal hooks or o-rings in the cargo bed. It is my personal opinion that the lower you can attach the hooks the better, i.e. I would not prefer to attach the hooks to the o-rings or cargo hooks located towards the top of the bed wall. There are no metal cargo anchors in my vehicle, just plastic ones that look metal. I have used them for demonstration purposes only.
The webbing has a push button adjuster on one end and to tighten, you simply pull the tail and of it. The entire length of webbing is about 8 feet, so I can’t imagine a truck bed it wouldn’t span easily. (PB won't let me crop out the stuff!)



Once the tether is installed, you simply harness the dog and attach the Kwik Connect strap to the harness and the D-ring.

Overall, I believe the PetBuckle Pet Restraint System to be the best on the market. I have been using mine for about five years after Yoda broke several other “dog seatbelt harness” options. Most of the other market options use a plastic quick clip buckle as the primary (and load bearing) hardware. I have no doubt that these would break under crash forces. I recommend the PetBuckle Pet Restraint System for all pet owners, with or without kids!
 
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rodentranger

New member
Would it be beneficial to have us add our own pictures also once you've posted all parts? I have a couple pictures of Kira using her PB. She's 53 lbs and I've attached her D-ring to a piece on the floor (where the rear vehicle seat in my Element latches/hooks to the floor), it would seem given the size of the hook that it's built to hold a LOT more than a 40 pound LATCH anchor in the seat.

Thanks for all your hard work!
I don't see why it would NOT be beneficial, unless there is blatant misuse or stupidity. In my Wrangler, I was able to connect the tethers directly to the TA's that were on the floor. I had no idea they were for carseats-I thought they were cargo hooks. :eek:
 

ca2003

New member
Thanks for your awesome review of this! Your dogs are so cute!

When you are using the harness with the seat belt, do you lock the seat belt or just buckle it as normal? When you are using the connector strap do you keep it at a length so that your dogs must stay on the back seat and not get down on the floor?

I was looking on their website and I saw it said some dogs may be too big for the standard size - does it give an upper weight limit? I am thinking about my moms huge dog, not that I could get her to actually get one and use it because I can barely get my mom to put on a seat belt when she rides in the back seat:thumbsdown: but we may end up with a huge dog when we get one.

I am slightly considering getting the small for the cat but I am not sure how he would react to being harnessed. When I take the cat to the vet I have been moving my front seat all the way forward, putting in his carrier then reclining the front seat to keep the carrier in.

You also have the option of using the loop on the back of the harness and eliminating extra potential failure points. This is probably the safest option for other occupants in the vehicle as it will greatly reduce the range of movement the dog has in a collision.
Would you feel comfortable using it at that length outboard with a child in the center next to the dog?

Do you use the Trunk Tether system in the cargo area of your SUV or do you feel it isn't as safe as harnessing the dogs to the seat belt?
 

Mugsmom

New member
Would it be beneficial to have us add our own pictures also once you've posted all parts? I have a couple pictures of Kira using her PB. She's 53 lbs and I've attached her D-ring to a piece on the floor (where the rear vehicle seat in my Element latches/hooks to the floor), it would seem given the size of the hook that it's built to hold a LOT more than a 40 pound LATCH anchor in the seat.

Thanks for all your hard work!
I'd actually really appreciate this, because I'm planning on doing this for a road trip and would like a visual aid to help me figure it out!
 

jen_nah

CPST Instructor
While I agree using the PB truck kit isn't ideal but it's better then the dog roaming about the truck bed with no restraint. This is a good option for those that are admit about having their dogs in the bed of their trucks. Texas I know has a law that states all dogs must be restrained in the bed of all trucks. While it maybe the law I still see many on a weekly bases that are not secure.
 

jen_nah

CPST Instructor
I use the PB on our 6lb Shih Tzu & our 80lb German Shepherd. We use the truck connector in the cargo area like posted above and the Shih Tzu uses the seatbelt.
 

mamakc

New member
I want to safely restrain my puppy, but I'm feeling a little bit lost. I REALLY don't want her on the seat next to the kids. I want her in the back in the cargo area. Will the truck tether accomplish that? What Pet Buckle product do I have to buy if I want her in the cargo area?
 

rodentranger

New member
Thanks for your awesome review of this! Your dogs are so cute!

When you are using the harness with the seat belt, do you lock the seat belt or just buckle it as normal? When you are using the connector strap do you keep it at a length so that your dogs must stay on the back seat and not get down on the floor?
I lock the vehicle belt. I basically view the harness as the dog's car seat. I want it pre-crash positioned to prevent injury to my other occupants and minimize injury potential to the dog. I keep the straps at a length where the dogs are able to lie on the seat, but not get to the floor. Again, I want them as stationary as possible pre-crash. I want as little movement as possible.
I was looking on their website and I saw it said some dogs may be too big for the standard size - does it give an upper weight limit? I am thinking about my moms huge dog, not that I could get her to actually get one and use it because I can barely get my mom to put on a seat belt when she rides in the back seat:thumbsdown: but we may end up with a huge dog when we get one.
I believe that the Standard goes to 100-110 lbs? Without the knotes I've tied in the excess webbing, Yoda (80 lbs) has about 7 inches of webbing left. I tied the knots because the old style has different adjusters than the new ones and would slip. The new ones have a push button adjuster that locks better. Barring a 170lb mastiff or a 130 lb Great Dane, I think *most* dogs will fit just fine in the standard.
I am slightly considering getting the small for the cat but I am not sure how he would react to being harnessed. When I take the cat to the vet I have been moving my front seat all the way forward, putting in his carrier then reclining the front seat to keep the carrier in.



Would you feel comfortable using it at that length outboard with a child in the center next to the dog?
I have used the tether at the 15" inch length next to a child seat. I have also buckled the seatbelt directly through the loop on the harness next to a child. The only issue I've had with harnessing the dog next to a child is the child complains about the dog breath.:D
Do you use the Trunk Tether system in the cargo area of your SUV or do you feel it isn't as safe as harnessing the dogs to the seat belt?
I don't use the Truck Tether in this vehicle because I don't have metal cargo hooks, only plastic. I'm not about to trust a plastic hook with an 80 lb projectile. It is my opinion that the safEST option is to thread the seatbelt directly through the harness loop. My next preferable option would be to use the tether at it's shortest length.
If all rear seats were occupied and I didn't have a third row in which I could seat belt the dog, I would use the Truck Tether before leaving a dog loose. I would hope that it would be similar to top tethering a child seat above the top tether weight limit and would at least slow the dog down before my plastic cargo hook breaks. I would be more comfortable with metal cargo hooks. I have actually contemplated installing the EZ-On TA's under my third row seat specifically for anchoring dogs to because of the way my stock TA's are positioned. I can't clip the PB tether to them, though I could if they had used the clip style hooks instead of the alligators.
 

rodentranger

New member
I want to safely restrain my puppy, but I'm feeling a little bit lost. I REALLY don't want her on the seat next to the kids. I want her in the back in the cargo area. Will the truck tether accomplish that? What Pet Buckle product do I have to buy if I want her in the cargo area?
Honestly, if you have a cargo hook that is metal, you should be able to connect the tether directly to the cargo hook. That's what I did in my Wrangler...except I used the TA's because I had no idea what they were for. :eek: So you may be able to get away with the Standard Kit.
The Truck Tether kit would be overkill, IMO. It really is designed for use in a truck bed with standard size cargo hooks. You can see in the pics I posted, the hooks on the PB tether are huge. The cargo tie downs in my Pilot are about 1"x 3/4" The webbing is 1.5".
The other option would be a plastic crate with the IMMI Kennel Restraint.
 

krissyleigh92

New member
I have a 24 lb Lab mix and in the car we're currently using theres no space for her to be buckled in the back seat, I was thinking wondering if it would be okay having her in the passenger. She doesnt move alot in the car once shes in the car she gets on a seat and stays there. I was looking at the standard. And if not in the Front passenger, I have a place for e third row seat((we dont keep it in)) could I possibly use those hooks? they're metal and very strong. and Also they're small enough to latch to.:confused:
 

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