The crew at pet products manufacturer Bergan ran into a problem when they began developing a travel safety harness: they discovered no safety standards for durability of pet restraints existed. So they created one.
“We’re by no means a Ford, GM or Chrysler,” said Kirk Dixon, Bergan’s Product Development Manager, “but we thought there ought to at least be some standard.”
The team began working with independent laboratories to develop the Pet Safety Durability Test Standard (V9DT B2009.1). Putting other products to the test, the team discovered alarming discrepancies in restraining devices available to consumers. “Even at a 200-pound pull test, either the metal or the stitching broke,” said Dixon. “That wouldn’t even hold a dog in a light braking incident, so that really became our core platform. We said, ‘we’re going to develop a harness that is much tougher that what’s out there and offer a better product.’”
The standard factored in various concerns, including the maximum recommended weight of a dog in harness, miles per hour at impact, deceleration, vehicle crumple factor and harness stretch. The crew tested harnesses in four sizes, from small to extra-large, with force pounds up to nearly 4400 pounds.
After two years of development, Bergan introduced its harness into the market and began creating awareness and educating the public on the importance of securing pets in vehicles — for the safety of the animal and driver both.
Bergan’s Paws to Click campaign, which involves partner companies sharing the same vision, promotes responsible travel with pets. Today, V9DT is the industry standard, and Bergan encourages other manufacturers to review and help improve it.
Bergan takes seriously its commitment to educating the public about pet safety. “As more people travel with their pets they are becoming aware that this is just a safer way to go for everybody.”