Pet Safety: How Safe Are Pet Products?

by Mary Haight on August 12, 2015

pet product safety I noticed a tweet to the FDA the other day, asking them to make sure pet products are safe before they’re sold in stores. Someone’s puppy had died. I wondered if the petitioner discovered there are no regulations requiring pet products be tested for safety before going to market.

According to the Center for Pet Safety this includes toys, even safety equipment like life jackets (and it is reported that one was built so poorly, test results are said to indicate it assists your dog in drowning) safety harnesses, carriers, crates, pet car seats and more. What’s a pet parent supposed to do?

Pet Safety Product Claims Revealed

Of course, you would rightly think most manufacturers want to produce a good, popular product that everyone wants to buy. They make a profit, grow their company, some maybe fund their charitable interests…but counting on self-regulation is a real danger in any industry. Due diligence is important and independent testing provides the best avenue for transparency.

Public trust is not something a company wants to lose, and that’s what happens when there’s a massive product failure. We’ve seen it before in pet food, treat, and chew products.

I hope brands are lining up to get the Logo Seal of Approval bragging rights available to those who fully comply with standards, though according to test results, many have their work cut out for them. Pet parents want companies to build pet safety into all their brands.

The Center for Pet Safety helps industry help itself and our pets. Standards for pet product safety are at last being formulated through independent science-based testing. Bark Out Loud!

2015 Crate & Carrier Crashworthy Study Findings

You may remember the stunning videos from this organization in 2013, when the safety harness study was released. It was a real shocker to find so many harnesses claiming crashworthiness failed catastrophically. Unfortunately, this year’s results show once again show the necessity for this third party testing process.

pet product safety 2015

Listen in to this informative interview with Lindsey Wolko, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety, as she talks about the 2015 results for pet carriers, the expert testing organization they use, what to look for in advertising spin,  what’s up next for CPS, and how you can get involved.

I hope you’ve avoided crashing with a non-crashworthy pet safety restraint, but if not and you’d like to share, we’re all ears. What was your first experience with an unsafe pet product?

[We thank our sponsors, 4Knines.com, for supporting our show with advertising and for providing listeners with a 10% discount code — see the sidebar — over and above any sale price named. That’s great and so generous!]

28 comments
Bazzie68
Bazzie68

I am the owner of an online pet supply business, I sell products for three companies who now manufacture their pet products in human grade facilities, make their beds from recycled plastic bottles and have started to test their products for pet safety. I am sure more will follow to compete with their rivals. This is great for all us animal lovers.

Sweet Purrfections
Sweet Purrfections

I had no idea that companies were not required to test products for safety for our fur children.  Glad to hear the pet industry is beginning to work on this.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@Sweet Purrfections Most people don't know this fact. A cautionary note for clarity (not directed at you, just at a trend I'm seeing in the comments) -- this is not the "pet industry" working on this. This is the Center for Pet Safety working on this with their current sponsor Subaru. They are providing the science-based independent testing vital to keeping results untainted by self-interest. But yes, I am glad that some in the pet industry are stepping up and taking action to improve their brands. My fervent hope is that they all decide quickly to take advantage of what CPS is offering, making their brands look like stars to consumers in the process! Thanks for stopping by =)

Latest blog post: CPS-Subaru-4-300×200

DogMomDays
DogMomDays

What I find interesting is that in recent years as "pet parents" have really come out of the woodwork, we're now seeing so many advances in animal safety, just as there are for human safety.  For someone like me who calls my animals my "kids," safety is everything. 

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@DogMomDays I am as happy with the advent of science-based independent testing with Center for Pet Safety as I am with the advances in  pet health care to better reflect what we do for ourselves in these areas. 

We work hard to keep our pets safe, and this testing is the way to go. After the initial and fatal results of these tests the only conclusion any of us can come to is that companies cannot do their own safety testing and we cannot believe results. There's too much self-interest involved. Thanks for piping up =)

Latest blog post: CPS-Subaru-4-300×200

pawesomecats
pawesomecats

Safety is everything when it comes to our pets, so glad the pet industry is testing these products. 

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@pawesomecats I'm glad CPS has started this process for the pet industry -- it's a terrific service to brands and consumers! I cheer for companies who have met CPS testing standard and those who are working hard to do so. Thanks for your comment =)

Latest blog post: CPS-Subaru-4-300×200

ThePlayfulKitty
ThePlayfulKitty

I'm glad that the pet industry is taking pet safety seriously enough to crash test carriers these days. These tests reveal a lot of interesting information about the carriers on the market. It is so important not to buy something just because it is cute. 

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@ThePlayfulKitty It's such a message to consumers, these test results, isn't it? It scares me to think I thought my dog was safe in the car all these years. It reminded me of back in 1995 when I found out what they were putting in pet food...same shock, but we learn over time to not be taken in by packaging promises. Thanks for stopping by =)

Latest blog post: CPS-Subaru-4-300×200

OlfaTurki
OlfaTurki

We really have to be careful when buying products for our pets. It's sad that there no regulations on these products.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@OlfaTurki So true, Olfa! You would think safety testing of pet products would be a no-brainer.
 I hope this is the start of something really big for the pet industry and consumers. Thank for stopping by =)

Latest blog post: CPS-Subaru-4-300×200

DawgBlogger
DawgBlogger

You'd think that before selling anything, it should be tested for safety; within reason, of course. The saddest thing were the dog car safety harnesses which when tested caused more harm than good.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@DawgBlogger Consumers would think that pet safety would be built in to pet products, and of course that's an advantage to manufacturers they are aware of. Then there are makers who believe in their brand and the testing done to be without error. I'm certain it came as a surprise to find their product was not safe. It is heartbreaking to think of all the dogs who were killed or injured for life because a safety harness failed -- and now the same for pet carriers.

talenthounds
talenthounds

So scary. A trainer I know lost a puppy in a car crash- the crates did not resist. Thanks for sharing. I am looking at harnesses for Kilo the Pug now.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@talenthounds Oh that is so sad, Susan! We know it happens, but when it's to someone we know, it's like a hot poker to get moving on making things safer for our dogs where we can. I'm so glad we have CPS now and I hope they get a ton of support from dog-loving individuals -- it's great that they won't take money from the pet industry! Thanks for your comment =)


Mary from Stale Cheerios
Mary from Stale Cheerios

Just tried leaving a comment, but not sure if it worked. If this ends up as a duplicate, feel free to delete!

I would love to eventually get Ginger a seat belt harness, but feel like I need to do quite a bit of research first to make sure I get the best one for her and one that will be safe. For now, she usually gets to ride in a crate that is secured in the back seat.

I wish there was more testing for pet products and better regulations!

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@Mary from Stale Cheerios For now, the only seat belt harness that passed with flying colors and is Certified is Sleepy Pod and they are Certified in several weight classes, up to 90lbs dogs. Other's are working on their certification. The pet carrier testing results are in, so if you get a chance, listen to the podcast where she talks about this and, again, Sleepy Pod comes out smelling like a rose :) For bigger dogs, you can read the results of carriers tested in the original report at CenterforPetSafety.org ;) Thanks for joining the conversation, Mary =)

tenaciouslittleterrier
tenaciouslittleterrier

I'm happy (limited) testing exists and I hope it improves. Mr. N has a Sleepypod that I bought for air travel but also because it passed the car testing process. 

beaglesbargains
beaglesbargains

It's pretty scary that there are no regulations on pet products. We have to be even more careful when choosing products for our pets. I think its important to show our support of companies that do uphold high safety standards by showing our approval with our voices and with our money!

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@beaglesbargains It is scary, and don't you wonder *what* they've been thinking all these years? I hope more and more pet product businesses align their brand with the Center for Pet Safety testing requirements and get Certified. That's what pet lovers want from brands -- the best possible products that are proven safe for our pets and fulfill their intended purpose. I agree! Let's spend our money on products that do the right thing, helping the consumer keep their precious pets safe. Thanks for speaking up =)

TheChesnutMutts
TheChesnutMutts

I wish there were regulations on pet products. With my blog reviewing products I hope to help pet parents find the right products for their pet!

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@TheChesnutMutts Yes, it's dicey to recommend equipment meant to save lives or other products that aren't safe at all. I was glad to hear many of the manufacturers are working hard to comply. Many, but not all. I think significant and across the board change will happen only by raising our voices, voting with our dollars, and keeping tabs on progress in this area. 

To that end, I was happy to hear there is a Certified program that gives brands a seal of approval. You can see it on the Sleepy Pod site. It is unfortunate that one maker decided they could skip actually testing their equipment and slap a logo up on their site. Sigh...there's always one in every crowd. It is important to understand what the real thing looks like here http://sleepypod.com/

Thanks for chiming in Abby =)

JenniferSh
JenniferSh

How truly horrible that there are no regulations requiring pet products be tested for safety before going to market. This needs to change and I can't thank you enough for bringing light to this.

MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

@JenniferSh Having third party, science-based testing for pet product safety really is a matter of life and death. I'm so happy there is an organization that offers this to brands, reducing a company's cost and keeping results accurate. It's wonderful to see the service to animals evolving in a way that gives them the safest products, and affords the opportunity to brands to gain stature and loyalty from the pet-loving community. 

And how about that Subaru! They've sponsored both these tests. CPS needs more sponsors like that! Of course, all the pet community can help, even in small amounts, foregoing that Starbuck's for a day!

You're welcome, Jennifer -- thanks for taking the time to speak up =)

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