Strength-Testing, Crash-Testing and Safety in Dog Gear

What does strength-testing mean? Does my harness need to be crash-tested? What questions should I ask when shopping to keep my dog safe?

Strength-Testing, Crash-Testing, and Safety in Dog Gear

Want to prioritise safety for your pet, but feeling overwhelmed by all the information available? We are here to help, where I will be talking about all the different tests available for dog gear and accessories, what you need to be looking for for safe gear, and the type of questions you should be asking when shopping for products that might just save your dog's life!

Twiggy Tags as a brand has dogs at the heart and soul of our business, and their safety and comfort is our biggest priority, coming before anything else. I aim to keep this blog as non-biased as possible, but reassuring you along the way why we make the safety decisions that we do, and even how we plan to increase our safety processes moving forwards. 


Strength-Testing: What is it and should my dog gear have it!?

First and foremost, this phrase is absolutely something you need to be looking out for when shopping for dog gear. You may be thinking, well, this isn't needed for my small dog, but remember even a small dog can pull with up to 3x their body weight, and if your lead is only as strong as a piece of spaghetti - your little dog could be in danger too! And I think you big dog owners already understand the importance of strong dog gear!

Now, here's where it gets more complicated. Just "strength-tested" doesn't always give you a full indication of how strong the product is. As an example, many retractable style leads are only tested up to 50kg because of the style of mechanism. If this just had "strength-tested" with no weights available to see anywhere, you might not realise it isn't strong enough for your 80kg dog! If a company isn't displaying their strength-testing anywhere, we recommend asking the company to ensure you have the full information before purchasing. At the end of the day, if your dog lunges at a cat across the road and the harness or lead snaps, it could be very serious! 

newfoundland dog wearing strength tested twiggy tags adventure collar and close control adventure lead for large dogs

Tensile (Pull) Testing

The typical way for dog products to be tested is with tensile testing. This means that a machine pulls the product in the way it will be used and keeps pulling it until it breaks, and then the final strength of the product will be the strength at which it breaks.

"Tensile tests measure the force required to break a... sample specimen and the extent to which the specimen stretches or elongates to that breaking point. Such tests produce stress-strain diagrams used to determine tensile modulus. The resulting test data can help specify optimal materials, design parts to withstand application forces, and provide key quality control checks for materials." - Intertek

Twiggy Tags products are independently tensile strength-tested in the UK:

Adventure Harness: 190-270kg (size ascending)

Adventure Collar: 250-600kg (size ascending)

Adventure Lead: 280-320kg (size ascending)

Adventure Seatbelt: 230kg

Sudden Impact Testing

Another important test for dog gear is sudden impact testing. This is not as common as tensile testing, but if a product is being advertised as safe for reactive and lunging dogs, you need to feel sure even with a sudden, strong lunge, it'll still withstand your dog!

Twiggy Tags products are independently sudden impact tested in the UK and withstood no damage:

Adventure Harness - Size 1: 18kg, Size 2: 30kg, Size 3: 52kg, Size 4: 84kg, Size 5: 170kg

Adventure Collar - Size 1: 18kg, Size 2: 30kg, Size 3: 52kg, Size 4: 170kg

Adventure Lead - Small: 30kg, Close Control: 170kg

Adventure Seatbelt: 170kg

a border collie and two mini labradoodles in the back of a pick up attached with twiggy tags adventure seat belt in petrichor which is a grey and green colour with a herringbone pattern, and aurora which is a bright multi-coloured red, pink, yellow green funky pattern. The seat belt goes over the headrest and is fully universal

Crash-Testing: What is it and should my dog gear have it!?

Crash-testing is a completely different type of test than standard strength-testing. Crash-testing is a very specific way of testing dog gear, typically only harnesses where the harness is tested on a fake dog, in a fake car which mimics the force of a car crash and rates the performance of the harness. 

This is a really great option for brands to create a harness that will keep a dog safe in the event of an accident, however the testing available is at present extremely limited. There are only a small amount of companies able to do this type of testing, and they can only test a dog up to approximately 25-30kg. They also very often only test to limited speed, usually approximately 30mph. 

Twiggy Tags would love to create a harness specifically designed for car use that would be crash-tested in the event of an accident, but due to the limiting factors, we do not feel comfortable creating this until we can test the harness properly. We would only create this item if we could test it to full 70mph motorway speeds, and all our inclusive customer base including tiny dogs and giant breeds.

You might be wondering why our current Adventure Harness is not crash tested? Well, for crash testing to be viable, the testing companies require the harness to directly attach to the car's seatbelt, not with a tether. The harness must also have webbing made from seatbelt material, and have metal buckles. 

This is why the majority of the brands who have a crash-tested car harness, will have a specific harness made just for this instead of testing their standard harness because my meeting the crash testing rules, you have to sacrifice parts of a harness design that are great for walks and outdoors. 

locking carabiner clip for dog lead trailfinder multi-way lead which is a double-ended training lead and versatile adjusting hands-free wait lead or over the shoulder lead. This is a strength tested safety lead and is attached to a twiggy tags adventure harness on a miniature dachshund

My clip says it is tested to 400kg, why aren't your leads this strong?

We recommend keeping an eye out for what we consider to be somewhat deceptive marketing, which is when a brand only advertises the strength of the specific hardware they are using, rather than the entire product. An example of this would be a brand announcing that their harness buckles are strength-tested to 600kg, but have no mention of the strength of the harness. When walking the dog on a harness, you'd also need to know the webbing and D-ring are strong enough, not just the buckles. We have also been made aware of brands stating the strength of their lead clips on the clip itself. Our locking carabiners we use on our leads are tested to 400kg, but we test the entire lead and publish those results. Other parts of the lead are weaker than the clip, which means the overall lead is weaker. We always suggest asking for transparency when shopping for dog gear - if a brand is sharing the strength of their buckles and clips, ask them how strong the entire item is!

mixed breed border collie mix rescue dog wearing a twiggy tags adventure collar in aurora, a bright multi-coloured bold design with pink, green, yellow, red and blue. the collar has a large o-ring which is a safety feature alongside the strength tested collar

Are there any other safety features my dog gear should have?

At Twiggy Tags, we add loads of additional safety features onto our product. As a small business of dog owners, creating dog-focussed products, safety is absolutely essential for us. 

Locking lead clips

At our first outdoor show as a team, Finley the Border Collie was attached to a camping stake next to our gazebo with a comfy bed and a double ended lead with "trigger clips." We were chatting with a fellow exhibitor, and before we knew what had happened, we saw Finley sniffing around about 20m away from us! The clips were not broken, nor was his harness, the clips had just twisted off as he rolled on the ground to scratch his back.

These type of clips are a very classic design, and easily the most popular on the market. Unfortunately, when these clips are paired with a D-ring on a collar or harness that has edges, which is the case for Twiggy Tags harnesses as well as many of the most popular brands of harness on the market, they can very easily catch and unclip. 

As soon as this incident happened, we started on working on developing a locking clip, first with our manual screw lock carabiner, and now moving to our auto-locking lightweight carabiner. 

And it's not just us! Locking clips have since taken the market by storm, with even the biggest names on the market making the switch! 

AirTag, ID Tag and Tracker Compartments

Our harnesses have a pouch where you can slot in an Apple AirTag, your dog's ID tag if your dog doesn't wear a collar/if you want two ID tags on for safety, or any alternative small tracking device. 

These just adds an extra touch of safety if your dog is off lead!

Added Safety Features

Our collars have an extra safety fail-safe feature added to them, where if for any reason you don't quite buckle it properly, the buckle can catch in the O-ring so the collar doesn't fully come off, giving you a few crucial seconds to get it clipped properly.

Our close-control leads have an extra handle close to where the lead attaches to your dog so you can hold them closer to you walking through busy places, walking close to the road, or more control over your reactive dog.

Our award-winning TrailFinder Multi-Way Leads are one of the safest leads on the market for so many reasons! They can be used as a secure tether when out and about, and they are brilliant for rescues because you can attach the lead to both the dog's collar and their harness, ensuring security for houdini dogs who may slip one or the other, and also advised for rescues as they adjust to a new household, or sometimes even getting used to going out on walks for the first time at all.

Our Adventure Harness has a clip around the neck meaning you don't need to squeeze the harness over the head. This also means a more secure fit than a harness that goes over the head, because if a dog has a larger head than neck, it means the harness can be fitted to the size of the neck area making it harder for a dog to back out of. Our harnesses are also always Y-shaped in the front, ensuring no restriction of dogs shoulder joints when they're running. Read more about finding the right harness for your dog here

Night-Time Safety Accessories

Here at Twiggy Tags, we understand adventures with your dog don't stop just because the sun sets! We have a full range of rechargeable light-up accessories specifically made for walking when it's dark outside, whether this is an after work stroll through the winter seasons, or even just night-time wees in a big garden. They're also brilliant for summer camping when you're sat outside around a fire as the sun goes down. 

a black labrador camping at night wearing twiggy tags trekbright light up collar, light up lead extension and safety light

This is so much information! What are the key things to ensure my dog gear is safe?

Just remember, if a brand doesn't mention strength-tested ratings, or only mentions the strength of individual parts - ask the question! Is this item tensile tested and what strength is the item tested to?

Choose a locking clip on a lead always! They may only rarely come unclipped, but only once in a bad situation could be that one time too many! Choose the safest option and opt for a clip that locks!

If you feel you need a crash-tested harness for your car, ASK which speed and weight of dog the harness is tested to to ensure your dog is protected on all your car adventures!

two black and white border collies in the scottish highlands in the back of a pick up truck attached with twiggy tags adventure seatbelt in aurora and petrichor, a dark green and grey herringbone pattern and a bright multi-coloured pin, red, purple, yellow and blue bold design

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.