Travel Safely With Your Pets │ Center For Pet Safety

Travel Safely With Your Pets │ Center For Pet Safety


Travel Safely With Your Pets │ Center For Pet Safety

Whether it’s a simple weekend hiking trip or a whole out-of-town vacation, taking your pets when you go and travel can add a new level of fun! With the pet industry growing and growing, there are now pet products for several areas and purposes, including travel! 

There is a multitude of supplies and products that promise safe traveling for pets. Though, how can you be sure that those claims are valid? 

Those exact worries are what made Lindsay Wolko establish the Center for Pet Safety.

Travel Safely With Your Pets │ Center For Pet Safety

Lindsay founded this non-profit research and advocacy organization years ago after a traumatic experience. She, along with her dog, Maggie, was involved in a crash. The travel harness she bought for her pet did nothing to protect her from the accident. 

“That moment was so filled with trauma for both Maggie and me. I started investigating the pet product industry. I joined the industry. We did a pilot study on travel products for pets back in 2010… did some crash testing. We wanted to see if these products actually did what the manufacturer claimed they do. And that’s kinda how we got started.”


Concerns about Pet Safety during Travel 

Lindsay expressed her frustrations about the pet industry. She claims that it is highly unregulated. 

She used travel-related products to reiterate her point. 

“People don’t even know who they’re buying from when they buy them through social media. So you find them in big-box retail stores, major like Amazon products, everywhere. And pet owners just simply should not use them.”

Buying travel-related pet products such as harnesses, crates, and carriers without adequately researching the brand is dangerous. According to Lindsay, pet owners should always be cautious and on high alert when purchasing pet products in general.

“The pet industry is literally the wild, wild west.”

There are hundreds of low-cost, cheap items that can be hazardous to pets. Seeing a product at a big-name retail store is not an automatic guarantee that they are safe and effective. Typically, the cheaper ones warrant the most suspicion. 

The packaging and brand sell a false sense of security that can potentially lead to life-threatening consequences. The absence of safety standards in the pet industry and the traumatic experience she had with an incompetent pet product pushed Lindsay to do something. 

Hence, the birth of the Center for Pet Safety.


No More False Sense of Security With Center For Pet Safety

Travel Safely With Your Pets │ Center For Pet Safety

The Center for Pet Safety is a US-based non-profit organization that authored the first safety standards in the pet products industry. They launched a certification program, conducted rigorous crash testing on various pet-travel products, and helped counsel pet product manufacturers worldwide. 

“Learning about what it takes actually to contain, restrain a pet in a crash has been our mission to make sure that pet owners are safe and that the pets are protected as best as we can.” 

The CPS made it their goal to work on behalf of pet owners across the globe to solve complicated problems that affect the safety and well-being of pets

If you are looking for travel products for your pets, you can visit their official website. They have a CPS-certified tab that lists all the products and brands that passed their strict testing. 

Being a non-profit organization, the Center for Pet Safety accepts and relies on donations, grants, and sponsorships to further its efforts and mission.

CPS invites you to help them save lives, both pets and humans!

If you want to help Center for Pet Safety in achieving this goal, visit their website at 

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Lindsey: Thanks, Chris.

I’m Lindsey Wolko and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Lindsey, why don’t you start us off and you get to tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Lindsey: I am the founder of Center For Pet Safety. This organization is a nonprofit 501c3. It was founded many years ago.

My dog, Maggie was—she came home to live with us, and I didn’t have enough room in the car for her, so, she was wandering and distracting me while I was driving.

And I went to a local big box store, picked up a harness that said it would protect her and protect me if we were in a crash.

I did everything right, and then I had to slam on my brakes to avoid a crash on I66 here in the DC area, and all I heard was screaming.

So, that moment was so filled with trauma for both Maggie and me.

I started investigating the pet products industry. I joined the industry. We did a pilot study on travel products for pets back in 2010.

We did some crash testing. We wanted to see if these products actually did what the manufacturers claim they do. And that’s kind of how we got started.

And Subaru of America joined in 2013 and 2015 and funded our early research. Where we did a lot of product evaluations, gathered an enormous amount of data, and from that we authored the first safety standards in the pet products industry.

And we now have a certification program, so, we now independently certified pet travel products for pets. We started out in the US, as a US-based organization. We get reports from all around the globe.

We’re actually launching a new website here in the next couple of months where we will have a formal form that pet owners can fill out.

Chris: So, now what are the types of products— I mean, obviously, you mentioned Subaru, so I’m picturing dog harnesses or one of the things, but what are the types of products that you guys are applying this rigor and testing and verification, if you will.

Lindsey: Travel has been our sweet spot— because of every pet owner who has—you know, they have to get into the vehicle at some point with their pet and take them either to the vet or take them on travel, dogs are the number one traveling companion.

So, you want to keep your family safe and your pet safe. So, the products that pass our certification testing, they are proven in a lab to protect the human vehicle occupants and offer the best chance of survival to the pet if you are in a serious crash.

Chris: So, it sounds like obviously the travel products—I’m picturing crates and harnesses and what other types of products fall into that category?

Lindsey: So, you have travel harnesses, you have what we call pet travel seats, which are sometimes they’re an elevating booster seat.

We have a standard for those. We have carriers which are typically soft-sided, they sit on the back used for cats and small dogs, they sit on the back seat of the vehicle.

And then you have crates, that class of crates which typically goes in the back of an SUV.

Chris: It sounds like obviously, this is your mission, this is your life work to bring—just bring reasonableness and truth, right, truth in fact, to what products are safe and what products are not safe for animals.

Lindsey: Yeah, and define what safety means—you know, on behalf of the pet owner, right. So, it’s hard because there are no standards other than the ones we’ve authored in the industry.

Chris: What’s your background? Were you somebody that already was in the safety business and the process?

Tell us more about your background.

Lindsey: So, my father was a doctor of science and so, I grew up in an engineering family. I’ve learned an enormous amount in the twelve-plus years we’ve been doing this.

Typically I work as a project manager, program manager. I have a full-time job in addition to the work that I do with the Center For Pet Safety.

So, I’d like to keep my roof. I think everybody would like to do that. 

There are so many areas,but when we get pet owners to call us or reach out to us, it’s because something’s gone wrong.

We’ve had bully sticks reported, we’ve had ball toys reported, we’ve had all sorts of different toys reported. One plush toy has a zipper inside of it that we’re investigating right now.

Some are stuffed with cocoa fiber, which is a huge choking hazard concern.

So, it’s all different kinds of animals that are impacted.

Chris: From what you know now, right? From having done this for so long. What should consumers, what should people watching or listening be aware of?

Lindsey: Do your research on the brand.

Look for any kind of like— if you’re looking for products that are travel related, you can come to our website, CENTERFORPETSAFETY.ORG.

And we have a CPS Certified tab that you can go to and it lists all the brands that have passed testing.

So, you have to be very, very cautious. If you stick with your trusted brands, that definitely helps.

But buyer beware.

The pet products industry is filled with a lot of low-cost items.

Chris: Yeah, of course, if somebody is listening, they say, you know, I really love this. What can they do to help?

Can they donate to you guys, go to your website, contribute, be supportive of what the work you’re doing?

Lindsey: Yeah, definitely.

We would love contributions with the pandemic, funding has definitely taken a hit. But we have other projects that need funding. We have materials, apparatus, products.

We need to build— engineering help, we need to hire. So, all of that adds up. People don’t necessarily work for free, and I can’t say that I blame them.

But, yeah, if you know of a philanthropist who is pet friendly, we save pets and we save lives. We save human lives, too.

Chris: Lindsey, why don’t you tell people again the website where they can go to learn more and hopefully contribute to the great work that you’re doing?

Lindsey: Thank you, Chris.

It’s CENTERFORPETSAFETY.ORG, and we have our old website up there now, and we’re going to have a new website hopefully within the next two months.

Chris: Definitely, CENTERFORPETSAFETY.ORG so, people can go check it out.

And as I just wrap up the show, I always like to remind viewers and listeners, it always starts with an idea.

And that’s the case or a situation in Lindsey’s case where she had this happen and her dog was injured, and you go, wow, look at her now, almost 20 years later and trying to make a significant difference in the lives of pets.

So, maybe you have an idea for a product or service or something that’s really going to help impact our animals.

Well, we’d love to know about it. Just point your browser to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and love to have you on the show to talk about it and see what we can do to help you.

And don’t forget, please sign up to be a Dooberteer. Go to DOOBERT.COM where you can sign up to be a foster or transporter.

There’s so many different ways that you can volunteer and help animals, and we’d of course, love to have you.

So, Lindsey, thank you again for coming on this new show and really love the work that you’re doing and we want to help you out however we can.

Lindsey: Thank you, Chris, I appreciate it.

Thanks so much for the time today.

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