When it comes to walking your dog, you have a choice on where to attach their leash: a collar or harness. Some dog owners prefer collars, some prefer harnesses. But is it just a matter of taste, or is there a good reason to choose a harness over a collar? Are dog harnesses good for dogs?
The answer is yes! Here are some ways in which dog harnesses are better than traditional collars.
Harnesses Don’t Put Pressure on Your Dog’s Neck
Dog collars that go around the neck are great, but they aren’t necessarily the best choice for dogs that pull. That’s because when dogs pull and strain against a collar, the collar can cause injury to the neck area.
Straining on the trachea (windpipe), which sits at the front of the neck, can cause your dog to choke, gasp, and lose their breath. Tracheal collapse, where the trachea narrows over time making breathing difficult, is progressive and fatal. Although dog collars are rarely the immediate cause of tracheal collapse – it’s most likely a congenital issue – pressure from a dog collar can injure the already delicate area and make the problem worse. This condition is more common in smaller breeds like chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire terriers, and Pomeranians, which is why many people consider a harness preferable to a dog collar in these breeds.
Pressure from a dog collar can also lead to raw skin, trauma to the thyroid gland, ocular proptosis (where the eyes bulge out), and even an increase in the risk of developing glaucoma,according to a 2006 study.
Taking the pressure off your dog’s neck to avoid injury is the main advantage of a harness over a collar. If your dog pulls on the leash, whether regularly or occasionally, and especially if they’re a smaller breed, a dog harness is a good choice for you and your dog.
Harnesses Give You More Control
Many dog owners report that a dog harness gives them greater control over their dog, especially the front-clip kind. Because a harness clips around the front legs, chest, and back, there are more points of contact than with a collar alone. This is a big benefit for people with large breed dogs, like Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, and German Shepherds.
This increased level of control is also helpful when training a puppy to walk well on the leash. They’ll learn that pulling doesn’t accomplish anything, so it’s less likely to become a habit. Instead, they’ll get used to walking by your side with a loose leash, which is exactly what you want!
Harnesses Can Prevent Getting Tangled Up
A back-clip harness where the leash attaches to a D-ring on your dog’s back prevents puppies and older dogs from getting their front legs tangled up in the leash. This feature is especially helpful if you’re walking multiple dogs at once, as it means they won’t get tangled up in each other’s leashes, either!
Harnesses Help with Some Medical and Mobility Issues
Dogs with arthritis or other joint issues, who have lost a limb or the use of a limb, who are recovering from surgery, and many other medical reasons can benefit from wearing a harness over a collar.
You can find specialty harnesses created with these dogs in mind. Many have features that distinguish them from standard dog harnesses, such as extra padding on the back and chest area, and handles that you can use to help support and lift your dog up if they’re struggling.
Collars Still Have a Place
Even if you’ve decided to attach your dog’s leash to a harness rather than a collar, don’t abandon the collar entirely. Keep a collar on your dog at all times with their ID tag and rabies tag. If you and your dog are ever separated, that vital information can help someone return your dog to you.
Shop Dog Collars and Harnesses
For a HUGE selection of dog collars and dog harnesses, check out Hot Dog Collars. We carry over 870 styles of dog collar, many of which can be personalized with your dog’s information for increased safety. We also carry over 900 styles of dog harness in all kinds of colors and patterns, so you will surely find the perfect one for your pooch! Plus, if you’re new to harnesses, check out our blog on different types of dog harnesses.