Every dog needs something to attach their leash and tags to but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a collar. In fact, for some dogs, a collar can be dangerous, and a harness is a better choice.
Though they come in many designs, shapes, and sizes, all dog harnesses are essentially the same in that they attach around the dog’s chest, leaving the neck free. Here are some reasons a harness might be better than a collar for your dog.
Medical Reasons for a Dog Harness
A harness is a better choice for some dogs due to medical reasons. It keeps pressure off the throat and neck, which is good for:
- - Snort-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs like pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, and bulldogs who are prone to respiratory distress
- - Breeds prone to tracheal collapse like Pomeranians, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire terriers, and Chihuahuas
- - Dogs with existing respiratory disease
- - Dogs with neck injury
Finally, special harnesses with a handle on top can be helpful for dogs with difficulty standing, sitting, or walking due to arthritis, joint problems, or an amputation, to give them assistance.
Anatomical Reasons for a Dog Harness
Harnesses are a good alternative to martingale collars for dogs with slim heads, like greyhounds, whippets, Afghan hounds, and Salukis that can easily come out of their collar.
A harness is also a good choice for “escape artists” who seem to get out of their collar no matter what!
Training and Straining
Harnesses are often selected over collars for dogs who pull and strain on the leash. This can be uncomfortable for the dog and in some extreme cases even cause severe damage. Using a dog harness is an easy way to keep control of a dog who strains on the leash without having to worry about damaging their neck and throat.
A harness is also a good tool for puppies or for older dogs who need to work on obedience. It offers better control, and your dog is less likely to get all tangled up.
Fun and Games
You may have seen videos of dog whisperer Cesar Millan rollerblading with his dogs. Sometimes they even pull him along! If you plan on doing the same, definitely get a harness for your dog. The added force of pulling your body weight, even on wheels, is too much for a collar, which can harm the neck. Many weekend warriors also prefer a harness for their dogs when going on long hikes and treks in rougher terrain.
Of course, you can always use a regular collar for daily walks and save the harness for special occasions. There’s no reason not to use both!
Finding The Right Dog Harness
You can always talk to your vet about whether a dog harness is a good fit for your dog. No matter whether you choose a collar, a harness, or both, make sure the fit is snug but not tight and that your dog has the appropriate identification and medical tags on them at all times when out.