Should Your Dog Wear a Harness or a Collar?
Nov 09, 2023
In the daily life of keeping pets, especially when taking pets out, dog collars and harnesses are essential. They can keep your dog on a safe leash and provide him with an identification tag.
Are you starting your first puppy and can't make up your mind whether to buy a dog collar or a dog harness? Or although you have rich experience in raising dogs, you cannot scientifically choose collars or harnesses, as well as the basic principles of choosing them. We think that when you make a choice, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both in detail.
In this Dogegis Dog Blog article, Pual and I (David) will help you figure out which gear you should use based on your dog’s breed, activity level, and lifestyle.
PROS OF DOG HARNESSES
Dog harnesses take pressure off your dog’s back and neck: Because harnesses fasten at the back or chest, they do not put pressure on your dog’s trachea (more on that below). This is ideal if your dog has or is prone to neck problems, a collapsing windpipe, or blocked airways. It can reduce the risk of developing these health problems.
Dog harnesses enhance the walker's and dog's comfort: Tired of tug-o-war walks that end with sore, red palms and achy joints? Consider using a back-clip dog harness. It can help you control faster dogs or giant dogs more effectively, and improve the comfort of dogs when they are walking, running and playing.
Some dog harnesses may prevent pulling: To prevent this, you'll want to use a front clip-on harness. When your dog pulls on the leash, it turns to one side, so it stops.
A dog harness is much safer: there is a chance that your dog may break free from the collar and run into the street influencing others or fighting with other dogs. Because the dog harness can be fixed more firmly, it will be safer.
Dog Harness Helps You Train Your Dog: When training your dog, if your dog is agitated or cranky, they may get around you on the leash, or get tangled up in the leash. At this point the leash is wrapped around their neck or leg. A dog harness is a good way to prevent this from happening.
CONS OF DOG HARNESSES
The dog harness is not very convenient to wear: Compared with the collar, the dog harness is more complicated to wear, so you need a harness that is easy to put on and take off.
Some dog harnesses can make dogs feel uncomfortable: dog harnesses are relatively heavier than collars. Some dogs have arthritis and can be uncomfortable during wearing, so it's important to buy a high-quality dog harness that fits your dog's needs. For older dogs with arthritis who cannot lift their legs without discomfort, make sure to use a harness with a double-sided release buckle on the chest strap.
Some dog harnesses can chafe your dog: Therefore, it is necessary to choose a good quality harness that is padded. If you have a grumpy and active dog (like our dachshund Django!), dirt and debris can also build up on the harness over time and cause discomfort. To prevent this from happening, simply wash your dog's harness at least once a month.
Harness without tension can change the dog's walking posture: A harness without tension can make it more difficult for the dog to move the shoulders, potentially changing the natural way of walking.
WHEN YOU SHOULD USE A DOG HARNESS
If you have a senior dog and/or long-bodied dog breed at risk for intervertebral disc disease (IVDD): Dogs that are low to the ground like basset hounds, dachshunds, and Welsh Pembroke corgis are prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). IVDD occurs when a disc in your pup's spine bulges or bursts. The slipped disk leaks fluid that pushes against his spinal cord and nerves. It causes neck and back pain, muscle spasms, wobbling and incoordination, and rear-limb paralysis. To help prevent further damage, consider using a harness to take pressure off your dog's neck and spine.
If you have a small dog breed that is at risk of tracheal collapse: Tracheal collapse affects the trachea, or windpipe, and the lower airway, where large tubes called mainstem bronchi carry air to the lungs. The windpipe connects the lungs to the nose and mouth and is lined with rings of firm white tissue called cartilage. If the rings of cartilage become weak and flexible, they will flatten when your dog breathes in. This causes a constant, dry, harsh cough, wheezing, and gagging.
Chihuahuas, Lhasa apsos, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, toy poodles, and Yorkshire terriers are most at risk for tracheal collapse. Overweight and senior dogs also have a higher risk of developing the disease. While wide, soft dog collars cause less damage than harder thinner collars, harnesses do not put any pressure on your dog’s windpipe.
If your dog is a brachycephalic breed: Flat-faced dog breeds, like French bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs, have short, pushed-in noses and shallow eye sockets. If they pull too hard on the leash attached to their collars, their eyes may completely or partially pop out of their heads. This is called ocular proptosis, and it most commonly affects Brussels griffons and Pekinese. Brachys also have narrower windpipes and smaller nostrils. And they have a large flap of extra skin at the back of their throats. For this reason, it is recommended that snub-nosed dog breeds only wear a harness when on a leash.
If you have an older dog with health problems: Senior dogs that have arthritis or hip dysplasia have a hard time getting up or lying down. Harnesses can help you hoist them up without causing additional discomfort and pain.
If you're looking for a high quality, durable, and stylish dog harness, consider Dogegis's 5-star rated Sighthound Escape Proof Harness. The padded, lightweight, and sleek harness body is shaped to prevent any risk of chafing and maximize comfort no matter how long your outing or adventure.