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Harness or Collar - Which Should You Buy?

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by Andrew Garcia
Apr 04, 2022
3 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • What Is a Dog Collar?
  • Why Should You Buy Dog Collars?
  • What Is a Dog Harness?
  • Why Should You Buy Dog Harnesses?
  • How Do You Wear a Dog Harness?
  • How Do You Choose the Right Product?
  • Conclusion
Collars were well-known than harnesses. The former has been used as a piece of training equipment for dogs several decades before now, while the latter is getting more popular among dog owners in the current times. Choosing the better of the two can be tricky for dog owners. This piece will educate dog parents on the differences, types, and ideal uses of both harnesses and collars for dogs.

What Is a Dog Collar?

A dog collar is often worn around the neck of a dog. It is a piece of material that connects with a leash, and the combination helps restrain a dog. Primary uses of collars include restraint, identification, protection, and fashion. In addition, dog owners may include ID tags and medical information on their dog’s collars to facilitate a quick reunion if their canine friend ever escapes from home.

Why Should You Buy Dog Collars?

Here are some upsides and downsides of dog collars;

Advantages

  • It is easy to wear and remove when going on a quick walk.
  • Collars easily hold ID tags and rabies tags on your dog’s neck.
  • Collars reduce the amount of physical strength required to direct the dog while walking.
  • It can be a permanent accessory for dogs.

Disadvantages

  • Collars may be unsafe for dogs with neck injuries or similar health conditions. Always speak with your vet before wearing a collar for your dog.
  • Collars are not the most secure accessory; your dogs may escape, especially if they have close neck and head widths.
  • Collars are not the best if you have dogs that are fond of pulling. There is a pull force on the trachea and neck vertebrae when a dog wears a collar attached to a lease.
dog with a collar

What Is a Dog Harness?

The harness is another wearable accessory for dogs. It has straps that surround the torso of the dog. It is designed to guide the dog while on a walk. There are different forms of dog harness, but the basic idea remains unchanged. It helps to ensure an equal spread of tension exerted on the leash across the dog’s body.

Why Should You Buy Dog Harnesses?

Below are a few advantages and disadvantages of dog harnesses;

Advantages

  • Dog harnesses offer much more comfort. They are designed to distribute pressure from the neck evenly across your pet’s entire body. It also minimizes back pain in dogs with neck issues.
  • They are more secure than collars. Your dogs will hardly escape while wearing a harness. It also ensures the leash doesn’t get caught under the dog’s legs.
  • Dogs with tracheal collapse are better off with dog harnesses. Dogs with this respiratory condition struggle to breathe properly. Using harnesses helps prevent this situation.
  • Harnesses are recommended for puppies that cannot walk on a leash yet.
  • It protects dogs from injury arising from tugging or pulling the leash.

Disadvantages

  • It requires more effort to wear and remove than collars.
  • You need more physical strength to pull your dog with a harness.
  • Dogs may find harnesses uncomfortable when the weather is hot.
  • Your dog may pull you instead if the harness has a D-ring on the top.

How Do You Wear a Dog Harness?

It is common to see dog owners struggle to wear a harness for their dogs. It is vital to get the fit right. Otherwise, your dogs may choke or sustain injuries. In addition, your dogs will struggle to move effectively if their harness is too tight, making it difficult to walk.
There are two primary classes of harnesses: the ones the dog steps into (step-in harness) and those you have to place over the dog’s head (over-the-head harness). So the first step is to determine which type of harness you have.
Struggling to wear a harness correctly for the first time is not strange. But the steps below will help you and your furry friend get on the harness and enjoy a relaxing walk.

Step-in Dog Harness

  • Unbuckled the harness, lay it on the ground and spread out the straps.
  • Command the dog to sit behind the harness.
  • Locate the left/right tags.
  • Pull the harness to set it in the right place.
  • Buckle the clips and adjust the harness.
  • Reward your dog with a treat.
dog with a step-in harness

Over-the-head Dog Harness

  • Unbuckle the chest straps and loosen the neck straps.
  • Slide the neck loop over your dog’s head.
  • Place the bottom straps between your dog’s two front legs, right under the belly.
  • Properly fix the harness on its body, and then fasten the safety buckles on both sides.
  • You can use the 4 adjustable straps to adjust the harness.
When you choose the right size, the harness should be snug but still allow you to fit the width of two fingers between it and your dog’s body. Now you can enjoy a wonderful walk with your dog.

How Do You Choose the Right Product?

Once your vet has helped you choose between a collar or a harness, the next step is to select the right product.
The most crucial step is to get the size right. For starters, learn how to measure your dog’s neck and chest, as this will help choose the right harness or collar. The best tool for that is a tape. Once you have a size, add one or two inches to the measured size to arrive at the perfect length that is not too loose or tight.
After receiving your harness or collar, wear it on your dog and fasten the buckles to ensure a proper fit. Check if it fits properly by using your fingers. You should be able to insert one finger between the harness or collar and your dog’s skin. The space should be for two fingers if you have large-breed dogs.

Conclusion

Overall, the most important decision is choosing the product that keeps your pet safe and healthy when you are outdoors. Your vet is in the best position to help you decide between a harness and a collar. This is the first and most crucial step in getting the right accessory that ensures your pet’s safety and good health.
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