Whether you're a new dog owner or just looking to make walks more comfortable and enjoyable for your pet. Selecting a harness for your dog can be a bit daunting! As there are many styles on the market to suit pets of different temperaments, sizes and activity levels. Although most dogs happily wear a collar, they can be easy to slip out of and unsuitable for dogs with breathing issues. Harnesses fit around your dog's chest and behind their back legs and mean that pressure is more evenly distributes across your pet's body, reducing pressure on their necks. This guide will help you to decide what type of harness will be the best fit for you and your dog.
How to measure your dog for a harness
When buying a dog harness online it is important to measure your dog first to ensure it is a comfortable fit. To measure your dog for a harness you need to measure the broadest part of a dog’s chest, this is usually right behind the dogs armpits. If your dog is between sizes it is always get the bigger size. As harnesses are usually very adjustable can always adjust the harness to make it fit tighter, but if it is too small then you may not be able to use it at all.
What type of harness is best suited to my dog's needs?
If you are looking at getting a harness for your dog one of the first things you need to decide is what is the main purpose that you will be using this harness for. Is it just for your daily walks, to help with your dogs pulling, to keep them safe in the car, for tracking or dog sports or just to help your pet walk more comfortably or in style. These days there is a huge range on the market all with different designs, materials and styles so it is important to do your research to get one that best meets you and your dogs needs.
A standard dog attaches to the leash on the dogs back this distributes the force of the leash against a dog’s chest and back like the Ezydog QuickFit Harness or the Rogz Belts Utility Harness. This design works well for small dogs or dogs who walk gently on the leash. However, it’s not the best option for a large, strong dogs because it allows them to pull hard against the leash and creates a sled effect. These harnesses are idea for brachycephalic breeds (short nosed) or dogs with collapsed trachea's as they keep pressure off the dogs neck and throat.
Step In Harness
It can be hard to put a harness on some dogs as not all dogs are used to having things put over their head. For some dogs, the idea of having a foreign object slipped over their head or around their neck sends them into panic. But good news, there are a range of easier to fit step in harnesses which are great for nervous dogs who don't like things being put over their heads. These harnesses are especially designed to be easy to fit making getting ready for your walk a much more stress-free experience. These harnesses come in a variety of materials and styles, there are soft step in harnesses like the Fuzzyard Step-in Harness or more tradition nylon harnesses like the Hunter Neopren Vario Dog Harness. Added features to look out for are traffic handles which are useful for grabbing your dog when off leash, helping them up when hiking or holding them close in high traffic areas. The EzyDog Convert Harness features a soft touch traffic handle to give you extra security and control over your dog, this harness is a great option for active dogs as it is both street and trail ready.
Front Clip Harness
A front-clip harnesses has the leash attachment in the centre of the dog’s chest, this harness is often also referred to as a no-pull harness. As these harnesses are often chosen for training puppies, retraining a rescue dogs or for use with strong dogs with bad leash-walking habits. By having the leash attachment on the dog's chest these harnesses give the owner more control over the direction the dog is moving. When the dog pulls it will be redirected towards the owner instead of allowing them to pull ahead. These harnesses are a great way to encourage loose leash walking or to aid in training your dog to not pull on the leash. They come in a range of styles like the Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness or the Halti Harness which both give allow you to control the dog from their chest or shoulders.
No Pull Harness
There is a variety of harness designs as well as front clip harness that are designed to stop dogs from pulling. Many of these harnesses work to discourage dogs from pulling by gently tightening and applying pressure when the dog pulls on the leash. These harnesses are especially good for strong dogs that often escape collars or soft harnesses. An example of one of these harnesses is the Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Harness which is an easy to fit step in harness that is an easy fix for dogs that pull on the lead. Although it is more of a band-aid solution that needs to be used alongside other training methods to ensure your dog learns loose leash walking.
A car harness is designed to secure and protect your dog in the case of a car accident. These harnesses come in many designs and generally attach to your cars seat belt to restrain your pet. These harnesses can also come in versatile designs that double as walking harnesses such as the Masterpet 2 in 1 Car Harness For Dogs that attached to any car seat belt to help prevent injuries as well as having a D ring for use as a comfortable walking harness. But if you are looking for the top of the range dog car harnesses you need to go for a crash tested car harness like the EzyDog Drive Harness that is crash tested to USA, Europe & Australian standards. On this harness all webbing is made from vehicle-tested seat belt webbing and the Crosslink Technology ensures that the harness is the ultimate in strength.
Harnesses are used a lot for dog's that do tracking or search and rescue work, as they do not put pressure on the throat and restrict breathing like collars do. The key thing to look out for when selecting a tracking harness is to ensure that this harness does not restrict your dog’s breathing or shoulder movements. Something that has a front chest plate like the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness is a good option as it has an ergonomic EVA chest plate that conforms to your dog's chest for a comfortable fit without restricting shoulder movements. Tracking harnesses should also be lightweight, so it does not weigh the dog down. As well as being well padded to give your dog additional comfort and to help to avoid skin rubbing and irritation. There are also a range of specialist leather and nylon tracking harnesses on the market through international store for more professional use.
All dogs should have a harness as well as their regular collar as they are a much more effective and safe way to walk your dogs. And if a front clip harness is used they can be a great tool to aid you in teaching your dog to walk nicely on a loose lead. Although even if your dog is good at walking on a loose lead a harness is a must have as it relieves the pressure from your dog's neck and takes away the risk of neck injuries for your pet. Harnesses are a versatile piece of kit for dog owners.