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How to Select the Best Dog Harness


Dog owners have to buy a bunch of things to ensure the healthy and happy well-being of their dogs. From food and supplements to dog beds and toys, the list doesn’t seem to end. But if there is one thing that everyone should be paying attention to, it is a dog harness. For the longest time, dog owners only used a standard leash around the neck, but it’s about time we switch to a different alternative. A dog harness is a relatively new concept and proves much safer than a leash for dogs.

However, there is very little awareness about what it is, why it is a better choice, and most importantly, how you can select a good harness. These unanswered questions come in the way of traditional dog owners to make a shift. So, to help you understand the significance of a dog harness and how you can pick buy one, here’s a guide that covers it all. Let’s get started!

First of all, what is a dog harness?

Before we get into the details, let’s get the fundamentals straight. A dog harness is a piece of wearable equipment that allows comfort to the dog. The harness is worn by the dog such that it supports the dog’s torso instead of putting all the strain on the neck. Using a dog harness is much better than simply attaching the leash around the dog’s neck. In this way, the dog does not feel the intense pressure that is otherwise created around the neck whenever the leash gets pulled.

What are the benefits of making your dog wear a harness?

Of course, the biggest benefit of making your dog wear a harness is the fact that your dog will be protected from neck injuries and will be more comfortable when on a walk. In addition to that, here are some more plus points to keep in mind:

  • Prevents joint problems
  • Reduced pulling
  • More control over the leash
  • Avoids breathing problems
  • Even distribution of pressure
  • Keeps the posture intact
  • Support to the torso

All these collectively ensure a healthy walking experience for your dog, resulting in an uplifted mood too.

Why is it essential to pick the correct harness for your dog?

As useful as a harness could prove to your dog, it can be equally damaging if you pick the wrong harness. There is nothing worse than a poorly fitted harness as it will create additional physical issues instead of preventing them. Here’s what happens if your dog is made to wear a faulty harness:

  • limited range of motion
  • Impaired movement
  • Can redirect the dog
  • Can damage the shoulder blades
  • Unnatural pressure on the chest

Considering these points, it is always best to buy your dog the harness that fits most comfortably. Let’s look at the different designs, based on which you can shortlist the ones that suit your dog the best.

Types of dog harnesses

  • Front hook:

    This harness comes with a clip that can be attached to the dog’s collar or chest. It is one of the most commonly purchased harnesses because of its quick and easy usability.

  • Full body harness:

    This harness doesn’t just focus on the upper body but also covers the lower half. It is most suitable for small-sized dogs or in the case of adventurous activities like running, hiking, swimming, etc.

  • Flat-buckle collar:

    This is yet another common choice among dog owners and is quite similar to the front hook harness. The only difference is that it has a flat buckle in the place of a hook for greater accessibility.

  • Head halter:

    This harness fits the dog along with its head and nose and is designed in a way to prevent excessive pulling. This is why it is most suitable for aggressive dogs who like to pull. Head halters prove effective in keeping your dog in the desired direction.

  • Martingale collar:

    This harness has a pair of rings at the end, one of which gets attached to a leash, such that it gently tightens the dog’s head without causing any damage. It is meant for dogs with anxiety and fear as they tend to slip away from time to time.

These are the five most common harnesses to pick from, and as you may have already understood, each design has a unique purpose. All you need to do is identify the purpose behind your dog wearing a harness, and that should be enough to make the right choice.

Some tips for selecting the perfect harness for your dog

Consider the size

Size plays a huge role in determining the kind of harness your dog needs. You cannot and should not force a harness that doesn’t fit a large-sized dog, and nor can you simply put on a loosely fitted harness for your tiny dog because that would be of no good use. The best way to find the ideal size is by physically measuring the dimensions for each strap.

Then, based on that, find a harness that is slightly bigger than the exact dimensions. And by slightly what we mean is, there should be a two-finger gap between the dog’s body and the harness. That’s how you know that the harness has fit well, without choking the dog or letting it loose.

Pay attention to the temperament

Size is not the only thing to look at because sometimes small dogs also tend to be extremely aggressive, while a large-sized dog would be the gentle one. Apart from the level of aggression, look at other factors like the dog’s behavior when outdoors, anxiety issues, characteristics like extremely distracted, fidgety, curious, and so on.

Based on these few points, you can understand the activity level of your dog and, likewise, take a call on how tight you would want the harness to be and where region it should cover.

Do a trial test

Even after considering the size, temperament, and other characteristics, if you don’t seem to understand which one would suit your dog, doing a trial run is recommendable. Simply order the harness which you think would be the best one, and try it on your dog. Make sure you keep the packaging and bills safely to return the item, just in case. \

Take your dog on a walk outdoors and actively take notes about how comfortable they are and whether the harness fits properly or not. If your dog keeps sliding out, the harness is probably loose, and if your dog doesn’t seem to walk naturally and comfortably, it is on the tighter end. After examining these key points, upsize or downsize accordingly.


All in all, your dog’s safety and comfort should always be the top priority for every owner, and to ensure both these factors, picking the right harness is something you can do. However, ensure that you make a well-researched choice after carefully examining your dog and understanding its needs. You may also consider seeking expert advice by consulting your regular vet to get the most reliable and accurate suggestion.