By Ruby Smith @ PetSoFun.com
Do you often get caught in the dilemma of whether you ought to walk your pooch with a dog harness or with a collar? This question is crucial, and every dog owner should keep in mind the comfort, convenience, and safety of their dogs when seeking its answer.
I know that resisting limitless designs and colors of personalized collars is not easy. However, I always recommend a dog harness over a collar because it offers the best interests for your dog.
To choose between a dog harness and a collar, the right decision should not be based on style. Collars may provide an effective means of holding your dog’s registration and name tag for identification, but they might not be reliable at all times.
The majority of experienced dog owners, myself included, would recommend a dog harness over a collar for your daily dog walk.
Why so? Read on to find out.
1. A Dog Harness Offers Better Control
As you probably already know, not all dogs remain calm when on a retractable dog leash. Some are very hyperactive. A dog might be tempted to lunge toward other canines as you walk on the sidewalk, to dive after birds, or even make an effort to charge at your neighbor’s cat. It means your dog is having fun, and that is perfectly okay until such hyperactivity puts her in trouble.
With a dog harness, you get better control over your active dog as you hold the leash. As opposed to a collar which only steers the dog by pulling her neck, a harness gives you total control over her whole body (1).
Mainly, a big hyperactive dog is controlled with ease when on a dog harness. I love to use the harness on my rambunctious dog when taking a walk especially through busy locations where she is notoriously active.
2. A Dog Harness Minimizes Neck Strain
If your canine is fond of pulling, she is exposed to more significant injury if she is walking on a collar. By pulling, there is a considerable strain on her neck which could result in severe damage. Often, the injury sustained from collars on dog necks in not obvious or sudden, but rather a gradual deterioration which leads to severe injury.
When your dog is excited, she will keep pulling to achieve the moment’s satisfaction without realizing the actual hurt on her body. However, over time, your dog might exhibit subtle signs of discomfort which indicate a severe injury.
Is your dog small in size? If it a Miniature Pinscher or Chihuahua, for instance, it is at a higher risk of neck injuries if she has a collar around her neck. Small dogs have incredibly delicate neck bones.
Therefore, a single sharp pull on her leash could result in severe pain. A harness is essential as it distributes the strain over a large body area to protect your dog from possible injury (2).
3. A Dog Harness Discourages Pulling
The whole point of having a retractable dog leash on your dog is to be in control over the direction of movement. You are responsible for walking the dog, and not the dog walking you. Your dog could pull on the leash incessantly thereby making a walk down the sidewalk feel like an intense workout involving your upper body. If your dog successfully pulls you and you obligingly follow, then you’d have sent the message to your dog that pulling is a way of determining the direction you take during your walk.
With a collar, all you may seem to do is keep up the pace with a forward progressing canine. However, the dog harness discourages your dog from pulling and having her way during your walk. A dog harness effectively redirects your dog’s momentum. When the dog pulls, the harness automatically hauls her in the opposite direction. As a result, your dog stays safer under your direction of movement.
Collars have the general rule of the ability to fit two fingers between your dog’s body and the collar material. Such space ensures that the collar is not too tight. It also minimizes injury on your dog.
However, if you have a determined canine, she will take advantage of such a comfortable collar. How? Well, you could be slightly distracted, and your dog will easily maneuver her head up the collar and sprint away. If your dog has a small but thick head or if she is wiggly, the chances are that she can artistically escape from her leash as you walk. The physical danger of a stray, leash-free dog is imminent.
On the other hand, a dog harness covers and securely fits your dog’s body in place. A harness goes around the dog’s chest, front legs, and the shoulders. Subsequently, your dog cannot escape artistically (3).
5. A Dog Harness Discourages Ocular Proptosis
Ocular proptosis is a condition where a dog protrudes her eyeballs out of the eye sockets. The disease can be diagnosed with ease: the dog’s eyes appear to bulge out of the head and extend beyond the eyelids. Blunt head trauma typically causes ocular proptosis. However, in some breeds of dogs, the condition is triggered by neck strain (4).
Collars are associated with more neck strain. Use a dog harness to avoid possible ocular proptosis complications and pain.
6. A Dog Harness Discourages Respiratory Complications
Any neck strain on your dog can be painful. However, did you know that such tension could worsen your dog’s respiratory problems?
Excessive pressure on the neck means that the windpipe is squeezed. This makes it difficult for your dog to breathe. Such dogs are bound to experience coughing fits whenever they are led on a walk on a leash.
Tracheal collapse may be worsened, especially in small breeds. The collar could trigger the malformation or weakening of the cartilage making up the trachea. A dog harness serves to minimize the pressure exerted on their high-sensitivity necks during walks.
A Dog Harness Should Be Used Only to Walk Your Dog
Even with the above strengths of the dog harness over the collar, the harness should be used when walking your dog, and not every other time when you wish to restrict your dog. Unless you are taking your dog for a walk, avoid having the harness to minimize possible skin irritation around and under the armpits and chest.
Having the harness on at home could raise chances of tracheal collapse due to more extended periods of harness use.
Also, the harness should be taken off when your dog goes to bed. This will minimize chances of your dog getting chocked. The harness could thus be both uncomfortable and hazardous.
Lastly, the harness should be avoided at home to minimize the possibility of skin infection on your dog. The harness becomes wet when left on your dog for a long time, and this could promote disease (5).
In conclusion, a dog harness is a safer and more convenient option over a collar. When both are fitted to a retractable dog leash, the dog harness discourages respiratory complications, discourages ocular proptosis, minimizes the risk of escape from leash restriction, discourages pulling, minimizes neck strain, and offers better control.
Get a dog harness which fits your dog size, training level, and personality and keeps your dog safe and comfortable while on your walk.
Author Bio: Ruby Smith is the proud owner of Pet So Fun. She is also responsible for the abundant content creation on the website. She knows that there are millions of pet owners looking for the right kind of information online. And this is where her expertise lies. Smith writes about pet care health and fitness along with the best pet product recommendations. There is nothing on her blog that doesn’t encourage others to create a healthy and friendly environment for their pets. Visit the PetSoFun website, and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.