Dog harnesses vs. dog collars: the benefits

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Although regular dog walks are an easy way to win your pooch’s heart, choosing between a harness and a collar might not be quite so straightforward. With our resident vet at hand, we’re here to tackle the dog harness vs. collar debate.

What are the benefits of a dog harness?

Due to their shape, dog harnesses tend to be the preferred choice for dogs that pull or struggle to heel. Picking out a suitable dog harness, lead, or collar is important as it can impact your dog’s health. Brachycephalic breeds – such as pugs, french bulldog, and even some staffies – are known to commonly struggle with breathing problems. Because of this, they are often better suited to a dog harness instead of dog collar as it will take any pressure away from their neck. If your dog has any neck or spinal conditions, consult your vet to discuss the best harness type for them.

spotty dog walk

As well as being considered by a lot of dog owners as best to stop pulling, dog harnesses tend to be more secure than dog collars. Learning how to put a dog harness on can be tricky – but once you’ve mastered the art, your furry friend’s harness isn’t likely to budge an inch. Some dog collars, on the other hand, can slip off from around your dog’s neck, whilst others can be fitted too tightly and can impact your dog’s breathing.

If you speak to your vet and decide that a dog harness is the best choice for your four-legged friend, you’ll have plenty to choose from. From an easy-use front clip dog harness, a practical dog car harness, and a stylish tweed dog harness to the infamous juliusk9 dog harness, the choice is endless. It’s worth seeking advice on what size dog harness your pooch needs – e.g. a small dog harness is likely to fit a Pomeranian or Jack Russell whereas a large dog harness may be more suitable for a German Shepherd or Labrador.

What are the benefits of a dog collar?

It’s a legal requirement in the UK for all dogs to have a collar with an ID tag attached – even if your dog wears a harness. Dog collars aren’t restrictive, are quick to put on, and can be left on all day long. They’re ideal for dogs that don’t pull or try to slip out. Another advantage of choosing a collar over a dog harness is the abundance of dog collar options that are available. Standard dog collars, puppy collars, padded dog collars – you just name it. Just as the options for dog harnesses and dog collars are broad, the options for dog leads are broader. We’re talking fixed length dog leads, retractable dog leads, extendable dog leads, and reflective dog leads (which are handy for dog walks at night).

Golden dog

Another concern in the dog harness vs. dog collar debate is: which is more suitable for slimmer dogs? Although dog harnesses tend to fit snugly, there are plenty of dog collars and leads that you may find are a better fit for your dog’s body shape, size, and needs. Whippets and greyhounds, for example, have larger necks than heads – in this case, you may want to consider a sighthound collar. Slip/rope leads or martingale collars are also great options for staying put on your dog’s neck.

Your vet will be able to advise the best dog collar to suit your pooch and the dog walks near you. If you tend to walk roadside, they may recommend a fixed length dog lead for safety. If your dog doesn’t have a strong recall, a retractable dog lead with a collar or harness may be a better option. If you love to go jogging with your dog, there are training dog leads – as well as training collars – that may suit your needs.

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