Dog Harness vs. Collar: Safety Pros and Cons of Each

Walking your dog might be one of the most important and enjoyable parts of your day. Your furry best friend loves it when you come home and take the time to spend some quality time outdoors.

You can expect that your furry friend, who spent all day cooped up inside, would look forward to your evening strolls. And if you are like most dog owners, you are using a collar or a harness to keep control of your dog when you are taking a walk.

What we do not realize is that each has its advantages and disadvantages. We actually may take for granted the impact a harness or collar has on our dog.

Let us read on to learn the pros and cons of each:

Pros of Dog Collars

A dog collar is the most basic pet accessory and one of the first things a dog owner will buy when they get a new puppy. A collar has a place for an ID badge where you can put your pet’s name and your contact information in case your pet gets lost. You can even put your pet’s rabies vaccination information on the collar.

There are many different kinds of collars; they can differ in size, material, and shape, among other things. Interestingly, dog collars are not one size fit for all; different breeds require different types of collars depending on their size, coat length, and strength, etc. Welovedoodles.com lists the best dog collars according to breed, dog strength, and even technology! You will be amazed to see collars that vibrate or have GPS trackers in them! 

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Walkin’ Wheels Wheelchair
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Walkin’ Lift Rear Harness
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Walkin’ Drag Bag

Now let’s look at the advantages of dog collars:  

1.      Better Control

A collar will give you better control over your dog. They require less physical strength for you to control your dog as compared to harnesses. If your dog is large in weight, then you may want to consider this when you are deciding between a harness and a collar.  

2.      Better to Train Your Puppy

Dog trainers recommend that you use a collar vs. a dog harness when you first try and train your puppy. A four feet leash attached to the collar is the best. Positive reinforcement in combination with a short leash is the best way to train your puppy to walk next to you.

3.      Easy to Put on and Off

Collars are easy to put on your dog and take off. It is easy for your pet to adjust to them as compared to a harness, which covers more of your dog’s body. A collar is just around the neck and in no time can come off and on. If you are in a hurry and have an over-excited animal then a collar will be easier to put and take off as compared to a harness.  

Cons of Collars

  • If the collar is too loose, your dog might wiggle out.
  • If you use a corrective collar like a choke collar or prong collar, it might cause neck injury and even strangulation.
  • When you pull on a collar, it might cause pain to your dog.

When buying a collar, you need to make sure it fits your dog properly. To do that, after putting the collar on your dog, you should be able to put one finger inside the collar. If you have a large breed, then you should be able to fit two fingers.

Pros of a Dog Harness

A harness, unlike a collar, fits on the body of your dog. They cover your dog’s chest, shoulders, and upper back. This results in energy being dispersed among a large area instead of just around the neck of your dog.

There are different kinds of harnesses and a no-pull harness, which will help control your dog from taking the lead.

Pros of a harness include:

1.      Harnesses Are More Comfortable for Your Dog

Harnesses are more comfortable for your dog because there is pressure is not concentrated around your dog’s neck.

Because the harness is not pulling on the neck, it will prevent many conditions that can result from hard pulling. For example, collapsed trachea and restricted airways can result if a leash is pulled too tightly on a collar around a dog’s neck.

2.      Better for Dogs with Back Pain and Back Issues

If you have a dog that has back problems, then a harness is better than a collar. A harness will not put pressure on your dog’s back.

3.      Prevents Dog from Slipping Out

A harness will help prevent your dog from slipping out, which is a common problem with collars. If your collar is not fitted properly, it can be too loose and can result in your dog slipping out. When you are walking on a busy street or in a public place, this can result in tragedy. A harness is safer and more secure.

Cons of Harnesses

  • It can be uncomfortable for dogs, especially in hot weather.
  • It takes a lot more time to put on and take off.
  • Requires more physical strength to control your dog if your dog is big in size and weight as compared to you.

When buying a harness, you need to look at the different kinds to see which would be the best fit for your dog. You can buy a front-clip, standard, and step in. The fit test is the same for a harness. You need to make sure you can fit your finger between the harness and the skin of your dog.

Harness or Collar, Which is Better?

So, which one is better for your dog and you? To answer this question, you need to decide what would be best for your dog. A happy dog means a happy owner. Doing a little bit of research will help you see what is available in the market.

Either way, you need to make sure whatever you are using does not cause injury to the neck, back, or shoulders of your dog. Making sure that your harness and collar are not pulling is a good test and will ensure that you and your furry friend are enjoying that walk.

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