Better Off With a Pet Harness: When Your Pet Needs More Than a Collar

Does your dog love to go for walks but pulls on the leash the entire time? As canine enthusiasm is hard to contain, subsequent hacking or gagging may ensue halfway around the block. Collars secured around the neck certainly hold their own with a sizable list of “pro’s,” but a pet harness is a very worthy alternative.

No Matter What

It’s important that dogs are always easily identified. A collar is the most common choice for visibility and identification purposes, but they aren’t always the best choice for young, excitable dogs, smaller breeds, and those that pull or yank on the leash.

Pet Harness Benefits

A pet harness boasts the following attributes:

  • Suitable for young, easily distracted or frightened dogs, or toy breeds
  • Helpful when walking around (or with) other pets, people, or busy roads
  • Supportive for short-nosed breeds, like pugs or Boston terriers and those with a collapsed trachea
  • Helpful for senior dogs or those recovering from injury, as it allows for more comfort
  • Discourages pulling, yanking, and jumping
  • Ideal for training
  • Reduces the chance of injury to the eyes, neck, and respiratory system

Shopping Spree

It’s important to find the right pet harness, and we’re happy to help. Since there are products that help with every size, life stage, behavior, and support for certain injuries, purchasing the right type of pet harness is paramount to a successful transition.

The body harness is ideal for larger dogs with a stronger pull. The design takes pulling pressure off the throat, eliminating choking. Attaching the leash to the front of the harness is ideal for larger dogs who pull because it gently tightens and guides from the font, encouraging a proper heel.

Back-attaching harnesses are best for smaller breeds because they don’t necessarily require the guidance or control of their bigger cousins. Alternatively, the control harness is a great option when training dogs not to pull. The design makes a dog lift up the front paws when pulling, but it can result in shoulder soreness.


Some dogs prefer their collar to the harness, which is fine to use if they don’t pull on the leash, require training, or have respiratory problems. Just be sure that your dog’s hair doesn’t get caught in the collar or irritate the skin underneath.

A martingale collar may be a great option if you have a dog who slips out of their collar. The design gently cinches when the dog pulls or backs up, effectively preventing a dog from running loose. Many breeds, from thin-necked sighthounds to bulldogs, can benefit from this type of design.

You can switch over to the harness just for walks, keeping the collar around the neck otherwise. However you decide to proceed, always make sure your dog’s ID tags, license, and other tags are visible.

Where do You Stand?

At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we’re always curious to know what you think. Please let us know where you stand with pet harnesses and collars or if you have any questions or concerns. Happy walking!

This entry was posted in Pet Safety, The Great Outdoors and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.