What is safer for your dog, a harness or collar?

Are you wondering what’s safer for your dog: a collar or harness? It all depends on your dog and the situation. Below is a list of ways to decide if a collar or harness would be more comfortable and safe for your dog. 

Here is when to use a dog collar instead of a harness.

If your dog doesn’t pull or jump, and doesn’t have any type of respiratory issues, you might want to go the route of a traditional collar. Why? Collars are more comfortable for the dog, and they’re easier for the pet parent to put on and take off. It’s especially true if your dog is prone to escaping the house or yard because he has to wear his collar with ID tags on at all times. And a harness just isn’t going to be as comfortable for all-day use. Collars are also more comfortable for pups with long fur, as hair can get tangled up in a harness. 

Check out this list of the best dog collars >>

Here is when to use a dog harness instead of a collar.

If you’ve been diligent about leash training and your pup still pulls and jumps during walks, a harness is the way to go. Collars can increase the risk of neck injuries, especially for toy breeds. If your dog tugs while wearing a collar, it can lead to coughing episodes from the strain on your dog’s neck. Whereas a harness won’t. Harnesses also cause less restriction for breeds prone to respiratory problems or tracheal collapse like pugs, shih tzus, toy poodles, Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas and Pomeranians.

If you have a puppy who isn’t fully trained yet, a harness is ideal. If your furbaby jumps or lunges during walks, then a harness will provide you with more control, allowing you to stop your dog quickly without causing injury.

A car! A squirrel! A bike! If you have a dog who is easily distracted during walks, a harness is the best fit. A harness will help keep your furry friend looking forward, rather than, well, in every other direction. Just a swift tug on the harness lets your dog know that you mean business—without hurting him. 

Check out this list of the best dog harnesses >>

Pro tips for using dog collars and dog harnesses

  • Whether using a collar or a harness, your pup should always be wearing identification tags. Microchips are important, but they aren’t a catch-all solution.
  • When leash training any dog, pulling and jumping are not fun for you, the pet parent. Whether he has on a collar or harness, training is necessary so you both can enjoy safe walks together.
  • Both collars and harnesses should be taken off during playtime and nap time. Collars can easily get caught on things (like the holes in a crate), causing your dog to choke.
  • If you have a broad-necked or small-headed dog who wears a collar, be careful as they can duck out of them.
  • No-pull harnesses could be detrimental to a dog’s structure and gait

We hope this list has been helpful when debating if a collar or harness is better and safer for your dog. Every dog’s temperament and size is different, and this post is just a guide to help you in your decision making.


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