Experts agree that walking your dog is important and beneficial to the health, happiness and well-being of pets.
But did you ever think that you could actually be putting your pet at risk by walking using only a collar and leash?
Here are 5 reasons to ditch the collar and walk your dog with a harness instead:
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Perhaps the number one reason to use a dog harness while walking your pet is the choking hazard that is presented when attaching the leash to your pet’s collar. This is especially true for small to medium sized dogs and dogs that tend to pull a lot. When you do this, all of the strain from the leash is put on the dog’s neck.
In some cases you may hear your dog actually making horrible, choking or gagging noises and in others it may appear that the dog is not bothered by this. HOWEVER, pulling on the neck over prolonged periods of time often leads to cases of collapsed trachea in small dogs, which can require an expensive surgery to repair the damage or can even lead to death from the respiratory distress.
To avoid putting this unnecessary strain on your dog’s neck, use a harness which will evenly distribute the pulling across the dog’s shoulders instead.
Sense of Security
It’s a big world for a dog, and some dogs may feel more fearful and anxious than others by their surroundings whether they are triggered by cars, people, or other dogs. Fitting your dog with a harness can give them a sense of security by providing a gentle pressure on the dog’s torso, which is known to alleviate anxiety.
Related: Help! I Think My Dog Has Anxiety
If you think your pet could benefit from this kind of harness, check out the Puppia Soft Vest Harness, which is vet recommended and a best-seller.
Avoid Getting Lost
Pets are often lost after running away from their owners while out for a walk as the result of a collar “escape”. Using a harness that is fitted correctly can reduce the risk of your pet “escaping” and getting lost.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen pet owners walking their dogs with the leash attached to a collar that is way too lose around the dog’s neck and the collar actually starts to come up over the dog’s head. Recipe for disaster!
One of my favorite style harnesses for avoiding this is the Puppia Vest Harness B, which is a step-in dog harness that fits the dog’s body like a jacket. Select styles even come with a free Puppia Smart Pet ID Tag to help secure your pet in the event that he or she gets lost. Crisis diverted!
Safety From Other Dogs
Let’s face it, as much as we love our pets, not all dogs are friendly towards people or children and not all dogs get along.
Sometimes confrontation between dogs while out walking is unavoidable, so whether you’re trying to avoid or protect your pet from others, wearing a harness can help keep them safe. Not only will they already feel more secure just by wearing it, but if your pet has an unfriendly encounter with another dog or person, where barking and extreme pulling takes place, you’ll be able to more easily control your pet and reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others involved.
Easier to See at Night
If you were walking or riding a bike down the street at nighttime, you probably wouldn’t wear black and might even carry a flashlight or make sure your bike had a reflective light on it so others could see you. It’s the smart thing to do, right? So if the majority of your dog walking is out at nighttime, and especially if you have a dog with dark fur, you might want to consider using a reflective dog harness as an extra safety precaution.
My pick for the night owl is the Doggie Design American River Ultra Choke Free Harness, which is available in multiple colors and sizes XXS-3XL to fit dogs of all sizes.
And just for fun, let’s throw in a bonus reason why your dog should wear a harness – for the fashion sense of course! While there are many basic styles of dog harnesses, there’s just as many colorfully patterned styles that offer the same great function, but with the added cuteness or wow factor.
If your dog loves to be the center of attention, a harness can be a practical way to “dress up” and go out for a walk. The tinkie and step in harnesses by Susan Lanci Designs, for example, are absolutely gorgeous, designed with fit, function and safety in mind for the smallest of dogs, using the highest quality materials.
So if you have a furry, little princess or prince that you need to keep safe, but want to walk down the street looking like royalty, this is the brand for you.
And there you have it, folks! With all the benefits a dog harness can provide you and your pup on your doggie walks, there’s only one thing left to do – pick one!
Still not sure, which one is best for your dog? Read 4 Best Dog Harnesses That Won’t Pull On Your Dog’s Neck to dig deeper into each style of harness.