Choosing the perfect harness for your dog can be a daunting task, but at Millie’s Paws we’re here to make it easy.
There are so many reasons why you should choose a harness over a collar, the main one being to prevent choking for your dog. If your dog is prone to pulling, then you definitely need to consider a harness. Traditional collars tend to choke when your dog pulls on it whereas a harness will distribute the weight evenly across the chest.
When buying a harness for your dog, you need to ensure it fits correctly. If you put an ill-fitting harness onto a dog, you run the risk of the animal slipping out of the harness if it’s too big. If too small, it may put pressure on the dog’s neck instead of distributing it over their chest area, ultimately resulting in injury.
How to find the perfect fitting harness
To ensure you get the best fitting harness you need to measure different areas of your dog.
- Chest: Measure around the body of the dog with a tape measure. You should be starting at the bottom and widest part of the rib cage and going up and over the back, and then back down to where you started.
- Neck: Wrap the tape around the thickest part of your dog’s neck and take that measurement. It should be the part right on top of the shoulders, not where the collar would usually be worn, which is narrower.
- Weight: While chest and neck measurements are the most accurate ways to fit a dog, many harness companies use weight to guide sizing.
*Tip: If you’re having trouble getting your furbaby on the scale, weigh yourself first, then pick up your pooch and weigh the two of you together. The difference will be the weight of your dog.
As size guides may change from brand to brand, for virtually any harness, the sizing instructions will be situated on the back of the box or in the online product description. The size ranges will usually overlap, therefore if your dog’s measurements fit two sizes for both the neck and chest it is usually better to opt for the larger size.
Choosing the right harness
As well as ensuring you pick the correct fitting harness you need to make sure you pick the right type of harness, over-head or step-in.
The over-head harness usually contains a variety of adjustable straps, including the ones that fit around the dog’s neck. Simply pull the harness over your dog’s head and fasten the belly straps to the shoulder straps.
As stated in the name, your dog just simply steps into this harness and straps fit around the top and bottom of the front legs. The clips are then pulled up and over the shoulders and usually fasten with a clasp.
Once the harness is on, whichever type, tighten the straps to ensure it fits snugly. To ensure the harness fits correctly it can be checked by placing two fingers between the dog and the harness. If more than two fit here, it’s too loose. If you can’t fit them, it’s too tight. This is a rule to follow on all harness types.
Signs of a poor fitting harness
If you’re still unsure whether your dog’s harness fits correctly there are some signs to look out for;
- Dog can wiggle free
- Chafing around the harness area
- Losing fur around harness area
- Dog strongly resisting walking
- Back piece of harness rotating to sides
If you’re still unsure about measuring your dog and picking the right harness yourself, visit us in-store with your dog and our wonderful team at Millie’s Paws will be delighted to carry out the harness fitting for you.