You wouldn't believe how many times we've heard stories about people buying dog harnesses from department stores, or grabbing the first harness that catches their eye on a shelf or a site, only to regret it later.
Not all dog accessories are created equal! That goes double for dog walking accessories. Our pups spend a lot of time out and about, and the wrong equipment can turn what should be a happy outdoor adventure into a painful experience for any dog and their human.
We know choosing the right dog harness can be difficult, whether you're shopping for your first puppy or simply looking for something new. That's why we created this guide to help make the process easier.
The I Llama my Mama and Don't Quit Your Daydream reversible dog harnesses
Why a dog harness?
Let's answer the most obvious question first: why pick a harness over a collar? After all, while there's evidence dog harnesses have been in use for thousands of years, most of us have grown up walking our dogs on a collar and lead.
There are actually several reasons.
The first is safety. Even the best-behaved dogs sometimes need to be restrained while on a walk. In such situations, a dog collar can put significant force on your pet's neck. One unlucky tug can be enough to cause serious injury to the dog's windpipe.
A dog harness, on the other hand, evenly distributes pressure to reduce pain or injury, while still allowing the dog to be restrained. Thanks to its positioning around the chest, a harness also makes it much more difficult for your dog to slip out of its restraint. That certainly puts our mind at ease.
The second reason is related to behavioural benefits. Uncomfortable collars have been associated with dogs acting out on walks. Makes sense, doesn't it? If someone tied a ball and chain around my neck every time I left the house, I wouldn't be too pleased either!
Finally, there's the comfort of your dog to consider. Owners often find their pups relaxing when they strap on a harness. That's not only because they know it means they're about to head out on a journey (though that's surely part of it). It's also because dogs love the feeling of being wrapped up! Harnesses give many dogs the same sense of security and calm as a good dog bed that conforms to their shape, or a great big hug from their human! Who wouldn't want that for their pawfect pal?
What to look out for when picking a dog harness
Now that we understand why it makes sense to go with a harness, it's time to look at what makes some better than the rest.
While harnesses offer a safer alternative to collars, some designs may bring their own risks. If straps are positioned across the shoulders, as is common with many no-pull harnesses, a dog's normal gait can be disrupted. Over time, this restriction in motion can potentially lead to shoulder pain, inflammation, and even arthritis.
With this in mind, it's important to consider harnesses designed to keep your dog's shoulders free of restriction. You'll notice our reversible harnesses are shaped to avoid impacting both the neck and shoulders.
Leash clip location
Front-positioned leash clips can help turn a dog's attention back to their human, however the positioning can feel a little awkward.
Pawfect Pals' dog harnesses feature their leash clip on the back, between the shoulder blades, providing an alternative that both dog and human often find more comfortable.
Picking the right size
Picking the right size of dog harness can be tricky, especially when you only have a few sizes to choose from and their dimensions overlap. Buy too big and your dog can easily slip out. Buy too small and the harness will hurt them.
We offer up to seven sizes of each reversible dog harness, and sell extra waist straps to keep your pup comfortable as they grow. Simply pick a design you like, follow our easy sizing guide, and you can be confident in your choice!
Choosing the right material
Allow us to repeat what we said at the start of this article: not all dog accessories are created equal. While dog harnesses made of materials such as polyester and nylon are strong and often cheaper, they are more likely to chafe and irritate your dog's skin.
Pawfect Pals make our harnesses out of neoprene, a lightweight rubber-like material that doesn't rub and keeps moisture off the skin. Nothing's too good for our pups!
Now that you have all the information you need, why not put it to use and check out our collection of reversible dog harnesses?
Have any more questions about picking the perfect harness for your dog? Leave a comment or send us a message. We're always happy to help!