To choose among a dog collar or a dog harness can be tricky sometimes. Many have switched from a collar to a harness after ‘a dog harness is better than a dog collar’ made rounds. Well, I’m not going to take a plunge at what’s better among the two at this time. But the fact that dog harness possess dangers cannot be overlooked if you have decided to go with a harness.
There are two main reasons why harness can be so dangerous to your pooches: 1. you have chosen the wrong one. 2. You’re not putting a harness on your canine pal the right way. Keep reading this article and you will know how you mitigate the potential risks of harming your four-legged friends and in some cases, getting them killed.
Let’s see why things may go wrong and how to tackle them in a right way.
1. A Perfect Choice Matters
There are many dog harnesses available for different purposes and for different dog breeds. And it is obvious to make a mistake while choosing a right one for your doggie from a zillion products available in the market. A nice thing to remember here is not every harness that fits perfectly to your dog is actually a correct choice. Decide the harness functionality you desire and seek for one which generally suits your dog’s breed.
Let’s see an example how a wrong choice can harm your furry friend. If you randomly choose a front clip harness for your small dog breed pooch or a short-nosed dog (brachycephalic), the harness can put too much pressure on their delicate throat area. In this case, a halter with a back clip is a good alternative.
Therefore, choose a right harness for your dog and avoid the mishaps due to poor choice.
2. Know That Harness Is Not Meant to Abate Pulling
There’s a myth prevailing that harness relucts pulling. If you’re an advocate of a harness, here is a myth buster for you. Not all the harnesses are meant to decrease pulling. As per Petlovesbest.com, a harness does not, by definition, abate the pulling unless it’s specifically designed to address the problem. That said, you should not expect all the dog harnesses to restrain your pooch from pulling. In fact, some of the harnesses encourage pulling!
This directs towards the first point we discussed to make a wise choice while selecting the dog harness that addresses specific issues and desired functions.
3. Don’t Let Your Pooch Sleep with His Harness On
Your dog may not like to be on harness 24/7. There can be many reasons for that such as, 1. Constantly being in contact with harness material causes irritation. 2. A loose harness keeps rubbing on his skin. 3. A harness stuck tightly to his skin is making him feel uncomfortable and not sleep.
Moreover, a harness can get caught in something, for example, in your canine’s crate or kennel while sleeping. This increases the risk of suffocation or choking himself to death in your absence. In a nutshell, put off his leash before he doses off or when in indoors.
4. Avoid Loose Harness and Remove the Wet One from Your Pet
A loose harness keeps rubbing on a dog’s skin which may cause skin irritation and other skin infections. So, make sure that the harness fits just right, not too loose, not too tight.
A wet harness doesn’t dry up in no time, it stays wet for hours on your dog’s skin. This generally increases the risk of moisture induced skin infections such as bacterial infections, yeast infections, hot spots etc. Hence, it is always advised to check your fido’s hidden areas like armpits, chest, and shoulders as many times as possible for any chances of skin conditions.
5. How to Determine That the Harness Is Not Too Tight or Too Loose?
A loose harness can easily be examined by visual inspection. If straps or any dangling parts rub on your pooch’s skin, it shows the harness fits loose and the fitting should be corrected. On the other hand, if the harness make the rolls of the skin across the shoulders and necks, and leave indentation marks of the impression of a harness, it’s tightly fitted.
A good way to measure tightness is a ‘two-finger rule’ that says, you should be able to slide two fingers snugly. One more thing here to keep in mind is you should check the tightness regularly if you have a growing canine to see if he hasn’t outgrown.
Moreover, ill-fitting harness possesses the most dangerous risk of getting slipped out. If your dog is an escape artist, this can be a big reason to worry as he can get away and lost or can get himself into a dreadful road accident. If your pooch has a deep chest and shoulder-to-chest ratio, there can be a slack. So, make sure this is not the case with your furry friend.
6. Listen to Your Dog
Your dog can’t speak human language but you can comprehend his gestures, mood, barking, and sudden behavioral change. When you feel he is seeking help with the discomfort he got in the form of a harness, you should look for what’s suspicious.
Your dog might not be able to express his gestures as a result of tough grip of the harness. This refrains him from using his limbs to gesture. Sometimes, it is extremely painful to do so. It is your duty to listen to your canine pal and if you get puzzled with unexpected behavior, you can seek help of your friend or vet.
The controversial debate between the advocates of using collars and harness has made people forget that both of them possess their own dangers to your doggie. Many of you have switched to the harnesses. But unfortunately, the harnesses are not the substitute of the collars and they are not the safest and might put your pet in danger. Choosing right dog harness with different functions and keeping all the factors of safety I’ve included here into consideration will be enough to make your pooch happy, healthy, active, and safe.