Small Dog Harness: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Pup Safe

What's the best way to control and keep your dog safe during walks? If you answered "put them on a leash," you'd be partially correct. Dogs indeed need to be on leashes. Most cities mandate that dogs must be on leashes in public spaces at all times. However, a dog neck leash is not particularly good for your pup.

These leashes can cause a plethora of issues in dogs. Fortunately, dog harnesses eliminate many of these potential issues. And, yes, you can get a small dog harness if your dog is one of the smaller breeds!

Here's what you need to know to keep your dog safe and secure with one of these harnesses!

Small Dog Harness: Why a Harness, Especially If My Dog Is Small?

As mentioned, dog collars can cause problems with your canine friend. However, they can be particularly problematic for smaller dogs who don't have the same neck strength as the bigger ones do.

Furthermore, small dogs like the Chihuahua or Shih Tzu can be all over the place and can dart or take detours unexpectedly. As such, these little dogs tend to pull on their collars a lot.

These problems are more significant for puppies because they don't have the same training as older dogs. They are more likely to chase after something, for example, without realizing quite what a leash does. When they reach the end of it (or the owner gently tugs it in the opposite direction), it can cause some pain and friction for the puppy.

Issues that arise from collars that are too tight or too many incidents rubbing with them include thyroid damage, ear damage, eye problems, and, of course, neck injuries!

Many owners put their pups on a leash, but if you want to be 100% sure you're giving your dog the very best quality of life, a dog harness is the better way to go!

What Types of Dog Harnesses Are There?

Broadly, there are two categories of dog harnesses and four subtypes.

The two categories are a dog vest or dog straps. A dog vest helps dogs feel more secure and reduces chafing. As the name implies, a vest wraps around the dog and makes it more secure, whereas harnesses are more minimalist, weigh less, and don't cover your dog's body. In warmer weather, you'll most definitely want a strap harness. In colder climates, a dog vest usually works better!

There are also four subtypes of harnesses. 

Back-clip harnesses position the ring where the leash connects to the dog on the top (back) of your pup. The advantage of this harness style is that you get more control over your dog. The connection point being away from your dog's neck reduces the risk of injury! One downside of these harnesses is that they typically make dogs want to pull harder. You're pulling up, so their instinct is to want to pull forward.

There typically isn't much of a pulling instinct for smaller dogs, so back-clip small dog harnesses tend to work well.

Front-clip harnesses have a similar design to the ones above, but, as you may have guessed from the name, the leash location is on the front - on the chest, to be exact. This dog harness has a distinct advantage in that it reduces your dog's pulling instinct. The disadvantage is that the leash can get tangled in your dog's legs quite a bit. If your dog is running around the park, expect to have to untangle him or her quite a bit.

Some smart harness designers decided to try and fix the problem by creating dual-clip harnesses. These have a clip at the front and the back, so you can attach the leash wherever suits your pup the best. That's an obvious advantage. However, the disadvantage is that now they're a little bulkier, and you need a double-ended leash to attach it to both ends at once.

Finally, there is the head halter style, which wraps around your dog's neck and face. This style usually doesn't make an excellent small dog harness as the risk of injury is larger.

Which Puppy Harness Should I Pick?

If you have a small dog (whether it's a puppy or a small breed), you might be wondering what type of harness is best. 

Usually, for small dogs, the back-clip harnesses work perfectly. There isn't much pull that these dogs have, and the back clip affords you more control while walking them. Plus, you don't have to worry about your pup getting their little feet tangled up on the leash! 

Small dog harnesses should also be soft and relatively straightforward to wear. Vests often work best. You don't want to spend time fighting with your canine friend to get them to go for a walk!

Small Dog Harness: Getting One Will Keep Your Pup Safe

While a leash and a collar will work, it's not the best way to keep your puppy safe. There is the potential for accidents and damage to your dog's neck, throat, and head.

Therefore, get a harness for your pet - especially when they're small! Your dog will be much happier in a harness than a collar!

How to put a harness on a puppy?

Each small dog harness is different, but most of them have similar steps. You'll need to slip the harness over your dog's head and affix it so that it sits on your dog's back. Then you'll need to slip your dog's legs through the harness and clip or buckle the harness where appropriate.

Are harnesses good for dogs?

Yes! Harnesses are arguably the safest, most comfortable way to hook your dog up to a leash. The old-fashioned leash around the neck will cause stress on your dog's neck and joints, which can lead to problems down the road.

What is the best dog harness?

The best dog harness is the one you can easily fit and that your pup likes for walks! Often, it doesn't matter the brand or type of harness insomuch as whether or not it's easy for you or your dog. After all, if it's uncomfortable or a pain to put on, you probably will wind up ditching it at some point!

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Written by Leo Roux

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