Harness vs. Collar: Which Is Better For Your Pup?

Harness vs. Collar: Which Is Better For Your Pup?

Disclaimer: When choosing a collar or harness for walking and outdoor activities, always discuss any specific health issues or needs your pet has with a vet to ensure the best health and experience.

To collar or not to collar? Choosing a collar or harness for walks depends on the individual needs of you and your pup.

dog with collar

It’s always a smart idea to be knowledgeable on all things related to dog health. Let’s look at some comparisons between collars and harnesses, so you can choose the best option.

pup in red harness

Harness Pros:

– It’s an effective training tool, especially for puppies.
– Harnesses are great for specific breeds. According to Harmony Animal Hospital, “A harness is also a good option for dogs like pugs, who risk their eyeballs protruding from the sockets if too much pressure is put around their neck.”
– They provide better control over your dog because it discourages pulling and jumping.
– They keep distracted pups focused.
– They’re great for dogs with short noses, like Pugs.
– Dogs with respiratory problems and neck injuries benefit from harnesses. Dr. Ann Hohenhaus points out, “Tugging and pulling on a collar puts extra stress on windpipe and will provoke a severe coughing episode.”

pup in green harness

Harness Cons:

– Dog might not like the feeling of a harness.
– Back-clip harnesses might not be 100% effective. Dr. Sophia Yin discusses why you should look into a front-clip harness instead of a back-clip: “These harnesses actually help train your dog to ignore you and pull you because when you pull on the leash to try to gain some control, they direct the dog’s attention away from you.”

lab on leash

Collar Pros:

– They’re good for pups who dislike the feeling of a harness and crave comfort.
– They provide visibility and function. Dr. Yin notes, “Collars are the most convenient to slip on and off and are handy because they can hold your dog’s identification, rabies, and license tags.”

New York

Collar Cons:
– They’re not ideal for training.
– Any slight pulling could increase the likelihood of a neck injury.
– They create eye pressure. Dr. Yin explains: “According to a study in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2006, pressure generated when dogs pull while wearing these collars raises the pressure in the eye. As a result, it may worsen the clinical signs or disease progression in dogs with glaucoma.”
Positively also outlines more severe problems such as thyroid issues (the collar could damage the gland), behavior problems due to pain and injury, and ear and eye issues from neck pressure.

basenji on leash

There are benefits to using both collars and harnesses. Pups should always wear a collar for visibility and identification purposes, but it depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle on whether harness or collar driven walks are right for you.

Featured image via Trev Bowling and H/t via Harmony Animal Hospital, Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Ann Hohenhaus and Positively