Dog Harness Vs. Collar: What’s The Difference
Ensuring your four legged friend is safe and secure on their daily walk is one of the most important factors in caring for your dog, and the age-old debate of whether a dog harness or dog collar is better for your dog is one that is still ongoing. The truth of the matter is that both are okay for your dog, the only deciding factor is whether your dog is most comfortable with a collar or harness and in what situation both are being used for.
Keep reading as we discuss the pros and cons of both collars and harnesses and offer you advice on which is best for your dog depending on their temperament and situation. We will also highlight the variety of dog harnesses and collars that are available to shop here at Direct4Pet.
What is the difference between a dog collar and a dog harness?
Dog collars have been a staple dog accessory for many years, providing owners with a simple and effective way of securing dog leads as well as providing an easy way to identify your dog if lost. However, over the years more dog owners have started clipping their dog leads to a harness instead.
The main difference between a dog collar and a harness is that a collar is worn around just your dog’s neck whereas a harness is worn around your dog’s body - across their chest, shoulders and upper back. Both collars and harnesses can be adjusted to ensure a customisable and secure fit that is comfortable on your dog, and come in a variety of different colours and styles to suit your desired aesthetic.
Is a harness better than a collar for a dog?
Both harnesses and collars are suitable for your dog to wear. However, harnesses are often the better option when it comes to walking your dog safely. Harnesses are more secure than a collar, cause less potential injury and come in a wide range of styles to suit your dog’s needs. They also provide a better option when it comes to training your dog to walk on a lead properly as it can give you more control over your pup and ensures there is no chance of them slipping out of a collar.
However, it’s important to remember that a badly fitted harness can often be just as harmful as a collar that is too tight or is giving too much pressure when your dog pulls. Therefore you must always ensure that your dog’s natural range of movement isn’t hindered, whilst also making sure it is still fitted securely and comfortably.
What are the pros and cons to a dog harness?
To offer your further insight into the collars versus harness debate, we have outline a list of pros and cons to using a dog harness:
- No pressure on neck and trachea. Using a harness allows for pressure to be distributed evenly across a larger surface of your dog's body instead of just their neck. In turn, this can help to reduce the risk of injury especially for dog’s that pull when walking and can also help to reduce any back pain your dog may suffer from as they are well supported.
- Great for puppies. Harnesses are the best option for puppies as it allows you more control over them when walking, is great for lead training and ensures they are kept secure.
- Increased security. Generally speaking, harnesses are the more secure option as they fasten around the whole of your dog’s body, making it harder for them to slip out and ensuring they are safe and secure at all times.
- Available in a range of styles. Harnesses are great for those training dog’s in a variety of ways as there are many different styles to choose from. From anti-pull harnesses to a classic step-in Y shape harness and over-the-head harnesses, the options are endless. Depending on the size, breed and temperament of your dog, the harness you choose may differ.
- Can’t be worn all day and less convenient. Unlike dog collars, harnesses require more effort to put on as they can often be quite fiddly. It is also recommended that harnesses should be worn for walks only and not left on all day unlike collars.
- No space for an ID tag. Most collars provide a space to easily attach your dog’s identification tag, but harnesses do not offer this same feature. Therefore, if you choose a harness for walking, a collar may also need to be worn at the same time.
- May be uncomfortable for some dogs. Harnesses tend to be bulkier than collars and it may take time for your dog to get used to wearing one, especially if they are a nervous dog. If this is the case, we recommend choosing a harness that has padding for extra comfort and a step-in harness for nervous dogs who don’t like things being pulled over their head.
Dog Harnesses available at Direct4Pet
A classic dog harness style, the HALTI Walking Harness is designed to offer you the perfect combination of style and practicality for everyday walks with your pup. Made from a lightweight nylon material with reflective Scotchlite™ strips for added visibility and safety, this harness is a simple and safe harness option for your pup. Featuring five points of adjustment with two lead clip rings on the chest and back and a close control handle for instant restraint, this harness offers a variety of points of control for more energetic dogs and ensures a secure, comfortable fit for pups of any size.
If you’re looking for a harness that is more robust, the Henry Wag Dog Travel Harness could be the perfect option for you. Made from soft mesh and breathable sponge padding to keep your dog comfortable during walks, this harness features robust webbing and strong clips to ensure optimum security when on the move. This harness is also perfect for travel as it features a safety buckle and seat belt loop so you can easily restrain your dog in the car, keeping both them and other passengers safe during travel. With an easily adjustable neck and chest strap, reflective stitching and additional handle for easier control, this harness is perfect for keeping dogs of all shapes and sizes safe.
Harnesses are a great way to help lead train your dog as they allow you greater control over your pup and prevent them from pulling too much. The HALTI No Pull Dog Harness is perfect for dogs that pull when walking. Using the ‘squeeze and lift’ theory, this harness is designed to allow you to tighten around the dog when they pull on the lead, in order to deter them from pulling and return to controlled walking. This is a better solution than pulling on a collar as harnesses will not harm your dog’s neck when more pressure is applied. Featuring elastic webbing, mesh covering and padded sleeves, this harness allows your dog more freedom of movement and additional comfort when worn. Suitable for all breeds and easy-to-wear, simply place the harness over your dog’s head, guide their legs through the loops, adjust shoulder straps and tighten the security lock and you’re good to go.
What are the pros and cons to a dog collar?
To help make your decision easier on whether a dog collar or harness is best for you, here are both the pros and cons to using a collar on your dog:
- Convenient and less intrusive than a harness. Collars are lightweight and easy to take on and off, they are also comfortable enough for your dog to wear all day if necessary.
- Space to hold an ID tag. The current UK law states that all dogs should wear identification tags in public places, a simple way to do this is to attach your dog’s ID tag to the D ring of a dog collar.
- Many different styles to choose from. Whether you choose a classic flat collar, a chain collar or a martingale collar there are a wide variety of styles of collar that cater to the needs of different breeds.
- Easy to slip out of. If your dog’s collar is too loose or their head and neck are of similar widths then you can risk them slipping out of their collar very easily.
- Not safe for dogs that pull when walking. If your dog has a tendency to pull on their lead when walking instead of walking by your side then a collar may not be the best option for them as it can cause injury to their neck.
- May put pressure on your dog's neck. Your dog’s neck can be very sensitive, therefore if your dog is prone to pulling and is wearing a collar this can cause a lot of damage to their neck, spine and back, as well as risking reducing airflow.
- Not suitable for dogs with certain medical conditions. Due to the fact that your dog’s neck can be harmed when pulling whilst wearing a collar, it is therefore not safe for dogs with certain medical conditions, such as eye proptosis, glaucoma or neck and spinal injuries to wear collars as it may worsen their condition.
Dog Collars available here at Direct4Pet
If a collar sounds more like the option you’d be interested in then there are many different options you can choose from - the most common dog collar choice is one like this Company Of Animals Halti Walking Dog Collar. Comfortable enough to wear all day, the HALTI collar is available in a variety of colourful two-tone designs that are made with a strong webbing outer and soft, durable neoprene lining with reflective Scotchlite™ strips. The simple and practical collar is designed to ensure both comfort and safety for your dog, with a secure button release clasp, easy to adjust fittings and a loop for an ID tag, this collar is perfect for keeping your dog safe and secure on walks.
If you prefer a collar over a harness but have a dog that loves to pull on his lead then a headcollar will likely be a more suitable option for you. The Halti Optifit Dog Headcollar is designed to work by gently directing your dog’s head in the way you need, steering them from the front in order to give you full control over how they are walking. Featuring reflective face straps that mould to the contours of your dog’s face and self adjusting chin straps for a secure and comfortable fit. Designed to not slide down or move when worn, this headcollar is suitable for dogs of all sizes and breeds to offer a premium fit that guarantees to stop your dog pulling.