Like many people, it is easy to get lost in the world of dog accessories. I have found myself on Google so many times searching for answers to questions that I wouldn’t have dreamed of ever asking. A common question that I get asked is “What are the pros and cons of wearing a harness versus a collar?” They are both great, but it really depends on you and what type of dog you have. Let’s explore our options and make the best decision for you and your dog’s lifestyle.
Collars are typically a simple piece of material that goes around your dog’s neck. They can vary from a simple block of color to a blinged out statement piece. Hoadin.com makes cute, eco-friendly dog collars in a variety of colors! According to AKC, collars are a great accessory for holding your dog’s identification, license, and microchip tags. Not to mention, they can showcase your dog’s vibe - whether that be a bedazzled princess or a sports fanatic! Collars are also lightweight and non-restrictive, which makes it easy for your dog to adjust to the feel of wearing one.
Concerns about collar-wearing dogs are typically raised when it comes to walking your dog. Collars are situated on a dog’s neck, so when they are on a walk and tug on the leash, the pressure is solely exerted onto their neck region. The repeated traumas, even light tugs, to their neck, trachea, and thyroid, contribute to future medical problems in small-breed dogs. Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, Chihuahuas, and small Poodles are most commonly at risk of irritating their trachea, thyroid, and eyes when wearing collars. These small breeds are genetically predisposed to collapsed trachea, hypothyroidism, and glaucoma, and collars pose a real risk to aggravating these medical conditions.
Harnesses come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, but they are easily identified by their vest-like look. You can also showcase your dog’s personality through bling, patterned fabrics, and more! I personally love Voyager's step-in harnesses and Trill Paws' ID tags.
Harnesses can also hold your dog’s identification, license, and microchip tags, but this can be risky if you do not always keep a harness on your dog. Your dog may not be as comfortable wearing a harness initially, so I recommend that you have your dog wear their harness indoors before taking them on a walk.
Harnesses are safer for small breed dogs, like Pomeranians, because any pressure is spread across their torso, and not in one specific spot. Dogs that are prone to conditions that affect their trachea, thyroid, or head will be less at risk of irritating conditions like collapsed trachea or hypothyroidism. Harnesses allow for you to have more control over your dog, which also makes it easier for you to maintain their safety on walks. Also, this makes it easier to train your dog, whether that be teaching them how to walk on a leash or working on socialization in public places.
Both collars and harnesses make for great accessories for your dog, it just depends on your lifestyle! According to Insider, if you are the type of person that walks your dog frequently and goes on doggy playdates, they recommend using a harness with all of their identification tags on them. If you are the type of person that prefers to keep your dog home, or if they are not very active, throw a collar on with all of their identification tags.
I usually take my Yorkie on leisurely walks, but mostly keep her inside to play, so I opt to always keep a collar on her with a tag that has her name and my phone number. When we are on walks I use a harness, because she pulls a lot and likes to jump through tall grass. Her harness has her other identification tags, such as her license and microchip number with my contact information. Of course there are rhinestones, florals, and pink involved - she wouldn’t be Maddie without drawing attention!
At the end of the day, keep your dog’s safety in mind. Make the right decision for you and your dog, and do your research when it comes to your dog’s training and lifestyle. And most importantly, have FUN with your dog. Dress them up and show them off!
If you have any brand recommendations for harnesses or collars, let us know via Instagram @ocpomrescue!