How Should a Dog Harness Fit? Avoiding the Dangers of a Poor Fit!

How Should a Dog Harness Fit

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in America, with around 74 million dogs living in households across the country. They’re not only great companions but also an essential part of many families.

One crucial thing when caring for any dog is making sure they have a safe environment to be in – eliminate dangers by following these simple tips on how to fit your dog’s harness correctly; so, how should a dog harness fit?

This will help keep them from being injured or harmed while you take care of other tasks and give peace of mind knowing they aren’t running off into danger! 

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How Should a Dog Harness Fit?

The fitting of a harness is just as important, if not more so, than sizing for clothing. The popularity of keeping dogs as companions has grown exponentially over the years. With this has come increased awareness and responsibility on the part of dog owners about their pet’s safety.

For Example, they must use leashes and harnesses when out walking to ensure their protectors don’t run into the street and get hit by a car or injure themselves on other people or objects.

People want to make sure that when they’re out with their dogs, especially if they’re larger breed dogs, that they can keep them under control while still keeping them comfortable, and it’s crucial that owners ensure that any harness they use is properly fit.

Choosing the Right Harness Size for Your Dog

Choosing the right size dog harness is crucial to keeping your pet safe. It’s not just about being comfortable for them, but also making sure it fits them properly, so they don’t get out of it or injure themselves while wearing it.

This can be not easy because there are so many different types of harnesses available today, especially if you are looking online for one to use on your pet.

The first thing you want to do is measure your dog’s chest circumference, also known as the girth of their body.

You should be able to find this information either on their grooming pages or by contacting a knowledgeable employee at a local pet store.

Why Use a Harness Instead of a Collar?

A commonly asked question that is often mentioned in pet forums is why to use a harness versus simply using a collar to hold their dog’s leash.

The truth about these two devices, collars, and harnesses, is that they are both equally as effective at keeping your pet from running off or getting into trouble while you’re busy taking care of something else.

Using a harness is the safest method for walking a dog because it doesn’t cause pain or discomfort to their throat, leading to gagging and choking if they’re pulled back suddenly by just their collar.

If they were using just a collar alone, nothing would keep them from getting caught on something that might injure them or cause them to run off and get lost.

Training Your Dog for a Harness

Another essential aspect to consider when deciding what type of harness you need for your dog is training them to wear it.

This can be a frustrating aspect of owning a dog, but there are ways you can ensure your pet will adjust well and not attempt to remove their harness if they don’t like it at first.

The first thing you want to do is get an appropriately sized harness that your dog can wear. Then, while they are engaged in a favorite activity or eating their favorite treat, slip the harness on them and give them lots of praise for not attempting to escape.

After several days of wearing it without any attempts at getting out of it, you should be able to introduce the buckle slowly. Again, give them lots of praise and allow them to engage in whatever they were doing before you placed it on them.

In a few days, try buckling the harness without their favorite treat or activity going on around them, and again, if they’re calm about the whole experience, give a lot of praise and let them go about their business.

Never force your dog to wear a harness, and for the best results, avoid forcing them to wear it on walks until they become comfortable with its presence.

Are All Harnesses the Same?

Another thing pet owners wonder when considering what type of harness to purchase for their pets is the difference between the different types.

There are a few differences in the various styles. Still, mostly it comes down to personal preference and whether or not you want a standard two-strap design that fits around your dog’s front legs and chest or a clever design with four straps that includes a leash attachment on the back.

The only real difference between these two styles is that with the typical front-legs and chest set up, there may be some problems with rubbing against your dog’s legs if they are long-haired or their hair grows particularly thick in one area.

Harness Features to Consider and

Before making a final purchase, it’s also essential to consider the various features that different harnesses may offer.

Some models, such as those designed for easy use by pet owners who struggle with mobility issues, will feature quick-release buckles and sliding chest plates instead of fixed strap loops.

This makes them easier to remove and take on/off quickly.

Other models will have a handle that allows you to hold onto your dog with two hands or a loop at the top of the front strap that gives them a safe place to walk if they’re overwhelmed.

Features like reflective stitching can help keep your pet visible during nighttime walks, while others may have an adjustable girth strap that ensures a perfect fit for your dog.

The Importance of Proper Harness Fit

Another thing to remember, and perhaps the most important part of selecting a harness for your pet, is making sure it fits correctly.

After all, if the harness is too big or small, they will probably attempt to remove it, and you don’t want that! When choosing a harness for your dog, look at the manufacturer’s recommendations and consider their body type.

A good rule of thumb is to measure their circumference, which is the widest part of their chest, and purchase a harness with that circumference as its girth measurement.

How To Fit 5 Common Dog Harnesses

In this video from The Labrador Site, they quickly demonstrate how to fit five different types of popular dog harnesses.

The first is a standard two-strap design that buckles at the front and features a leash attachment on the top loop. Next, they show how to properly fit a four-strap harness with a leash ring on the back.

They then move on to show how you can properly fit a harness with a handle and sliding chest plate, and finally, they demonstrate what to do if your pup is still wiggling while you’re trying to get them into their new harness.

Signs of a Poorly Fitting Harness

Now that you’re aware of what to look for when it comes to fit harnesses properly and how they should feel let’s take a few moments to discuss some signs that your pet is wearing a poorly fitted harness.

The first thing you’ll notice with an ill-fitting harness is excessive panting and drooling while they’re wearing it.

If this happens, chances are the harness is too tight and maybe lead to chaffing around their armpits. Next, you’ll probably notice sores or red marks around the front legs and chest, as well as excessive hair loss in that area.


Is it okay to let your dog wear its harness full time?

There’s no hard and fast rule about only putting on your dog’s harness before leaving the house.

Could a harness hurt a dog?

This depends on the design of the harness and how it fits, but generally speaking, most harnesses are safe for dogs to wear.

Can a dog wear a harness along with its collar?

Yes, but you want to ensure that the harness is correctly adjusted around their girth before attaching a leash.

How Tight Should A Dog Harness Be?

Too tight means your dog may be uncomfortable wearing the harness.

A tightly adjusted strap could also cause discomfort, rubbing, and possible chaffing.

In a best-case scenario, you shouldn’t have to adjust an adequately fitted harness more than once every couple of months for it to remain in place on your pet.