The Ultimate Guide to Keeping your Puppy Safe: Harness or Collar?

Are you a proud puppy parent? The excitement of bringing home a new furry friend is unmatched, but the process of choosing the perfect leash and collar can be quite overwhelming. With so many options available, it’s essential to consider what’s best for your puppy’s safety. Should you opt for a collar or a harness? Let’s explore the different options and find the safest choice for your beloved pup.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that no collar or harness should be left on a puppy without supervision. Be sure to remove it before crate time or when leaving your pup unattended.

Types of Collars

Flat or Rolled Collar

The classic dog collar comes in various materials like leather, woven nylon, or cloth. They are often available in cute colors and patterns, making it easy to show off your pup’s personality. Flat collars are ideal for displaying ID tags, and rolled collars are more sturdy, perfect for active dogs. However, be cautious when using rolled collars for puppies as they can catch on things and potentially cause choking.

While these collars are popular, they do have some drawbacks. Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, veterinary consultant for DogLab, highlights that both flat and rolled collars can damage the trachea by causing tracheal collapse. This narrowing of the trachea can be especially dangerous for puppies and older dogs who tend to pull on the leash.

Further reading:  Transforming Your Dog's Behavior: Discover the Best Training Collars

Certified dog behavior consultant Kayla Fratt, founder of Journey Dog Training, suggests using a back-clip harness for puppies who are still learning to walk on a leash. This type of harness protects their throats from pulling and potential harm.

Another concern with standard collars is that they can increase eye pressure, especially when dogs pull against them. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association found that this force can significantly impact dogs with eye conditions like glaucoma or weak corneas.

Choke Collars and Prong Collars

Choke collars and prong collars are sometimes used for training purposes. Choke collars tighten around the neck when a dog pulls against them, while prong collars have blunt prongs that exert pressure on the neck. When used correctly, these collars are meant to get the dog’s attention, not as a form of punishment.

However, many trainers discourage the use of these collars. Dog training expert Kayla Fratt recommends positive reinforcement methods rather than relying on equipment that may cause discomfort to your dog. These collars should only be used under the supervision of a professional trainer and never on puppies under six months old.

Martingale Collars

Martingale collars combine features of both choke collars and flat collars. They have stops that prevent them from tightening too much and squeezing the neck. Well-designed Martingales sit high on the neck, avoiding the trachea, and offer more control over the dog’s head, making them more responsive to direction. However, poorly designed or fitted Martingale-style collars can slip down and have the same drawbacks as regular flat collars. It’s important to ensure a proper fit to prevent puppies from slipping out and running away.

Further reading:  Keep Your Dog Cool with the Aqua Coolkeeper Cooling Collar

Safety Collars

Safety collars are flat collars with fasteners that easily break open when a dog pulls with enough force. These collars are a good choice when you need your pup to wear ID or proof of vaccination but want to minimize the risk of choking. They are ideal for playdates with energetic dogs or visits to off-leash dog parks. However, they are not suitable for leash walking.

Dutch Shepherd puppy wearing a body harness in a field of grass

Types of Harnesses

Harnesses are designed to fit around your dog’s chest and torso, alleviating pressure from their neck. They come in various materials and styles, but there are two main types to consider.

Back-Clip Harness

The back-clip harness is the most common type, with a D-ring located in the middle of the back for leash attachment. These harnesses are generally more comfortable for dogs and are a great choice for brachycephalic breeds (those with flat faces) like Pugs or Bulldogs, who are more prone to tracheal collapse. They also work well for toy breeds and dogs with delicate necks, such as Greyhounds.

One thing to keep in mind is that back-clip harnesses can encourage pulling, especially with breeds like Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes that are bred for pulling. They are still recommended for activities like jogging, biking, or hiking, where comfort and freedom of movement are essential.

Front-Clip Harness

Front-clip harnesses have the D-ring located on the front of the chest. This design aims to discourage pulling and is particularly beneficial for dogs that tend to jerk and pull heavily, especially larger breeds. However, not all front-clip harnesses are created equal. Some designs may constrict your dog and cause damage. Look for a Y-shaped front-clip harness that doesn’t restrict your pup’s stride or pull them to the side, which can negatively affect their posture and musculature.

Further reading:  A Smart Solution for Your Fur-Family: Pet Flap Doors

Which is the Safest: Harness or Collar?

While flat collars are suitable for everyday wear and displaying ID tags, our experts agree that harnesses are the safest option for walks and outdoor activities that may involve leash pulling. When choosing a harness, Dr. Ochoa advises taking your dog to the pet store to try on different options and select the one that fits them best and is easy for you to put on.

Remember, the well-being and safety of your puppy should always be your top priority. By choosing the right harness or collar, you can ensure that your furry friend stays comfortable and secure during your adventures together.

Get the perfect collar or harness from Karen’s Kollars. Trust us, your pup will thank you!

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional advice. Always consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for personalized guidance.