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Pet Collars and Pet Harnesses


Collars and harnesses are usually made of the same materials and serve basically the same purposes. They are made to attach your dog to a leash. But they work in different ways and some dogs or cats will do better with one collar or harness versus another.

If your dog does not have trachea or respiratory problems and does not pull on his or her leash, then it is best to use a collar.
If your dog pulls on his or her leash or does have trachea or respiratory problems, then it is best to use a harness.

A collar fits like a necklace, and is generally made of leather, cloth or nylon. Cloth or nylon provide the best value and color range for your collar. Leather can soften with age and but it is the most durable choice. Collars usually have a quick release or buckle release closure, both of these are satisfactory.

There are different kinds of collars:

  • The chain slip, or also called choke chain, gets tight around the neck and chokes the dog when they pull on it. It is best to have a dog trainer show you the correct way to fit and use it. It is possible to hurt your dog with these types of collars. There are nicer ways you can teach good leash manners. And you should never use a choke collar on small puppies. Choke collars should not be used on dogs without thick neck fur, dogs with respiratory problems, or breeds with fragile windpipes such as Chihuahuas.
  • The head halter is designed for dogs who may pull on their leash. It looks simular a muzzle but is not. One strap goes around the back of your dog's head, and another strap goes around its snout. The leash snaps on beneath your dog's chin. When you pull the lead, it pulls the dog's head either down or Sideways, and the dog cannot pull you.
  • Prong also known as pinch collars dig into your dog's neck and pinch when pulled. Again, these are temporary training tools for heavy pulling dogs. They are not meant for lifetime use. There are plenty of better pain free ways to teach your dog not to pull on their leash.


Harnesses go around the dog's neck, in front of their shoulders, and behind their front legs. Most are made of leather or nylon, Some harnesses are made of fabric and look like clothing.

Because harnesses do not put pressure on the throat, they are recommended for dogs who have an upper respiratory disease or diseases of the trachea or throat. They are also made for dogs who pull on their leash. Pulling puts quite a bit of pressure on the throat or trachea which can cause irritation and coughing. Harnesses relieve this pressure and allow you to walk your dog safely and easily.

Here are some tips to sizing a collar.

  • Length. Measure your dog's neck and add two or three more inches to correctly size the collar.
  • Width. This can go by the size of your dog. A one inch wide collar on a Yorkie is way too much, and a 3/8 inch collar on a Rottweiler is way too little.
  • Tightness. When fitting a collar for your dog, you want to be able to slip a couple of fingers between it and your dog's neck. A space of less than two fingers means the collar is way too tight and can restrict their breathing. Collar that are too big could slip off over your dog's head.
  • For growing puppies, remember to check and adjust collar sizes frequently.


Harnesses can also vary in size. Fitting them can be a bit complicated because harnesses, unlike collars, do not follow one simple design. You can get one that the dog steps into, ones that resemble a figure eight or one you slips over the head.

It helps to know that most harnesses are adjustable, and the most important thing to fit a harness is the girth. Measure your dog around its chest directly behind its legs. This is known as the girth. Also, make sure the harness looks symmetrical on your dog. If it does not then it is not on correctly.

It is important to check the closure and fit of your dog's collar or harness at least once a year.
Leashes are also known as leads, they are attached to harnesses or collars. They are usually attached to the harness if your dog is wearing both collar and a harness. It is always best to make sure your dog also has their identification tags on their collar or harness.

For the most part a rolled leather collar is good for dogs with long coats. Flat leather or nylon collars are best used on dogs with short coats.
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