The Question Remains… Harness, Leash, or Both?

Many dog owners have a preference for certain types of leashes that work best for their pets. Some claim to love the traditional nylon leash, while others feel that a harness type leash is safer for their squirrely dog. Then you add to the mix the wide variety of styles, colors, materials, and so on, and it can be exceptionally hard to determine the right one for your furry friend.

The good news is that there is no one correct answer, but there are some suggestions to keeping your pet safe. The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to explain why the harness, leash, or both question is a great one. Let’s take a closer look.

Collars with up to date identification tags are a must no matter where you go. It’s okay to remove them when you are simply relaxing indoors with your pup, but every time they go outdoors, they should have one on. For fully grown, medium-to-large breed dogs, a leash is usually recommended because it is easier to slip on and off whenever you take your pet outside often. 

Tiny and small breeds are more susceptible to injuries related to their tracheas and neck region, which is something to be cautious about. Because of their small stature and skeletal structure they are more prone to injuries from pulling or tugging from the use of the collar and leash. Unfortunately, even large dogs can develop injuries to the thyroid and spinal injuries when they continually pull on their leash. 

We recommend that you use a collar if your pet is great on a leash and has no problem with trying to pull or get away. Choose the correct collar for your pet’s weight and make sure it is fitted enough for them to not slip out of the collar, but has about one finger width of space between collar and skin.

As a rule the harness is a great choice for active dogs, puppies, and small breeds. The harness fits over the torso and around the back, so that when it is pulled, the pressure only pushes under the armpits. This is the better choice when your dog is being trained, since you have good control over their behavior and movement. 

If you have an active dog who loves to hike, jog, or bike with you, the harness is the perfect and safest choice. This decreases the chance of a leash or collar getting tangled and choking your dog and puts less stress on the muscles and joints.

For dogs who are prone to writhe and wiggle their way out of any collar and leash, the harness is an excellent method of maintaining safety, comfort, and security.


The Summary: Both Are Necessary

There are benefits to both styles of leashes leading. The traditional leash is the quickest solution for well behaved dogs who are thoroughly leash trained. However, there are always those days when a pesky squirrel or other dog demands to be lunged at. This is where the harness serves you well, to prevent your pet from choking themself in an attempt to chase animals.

If you have questions about leashes, harnesses, or other dog walking tools of the trade, please email us at [email protected]. We can also recommend some tips for great loose leash walking with your Fido friend. Happy walking!

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