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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maya Pande

Harness Vs Collar?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Dog with proper harness
Dog with improper leashing

They're the same, right? Why does it matter?

Good questions. Let's look at both.


  • Collars are great for 24-7 wear. You can keep their identification tags on and quickly get a leash on if necessary. One recommendation is that they should be breakaway collars. This is in case it gets caught on something or even on another dog's collar during a play session. FYI, some people take their pet's collar off at home for this reason but if there's a great escape, it might be harder to get them home. Identification microchips can save a lot of heartache.

  • However, collars can increase the risk of neck injuries if your dog pulls during a walk.

  • On a related note, let's talk about retractable leashes. Please don't use them. They don't provide much control; can break causing injury to you and your dog; the bulky handle can easily be pulled out of your hand by your dog--aka runaway dog; and it can lead to neck, shoulder and upper back injuries if the leash suddenly runs out of line and whips the dog backwards.


  • Harnesses spread pressure over a larger part of their body. This reduces neck strain when they're pulling. Especially on smaller dogs.

  • Harnesses provide more control with bigger dogs without necessarily needing more strength.

  • It's harder to escape from a harness, if you've got a little magician living in your house.

  • Harnesses are also great for training and being polite. They help prevent jumping on people, pulling during walks and reduce getting tangled up in the leash.

  • Senior dogs (and cats) can benefit from a harness if they need help getting up from laying or sitting.

In general, harnesses are the better option and provide more control for both owner and dog.

If your dog is suffering from any neck, shoulder or back pain, please contact my office today.


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