Dog

Collars, Leads and Harnesses

Claire Dunling

So, you’re looking for a new collar, lead or harness? Presumably, this means your current walking attire is looking as though it’s seen better days or you’re welcoming home a new addition. Old habits die hard but this doesn’t mean that you should carry on doing the same thing that you’ve always done, especially when comfort is at stake. Before purchasing, take into consideration the size, age and breed of your pooch so you can make walkies or training that bit more enjoyable…

Collars & leads

The old faithful collar and lead still have its benefits for many dogs. A collar provides an appropriate place to put an ID tag, which by law, should be visible on a collar or harness with contact information. Also, when well fitted, it acts as a good reminder for your dog to stay close by to you – by well fitted we mean, not loose but snug. If it’s too loose, there’s the risk that they could strangle themselves by jumping up and becoming caught or if it’s too tight, it could cause skin irritation or cut into their skin.

Over the years, more attention has been brought to the comfort and practicality of collars, especially for dogs with respiratory issues or if they tend to tug. If your dog has trouble breathing or is quite forceful on the leash, they may damage their trachea or cause a neck injury. Brachycephalic or short-nosed flat-faced breeds, such as boxers, pugs and bulldogs are most susceptible to breathing problems so should consider a harness as a walking option.

Overall, collars are a good option if your dog has a placid nature and aren’t overly active. Collars are also a good option for pups that need to feel some kind of security.  If you’re a keen nightwalker, reflective products such as the Ancol Electric Flashing Light Up Dog Collar is a practical option for those night walkies.

Harnesses

Over recent years, dog harnesses have dominated the walking accessories market. So what is the great appeal?

Tugging isn’t dependent on the breed of the dog, but more the nature of the dog. However, large breeds like Huskies, Boxers, German Shepherds and Dalmatians are typically strong dogs that would be more comfortable and easier to control in a harness. A good option for pups taking to lead training is the Halti Harness. With its unique attachment system and padded design, you can control your overly boisterous dog without any discomfort.

Small and highly active dogs can also pull on a lead so a harness could be a better fit to ensure the pressure is evenly dispersed across the upper body rather than on the neck and throat. The Ancol Padded No Pull Dog Harness is an adjustable nylon harness that’s suitable for all sizes and is perfect for dogs who pull on their leads.

To sum it up, collars are a sound option if you know your dog isn’t likely to take off after something rustling in the bushes – retractable leads and collars are renowned for causing throat injuries in these scenarios. For dogs that are more headstrong and prone to flighty episodes, a harness is a perfect alternative to a collar, that will give you more control without causing discomfort towards your dog. If you’re still unsure, we’d recommend trying out both options to see what suits you and your pooches preferences.

This article is for guidance only and if you have any concerns about your pet you should always seek the advice of a qualified vet.

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!