You often see a lot of small dogs wear a harness rather than the standard collar and leash. Although a big part of it is because tiny dogs look super cute with decorated vests, they also help your dog’s body in a lot of ways.
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Benefits of a harness to small dogs
Since smaller dogs have more fragile body structures than big dogs, then they should have ample support when they do vigorous activities that may stress or strain them. Here are some of the benefits that using a dog harness can give your four-legged friend:
- Reduced strain on the neck. Using a harness can disperse the strain that they usually have on the neck when using collars, to the rest of their back and body.
- Prevents choking and other injuries. Small dogs have smaller necks, so pulling on their collar may be dangerous for their fragile body. A vest or harness doesn’t put pressure on their necks, so it is more comfortable for your pet.
- Comfort and security. Vests have extra padding that can keep your dog comfortable especially when you’re out for an extended period of time. Harnesses and vests also have straps that go around their bodies, making it harder to escape.
- Makes training easier. If you are also planning on training your tiny dog for walking or other proper behaviors, a harness or vest makes them easier to control without giving them discomfort. A no-pull harness is also especially good for an easy way to train them to walk calmly beside you.
- Prevents little escape artists from getting off the leash. Harnesses are adjustable and secure. Once you have adjusted the harness to fit snugly around your dog, it will be difficult for them to break out of it.
Vest vs. Step-In vs. Dual-Strap Harness
There are 3 main types of harnesses that are perfect for small dogs to use – for both trained and untrained pups. But what are their differences, and which would be the best to use with your small puppy or dog?
Vests are heavily-padded and lays flat and snug on your dog. They provide maximum support to your small dog’s delicate body and distributes pressure from the leash evenly across their chests and back. These vests are perfect for hiking and outdoor activities, since they usually have other features, like lifting handles, reflective fabric strips, or even front and back clips for leash attachments.
The most notable feature of a step-in harness is it’s easy-to-wear design. It has two openings where you slip on your dog’s front legs and clip on the clasp on the back, simple and quick! They are great for casual walks and trainings as well. Some step-in harnesses have padded underbellies to add comfort for your dog.
These types of harnesses are quite confusing for most owners, because it has a lot of straps that you have to connect. But a dual-strap harness gives you freedom to adjust the size of the harness according to your dog’s build. It has a series of straps that goes across the chest and separate straps to go around the belly, making it secure and snug around your pup. This is suitable for long hikes or casual walks.
What to look for in a harness for small dogs
Although there are different types of harnesses that you can choose from and it may still be confusing which you want for your dog, there can be specific features that you should consider when choosing the right harness for your pet.
So here are the features that you should look for if you’re considering a harness for your precious pooch.
Since small dogs and puppies have delicate bodies, they should have a harness that can fit snugly but comfortably around their small physiques. They should have enough room around the neck and chests so they can pull on their leash without choking or hurting themselves.
A padded vest or harness is great for long wear and outdoor activities, since they prevent chaffing and rubbing that may be harmful to your dog’s skin. If you have a small dog with a big attitude that you bring to treks and hikes, then consider getting a padded vest or harness.
Front- or Back-Clip Attachments
Front attachments are great for leash training older dogs or puppies. Back-clip attachments are standard clip attachments located at the back of a harness, while front-clip attachments are commonly found in no-pull harnesses. But there are some products that offer both attachments.
Ease of Wear
For especially excitable dogs, it is better to get a step-in harness that is easy to put on a moving body. But if your dog can be patient when being put on a harness, then a vest or dual-strap harness can be perfect for them. Some harnesses need to be slipped over the head, but if you can keep your dog calm throughout the ordeal, then they can be suitable partners to your outdoor adventures.
If your small dog loves big adventures, then you should get a harness that can withstand various environments. Water-resistant harnesses are great for trekking or hiking with your pooch. They should be able to handle snags and sharp rocks that you may encounter on your hikes.
Although most harnesses incorporate nylon straps for durability, there are some that add mesh, sponge, and even oxford fabric to provide comfort to your small pup. Depending on how the harness will be used, there is a material that is appropriate for your chosen lifestyle. Soft materials are also beneficial for active dogs, since it will prevent any chaffing from happening to your dog’s skin.
We use a harness to keep our precious pets comfortable even when leashed. But you have to determine how much they would be using the harness, so you can choose the one that will give them the utmost comfort in any length of time that they will be wearing it.
- Handles – For senior dogs or puppies with injuries, a handle would be useful when they needed to be lifted or carried
- Seatbelt Feature – This feature is a great addition if you prefer keeping your dog on a leash, rather than a crate when you go out with them.
- Weight – Although strap harnesses can be pretty lightweight, vest harness can put extra weight on a small dog, so if you think they can’t handle the weight, it’s better to choose something lighter
- Reflective Strips – For highly excitable pups that you bring with you on public places, reflective strips are helpful in keeping your pet safe from vehicles especially at night.
- Stylish design – Not so much for function, but if you love flaunting your pooch, then you can choose from a variety of harness designs in the market. Dogs getting compliments are also very happy dogs, so having a cute harness can boost their confidence and overall mood.
Best Harness for Small Dogs
Easiest to Wear Harness for Small Dogs – Copatchy Adjustable Reflective Harness
The Copatchy Harness is a sponge-padded harness that has straps that go across a dog’s chest and underbelly. These straps are closed through snap clasps. It also has a handle on the top, and clip attachments both on the top and chest strap.
This harness comes in small and extra small sizes, so you can get one for puppies and very small dogs. The padded back and wide straps also make movements super easy, since it provides ample space for their shoulders to move. This is a great training harness, as well as for casual walks and even easy hikes.
- Easy to put on harness
- Snap clasps on both chest and belly strap
- Sponge-filled padding for extra comfort
- Includes a handle for lifting and carrying
- Wide and adjustable straps
- Can be used for outdoor activities
- Available in small and extra small sizes
Comfortable and Stylish Harness for Small Dogs – Pupteck Comfort Padded Harness
The Pupteck Harness is a cute harness for small dogs. They have plenty of designs available to suit your dog’s style, and even has thick, padded straps to keep them comfortable. Although you can’t adjust the neck section, the belly strap is adjustable and can be closed through the clasp included.
This harness has a wide and padded vest made from breathable mesh and durable polyester. They may not be ideal for hiking or other difficult activities, but these are definitely the perfect accessory that your fashionable puppy can flaunt whenever you’re out and about! You can even clip on a leash to the metal attachment at the back if you and your stylish pet want to strut your stuff outdoors.
- Wide and padded vest that is breathable and ultra-comfortable
- Stylish and comes in a variety of designs
- Has D-ring clip at the back for leash attachments
- Easy to slip on the head and clip around the belly
- Has sizes for small and extra small dogs
- Will upgrade your dog’s adorable quality
Lightweight Harness for Active Dogs – Pawtitas Reflective Harness
This lightweight harness is also a cute step-in harness that is easy to put on your dog. The Pawtitas Reflective Harness are already made with reflective strips, so you can safely walk your dog along streets or any public places, especially at night. It has a snap closure at the top, coupled with two D-rings where you can clip on your leash. This makes a sturdy and stable hold on your dog when you are out for a walk or during training.
The Pawtitas Harness is also a great hiking and camping harness, with its lightweight design that won’t burden your dog. It also has adjustable straps so you can fit the harness to your dog’s size.
- Lightweight harness with reflective strips
- Step-in harness that makes it easy to put on a dog
- Dual-ring attachment for stability
- Has one snap clasp for quick wear and removal
- Adjustable straps for snug fit
- Available in different designs and extra small size
Mesh Harness for Leash Training Small Dogs – SPORN Nylon No-Pull Harness
The SPORN No-Pull Harness boasts its humane design. The rear straps of this harness are made from elastic materials connected to the soft mesh chest strap. So when your small dog or pup pulls on their leash, it will give way a little bit, but will bounce back taking the dog with it. It prevents any choking from happening, but still has enough room for your dog to freely move about.
Although a very effective walking harness, it’s materials may not withstand more difficult activities. They are ergonomic training leashes for small dogs and stubborn pups!
- Ergonomic and humane “no-pull” harness design
- Will not choke or harm your dog when they pull on their leash
- Wide and padded straps for comfort
- Has sizes for small and little dogs or puppies
- Has enough space between straps for shoulder movement
Comfortable Harness for Small Dogs that Pull – Bolux Dog Harness
For tiny dogs that pull, the Bolux Dog harness can help train them to stop pulling on their leash without being restrictions. It has a wide chest strap attached to a padded vest that also goes under their belly. This design provides comfort and stability, making sure that it doesn’t slip or slide around when the dog is pulling hard.
A steel D-ring on the back is used to attach a leash, accompanied by a handle for lifting or carrying your pup. Putting on the Bolux Harness is easy as well, you just slip the chest strap over your pup’s head and snap the clasp close using the strap under its belly. This harness might be for leisurely activities only, since there’s not much space for their shoulders to move, nevertheless they are perfect for leash training.
- Easy to wear harness with snap clasp for security
- Adjustable straps to fit small dogs and puppies
- Padded straps and vest for ultimate comfort
- Has a handle on the back with D-ring for leash attachment
- No-pull harness that gives pressure when pulled, but no choking or restrictive feel
- Great for long walks and leash training