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Dog collars and harnesses were designed to give some control when walking your furry friend. Whether your pup is calm during walks or runs all over the place, a collar or harness can prove very beneficial. You want him to be absolutely safe when you are outdoors. Comfort is also a big deal. This is why many pet owners ask whether it is okay for a dog to wear both a collar and a harness at the same time. It is a real concern when considering the comfort of your pup. So, can a dog wear a collar and a harness at the same time? Well, let’s begin by understanding the main functions of these doggie accessories.
Main Functions of a Dog Collar and a Harness
Essentially, both are equipment used to attach to a leash during outings and walks. A collar is a neck lead and is great for dogs that don’t pull during walks. It is ideal if your pup doesn’t need lots of restrictions.
Collars don’t only offer a place to attach the leash. They are also used to hang tags with important pet information. Pet owners often include their dogs’ names, vaccination certificates, licenses address identifications, and personal phone numbers in the tags. This way, their dogs can be easily found if they wander off to unfamiliar territory.
Collars are also great for training dogs. They discourage barking and control the movement of dogs. Sadly, they might pull your Fido’s neck if he tries to pull away from you. If you have a small breed such as the miniature poodle, they can fall victim to collapsing trachea. And pulling the leash too tight can be quite fatal. What’s more, breeds like whippets and pugs have thick necks and can easily slip out of a collar.
On the other hand, a harness doesn’t go through a dog’s neck but rather attaches to the area between the shoulder blades or the chest. Harnesses discourage pulling because when your dog pulls, he doesn’t really move. They are also safer as they distribute pressure over a bigger area and reduce strain on your dog’s back and neck. Besides, a harness secures close to your pup’s center of gravity, which implies that it gets tangled into the leash less (compared to a collar) and can go a long way in discouraging jumping. So, if you have a large dog breed, a harness offers better control.
The only downside to using a harness to restrain your dog is that it gives him a lot of leverage. It is easier for him to pull on the leash when it is attached to a harness than when hooked to a collar. However, when you do a risk-benefit analysis, a harness is a much better option.
But Can A Dog Wear Both?
The short answer is: Yes, You can use both restraints on your dog, especially if you want to have absolute control over your pup. Dog owners who put both accessories on their dogs at the same time often use the collar to keep licenses and ID tags and the harness to have better control of their dogs’ movements.
Having both a collar and a harness also make sense when you use special collars like invisible fence collars or GPS collars to control your dog’s movements within or outside your property. In such cases, you will realize that you still need a harness for walking your pup or training him. So, wearing both a harness and collar can also be a great solution for escape artists that may be on the lead one moment and out of their collars the next moment.
And from another perspective, it is even responsible of you to choose to use both collar and harness because it means you understand the risks of pulling your dog by the collar.
While both the collar and harness can be worn at the same time, you need to keep a few safety precautions in mind:
- You should be careful when putting on the harness to prevent the ID and name tags (on the collar) from getting hooked. This can cause great discomfort to the dog.
- Be sure to give your dog a break from both accessories from time to time. If they stay on for too long, they may cause your dog to develop skin irritation.
- It is always a good idea to remove the harness when bathing your dog.
- Only leave the neck collar as long as you are keeping a close eye on your pup. If he plays with other dogs unsupervised, for instance, another dog’s mouth might get stuck in his collar. This can strangle the dog as he tries to break free.
- The collar should come off when the dog is sleeping for a peaceful and comfortable rest at night.
The Bottom line
It is perfectly okay and safe to have both the collar and harness on your dog at the same time. Choosing to use one or both is a personal choice and may vary from day to day and depending on the situation or your dog’s activity. If your canine friend is a little escape artist, for instance, wearing both a harness and a collar can help you have absolute control of him during casual walks.