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A Dog's View On: Harness Vs. Collar

We offer a look into why a harness may be a smarter option than a collar for your pup.

It took a good deal of convincing for me to buy, and actually use, a harness instead of just a plain collar when walking my Boston Terrier, Chase.

Hearing that my friend’s dog just underwent a surgery for a collapsed trachea finally got my attention.

Casey, a Carin Terrier, (think Toto from the Wizard of Oz), always wore a regular collar while being walked by my friend and her family. Because Casey was a small dog, the vet said that her collapsed trachea could be due to years of yanking and pulling on her leash, and could have been prevented if my friend and her family had used a harness.

Even after my vet had recommended I use a harness because Chase is so “eager” on his walks, I still wasn’t sold because I didn’t like the way harnesses looked on dogs. After hearing about my friend’s dog, I decided that vet bills outweigh Chase looking stylish, and caved in and got a blue mesh harness.

Harnesses are used for a variety of reasons, not just to prevent injury. Putting a dog in a harness will give the owner better control of an “eager” puppy like Chase, or can even help correct the conduct of a dog’s bad behavior.

A harness will help avoid any respiratory problems, bronchitis, or other throat aliments. For all these reasons and more, I’m finding that Chase should have gone right into a harness from the beginning.

When I went to a local pet store in Manayunk to check out the selection, I was amazed by the amount of types, styles, colors, and makes of harnesses for all breeds and sizes of dogs.

Buying the right harness for your dog can be overwhelming without help. I recommend that you bring your little guy in with you, and ask a sales associate to help with the process. Even doing research online may be a good idea before heading to the store. Step-in, no pull, slip on – there are all types of harnesses.

We’re lucky that we don’t have to go far to get harness help. Head to on Main Street, and browse their selection of leashes and harnesses. If you require a special no-pull harness, they have them in stock in addition to regular nylon step-in harnesses.

I ended up getting Chase a mesh step-in one (see picture), which I thought looked more comfortable than just thin straps wrapped all around his body. Plus, the adjustable straps and big buckle makes it easy to get on and off Chase without a fight. 

My advice to you, fellow pet owners, would be to spend the $15.99 now, and avoid pricey and painful surgeries later.

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