There is always a debate over whether to use a dog collar or a dog harness when walking your dog. Sometimes this may be a personal choice but there are some good reasons behind choosing one over the other.
A collar is a must for attaching identification. A well fitting comfortable collar should have your dog’s name and emergency contact numbers and any licence numbers and vaccination tags required by your local council.
A harness tends to keeps your dog more secure and generally gives your more control over your dog.
The main distinct advantage is for dogs that tend to pull on their leash. In my case, terriers that like to chase things. My dog, Tiger, will try to chase cats, dogs, post men, skateboards and garbage trucks. If his leash is attached to his collar, the pulling tends to crush his trachea and causes him to choke and gasp which is really awful to watch and not be able to do anything about it. Most dogs don’t tend to stop pulling when this happens as they get over excited.
A harness will put the pressure on your dog’s chest rather than his throat, preventing any damage or injury.
What to look for in a harness for small dogs.
So what is the best harness for small dogs? All harness have a few important points to looks for that include:
Look for strong sturdy material. Inspect the stitching and ensure it has strong, double or industrial strength stitching. Ensure the clips and D-rings is attached securely.
Harnesses can come in some very stylish designs but I am talking about fit. A good secure fit around your dogs arms and chest is important to ensure that your dog stays secure and cannot slip out of the harness.
Many small dog breeds a quite thin with not a lot of muscle or fat, so look for a harness that is comfortable and won’t dig into your dog’s skin. Generally a softer material or padding around the edges will help.
Measure your dog accurately. If you guess the measurement, you will most likely get the sizing wrong and the harness will be of no use to you. Measure as per the manufacturer's suggestions. Look for a harness that give several measurements, ie length, girth and perhaps neck. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Even small dogs can be thin or stocky. Long or short.
The best harness for your small dog
Below I have selected a few harnesses that are good quality, come in small sizes and have received excellent reviews. Most negative reviews have been about sizing. So again, make sure you measure correctly and feel free to email the seller or manufacturer to ask questions.
1. Lil Pals Mesh Adjustable Step-in Dog Harness
The Lil Pals Mesh harness is perfect for very small dogs and has recently undergone some restyling in great eye catching colours for your little dog..
- Petite Small: Neck 8-10" Girth 10-12" Weight 5-7 lbs
- Petite XS: Neck 6-8" Girth 8-10" Weight Under 5 lbs . This one fits dogs as small as 2lb
- Adjustable for a perfect fit and easy to put on
- Breathable soft mesh for comfort and metal D ring for safety
This is a great harness for super small dogs but i wouldn’t say this is a long term harness. The material may stretch a little over time, but being an affordable harness, fit and comfort might out weight the need to buy a new one every year or so.
2. Eco Bark Small Dog Harness
The Eco Bark Harness is great for Walking, Running, and Hiking. Breathable for all Outdoor Activities, Hugs the dog with a Flexible Air-Mesh which Maintains your Dog's Natural Movements. This harness can fits dogs as small as 3 lbs.
- ROSH Tested, Non-Toxic, Light-Weight Polyester Ultra Padded Mesh Comfort Webbing.
- Innovative No-Choke Design Protects Pet's Fragile Trachea and Throat
- Soft Double Padded Vest
- Ultra Soft and Highly Durable Eco-Friendly Straps Made from Recycled Water Bottles
- Adjustable Belt, Double Stitched Around a Reinforced Anchor Hook
- Breakaway Emergency Release Clasps for Extra Pet Protection When Walking, Running, or Hiking
IMPORTANT Please Measure Around Head to Make Sure Head Can Pass Through the Neck
- Sizing X-Small (FOR VERY SMALL DOGS): Max Base of Neck- 7.5 inches Chest Girth: 9-13 inches
- Small: Max Base of Neck- 9.8 inches Chest Girth: 12-18 inches
- Medium: Max Base of Neck- 12.5 inches Chest Girth: 14-21 inches
3. Ruffwear Front Range Harness
The Ruffwear Front Range Harness now comes in an XX-Small Size for petite dogs. Riffwear products are so strong, well manufactured, and really cool for little tough adventurous dogs.
- The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is an everyday harness that is easy to fit and put on
- Comfortable for dogs to wear. The harness features
- Two leash attachment points: an aluminum V-ring centered on the dog's back for everyday walks, and reinforced webbing at the dog's chest for training or additional control.
- ID pocket keeps dog tags quiet and easily accessible.
The front range harness comes in all sizes but will go down to an XXS.
Here's a helpful video on fitting the front range harness
4. PUPPIA Soft Pet Harness
The Puppia Small Harness has been the first and most popular harness for small dogs and now comes in many colours and designs.
- Same comfort and look of the Soft Harness
- Adjustable chest belt
- Can be coordinated with the Puppia Two Tone Leash
- 100% Polyester Air Mesh, breathable
- Light-weight and very soft to the touch
- The Puppia Soft Harness comes in a variety of sizes including Extra-Small for dogs of about 2-3 lbs in weight.
- For the Soft Harness, one of the most important measurement you will need is the dog's neck measurement. Since this harness has to fit over the dog's head
I hope this has helped you with your choice on the best best harness for small dogs. All dogs, even small dogs come in all different sizes and shapes. Most importantly, get your dog a secure fit and enjoy taking your dog out for walks or to your favorite dog friendly cafe for puppy-cinos.
What about car harnesses for small dogs?
Walking harnesses are not rated to survive a car crash. Car harnesses are specifically designed and rated to save your dog should you be involved in a car accident.
If you are taking very small dogs in the car, you may consider a car travel carrier like the Sleepy Pod Mobile Pet Bed. And for more information on safety testing for dogs in cars read our article here.
The Sleepypod Safety Test Program requires each Sleepypod product meet the highest standards for safety in order to reduce pet exposure to possible hazards.
To protect the joy of driving with pets, we put Sleepypod dog harnesses and pet carriers through stringent safety tests to include static material tensile testing and dynamic crash testing at the standard set for child safety restraints.
All tests are performed at accredited testing and research locations. Always use a rated carrier in the car ,this may save your dog's life.