Caring for small dogs can be beneficial for people who live in confined spaces such as apartments and condos. Because of their size, these dogs do not require a lot of space to grow or enjoy good health. Small dogs also consume smaller amounts of food, which is perfect for pet owners who are on a budget.
But just like any other breed, small dogs also require exercise. They need to be taken for walks in order to sustain their mental health, keep them fit, and encourage them to socialize. To make your dog’s exercise routine less challenging, take out time to find the best harness for them. A dog harness allows you to control your dog better and encourages proper behavior.
To find the best harness for small dogs, make sure you consider the following:
1. Right Material Type
All dog harnesses work the same way – they help your dog stay by your side as you walk or run – but this doesn’t mean that all dog harnesses are made from the same material. In fact, when buying a harness for a small dog, the type of material used should be one of your top considerations. The material used in the harness can significantly affect the comfort, health, and safety of your pet.
To ensure that you end up picking a harness with the right kind of material, take note of the following tips:
- If your dog has sensitive skin, it’s best if you consult your vet before buying a harness for them. Small dogs such as Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, and Shih Tzu are prone to skin diseases because their bodies are close to the ground. Ask your vet for recommendations and whether they can give you information regarding harness brands or material types suitable for small dogs with sensitive skin.
If your dog is currently suffering from any skin allergies, be sure to inform your vet as well. The vet might recommend non-constricting types of harnesses to ensure that the area affected by your dog’s allergies doesn’t rub against the material of the harness.
- Some of the most durable materials used for dog harnesses are leather, nylon and plastic. If your furry friends don’t have sensitive skin, start looking for dog harnesses made from any of these materials.
- Aside from your dog’s skin, you should also consider the usual or daily activities of your dog when wearing the harness. If your dog loves to play in puddles or get themselves wet, look for a harness that’s easy to clean. Never let your dog use a soiled harness as this would only become a cause of transmitting germs and diseases.
- If your dog loves to roll around on the ground, it might be best to look for a harness made of dark-colored material. Scout for chew-proof, heavy-duty, and indestructible harnesses if your small dog loves to chew all the time.
2. Right Size And Fit
Making sure that the harness you pick will fit your dog is one of the most important yet challenging parts of this task. Buying a harness that is too big for your dog will make your purchase useless as your dog won’t be able to wear it, while buying something that’s too small can restrict your dog’s movements and cause discomfort and injuries.
For you to end up buying the perfectly-sized harness for your dog, take measurements around their ribcage first. Most dog harnesses come with detailed product descriptions on their boxes, so make sure that you’re picking one that suits the measurements of your dog.
When buying a harness for the first time, don’t be quick to throw out the box. Let your dog try out the harness first, and if it doesn’t fit then have the item exchanged for a bigger or smaller size. Carefully read through the instructions given on the box so you’ll know how to properly use the harness for your dog.
Picking the perfect harness for small dogs can be a struggle as you might have to undergo several trials and errors, but once you’re successful with your attempts, your efforts will be well worth it. A perfectly-sized harness allows dogs to move freely and stay comfortable even when they’re taking long walks with you.
3. Position Of Clips
Today, dog harnesses usually come with a front or back-clip. A front-clip harness enables you to attach your dog’s leash in the center of their chest, while a back-lip harness can be attached to your dog’s back and shoulder region.
The position of the clip you should get for your dog’s harness depends solely on your dog’s training, discipline, and strength. Even though they come in small sizes, some breeds can be more challenging to train than others.
Front- and back-clip harnesses both come with their own pros and cons. To help you decide which one will work best for your small dog, consider this:
- For new dogs that are still untrained and often pull their leashes when going for walks, consider using a front-clip harness. This sort of harness allows you to have greater control of your dog and will make it easier for you to provide assistance when training your dog. A front-clip harness also provides directional steering for pet owners, making it easy for you to signal to your dog that they need to turn around whenever required.
If used properly, front-clip harnesses can eventually encourage dogs to be more obedient and avoid pulling the leash on walks.
- Back-clip harnesses can be considered appropriate for small dogs that were trained well and don’t tug on the leash because its design can only handle slight pulling. When used with untrained dogs, a back-clip harness can create a sled-pulling action causing you to be dragged along in place of a sled.
Back-clip harnesses tend to be suitable for little canines with delicate throats that can be harmed or damaged by collars.
4. Consider Mobility
Harnesses are used for dogs while walking and exercising outdoors. However, if you’re taking care of a senior or injured dog, the material and position of the clips shouldn’t be your only considerations; you should also spend some time educating yourself about mobility harnesses. These types of harnesses are designed specifically for small dogs that have mobility issues because of age or past injuries.
Mobility harnesses can improve your dog’s mobility as these work by encouraging even weight distribution. For example, if your dog’s right leg has become weak due to an injury, a mobility harness can support your dog and distribute its weight evenly throughout the body. In this way, your dog’s right leg will be supported, making movement easier.
5. Visibility Features
Regularly walking your dog is a responsibility every pet owner has to fulfil. Regardless of the breed and age of your small dog, you should always find time to take them out for a walk to maintain or improve their health. However, if you simply don’t have the time to take your dog for a walk during day time, then an evening stroll would be more appropriate.
For pet owners who usually walk their dogs at night, check if the harness you’re eyeing to buy comes with built-in visibility features. Apart from looking after your own safety when going out at night, the harness you use for your dog should make them visible during night time. This is especially important when your dogs are smaller than most breeds and love to walk in overgrown or woody areas.
Look for a harness that is made from reflective materials or comes with LED lighting strips. The more visible your dog is when wearing the harness, the better.
6. Extra Padding
One of the biggest challenges in taking care of a small dog is finding a harness that is a perfect fit for their size. Chihuahuas, for example, are considered the smallest dog breed in the world, and their size can become a potential issue when you’re shopping for their harness.
When buying a harness for your small dog, make sure to look for one that offers extra padding. This feature is suitable for small dogs, as it can reduce friction and irritation from the material of the harness.
Extra padding can also keep your dog snug and secure while using the harness. This is especially important if you own teacup puppies or dog breeds that don’t grow so big such as Havanese, Toy Fox Terrier, and Papillon.
Most importantly, this feature can enhance the comfort of your pooch, especially when they are fond of taking long walks. Instead of letting their skin rub against the material of the harness, extra padding acts as a cushion that can help your dog move more freely.
Knowledge Is Power
Picking a harness for a small dog is an important task because picking the wrong size can lead to choking and injuries. Instead of helping your dog live a more active lifestyle, letting them use the wrong-sized dog collar will only create negative effects on their health.
Make sure that your dog’s harness doesn’t create these problems by using this article as a guide. Sure, picking the best harness for a small dog can be a struggle, but when you know what properties these harnesses should have, this task can become much easier!