Do Vets Recommend Collars or Harnesses?

Do Vets Recommend Collars or Harnesses?

Ever caught yourself wondering, “Should I be using a collar or harness for my four-legged buddy?” So, let’s dive tail-first into the collar versus harness debate and see what the vet’s orders might be!

Vets often recommend harnesses over collars, especially for dogs prone to neck injuries or respiratory issues. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly across the chest and shoulders, reducing the risk of strain on the neck and trachea. They are particularly beneficial for breeds with delicate necks or those with a predisposition to conditions like collapsed trachea or cervical injuries. However, for dogs with no specific health concerns, a well-fitting collar may also be suitable. Ultimately, vets usually suggest choosing the option that best suits your dog’s health, behavior, and comfort.

Ready to unleash the truth? Follow me on this romp through the pros and cons of each option, and let’s figure out what’s best for your furry friend!

Why do veterinarians recommend easy-walk harnesses instead of collars for walking pets?

Veterinarians often recommend using an easy-walk harness instead of a collar for daily walks with pets for several key reasons focused on the health and safety of the dog:

1. Health Protection

An easy-walk harness is designed to distribute pressure evenly across a dog’s chest and shoulders rather than concentrating it on the neck. This is crucial for preventing neck strain and injuries, including tracheal collapse, especially in small breeds or dogs with delicate neck structures.

2. Reduced Risk of Choking

A collar can put pressure on the throat, especially if a dog pulls, leading to choking or difficulty breathing. This is particularly problematic for brachycephalic breeds (like pugs and bulldogs) that already have compromised airways. A harness avoids this by keeping pressure off the neck.

3. Improved Control

An easy-walk harness typically features a front clip that allows the owner to steer the dog more effectively by redirecting them towards the owner when they pull. This provides better control during walks, making it safer for both the dog and the handler in various environments.

4. Behavioral Training

For dogs that pull, an easy-walk harness can help discourage this behavior by making pulling uncomfortable and inefficient. It’s a humane method to teach better leash manners without causing pain or discomfort to the dog.

5. Comfort and Enjoyment

Harnesses, particularly those well-padded and designed to fit comfortably, enhance the walking experience for dogs by allowing them freedom of movement without discomfort. This can make walks more enjoyable and less stressful, encouraging more consistent exercise and outdoor activity.

In summary, the recommendation for an easy-walk harness over a collar is rooted in promoting the dog’s physical health, ensuring safety and control during walks, and supporting positive behavioral training without harm. This approach helps maintain the well-being and happiness of pets during their daily activities.

Vets’ View on Collars: Classic or Constricting?

Collars are the old-school classic, the go-to for ID tags and a quick leash clip. But when it comes to vets’ opinions, there’s a bit of a tug-of-war.

Collars are great for well-behaved walkers but can pose risks for dogs prone to pulling or with neck issues.

For your average Joe Canine, a collar might be just fine—especially if they’re the type to trot beside you without a fuss. However, for dogs that pull like they’re trying to win the Iditarod or those with delicate necks (think Greyhounds or breeds with tracheal concerns), collars can literally be a pain in the neck. Vets often caution that excessive pressure on the neck from pulling can lead to injuries or exacerbate existing conditions.

Harnesses According to Vets: Supportive or Restrictive?

Now, let’s strap into the world of harnesses. These nifty numbers distribute pressure across the chest and back, giving you control without the choke.

Harnesses are often recommended for dogs with respiratory issues, neck injuries, or a penchant for pulling.

If your pooch is more of a puller or has some health hiccups, vets might steer you toward a harness. The design helps prevent strain on the neck and throat, making breathing easier and walks safer. Plus, for the exuberant explorers who like to lunge at every leaf, harnesses can offer better control, reducing the risk of you both ending up in a heap.

What About Puppies and Training?

Puppy parents, listen up! Training your little furball is like teaching a toddler with teeth: it requires patience, consistency, and the right tools.

Vets and trainers often recommend harnesses for puppies to encourage good habits and prevent injuries.

During those formative first months, a harness can be a lifesaver. It protects your pup’s developing neck and spine while teaching them not to pull. Harnesses can also be a boon for socialization, allowing you to guide your puppy gently during new encounters without risking their delicate trachea.

Special Considerations: Seniors and Special Needs Dogs

For the golden oldies and dogs with special needs, comfort and support are top priorities.

Vets often recommend harnesses for senior dogs or those with mobility issues to aid in safe walking and support.

As dogs age, their joints and muscles might not be what they once were. A harness can provide additional support, helping you lift and assist your senior dog without causing pain or discomfort. For dogs with disabilities or recovering from surgery, a harness is also a gentle way to maintain mobility and quality of life.

Lifestyle and Activity Level: What’s Your Dog’s Day Like?

Think about your dog’s daily routine. Are they city slickers or trail trekkers? Couch potatoes or park patrol?

Vets suggest choosing a collar or harness based on your dog’s lifestyle and the level of activity they engage in daily.

For laid-back dogs that enjoy leisurely walks around the block, a collar might be all you need. But for adventurous pups that hike, swim, or engage in high-energy play, a harness can provide the comfort and durability needed for the great outdoors.


Whether you go for a collar or harness, the key is to match the choice to your dog’s health, behavior, and lifestyle. Both options have their place in the doggy wardrobe, and the right pick will keep your pup happy and healthy on every adventure.

QQPETS is the leading wholesale dog harness manufacturer of adjustable harnesses for dogs and other items that people may use when walking their dogs. Our goal is to make dog walking easy for pet owners by providing valuable accessories. We offer a variety of customization services including custom logos, custom graphics, custom products and more. If you want to start your dog products business, check out our website and contact us today.

FAQ about dog collar and dog harness

1. Is a Harness or Collar Better for a Dog?

Whether a harness or a collar is better for a dog depends on the dog’s needs, behavior, and health. Generally:

  • Harnesses are often better for walks and training, especially for dogs that pull or have respiratory issues, as they distribute pressure more evenly and reduce the risk of neck strain or injury.
  • Collars are suitable for well-behaved dogs that do not pull and for carrying identification tags.

2. What Is Safer, Harness or Collar?

  • Safety-wise, a harness is usually considered safer than a collar, particularly for walking and active dogs. Harnesses prevent injuries related to pulling and choking by keeping pressure off the neck and throat.

3. What Collars Do Vets Recommend?

Vets recommend collars based on the specific needs of the dog:

  • Standard Flat Collars: Suitable for holding ID tags and for dogs with good leash manners.
  • Breakaway Collars: Recommended for safety, especially for dogs that spend time outdoors unsupervised, as they can break free if the collar gets caught.
  • Martingale Collars: Sometimes recommended for dogs with narrow heads (like greyhounds) to prevent slipping out without the choking risk of traditional choke collars.

4. Do Vets Recommend E-Collars for Dogs?

  • E-Collars (Electronic Collars): Most vets do not recommend e-collars for general training due to concerns about potential pain, stress, and negative behavioral effects. They might be used under specific circumstances or for certain behavioral issues but typically only under professional guidance or when other training methods have not succeeded.
  • E-Collars (Elizabethan Collars, or ‘Cones’): These are often recommended by vets post-surgery or injury to prevent dogs from licking or biting wounds, which is crucial for proper healing.

Article by

Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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Kyra Luo

Product Design Manager

Kyra is the Product Design Manager at QQPETS, where her expertise in developing high-quality, customized pet products and keen insight into market trends has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals, save money, and satisfy consumer needs.

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