What is Safer: Dog Harness or Dog Collar?

What is Safer: Dog Harness or Dog Collar?

What is Safer: Dog Harness or Dog Collar?

Strolling through the park, your spirited pup in tow—sounds delightful, doesn’t it? But if your furry friend is more of a puller, this idyllic scene might be less peaceful and more of a power struggle. This brings us to an important question many pet owners grapple with: “What is safer, a harness or a collar?” Let’s dive into the details and uncover which option offers more safety for your beloved canine.

Harnesses are generally safer than collars, especially for dogs prone to pulling or those with respiratory issues, as they distribute pressure more evenly around the body instead of the neck.

Let’s walk through the advantages and drawbacks of both harnesses and collars to determine which is the safer choice for walking your dog.

Understanding Harnesses: A Comfortable Choice?

Harnesses are designed to distribute pressure across a broader area of your dog’s body, including the chest and shoulders, rather than concentrating it on the neck. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs who are vigorous pullers or have delicate necks.

Benefits of Using a Harness:

  • Reduced Risk of Neck Injury: By avoiding the throat area, harnesses significantly reduce the risk of respiratory problems and tracheal collapse.
  • Better Control: Especially with front-clip harnesses, you gain more control over your dog’s direction, making it easier to manage pulling behavior.

Considerations When Using a Harness:

  • Proper Fit is Crucial: A poorly fitted harness can rub and chafe your dog’s skin, especially around the armpits, or affect their gait if it restricts shoulder movement.
  • Training Requirement: Some dogs may require training to get used to a harness, especially if they’re used to collars.

The Role of Collars: Traditional but Risky?

Collars are the traditional method for attaching leashes and carrying ID tags, but they can pose risks, especially for certain dogs under specific conditions.

Advantages of Using a Collar:

  • Convenience: Collars are easy to put on and take off and are generally less cumbersome than harnesses for continuous wear.
  • Visibility for Tags: They provide a permanent place for identification and registration tags, which is a legal requirement in many areas.

Disadvantages of Using a Collar:

  • Potential for Injury: Collars can exert significant pressure on the neck, leading to potential injuries, particularly with strong pullers or during sudden jolts.
  • Limited Control: Provides less control over your dog, which can make it difficult to manage excitable or reactive behaviors during walks.

Harness or Collar: Which is Right for Your Dog?

Choosing between a harness and a collar often depends on your dog’s specific needs, behavior, and health conditions:

Opt for a Harness If:

  • Your dog is a strong puller or tends to lunge.
  • Your dog has any respiratory or neck issues.
  • You are training your dog or need better control during walks.

Choose a Collar If:

  • Your dog walks calmly without pulling.
  • You need a simple solution for attaching ID tags.
  • Your dog wears a collar comfortably without any risk of injury.

Tips for Safe Usage

Whether you choose a harness or collar, using them safely is key to ensuring your dog remains healthy and happy:

  • Regular Inspections: Check both harnesses and collars regularly for signs of wear and tear.
  • Proper Fit: Ensure the collar or harness fits properly. It should be snug but not tight, allowing two fingers to slip comfortably underneath.
  • Training and Adjustment: Gradually acclimate your dog to a harness if they are used to a collar, and reinforce positive behavior during walks with treats and praise.


When it comes to the safety of harnesses versus collars, harnesses generally offer more benefits and fewer risks, making them the safer choice for most dogs, especially those that pull or have health concerns related to their necks. However, choosing the right type and ensuring a proper fit are crucial to providing the safest, most comfortable experience for your pet.

QQPETS is the leading custom dog harness factory 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

Is It Better to Run with a Dog in a Harness or Collar?


  • Advantages: Harnesses are generally safer and more comfortable for running with your dog. They distribute pressure more evenly around the dog’s body, reducing the risk of neck injury and providing better control. This is particularly important for dogs that might pull or lunge unexpectedly.
  • Best For: Dogs that pull, are still in training, or have any respiratory or tracheal issues.


  • Disadvantages: Running with a collar, especially if the dog tends to pull, can lead to strain on the neck and potentially cause injury. It also provides less control over a strong or very active dog.
  • Best For: Well-trained dogs that do not pull and when a lighter, less cumbersome option is needed just for ID tags.

Do Dog Trainers Recommend Harnesses?

Many dog trainers recommend harnesses, especially for puppies, dogs in training, or dogs with a tendency to pull or lunge. Harnesses provide greater control and minimize the risks associated with pulling, making them useful for training and managing dogs more effectively.

Do Vets Recommend Collars or Harnesses?

Vets often recommend harnesses over collars, particularly for dogs with respiratory issues, neck injuries, or breeds prone to conditions like collapsed trachea. Harnesses reduce strain on the neck by distributing pressure across a broader area of the body, which can help prevent injuries associated with pulling on a collar.

Can a Dog Wear a Harness Instead of a Collar?

Yes, a dog can wear a harness instead of a collar, especially during walks or when involved in activities like running. However, it’s important to note:

  • Identification: Collars are commonly used to hold identification tags and registration. If you choose to use a harness instead of a collar, ensure it has a tag with your dog’s ID and your contact information, or consider having your dog microchipped.
  • Comfort: Ensure the harness fits well and does not cause chafing or restrict the dog’s movement. It’s also typically recommended to remove the harness when the dog is at home or in a secure area to prevent any risk of it getting caught on objects.

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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