Out of a dog harness and collar, the former forms a more comfortable bet for the majority of the owners and dogs themselves. Why? According to a survey, it was found that on a collar, dogs tend to feel uneasy while trying to pull off the leash to wriggle out. After repeated attempts, this puts pressure on their throat and their trachea suffers damage. Similarly, there are several other issues associated with a collar & leash if your dog is an escape artist!
This has prompted owners to shift to a safer option and that’s a harness. What a harness does is that it disperses the pressure over the larger part of the body and takes it off their subtle neck and back. However, it too poses some threats if not fitted properly. For example, if the harness is too loose, your dog may slip out of it easily and if the harness is a bit tight, it’ll rub against the dog’s fur and cause irritation. Hence, it’s of utmost importance to accurately measure the harness’s size. I know it can be difficult for dogs as they can’t sit stationary and any movement can alter the size. Hence, below I’ll discuss how you can accurately measure your dog’s harness size.
5 quick ways to get your dog’s measurements
As stated above, for a perfectly fitting harness, it’s crucial to measure the required body parts of your dog over which the harness will sit. Below is how you can achieve this.
First, use a measuring tape, like the one you’ll notice at a tailoring shop. If that’s not available, any thread will do the job. But make sure to keep a ruler and marker along with you for markings.
Get your dog to sit straight with equal weight distribution over all four legs and the back needs to be straight (most important!). If needed, ask somebody for help.
Now, let’s measure out your dog’s girth, the circumference of his/her chest and a vital harness’s size determining factor. Starting at the withers, draw the measurement tape around the girth (as shown in fig.) behind the front legs.
Now, roll up to the wither on the other side. Make sure the tape isn’t held too tightly nor too loose.
For a more accurate measurement, repeat the above step at least three times. The reason for this is that you may not get the true size in the first two attempts but higher are the chances of the most precise girth size the third time.
There are different types and styles of harnesses available in the market. For some styles, you may need to gauge your dog’s lower neck size too. It’s just above the withers and below the collar region.
The above steps will aid you in getting the most precise size for the harness.
Some additional tips for the final harness sizing
We are done with the measurements of your dog in the above section. Now, you need to keep the following things in mind in the context of the harness.
- Your dog’s weight can’t determine the harness’s final size. For example, Basset Hound appears to be a smaller breed but as it’s deep-chested, the harness size can vary. Breeds like Newfoundland and Great Dane seem the same in built and weight but carry a different chest girth size.
- If your dog’s fur coat grows regularly, add approximately 2″ to your above-calculated measurements. This will allow the harness to settle with the growing fur coat.
- To examine the tightness or looseness of the harness, try to slip your fingers underneath the harness.
If it does, the harness is a snug fit i.e. perfectly sized. If not, alter it.
- Make sure the harness sits firmly over the chest region and doesn’t slip here and there.
- Lastly, remember that your measured size can/will vary from brand to brand and style to style. So, be mindful of this.
How to perfectly put a dog harness?
A standard dog harness
Let’s now learn how to properly put a dog harness so it doesn’t slip and sits firmly no matter how hard your dog tries to unsettle it.
- Approach the dog from behind and slip the harness over her head.
- Once done, fasten the buckles to keep the harness in its right direction.
- Now, slip your dog’s legs through the two legs opening and adjust accordingly.
If you own a dog whose head is sensitive or a nervous breed, you can check a slip-in harness. In these, you just have to encourage your canine to step in the openly kept harness after which you can fasten the buckles from behind.
Measuring your dog’s size and putting his/her harness can be a tricky affair for you like it was for me! Nevertheless, it’s an exciting chore and your beloved friend likes it more than you do.