Many pet parents debate whether a collar or harness is ever needed for their dog. Most dogs don’t like to be restrained. But, I’m going to tell you why every dog.…. needs to wear one of these at all times while outside.
There is no definitive right answer on the Collar or Harness controversy…they are both effective when matched with your dog’s needs and activity. I personally believe that ONE of these options is safer for your pet…and I’ll explain that in a moment.
But for now…big picture……for being able to control your dog on walks……either your harness or collar will be the #1 place to put your pets identification and medical information. This invaluable data is crucial to your pets safety…and will increase the odds of finding your beloved dog should he get lost or displaced.
Why Your Dog Needs a Collar or Harness!
We’ll get into the pros and cons of whether a collar or a harness option ..is the best fit for your dog.
But first let me say that you need to make sure your dog has identification on them at all times (even in the house).
Whether that’s a collar or harness- one of these with proper ID attached will be the best way for you to locate your dog…… should you two ever get separated.
Quick example……In 2018, Hurricanes Florence and Michael accounted for hundreds of dogs and cats being separated from their families. Many homes were destroyed and people had to evacuate…in a hurry…as a result……many pets were just lost in the confusion of the storms.
Most evacuation emergency shelters for people do not accept pets. Many animals were left in their homes or dropped in a hurry at shelters.
When choosing between Harness or Collar- Use these factors!
- What’s your dog’s current overall health…and does she have any medical conditions?
- What are the needs for you and your dog?
- Factor in your dogs’ behavior and personality?
One of the best things about choosing a collar is that they are easier for your dog to wear.
This is especially true if you plan on keeping them in the house at all times. Collars can be a fashion statement…plus they give your pet a bit more comfort and quality well-fit collar allows them to move around without the restriction of a harness.
Collars are a great option for house dogs that don’t care to go to far from home. They also are good options for well-behaved dogs who don’t easily excite…and don’t pull on walks.
Smaller breeds, like a Yorkie, who need less exercise can usually use a collar if they have a low-key personality.
Are Dog Collars Safe? – WARNING About Collars!
Freak accidents DO happen and there are very real stories of dogs being strangled from their collars getting caught in pet crate bars, furniture, fences, or even playing with another dog. Never leave a dog unattended with a leash or run line attached to his collar. Do NOT leave the collar on your dog when he is crated.
Check the “collar” policy at your, vet, groomer, and kennel. Smart dog companies don’t allow collars on the dog during boarding, surgery, or grooming sessions. You’re looking for a “no collar policy”.
It’s estimated that approximately 26,000 dogs’ are injured or killed due to collar strangulation accidents every year.
So, what is a safer collar alternative to the Buckle Collar?
A Quick Release Dog Collar is purposely designed in such a way to prevent collar strangulation. A Quick-release collar has a buckle that releases quickly when pressure is applied. You can even get them custom-made to include embroidered contact information…so you don’t have jingling tags (which can also get snagged).
Is a Harness Best?
At first glance a harness may seem like “overkill” to some pet parents. However a harness is a lifesaver if you need more leverage to control your pet.
Some dogs love to jump and lunge when they see other people or animals. A harness give you the ability to restrain your dog better while reducing the risk of neck or throat injury to your pet.
A strong harness allows you to stay in control without straining your dogs neck or throat. More importantly, a sound harness will reduce the amount of pressure put on your arm when he pulls on the leash.
Some smaller dogs can pull as well and their smaller neck exposes them to greater risk of injury…so a harness helps protect them from “themselves”.
Not all dogs like the idea of a harness…so please keep in mind when trying this…it will take some getting used to. For them…… it’s far more restrictive than a collar. But if your dog needs training this is an excellent tool to use while you are establishing some grounds rules for him with you are walking.
Plus a harness will NOT slip off like a loose collar can at times and you avoid the accidental strangulation risk as well
- Licensing – some communities require you to register your pet and give them necessary vaccinations
- SAFETY – have your contact information engraved…your phone number is best. Include your dogs’ name so they can be calmed in a strange place by someone who finds them. This sends a message that the animal is a pet and is missed.
- Health- Additional tags may be needed to indicate allergies, conditions like blind, deaf, or diabetic.
These tiny microchips, about the size of a grain of rice, can be a permanent ID which usually lasts the life of the pet. A pet microchip uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID uses radio waves to transmit information. This chip is injected under the skin of the dog usually between the shoulder blades. This is implanted with a quick injection (just like a vaccination) and the procedure is painless and does not require an anesthetic
A scanner can then be used later……to read the microchip which emits a low radio frequency. Reading the data stored on the chip then gives the identification and medical info on your dog.
Studies have shown that micro-chipped dogs’ are 3 times more likely to be returned to their homes. Microchip ID also increases the odds of your dogs’ return if he’s stolen.
The downside is that when you change homes or contact information you’ll need to update the chip. Also in case of weather or natural disaster emergencies the person who finds your dog may not have a scanner available. Your neighbor who finds your dog running loose won’t likely have a scanner either.
Chipping is a great backup if your dog’s collar became lost. Micro-chipping by your vet on average runs about $45-$60 and includes the chip, chipping procedure, and entering the dogs’ information into a national pet recovery database.
Is It Really Necessary?
According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy…fewer than 2% of lost cats and around 15% of lost dogs’ are ever returned to their families.
Pet studies have consistently shown that ID tags are very important to overall safety of your pet. We carry ID’s in our daily travels to help us navigate through modern life. Your dog deserves the same protection.
So get your dog a great looking quick-release collar or harness…and get them their ID information. Now that you know the risks……. you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re protecting your dog the best you can.