How Should A Dog Harness Fit

If you are looking to replace your dog’s collar with a harness instead, then there are a few things that you should do to make sure that the harness fits your dog properly.

To make sure that the harness fits your dog properly then you need to make sure that you measure your dog, but this is just the start of the list of things you need to consider when you are trying to pick the best harness for your dog and its lifestyle.

How Should A Dog Harness Fit

How Should A Dog Harness Fit?

So, when it is adjusted sufficiently then a dog’s harness should have a fit that is snug but not too tight against the dog’s body.

The advantage with a snug fit is that your dog will not  get out of the harness, but you should be able to fit two of your fingers between the harness and your dog at any point in the strapping of the harness.

Picking the Right Size Harness for your Dog

It is crucial that you choose a harness that is the correct size for your dog, and there are some measurements that you should take into account before you head out shopping for a new harness.

The areas that you must measure on your dog in order to get the harness to fit perfectly are as follows:

  • Neck – you should measure your dog’s neck where it is the thickest point, this should be the area that is just above the dog’s shoulders. 
  • Chest – measure all around the widest part of your dog’s rib cage, make sure that to do this you use a soft measuring tape. You need to put the end of the measuring tape right at the center of the dog’s rib cage, then extend the measuring tape over your dog’s back and then meet the end underneath so that you can get the most accurate measurement.
  • Weight – when you measure your dog’s neck and chest size you will get the most accurate measurement, which you can then apply to size guides and this will enable you to select the correct size harness for your dog. Additionally, most harness makers will give you a head start with listed weight guidelines too.

Changing From a Collar to a Harness

You might be considering changing up your dog’s collar to a harness, but you might not have a full understanding of why you should make this change.

This is all to do with your daily dog walks, especially if your dog has a tendency to pull you when you are walking. This can end up causing your dog problems whether they pull constantly, or just occasionally.

If you decide to make that switch from a collar to a harness then you will reduce the risk of your dog suffering from injury.

When you take your dog for a walk and it is pulling then a collar will put pressure on your dog’s neck and this in turn can have an effect on their breathing. 

Or, a dog that has a stronger pull might even injure their neck or their spine through pulling when they are on a walk.

By using a harness instead of a collar, you are allowing any pressure from pulling to be spread out a lot more evenly across a much larger area. In turn, this keeps your dog from experiencing any kind of discomfort or injury.

Training your Dog to be Comfortable Wearing a Harness

How Should A Dog Harness Fit

However, it is important to note that you should train your dog to be comfortable with wearing a harness on your walk and by making this a good experience for your dog you will let your dog make the connection with the harness and something positive, such as going for a walk. 

Your dog might be pretty receptive to wearing a harness, but if they are not then there are ways that you can encourage your dog to wear a harness.

You could try putting the harness on them while showing them something that they usually enjoy, so you could give them a treat that they love or a toy that they enjoy, whatever it might be that they associate with being fun. 

You can get a variety of different harnesses out there, and these harnesses could open and close with a buckle, or they could open and close with velcro.

Not Every Harness will be Suitable for your Dog 

It is important to take into consideration that not every harness out there will be suitable for your dog.

In fact, you could find the perfect harness straight away or you could find the perfect harness after sampling many different types of harnesses, you just need to find one that works well for you and your pet. 

So, when you come to shopping for a harness for your dog then you need to consider not just the size of your dog, but, the size of your dog needs to be compared with the material which the harness is made of.

It is true that nylon strapping or even nylon tubing can work for almost any dog, or alternatively you can use mesh harnesses on smaller dogs.

Key Things to Notice When Picking out a Harness

How Should A Dog Harness Fit

There are a few different features that you should probably take into account before making your purchase. For instance, there is the material of the buckle on the harness.

Selecting a plastic buckle will be better suited to a dog that is less active, whereas some kind of metal fastening would be much better for an active dog who likes to run around a lot on your daily walk.

If your dog gets particularly anxious about sounds then selecting a velcro closure will best suit them. 

Additionally, you need to make sure that you pick a harness for your dog that has as many points where it can be adjusted as possible.

This is because the more that you can adjust a harness then the more comfortable it will end up being for your dog.

You should also think about the way that you put the harness on your dog, because step-in types of harnesses are usually much easier to get a dog into, however they are not as secure. 

Picking a harness that fits your dog over its head is a lot safer for dogs that are larger, or for dogs that are more energetic, or for dogs that need more points of adjustment depending on their size.

The Importance of Buying a Harness that Fits your Dog Perfectly 

Here’s the thing, making sure that a harness fits your dog properly might not be something that you saw as being as much of a big deal as this.

But, put it into perspective for a second: you would not be happy to wear a shirt that does not fit properly.

Why? Because the bottom line is, it is pretty uncomfortable – and why be uncomfortable, when you could be comfortable? 

In the case of your dog’s harness, a harness that does not fit properly will mean that your dog will struggle to enjoy your daily walks as movement will be uncomfortable and it could even lead to injury.

If a harness is too tight fitting on your dog then it could cause sores, and it could even put stress on their joints.

If a harness is too loosely fitting then it can cause your dog injuries by snapping against your dog with any sudden pulling – and this also puts your dog at risk of slipping out of the harness and also this could make your dog get away pretty quickly. 


Being able to find the perfect harness for your dog does take some time – but once you get the perfect fit you will not be able to go wrong. And, you and your dog will both be able to enjoy your daily walks fully.  

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