How to Choose Your Pet's Collar, Harness, and Leash
One would think that choosing a collar or harness, and leash would be a fairly straight-forward purchase, but there are actually lots of things to consider when choosing the right walking gear and collar for identification. We're here to help you with this all-important decision, especially since a collar or harness is a symbol of the bond you share with your pet. It is the sign of belonging to each other, so it should suit your pet's health needs, and also you and your pet's sense of style.
Collars are great because they visually mark your dog or cat as being part of a family. There are a wide variety of styles to suit every need, every function, and every look. There are blingy ones that demonstrate to the world that your dog is a star, and you're not afraid to show it! There are classy leather ones that wear well and show sophisticated style. Nylon ones are durable, no-fuss options.
We also carry safety collars for both cats and dogs that are designed to prevent your pet from getting injured by being caught on something. Simply clip on a leash, and you and your pet are good to go!
Harnesses also come in a variety of styles. Some cover the chest with sturdy fabric or comfortable mesh for breathability. Others are like collars with extra straps that go around the chest and down the back. There are choke-free versions, and toasty plush-lined ones that offer extra softness and warmth. Some are even fashioned to look like dresses or motorcycle jackets! You will love perusing the myriad choices on our site!
Considerations When Choosing a Collar Versus a Harness
The advantage to using a collar is simplicity of application. Usually it's just a quick snap or buckle, and your dog is ready to go! They pair easily with dog clothing and are a good every-day choice for identification and offer ease of leash attachment for keeping your pet safe.
The disadvantage to a collar is the extra pressure that can be placed on a pet's throat. Some breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and other toy breeds, are prone to collapsed tracheas, and these dogs should only use a harness as it distributes the weight of pulling evenly over a wider area to prevent injuries.
Some of the dogs with longer bodies like Dachshunds and Corgies are also prone to back injuries, and harnesses can really make a difference in their comfort and health.
Harnesses are also the appropriate option for restraining your pet in a vehicle. Should there be a sudden stop, the distribution of the pressure will be spread across your pet's chest rather than concentrated over the delicate neck. Many of our finer harnesses include a bonus car latch to ensure your pet's travel safety, and yours as well!
Some working dogs and their people find that working breeds actually pull more on a harness because it activates that feeling of wanting to work and pull. This is what's known as the "opposition reflex." Huskies would especially be prone to this as they are sled dogs. For dogs who pull too much, consider our Easy-Walk leash and collar system as well as our No-Pull Dog Harness Deluxe Training Package.
Don't Forget Kitty!
It's particularly important to identify your cat with a collar. Unmarked cats that end up in shelters only have a slim chance of making it out alive. A collar will help a bit with this problem, but a microchip is the preferred solution as they can't get removed like a collar can. Sherlock from Woodland Hills, CA modeling his collar and cool mesh vest
Cat collars have come a long way in design to mitigate any concerns about strangulation hazards. Be sure to select a cat-specific collar as they have safety features such as a "breakaway" piece or elastic so they can slide out if they get stuck. Kittens can be trained to walk on a leash, and our Come With Me Kitty stretchy leash and harness system is an ideal choice for that. Alternately, a mesh harness is a comfortable solution that cats are less likely to wiggle out of. Some cats find harnesses less stressful than being in a crate, so that can make trips to the vet a better experience.
We have hundreds of styles of leashes including couplers for walking multiple dogs, safety leashes with bungee features to keep your arms in their sockets, glowing leashes to make you and your dog visible at night, and holiday styles to make outings festive.
The main two styles of leashes are standard and retractable. Retractable leashes are wonderful for walks and give your dog the freedom to explore without making you crazy. These leashes are not appropriate in crowds, however, as they can easily get wrapped around legs, causing nasty friction burns. So be sure you have one at least one standard leash for these kinds of situations. Standard leashes are also safer for children for the above reasons.
Some of our collars come with matching leashes for ease in fashion coordination. Some are sold separately. Be sure to coordinate the size of your collar to your leash as a tiny collar D ring may not work with a giant clip of a thick leash. Plus, smaller dogs may not like the weight of a heavy leash. Likewise, larger dogs require a heavy, thick collar with a coordinating leash that are sturdy enough to withstand pulling.
We also carry a nice selection of collars that have retractable leashes built into the collar itself, which is a nice feature to quickly get your dog under control in an off-leash situation. These are particularly helpful for travel so you're not constantly having to find and attach a leash for bathroom breaks. Use caution with these retractable leash-collar combinations to prevent friction burns. These are not suitable for children to use.
Featured photo is of our friend Zoey from Parkville, MO. Thanks, Lisa for sending in such a cute photo! Be sure to visit Zoey's Facebook Page!
What are your favorite products for identifying and walking your pet? What works well for your breed?