BaxterBoo Blog
November 29, 2012

How to Choose Your Pet's Collar, Harness, and Leash

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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.

Collar Versus Harness Design Jasper from Ontario, Canada looks perfectly coordinated with our bluebird Hoodie and nylon leash! By Jen.

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.

Leash Considerations

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.

Leash-Collar Combinations

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.

The Supercollar features a retractable leash within the collar.

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.

The two styles we carry with built-in leashes are our Supercollar, and our WalkieWay All-in-One Safety Leash. Visit the links to those products to see videos for how they work.

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?

Linda Wenger on November 29 at 8:00 AM said:

We use nylon collars with the plastic clips on all our dogs so they are always wearing their ID tags. For walking purposes, we use 6' nylon leashes. The Shelties wear nylon slip choke collars because they are notorious for being able to duck out of a collar if they decide to back out of it. Our collars are the kind that have a clip at one end and a ring at the other, so they can be put in a non-choke position for sit stay practice. Our Schnoodle just gets her leash clipped to her collar because a choker might injure her neck. The Airedale wears a metal prong collar for walking because without it he'd pull our arms off. When that collar goes on, he knows its time to walk nicely. Our trainers called it his "hearing aid". They are not instruments of torture, as only a small correction is needed for him to remember himself.. Recently he had surgery and had to wear an Elizabethan collar for two weeks, his nylon collar, and his prong collar to go for a walk. Good thing he has a long neck! And of course they all wear their seatbelt harnesses when in the car.
Kim on November 29 at 12:45 PM said:

I love the Rubit clips as it makes it easy to change collars, without having to pull all the tags off and put onto the other collar I want to use with the outfit they are wearing.
Mary on November 29 at 1:10 PM said:

Yes, Kim, these clips are awesome! They've saved me time and my finger nails too!

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