If you own a dog, you need a dog harness. Significantly safer than the more traditional leash, these tools can help to keep your dog under control while out on walks. Unfortunately, even these very useful products tend to be returned by buyers simply because most dog owners don’t understand how to how to measure a dog for a harness.
There are many types of harnesses out there, and it’s safe to say that figuring out exactly which one your dog needs takes some effort. Once you’ve figured out the right type of harness, though, you can get to work figuring out a good way to measure your dog for his or her gear.
Why choose a dog harness at all, though?
Some pet parents believe that even the best dog collars put a great deal of pressure on a dog’s neck when he or she reaches the end of his or her lead. A harness still puts pressure on your dog at this point, of course, but it puts all of that pressure on places that won’t do as much damage to your dog. Even better, the redistribution of all that pressure makes it much easier for most dog owners to keep their dogs under control .
The only problem with these tools is that it’s much harder to figure out the size of harness needed for your dog than it is to figure out the size of the collar that he or she might need. If you can’t get the right size harness, you won’t get the benefits of the gear and you certainly won’t be in a position to keep your dog safe.
The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be that hard to get the perfect harness for your dog. Taking a look at the process in a step-by-step manner will not only help you to figure out how to best work with your dog’s current harness, but also how to ensure that every harness you buy from now on will be the right fit for your dog.
How To Measure A Dog For A Harness: Complete Guide
While a harness looks like it might be a difficult piece of gear to get measurements for, the truth is that you only need two measurements from your dog’s body in order to make sure that your dog is snug and secure in his or her new harness. You’ll want to start by measuring your dog’s neck, then move on to your dog’s chest.
How do you get those measurements? It’s actually as simple as grabbing an old-fashioned cloth measuring tape and doing it yourself. It should only take you a few minutes to get the numbers that you need.
Start with the Neck
The best way to measure your dog for a harness is to start with his or her neck. You’ll measure him or her just as you would for a dog collar by wrapping your cloth measure around his or her neck. Not only will doing this give you a chance to get a better-fitting harness for your dog, but it will help you if you need to get a better-fitting collar for him or her in the future.
Check Out Your Dog’s Chest Size
Next up is figuring out the size of your dog’s chest, also colloquially known as the dog’s girth. You’re going to be measuring the area where the strap of the harness will be secured, so you’ll need to know the size of the deepest part of your dog’s chest for this next bit.
The area you are looking for is going to be located right below your dog’s shoulder blades. You’ll start your cloth measure here, and then wrap it up and around his or her shoulders and back down to the starting spot. The total length you get here will be your dog’s chest measurement.
Now that you have both a neck and chest measurement, you can start looking for a great harness for your dog. You will, however, probably want to keep a few more factors beyond the simple fit of the harness in mind as you start shopping.
Where to Buy a Harness
The first thing to think about when you go shopping for the best dog harness is where you’re going to make this purchase. The vast majority of dog owners are going to choose a local pet store because doing so will allow them to get the harness quickly, but it’s important to remember that going to the pet store also gives you the unique ability to quickly return the harness if you get the sizing wrong.
Does this mean that you need to avoid shopping online? Of course not! Shopping online can be more convenient for some and it certainly can help buyers to save money, but you definitely want to make sure that you know the return policy for any online retailer with which you choose to shop.
Thinking About Sizing
If you buy online, you’ll also want to take a look at the sizing chart on the product page for any harness at which you are looking. Every brand has its own size chart, so don’t assume that a dog who wears a ‘large’ with one retailer is automatically going to be comfortable in that same size from another retailer.
The good news is that since you’ve taken your dog’s measurements yourself, you won’t have any real trouble reading any size chart that you find. Simply look on the chart for the sizes that correspond with your dog’s neck and chest sizes, then make sure that you buy that size. Taking a moment to ensure that you’re making the purchase based on your measurements rather than assumptions is a good way to make sure that you won’t have to go through the return process.
Types of Harnesses
The other big thing to keep in mind when shopping for dog harnesses is that there are many different types of harnesses out there. While there are certainly ‘standard’ models, there are also enough different types out there that there are standard variations in how each fits different types of dogs. While this does make buying a harness a little tougher, knowing more about the styles of dog harnesses on the market will help you to reduce the complexity of this process a bit.
What you’re really going to concentrate on beyond mere fit is comfort. There are two main styles of harness at which you’re going to want to look—over the head and step-in. Each of these fits a little bit differently, but what really matters is that some dogs really do prefer one over the other.
An over-the-head harness style goes over your dog’s head and then can be secured fairly quickly. These tend to be easy to put on and take off of your dog, and some dogs really prefer how they feel. As you might imagine, though, not every dog is going to love the idea of having something lowered over their head.
A step-in harness can be a good fit for those dogs who just can’t stand the usual motion of having something put on them. These tend to be a little more complicated than their more common counterparts but not having to fight with your dog over the harness can be more than worth the effort.
It’s important that you pay attention to how both types of dog harnesses fit your dog. Being too loose or too tight can be a real problem, so it’s often a good idea to visit a pet shop just to try on a style of a harness if you haven’t done so before. You may also opt for the best no-pull dog harness you can get if Fido is a massive puller. With the right measurements and a little bit of luck, you can find a harness that your dog will tolerate and that works well for both of you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you measure your dog for a harness?
You will need a cloth tape measure to get your dog’s measurements. The best way to make sure that you get a good fit for a harness is to check these areas—your dog’s neck and your dog’s chest. With these two measurements, you can find the perfect fit for your dog.
How do you measure a dog’s girth for a harness?
Measuring your dog’s girth simply means getting your dog’s chest measurements. You’ll start by finding the deepest part of your dog’s chest, which is typically right below his or her shoulder blades. You’ll start here, loop up and around his or her shoulders, and then return the tape measure to where you started in order to get your dog’s girth measurement.
How big should my dog’s harness be?
Your dog’s harness should be big enough that it doesn’t overly restrict his or her movement but not so big that he or she is able to get out of the harness. The best way to ensure this is to take your dog’s neck and chest measurements and then consult a sizing chart to ensure that the harness you get will be the right fit for your dog.
How do you measure a dog for a no-pull harness?
Measuring for a no-pull harness is done in the same way as measuring for any other harness. You will need to measure your dog’s chest and neck in order to get some basic sizing information and then compare those measurements to those of a product’s sizing chart. If you’re not sure about the measurements, make sure that you have your dog try on the harness before you take him or her out.