Did you know that almost 40% of households in the US have at least one dog? That’s about 50 million households!
These animals are faithful companions that love us even when we’re at our lowest. As long as the treats keep coming, dogs keep loving us and keeping us company. For that reason, so many people choose to add a dog to their family.
It’s important to keep your dog safe and happy. This is easily achieved with a harness. However, you might not know how to measure your dog for a harness.
A harness can reduce potential injury, keep your dog secure, and improve training results. A proper fit is key to ensure comfort, so read on to learn how to measure your dog!
Why Should Your Dog Wear a Harness?
Many people opt for a collar as it’s easier to put on. However, a harness is better compared to a piece of safety equipment that can keep your dog and others away from harm.
Several scientific studies have been conducted on the forces involved on the dog’s neck and torso with a collar as compared to a harness. They have conclusively found that safety is one of the greatest benefits of harnesses. The findings of this study are summarized below.
Some collars have spikes in them and are known as prong collars, while others tighten when pulled and are known as choke collars. These are especially dangerous and can cause damage to the brain, trachea, and other sensitive neck tissues. They can also compress the jugular.
Even without the prongs and choking features, collars can put sudden excessive force on the neck and throat, especially if the dog is prone to chasing and jumping.
The forces of a harness on the dog were also measured and revealed that force is distributed over the chest and torso area, reducing impact and strain.
This makes them especially great options for smaller dogs or older dogs who are too delicate to have excessive force on their necks. However, all dogs can benefit from a harness.
Measuring Your Dog
In order to measure your dog and pick the appropriate size harness, you’ll need the following:
- A scale
- A soft measuring tape
You might already know how much your dog weighs from visiting the vet, in which case you don’t need to re-weigh your dog. An approximate number is fine.
After you know how much your dog weighs, you’ll have to know the width of its body. Start by placing the end of your measuring tape on your dog’s back, right between the shoulder blades. Then, wrap the measuring tape around their chest.
This should give you the girth of the widest part of their body.
You can use a piece of string in the same way if you do not have a soft measuring tape, then measure the length of the string with a hard measuring tape or a ruler.
Your dog probably won’t stand still for this process, so take the measurement three times. Then you can average these numbers out to get one figure.
Now you should have your dog’s weight and girth.
Some harnesses also require the circumference of the lower neck or the thinnest part. This is where the collar usually sits on them. Measure it in a similar way to how you measured their body girth.
Picking a Harness
Now that you have the appropriate figures, you can pick the right harness for your dog. We’ll give you a few examples for this process, using our favorite Beast and Buckle dog harnesses. We think they have the best dog harness selection on the market.
For example, if you’re measuring your small dog for their reversible taco harness for dogs, you can take their chest and weight measurements and find the appropriate size on the chart.
The chart will have ranges of measurements. If your dog weighs 13 pounds, has a neck width of 13 inches, and a chest width of 23 inches, a medium would be the right size. A medium harness accommodates dogs of 12 to 23 pounds, 12 to 14.5 inches of neck size, 19.5 inches to 25 inches of chest width.
You’ll notice that there’s a bit of overlap in the numbers. For example, a medium accommodates a chest width of 19.5 to 25 inches. A large accommodates a chest width of 21 to 28.5 inches.
So, for your dog with a 23-inch chest width, which do you pick? Default to the weight of your dog, and select the smaller size.
The reason there’s overlap is that two dogs of very different builds can weigh the same. For example and Husky and a Great Dane can have the same weight but extremely different chest widths.
Extra Tips for Harness Sizing
Remember that your dog’s weight will sometimes fluctuate, and some dogs will grow thicker winter coats. If your dog is prone to getting heavier during the winter or growing a thicker seasonal coat, size up their girth measurement by two inches. This will ensure your dog is comfortable.
Try on the harness when it arrives and make sure it fits. It should be snug, but not tight. You can tell this by slipping your fingers under the straps of the harness. You should be able to do so easily.
A harness should also not be too loose. It shouldn’t slide around, and your dog shouldn’t be able to slip out.
If the harness isn’t fitting right, you can return it to Beast and Buckle within 30 days and get a larger or smaller size.
Now You’ve Learned How to Measure Your Dog for a Harness
This article has given you a great place to start when it comes to getting a harness for your dog. The rest is between you and your pooch. Pick a harness that looks good, and that makes them feel good.
You know your dog best, so you’re sure to notice how comfortable they are in their new harness! Try one out today!
If you loved learning how to measure your dog for a harness, you’ll appreciate our other content. Check out our blog for more tips, tricks, and how-tos!