How to Measure a Dog for a Harness?

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Dog harnesses offer a number of benefits, but you need to know how to measure a dog for a harness properly. That will ensure you find the right size for your furry friend.

A poorly fitting dog harness can do more harm than good, so it’s critical you measure properly. Though there are several different kinds of harnesses on the market, you’ll need the same measurements for each type in most instances. 

Once you measure them, you can find harnesses that fit great for every dog, from a Great Dane to a Yorkshire Terrier.

Benefits of a Dog Harness

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The benefits of dog harnesses are many and can make daily outings more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

If your furry friend likes to pull and drag you around, a harness prevents them from choking themselves. A front-clip harness is a great way to train them not to pull you while you walk. 

A harness will also give you more control in high-traffic areas, thus preventing your dog from jumping on strangers.

Harnesses are great for dogs who are prone to tracheal collapse or have difficulty breathing. A collar can place more strain on their airways, and a harness will not. Your dog can enjoy a pleasant walk without any problems.

Senior dogs with mobility issues will benefit from using a harness because it gives them extra support. That will help them move around and go to the bathroom without putting too much strain on their bodies.

Different Types of Harnesses

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Before you even start learning how to measure a dog for a harness, you need to decide which kind of harness is best for your dog. You can group most harnesses into two categories: front-clip and back-clip.

As the names imply, one kind has the clip for the leash in the front, and one has the clip on the back of it. A front-clip harness is especially great for training dogs not to pull.

On the other hand, back-clip harnesses work well in practically any situation. You’ll also find harnesses that companies design for more specific activities.

For example, you can find a harness for hiking and running. These designs use sturdier material that breathes better than other harnesses.

If you prefer a harness suited for everyday activities, you don’t have to worry as much about the durability of the materials. The most important thing is that you pick the best harness for your furry friend’s needs.

Picking the Best One for Your Dog

While it’s easy to pick the first stylish dog harness that catches your eye, it’s more important to consider the needs of your dog. That will help you choose a product that will make your outdoor activities much more fun for them. 

However, you can buy any harness you want that looks fashionable if your dog walks calmly beside you.For instance, some dog breeds are more difficult than others when it comes to finding a good fit.

With a bit of research, you can even find a harness that will fit barrel-chested bulldogs and long-torsoed dachshunds.

You’ll also need to consider the strength and energy of your dog. If they like to pull, you need a durable no-pull dog harness to withstand their strength.

Some harnesses will even double as a seat belt restraint as well, so you can keep your dog still in the car before you let them out for the walk.

How to Measure a Dog for a Harness

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Once you know what kind of harness your dog needs, you can learn how to measure a dog for a harness.

The process is simple and easy to do if your dog is willing to cooperate. If not, giving them a treat will distract them long enough for you to measure their bodies accurately.

Make sure you have all the needed items and know where to measure before you get started. There’s also other information you should gather that can help you find a dog harness that fits properly. Companies tend to differ when it comes to sizes, so make sure you use the measurements you gather for each brand.

Needed Items

When learning how to measure a dog for a harness, it’s important that you have the right materials to measure them with. A standard measuring tape doesn’t have the flexibility you need, and it will likely give you an inaccurate measurement.

On the other hand, a soft tape measure made of either cloth or vinyl is ideal. It’s easy to wrap around your dog and get an accurate measurement.

It allows you to get closer to the dog’s skin, whereas a standard one will bend unnaturally around their body.

An optional item is a dog treat if you need to distract your furry friend while you take their measurements.

Where to Measure

For most harnesses, there are two measurements you need to take. The first is the dog’s girth, which is the circumference of the widest part of the chest. The second is their neck, which refers to the widest part of the neck by their shoulders.

Many companies use both inches and centimeters for their dog harness sizing charts, so you can measure using whichever unit is comfortable. If a company doesn’t use both, you can easily convert your measurement to the other unit.

To measure your dog’s girth, wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of their chest.

For many dogs, this is an inch or two behind their front legs. You can have them stand while you measure them, or you can have them lay on their side while you do it.

Next, measure the widest part of their neck. You can record the measurements and move on, but it’s helpful to measure each twice to make sure your initial numbers are correct.

If your furry friend is especially wiggly, you can measure them with a string and measure the string once you take it off of them.

Additional Information to Gather

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While the chest and neck measurements are important for knowing how to measure a dog for a harness, it’s also important to know your dog’s weight.

Some companies also include weight in their sizing charts. Weight alone isn’t a determining factor for a harness, but this additional information can help you make a decision.

You can weigh your dog on a scale at home, or you can go off the last time they were weighed at the vet. However, it’ll be more accurate if you have a current weight.

It’s also important to remember that harnesses are adjustable, so choose a size that includes your dog’s measurements in their ranges. If your dog is between sizes, sources vary on whether you should go for the larger or smaller size.

If your dog is still growing, the larger size is the better choice because it will grow with them. Dogs with a thick fur coat will also benefit from the larger size because it can adjust larger to fit over their grown-out fur.

How to Adjust a Harness to Fit Properly

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Your work isn’t over once you buy a harness that’s the right size for your dog. Because each size accommodates a variety of girth and neck measurements, you’ll need to adjust the harness to your dog’s body.

Once you place the harness on your dog, adjust all of the straps so that it fits snugly. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it constricts movement or chafes their armpit area. It also shouldn’t be so loose that they can slip out of it.

The ideal fit for a dog harness is simple. If you can fit two fingers between the straps and your dog’s body, you’re good to go. You shouldn’t be able to fit more or less than two fingers.

This makes it so that your dog is comfortable and able to walk normally.

Signs a Harness Doesn’t Fit

If you aren’t sure if the dog harness you currently have fits properly, take a look at how your dog’s body responds to it. There are a few signs that their harness is not only not helping them, but it’s potentially harming them.

Know How to Measure a Dog for a Harness for the Most Comfortable Fit

If you know how to measure a dog for a harness, you can find the best dog harness for your furry friend. This offers your dog the protection and training they need, and the right fit will keep them comfortable when you go on walks.

The process is easy if you can get your dog to stand still for a moment. Once you have their chest and neck measurements, you can find the correct size using most company’s sizing charts.

How do you measure a dog for a harness? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments section.

Featured image via Pixabay

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