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Pet Collar or a harness? Which is better for your dog & cats health?

Being a dog walker, I walk some dogs who are working on their leash manners. With that comes random comments from strangers such as “that dog is too big for you.”

Harness

Harness

Don’t let my size fool you! 

Picture this.  One day several years ago, I handed my dogs leash to a guy who is over 6ft tall aprx. 250 lbs.  My dog saw a rabbit, pulled him, he let go of the leash and off my dog went into the woods.  I said “he has never gotten away from me, I thought you could handle him.” I guess I blew that theory that I’m too small right out of the water.  Please note: No animals were harmed in this scenario and Yes this is a true story.

Dog walkers vs. Dog Trainer

While trainers & walkers both work with dogs, they are two separate professions.  Although I an not a trainer, I can handle a pulling dog with the best of them. To prevent this behavior, I read articles & watch shows like It’s me or the Dog with Victoria Stilwell or Cesar Millan’s show.  After each episode, I try stuff out with my dog.  I can hear my dog now “oh great, she has been watching her training shows again.”

I have come across some startling facts that dog collars have on pets health.  One article that I found to be extremely informative is one written by Holistic Vet. It lists health issues from paw licking to eye discharge to hypothyroidism.

Injuries from pinch & shock collars and choke chains.

The idea behind some pinch or prong collars is to stop pulling.  They are meant for a quick correction resulting in pressure distributed around the dog’s neck.  Two problems with this are most some people will forget to quick correct but continuously pull or yank and secondly the muscles that absorb the pressure are situated mostly at the sides of the neck.  Thus your dogs neck and throat are almost unprotected and you risk injury your dogs neck & spine from jerking the leash.

Pinch & Choke chain collars both cause Neck, Trachea, Soft Tissue, Esophagus, and Skeletal injuries.

  • 63% of the dogs examined had neck and spinal injuries.
  • 78% of the dogs with aggression or over activity problems had neck and spinal injuries.
  • Of the dogs with neck injuries, 91 percent had experienced hard jerks on a leash or had strained against their leashes.
Recently I was informed the cost of an MRI & spinal surgery could cost you $5000

Collar correction danger

Between shock collars and prong collars, I thought maybe the choke chain was not as bad until I ended up on the receiving end of it.

I stand corrected!  One day I was hugging a dog who’s owner had her on a choke chain.  The dog was ready to jump, jerk goes the chain and guess what happened? Yep, the chain got me.

Wowie that hurts!  I got quite the nasty bruise & lost some skin.

Bzzt! I know some owners are curious enough to test their new “training device” such as a shock collar on themselves. I”m sorry but if I’m to afraid to press the button on myself, I’m sure not going to use it on my dog.  For those who do test it out and decide to forgo the shock collar, Kudos to you!

Going along with the train of thought that jerking causes a whiplash type effect from these other devices,  I am guessing a head collar would not be the best choice either.

My suggestion is to use a Harness with front & back clipand padding around the legs.  The front connection allows better control of your dog and the padding or felt type material will prevent chaffing your dog.

I have this harness and use it on my dog as you can see in the above photo. It has BOTH a front/chest clip and back clip. I liked it so much I also recommended to a few clients. None of the dogs have experience chafing or loss of fur.

I do believe pet collar serve a purpose.  They are a great way to keep your pets id tag- (aka: dog tag) attached to them at all times.  To read more about “green” collars made from recycled materials such a plastic water bottles or alternative materials like hemp or bamboo, see our eco-friendly collars & leashes article.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet has a medical problem, please seek medical attention from your veterinarian. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails will do our best to ensure that information presented is accurate and up-to-date. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails does not accept any responsibility for damages, loss or illness which may arise in connection with the use of the information published on this website. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of individual contributors. © Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails, 2016. All Rights Reserved.
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