Is It Safe To Leave Harness On A Dog All The Time? Can They Choke?

One of the most commonly bought accessories for dogs is a dog harness, and most people rather have their dogs wear it 27/7. But this brings us to a very important question: Is it safe to leave a harness on a dog all the time?

Safety-wise, yes, dog harnesses are simply the most secure, and most comfortable way to hook your dog to his leash. Harnesses increase your control, prevent constant tugging and/or pulling, and are perfect for dogs with neck and oesophagus injuries.  But just like dog collars, it’s best not to leave them on your dog all the time. 

There are a lot of other factors as to why it isn’t recommended to leave it on 24/7. Read on to find out more about the dangers of dog harnesses, and important tips on how to select the perfect one for your lovely pup!

The Risks Of Constantly Leaving A Dog Harness On Your Dog

Is It Safe To Leave Harness On A Dog All The Time

Dog harnesses aren’t generally dangerous. But there are some safety hazards linked to having them on your pup all the time. 

Here are some of the reasons why.

May Cause Discomfort and Injury

Compare a dog harness to a vest we wear all the time. They’re stylish and look cool, but it can be a total inconvenience if it’s either too tight or too loose. 

For dogs, a too-tight harness may cause pressure from the strap when dogs sit or lie down. If it’s too loose, dogs could develop sores if the harness constantly rubs against certain areas of the skin.

Harnesses that don’t fit well are a potential cause for a chest injury, especially if the dog pulls too hard on his leash. 

If a dog is particularly sensitive, skin infections and rashes may also develop if worn on a daily basis. 

May Cause Fur to Matt

Matting prevents proper airflow, especially if the hair is rightly pressed to a dog’s skin, proper temperature regulation, and skin irritation. It also increases the risk of parasites and often causes extreme discomfort and pain. 

Matting is highly likely to occur if a dog has his harness on all the time, especially if it’s a vest harness that may cover half a dog’s body. They often form underneath your dog’s collar or the parts of their chest and armpits where the walking harness rests.

Potential Choking Hazard

A harness may be considered a choking hazard if left on at night while dogs sleep. 

It may get caught in between a piece of cloth or blanket, and restrict air from properly passing through their lungs. A harness may not pose the same threat as dog collars, but as it has more straps, it’s easier for dogs to get caught on something. 

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[Related Article: Should I Take My Dog Collar Off At Night Before Bed For Safety]

Dogs May Chew Through the Harness

As an owner who’s had over five dog harnesses ruined from my dog chewing through it, I can definitely attest to how often this happens.

Dogs would normally chew on their harness in an effort to escape, especially if they feel it to be uncomfortable. Other times they’re just simply too bored and would treat their harness as a chew toy. 

rabbitgoo Dog Harness, No-Pull Pet Harness with 2 Leash Clips, Adjustable Soft Padded Dog Vest,

If you’re adamant to keep the harness on, there are chew-proof dog harnesses available to be purchased, which are harder to chew on. But you can just avoid it entirely by just simply removing the harness while at home. 

Choosing the Right Harness For Your Dog

Some types of harnesses may be harmful to dogs. Not all of them support the dog’s weight and bone structure, and can badly hurt the animal in various ways if the harness is misused. Here’s a list of the common types of dog harasses to choose for your dog.

Training Harness

The Training Harness, also known as the Front-Clip Harness, comes with a leash at the front and is expected to go around the middle of a dog’s chest. Some training harnesses come with Martingale loops to decrease pulling pleasure. 

This type of harness discourages a dog’s natural pulling instinct and goes a long way in guiding your dog in the right direction because of the control it offers. Great training tool for puppies.

Vest Harness

Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness - All Weather Mesh, Step in Vest Harness for Small and Medium Dogs by Best Pet Supplies

Commonly made from mesh or nylon, vest harnesses, as its name suggests, have some semblance to a vest and appear thicker than the rest of the harnesses on this list. Vests reduce chafing and can make skittish dogs feel more secure. The only downside of vest harnesses is that they may cause dogs to feel “contained”. 

If you have petite dogs, mesh vest harnesses are perfect for them as it is easy to put on and adjustable for a perfect fit.

Back-Clip Harness

PetSafe Sure-Fit Harness, Adjustable Dog Harness from the Makers of the Easy Walk Harness

Designed for less aggressive dogs, this harness’s leave is commonly located at the top of a dog’s back. It’s the easiest to use for walking your dog and is shown to be the most agreeable type for many dogs to adjust to. Back-Clip Harness is best used for small dogs

No-Pull Harness

2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness with Leash, Adjustable Gentle Comfortable Control for Easy Dog Walking

Non-pull harnesses are created to minimize your dog’s ability to tug hard on its leash as much as possible. When using the harness, the pressure caused by pulling is evenly distributed on the dog’s chest. Some of the same types are designed to tighten around the leg area of your dog. 

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3 in 1 Dog Harness

PetSafe 3 in 1 Dog Harness – No Pull Solution for Dogs – Choose from Chest, Back or Seatbelt Attachment – Reflective Nylon Perfect for Running or Jogging – Front Clip Stops Light to Moderate Pulling

If you are confused by the options above and looking for a harness that is safe and performs several functions at once,  we recommend getting a 3 in 1 Dog harness.

This type of harness is one of my favorite and basically, you can use it for a no-pull walking solution with a front leash attachment,  a standard harness with back leash attachment, or as a car safety restraint. It is the perfect all-inclusive harness.

Final Thoughts

It isn’t entirely necessary to have your dog wear a harness all the time, especially if they’re inside the house. 

Your dog’s safety and comfort are largely dependent on the choices you make. Make sure to listen to all the cues your dog may show you for a happier, safer dog.

Dogs primarily communicate using body language, so make sure to closely monitor your dog’s physical cues to make sure he’s comfortable with his new dog harness. 

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