The best dog harness can safely restrain your puppy and allow for better control in many situations. It also provides for a great connection between humans and canines. We put some of the top dog harnesses of the year to the test.
- 1 small dog seat belt
- 2 Best dog seat belt for large dogs
- 3 What to Look for in a Dog Harness
- 4 Types of dog harnesses
- 5 Is a dog harness better than a collar?
- 6 Is a dog harness better than a collar?
- 7 How do you measure a dog for a harness?
- 8 How do you prevent pulling with a harness?
- 9 Is it better to walk a dog on a collar or harness?
- 10 Should you leave a harness on a dog all the time?
- 11 Can dogs hurt themselves by pulling on harnesses?
- 12 Should you put a seat belt on a dog?
Going on walks runs, and even rides together can form a joy-filled relationship between you and your furry friend. Exploring the world with your dog is one of the greatest gifts of dog ownership.
While out on walks, not only is the emotional bond between you and your dog strengthened, but the physical bond of the leash also joins you together as a unit. A dog harness can be a helpful and comfortable difference-maker for you and your dog.
While necessary for some circumstances, collars can cause uncomfortable pressure on your dog’s spine and trachea. And they can be especially harmful to dogs with a tendency to pull while on a leash. Compared to a traditional collar, a well-fitted harness provides improved comfort and safety for your dog and much better control.
Whether you just brought home a new dog or need a better way to walk your pet so they don’t yank you down the block, a good dog harness can make a difference during training or regular day-to-day activities. Our favorite harnesses come in a range of sizes, colors, and styles to suit every need and price range for the giant pups.
If your dog tugs against their leash, a harness can prevent them from straining their neck (like a collar might) but also help teach them better walking habits. A harness can give you better control during walks, aiding in leash training by providing multiple attachment points and spreading resistance across your dog’s shoulders and chest.
We evaluated a wide range of harnesses for fit, features, and available sizes, looking for products that your dog can use comfortably for hours. Some of our picks are suitable for particular scenarios, such as hiking or training.
Some dogs need more than a plain old collar. Whether your dog pulls on the leash, has mobility constraints, or is easily distracted, a harness may be your new best friend. It’s less stressful on your dog’s neck and gives you more control over walks.
Harnesses come in a variety of styles and offer a range of uses. Before buying a dog harness, consider the following:
- Safety and durability. Is it adjustable for a secure fit? Will it hold up to extensive use out in the elements? Is it machine-washable or otherwise easy to clean?
- Comfort. Is it designed to keep your dog feeling comfy while in use? Does it avoid putting pressure on their throat and neck? Is there padding or other comfort-forward features?
- Cost. Is it affordable? A good harness is an investment, so don’t go for the bargain. But you should be able to find a solid option at a reasonable price.
- Style. Your dog may not care what they look like, and utility should be your primary goal in selecting a harness. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look for something spiffy.
The Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness is made with versatility in mind. The soft, padded harness has a place to clip a leash on both the front—for correcting dogs who like to pull—and the back, which is better for jogs, hikes, and walks with well-trained pooches. Four adjustment points allow you to dial in the perfect fit around your dog’s neck and chest. Fast release buckles simplify getting your dog in and out of the harness.
In addition to its adjustable fit, the Rabbitgoo harness has other features to enhance your dog’s comfort, including an airy mesh lining and enough padding that it won’t chafe. We like the sturdy top handle when you need to keep your dog extra close, and the reflective stitching helps make nighttime walks safer.
The Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness is available in four different sizes, so chances are there’s a model that will fit your dog. It’s also available in 14 different colors.
By attaching your leash to the loop on the front and center of your pup’s chest, this classic harness redirects their attention to the side—and toward you—whenever your dog pulls. The PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness offers four adjustment points for a fit that’s always secure, plus a Martingale loop in the front to prevent twisting. Owners like that the belly strap is a different color than the rest of the harness, so it’s easily identifiable when you want to put the harness on your dog. One downside is that owners of larger dogs say it’s too narrow for their more powerful pets.
Small dog owners may already know Puppia, which has earned an almost cult-like following for its soft, breathable dog harnesses. They also come in large dog sizes, but small or sensitive-skinned dogs love them because the more delicate polyester fabric rubs and chafes less than nylon or versions with lots of straps. It’s also easy to get on and off, which makes it excellent for wriggly pups. According to the brand, the harness is made of lightweight, breathable water repellant mesh.
Available in 14 colors, pet parents looking for a more stylish vest-like harness will appreciate the wide variety of options. While they recommend hand-washing, the brand says you can machine wash the saddle if you so desire, making it a breeze to clean. Since it exclusively connects to a leash at the back, this design is best for dogs that don’t pull too much.
This non-restrictive harness keeps pressure off your dog’s throat to keep their windpipe free and clear while walking. Our testers loved the range of colors and patterns to suit any style. A step-in design makes it easy to use for pets that can be a bit squirmy when trying to get them ready for a walk. Put the harness on the ground and direct your pup’s front two paws into the designated spots.
Though small and light, we were impressed by its durability. One tester said, “It was small but solid, and I wasn’t worried that my dog would break out of it or that I wouldn’t be able to control him.” This harness might work best for smaller dog breeds or those that don’t pull since it doesn’t have a front leash clip. We also found that adjusting the straps at first was a little challenging and even noticed that the rings you attach the leash to are too small for some leash types.
True to its title, this multi-purpose harness will work great if you need to take your dog off the beaten path. Our testers loved the soft mesh panels that chafed less than strappier versions and the back handle for lifting your dog up when necessary and controlling them when in close quarters with fellow furry friends. Its sturdier construction makes it worth the extra price, and we appreciate that you could choose between attaching the leash to the back or front of the harness for ultimate versatility. Pick from three colors and four sizes to customize it for your pup. Our testers have found that the harness runs a bit big and is, therefore, better for slightly larger dogs as the smallest size can still be a bit large for tiny breeds.
Whether you’re headed for a stroll around the neighborhood or taking a power walk, you and your pup will enjoy this harness. It has two sturdy aluminum alloy leash attachment points with reinforced webbing—one on the chest and one on the back—and is made of a breathable mesh. The dual elastic construction on the belly straps offers a little give, so if your dog lunges at that squirrel, it will help absorb the jerk. It’s highly reflective for extra safety on nighttime walks and has a padded and comfy handle that can double as a seat belt attachment in the car.
small dog seat belt
what we like
- One of few harnesses approved by CPS
- Available in fashionable colors
what we don’t like
- Can be difficult to adjust straps
- Some dogs can escape despite snug fit
- May not fit deep-chested breeds like the Saluki, Greyhound, and Whippet
Like all SleepyPod products, the ClickIt Sport Harness is crash tested and safety rated by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). The unique Infinity Loop design features an energy-absorbing padded vest to help distribute pressure both when used as a walking harness and in the event of a collision. The step-in-style harness is installed by threading the seat belt through the back straps, which allows the dog to comfortably sit, stand, or lie down. It doubles as a walking harness with a rear D-ring for attaching a leash.
what we like
- Anti-pull front D-ring
- All-metal hardware
- Good for escape artists
what we don’t like
- Nesting buckles may be difficult for some to use
- Too bulky for small dogs
This double-duty harness is crash tested at the same facility that maintains Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 for Child Restraint Systems. It’s equipped with both a front and back D-ring leash attachment. When used as a front-clip walking harness, it promotes improved leash manners in dogs that pull. Built for durability, it features all-metal nesting buckles based on the same engineering used in mountain-climbing harnesses. The over-the-head design offers five points of adjustment for a snug fit that helps thwart escape artists.
- Strong materials
- Difficult to adjust straps
- Doesn’t fit toy breeds
The EZYDog Drive Harness is our top pick for dog comfort and safety. It has been crash-tested by Automotive Safety Engineering in Australia (ASEA) experts. This group is responsible for the official certification of child safety seats in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Three different sizes are available for dogs with chest circumferences ranging from 11.0 to 42.0 inches.
While not the easiest harness to fit to your dog, it is one of the safest. Choose this dog seat belt if you want peace of mind that your pet will remain unharmed in a crash.
The straps on the EZYDog harness can be difficult to tighten and loosen. During our test, it took us some time and effort to properly adjust. However, there are markings on the harness to help you set to the perfect position based on your dog’s specific measurements.
Our test dog, Louise, found the harness comfortable. She was able to lay down or sit up and seemed content to wear the harness with no issues breathing or relaxing. The broad chest plate fit her well.
This harness is high-quality buckles and thick, well-stitched straps. The chest plate is a little rigid, but this didn’t seem to bother Louise. Overall, the EZYDog is our top pick because of its quality construction.
- Crash tested
- Includes lifetime warranty
- Simple to adjust
- Durable build
- Can be tight-fitting in the chest
The Kurgo Tru-Fit is available in five sizes and is rated for dogs up to 75.0 pounds. Kurgo harnesses are crash-tested in a testing facility that handles testing child seat belt restraint systems. Both static and dynamic crash tests have been conducted on this harness.
This dog car seat belt has five points of adjustment for optimal fitment.
The Kurgo Tru-fit is much easier to adjust than the EzyDog or the Sleepypod. However, our test dog found this harness less comfortable than the other two. While she did not seem pained and was able to comfortably sit in our test vehicle, Louise was noticeably less pleased with the fit of this harness. As mentioned, our test dog is broad-chested.
The materials don’t seem as durable as the other harnesses we’ve recommended, but they’re not flimsy. The durable nylon should be chew-proof for most dog breeds.
Best dog seat belt for large dogs
- Adjustable for multiple sizes
- Buckles into the seat belt
- Strong nylon design
- Hard to adjust for smaller dogs
- Buckle can be accidentally released by dogs
Our pick for the best overall dog seat belt of 2023 is the Dogit Car Safety Dog Belt. This car safety device attaches directly to your dog’s harness to keep it safely secured during short or long drives. An included end attaches to the car’s seat belt directly to provide added protection for dogs while you drive. Made from sturdy nylon material, this strap is designed to stay strong under strain and pulling.
While this safety belt is adjustable and designed to work for all dog breeds, small and toy breeds may be difficult to strap in properly. Another issue we noticed is that there is no protective covering over the buckle end of the strap. This allows your dog to accidentally step on the latch and unhook themselves during drives.
- Features 2 straps in one package
- Sturdy hardware
- Not compatible with several vehicle models
If you’re in the market for the best dog seat belt for the money, then our choice for best value is the SlowTon Adjustable Dog Seat Belt. This adjustable seat belt works with most vehicles and is designed to allow your pooch the opportunity to sit or lie down in comfort and safety. The metal hardware and nylon straps are sturdy and dependable. Each purchase includes two belts and is very affordable and is perfect for owners with multiple dogs and a fixed income.
While we liked that this dog seat belt fulfills its purpose and protects our pooches from sudden stops, it is disappointing that so many car brands are not compatible. This includes most Honda and Subaru models along with several others. Double-check for compatibility before purchasing one of your own.
- Adjusts to multiple sizes
- Features nylon elastic bungee
- Snaps into a car’s seat belt
- Pups like to chew it
- Can be unbuckled accidentally
If you’re looking for a seat belt to keep your new puppy secure while driving, the Vastar Seat Belt Harness is a solid option. While this seat belt isn’t made entirely for pups, it is fully adjustable and can easily be made to fit your little one. The nylon elastic bungee is perfect for protecting your dog during a crash without harming them due to restriction. The metal buckles are durable and easily snap into your vehicle’s seat for securing your pet.
As with any product designed for dogs, chewing can be an issue. This is especially true when trying to secure a puppy. If your little pooch chews a lot, the nylon on this seat belt may become their next target. It is also possible, if they are wigglers during the car ride, for your pup to accidentally step on the seat belt release. If this happens, pull over immediately to resecure your pet.
- Seat belt and vest combo
- 4 sizes to choose from
- Crash tested for safety
- Hard to use
- Loosens while in use
For this review, we’ve chosen the PetSafe Happy Ride Car Safety Harness for medium dog breeds. You’ll find that this harness is available in four different sizes to accommodate different dog breeds and their sizes. Crash tested for safety, this harness is padded to provide your dog with comfort while they safely ride in the back of the car. Several attachments are available to make it easier for you to attach this harness to your seat belt properly and keep your dog in a safe position during your rides.
While we enjoyed the overall design of this safety harness we must admit it can be difficult to figure out. No clear instructions were included, leaving us to determine which attachments and positions were best suited for our pets. We also noticed the harness itself tended to slide when dogs were moving. This seemed uncomfortable for the dog and required additional adjustments.
What to Look for in a Dog Harness
When it comes to selecting a dog harness, keep these factors in mind:
First and foremost, a harness must fit your dog correctly. A too-small harness can chafe your pup, and if it’s too big, they may be able to escape it. You’ll want to measure them according to the manufacturer’s suggestion to order the corresponding size. Most harnesses are adjustable with room for growth. You’ll know the harness is appropriately sized and fitted if you can slip two fingers between it and your dog.
The best harnesses are made of durable materials such as nylon or polyester. You’ll want stainless steel, aluminum, or another type of metal loop for attaching the leash. Reflective night stitching is an excellent addition for those who walk their dogs in the dark (almost everyone in the winter months).
Where the Leash Attaches
Harnesses will either have a chest loop or a back loop where you can attach your leash. A chest loop is better for leash training and dogs that pull, while a back loop works for calmer dogs.
Harnesses come in a range of colors and finishes. In addition to picking one that appeals to you, consider what size and shape will best fit your dog. If you have a skittish dog about having things put over its head, look for a harness that fastens around the back.
Types of dog harnesses
There are a few different types of harnesses to consider based on your lifestyle and pup.
- Back-clip harness: A back-clip harness is better for dogs that are fairly well-mannered. It’s a similar experience to walking with a simple collar, except the harness helps safely distribute the pressure away from your pet’s neck to their chest. However, unless the harness is also a tightening harness, it won’t do much to restrict your dog from pulling.
- Front-clip harness: For dogs that tend to pull, front-clip harnesses can help ensure your daily walk is a relaxing experience. By clipping the leash to the front of their body at their chest, when your pet starts pulling, they’ll simply turn themselves around (which won’t encourage them to keep pulling or lunging forward at that squirrel).
- Dual-clip harness: Dual-clip harnesses can clip in both the front and back of the harness. They’re ideal for training pets since you can use a dual connection leash to help lead them while restricting them from pulling. With a dual-clip harness, you can choose whether you need a stronger no-pull option or just a simple back clip option.
- Step-in harness: If you’ve got a wiggly dog, a step-in harness makes the process of getting your pet ready a bit easier. You simply place the harness on the ground and put your dog’s legs in the designated spots. This is ideal for pets that don’t like putting things over their head.
- Tightening harness: Tightening harnesses help keep your pet from pulling by constricting around their body when they lunge forward. You’ll want to make sure you use a tightening harness with gentle fabric and hardware that isn’t too close to their throat to keep them safe when pulling adds additional pressure.
How we test dog harnesses
Our team at the Yeaig reviews pet gear of all kinds, from supplements for dogs to cat litter. We’ve read hundreds of reviews to discover which harnesses were worth considering, then tested over half a dozen of them in our Lab and with consumer testers. We based our recommendations on extensive research of the market, assessments of brands and materials, and real-life testing. We considering the following factors:
- ✔️ Fit: We ensure that each pick comfortably fits on our tester dogs and doesn’t bother them, chafe or otherwise bother them. We try these styles on active dogs to see if they irritate their necks or cause discomfort while engaging in the activity. We also assess how easily the harnesses adjust to the right fit for the dog.
- ✔️ Performance: One of the most important things about a dog harness is how well it performs, so we look for harnesses that prevent pulling and help you maintain control over your pet. To test, we took these pups on walks with various external stimuli like other dogs or squirrels to see how easy it was to handle the harness and control the dogs.
- ✔️ Ease of use: We consider many different aspects of each harness before recommending it, including how easy it is to secure onto your pet, adjust the straps, attach a leash, and clean.
- ✔️ Extra features: While having a basic harness will do the job, some brands offer additional features like a handle or reflective material perfect for those who take their pups on walks early in the morning or late at night.
Is a dog harness better than a collar?
Simply put, yes. Collars can strain your dog’s windpipe and, in some cases, their spine. Using a harness instead of a collar can prevent that choking, the hacking effect you may have seen when your dog tries to pull toward a squirrel or another dog. And if you like to hike, run or bring your dog in the car, some harnesses have special features to make those activities more accessible, more enjoyable, and safer for all involved.
• Large or strong breeds like pit bulls, German shepherds, and Labradors do well walking on a harness because it puts pressure on their chest instead of their neck. Not only does that remind the dog not to pull and help deter them from doing so, but it’s also safer for their body.
• Some smaller breeds like Chihuahuas, toy poodles, or other toy dogs find harnesses more comfortable on their tinier frames, and a harness with a handle can make it easier to pick up your pocket-sized puppy if they get tired or you need to lift them out of danger.
Is a dog harness better than a collar?
Harnesses are a better choice than a collar for most dogs. Because they go around the dog’s chest and behind their front legs, they won’t choke or strain a pulling dog’s neck like a collar can. Harnesses also give you better leverage to control a large dog or a dog who likes to pull.
How do you measure a dog for a harness?
You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for measuring for a harness. To find their size, you’ll generally measure your dog’s neck circumference and chest girth with a tape measure.
How do you prevent pulling with a harness?
If purchasing a harness to stop your pup from pulling on a walk, you’ll want to select one with a chest loop attachment for the leash. The placement helps gently correct by removing your pup to the side if they get too far ahead of you.
Is it better to walk a dog on a collar or harness?
Harnesses are usually the best for walking dogs because they don’t put pressure on the neck. But collars are generally more comfortable and have a place to hold an ID tag. You should use a harness, not a collar if you have a dog prone to breathing issues (like a pug).
Should you leave a harness on a dog all the time?
A dog can be left with a harness all day, but it is not advisable. Vets and trainers recommend that a dog only wears its harness when it is out on a walk or being trained, but not at home. They should only wear their harness for long periods if necessary, such as on a long hike or camping trip.
Can dogs hurt themselves by pulling on harnesses?
Harnesses don’t put unnecessary pressure on a dog’s neck and trachea. Even if a dog pulls while wearing a harness, it won’t hurt him or her or cause life-long damage. If your dog is a severe puller, invest in the proper training tools to teach him to walk correctly.
Should you put a seat belt on a dog?
Dog Seat Belts Keep Pets and People Safe
The Volvo study also found that driving with an unrestrained dog isn’t just unsafe for the dog, it’s unsafe for everyone else, too. Hazardous driving behaviors more than doubled when dogs were unrestrained compared to when they were restrained.