How Dog Harness Should Fit

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How Dog Harness Should Fit

June 25, 2023 5 min read

When shopping for dog harnesses, make sure you have proper sized openings at the waist and around each limb. If there are too many clothespins or clips, then you will not be able to put it on properly!

You want enough straps so that you can cinch all the way up, but not so much that it is uncomfortable for your dog. This article will talk more about different body shapes, and how to choose appropriate sizes for your pooch.

If you are ever in doubt about whether your dog could pull away while wearing his harness, take it off! A well-fitted harness with adequate safety features will always work in your dog’s favor.

Another important thing to note is that most dogs need longer legs than people do – an average length leg is usually six inches shorter than a person’s! Make sure your dog has room to move those toes.

Waist strap

Crop faceless ethnic female owner in casual clothes resting on wooden bench while stroking purebred puppy with harness


A waist harness comes with a belt that is attached to a frame or carrier for your dog’s back legs. The belt goes around your dog’s torso, holding their paws in place.

The straps are typically made of leather or nylon webbing and can be adjusted to fit snugly or loosely. This allows you to get a tighter hold on your dog, or keep his feet loose so he can move more easily.

It is very important to make sure your dog has enough room to breathe while wearing this type of harness. They may need to be able to take frequent breaths when they play or exercise outside!

Warning: Never use a buckle attachment collar as a traditional leash. These do not have safety features such as buckles that lock into position, making them potentially dangerous for your dog if they become untied.

Chest strap

A Golden Retriever in a Harness


A chest strap is typically made of leather or nylon and goes across the dog’s chest just like a shirt would. Because it doesn’t have fastenings, it can be adjusted to fit easily.

Some people prefer this style harness as they say it allows for more range of motion, which may help promote healthier hip joints. It also helps prevent dogs from slipping their arms out due to weight being spread better than with a buckle design.

However, some owners find them cumbersome to put on and take off because you have to slide the straps over the dog’s body and then adjust for length. This can result in tangling of the cords since the animal moves around a lot while wearing it.

Leash clip

how dog harness should fit

The most basic type of dog harness is called a leash clip or hook-and-loop fastener. It attaches to your dog’s existing collar by means of small hooks that lock into larger sections of material.

Most people use these types of leashes when walking their dogs in relatively calm environments, so they don’t need something more advanced. However, there are some things you can do with them if needed.

The first thing is make sure your dog isn’t going to pull too hard on the leash. This could cause injury to your pet or break the link between his/her collar and the leash.

You also want to be careful not to overtighten the leash clip. That could hurt your dog’s neck as he tries to get away. And even a very tight leash may become uncomfortable for your dog after repeated uses.

Leash buckle

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The most important part of any dog harness is the leash buckle! This piece can make or break the safety and function of your product. More expensive ones will be heavier, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

If you have to pull the leash away quickly from something or someone, then this weight helps mitigate risk of injury by keeping the dog connected to you. If possible, try to find one with latching connectors so that it doesn’t require manipulation or breaking of other materials to release the dog.

Some dogs are more prone to pulling when leashed than others. These individuals may need a longer or shorter leash length depending on their personality.

Chest pad

Adorable loyal husky dog on leash standing on snowy ground and looking away on cloudy winter day


For most people, this is the trickiest part of buying a dog harness. You want to be able to put the leash in close enough so that you can grab it, but not so tight that the animal becomes uncomfortable or injured.

Most dogs have different sized chest areas depending on their breed! This makes finding a comfortable fit very difficult. Fortunately, we have some tips for you here.

First, make sure your dog’s paws are able to breathe when they push off while walking. A well-fitting chest strap will help ensure this happens properly.

Second, look at the size of the animal’s actual chest as opposed to its padded chest area. Because dogs are built with muscles, they may appear larger than what they actually are.

Third, try on the harness with an empty stomach and dress up clothes to get a better sense of how much space there is between the straps and skin.

Waist pad

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The waist pad is one of the most important pieces of equipment for protecting your dog’s skin from abrasions in addition to helping retain heat, which helps prevent overheating.

Most dogs that get into accidents with bikes are either running away or chasing after it when they are struck. This exposure can cause major water loss and potential hypothermia, especially if you don’t have time to take proper precautions like wearing warm clothes.

The inner layer of padding in the harness comes in contact with your dog’s skin during bike rides and this aids in protecting their skin by acting as an additional barrier.

Too small of a padding will not do enough work while too much may be uncomfortable or even harmful due to excess heat being retained and causing thermal stress on your dog’s body. You want to make sure there is just the right amount of cushioning so that your dog feels comfortable but still has some protection.

Back pad

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The back pads are an important component of any dog harness. These help prevent your dog or dogs from sliding down the seat, as well as helping to hold their tail up. They also help keep the dogs neck warm!

The best back pads are made of leather that has been sewn together with strong thread. This ensures durability and does not break down when wet like plastic ones would.

If you notice that your dog is having trouble getting out of the car or trying to pull themselves up, they may need bigger back pads.

This article will talk more about where to get quality canine back padding and how to measure for size.

Seat pad

how dog harness should fit

One of the most important pieces of equipment for safety dog harnesses is the seat pad. The cushioning material that sits under your dog’s back depends on their size and shape, so make sure to check out our tips here!

Most crate training dogs will need at least a 6-8 inch thick cushion layer in order to relax and sleep comfortably. For some dogs, they may feel more comfortable with an even thicker mattress!

Remember, if your dog feels uncomfortable or unable to adjust to the thickness of the padding, they might be able to get away without it by practicing off leash walking time.

Cindy PetsForLife
Cindy PetsForLife

Hello, I'm Cindy, the founder of PetsForLife. I am a true animal lover with 3 cats and 1 dog of my own. My passion for all things pets has led me to create a unique collection of personalized pet gifts. Check out our personalized pet gifts on our website.

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