Many dog owners prefer their dogs to wear a harness than a collar. There can be many legitimate reasons for this, such as it being a large dog, and thus helping to control it, or they fear that a collar could damage the dog’s neck if it pulls.
There are many differences between harnesses and collars, and one of them is the fact that most dogs have their collars on 24/7. By comparison, dogs who wear harnesses often have them taken off by their owners at various times during the day.
This begs the question as to whether a dog could or should be allowed to wear their harness all day, so let’s look into that to try and come up with a definitive answer.
Leaving It on for the Owner’s Benefit
There are many reasons why a dog owner might choose that their dog wears their harness all day, and if the truth is told, it is more for their benefit than the dogs. This is not to say they do not care for their dog, but an admission that humans do sometimes put themselves at No. 1 versus their beloved pet.
Let’s be honest, putting a harness on a dog can sometimes be a pain. They see it as a sign that they are going out and so naturally they become a bit excitable and even with the most cooperative of dogs, it can be an ordeal.
First, you have to try to get your dog to stand still while you place the harness over their head, then you need to stretch as you loop the straps under their belly, and finally, you need to get the bits of the clip to fasten properly.
Having to go through this routine 2, 3, or even 4 times a day can soon have the dog’s owner deciding that it is too much effort, and therefore leaving the harness on their dog all day.
Reasons to Remove the Harness
While it is perfectly understandable why some owners choose to leave their dog wearing their harness all day, it is not really in the best interests of the dog.
While putting a harness on your dog for walks whenever you take them out is fine, it is best if you then remove it, either immediately upon your return, or at some point thereafter. Here are some of the reasons.
1. Reduced Matting or Fur Loss
This applies to all dogs but is especially the case for dogs with longer hair. Wearing a harness day in day out can cause their fur to matt, and on the places where it rubs the most, a harness can cause your dog’s fur to fall out.
2. Reduced Skin Problems
Wearing a harness for long periods can cause several skin issues for dogs. Again, we refer to the harness rubbing against your dog, and as well as causing fur loss, it can also cause chafing or irritation where it comes into contact with their skin.
3. Excessive Heat
This might not apply to every harness, but it does to those that have a large section of padding. These do not allow as much air to circulate around you dog, and they can start to overheat.
Dogs do not sweat in the same way humans do, so their body heat regulation works differently. What is the same though, is that a dog can become every bit as uncomfortable and stressed when they overheat as we do.
4. Psychological reasons
Not all dogs like wearing a harness, and there are many different reasons for that. They may, however, accept it when they associate it with going out to relieve themselves, for a walk, or to play in the park.
However, when they return you might see signs of them trying to escape the harness such as scratching at it.
If there is no practical reason for them to keep wearing their harness indoors, then remove it. If not, you dogs could become over-anxious to the point where they do not even want to wear their harness for walks.
Removing the Harness at Night
Even if you insist that your dog wears their harness throughout the day, one time you really should be removing it is at night. Would you feel comfortable going to bed and trying to sleep with your day clothes on? of course you wouldn’t, and it is the same for a dog.
Admittedly, a harness isn’t exactly clothing, and the reasons for removing the harness are more related to well-being than the dog’s comfort, even though it should be considered.
All things considered, it is normally best practice to remove your dog’s harness when they do not really need to wear it. It makes them more comfortable, it reduces the risks of issues with their skin and fur, and it can be less stressful for them.
Yes, it means a bit more effort on your part, putting it on them, and removing it several times a day, but if you care for your dog, it is surely no effort at all to do what is best for them.