Can Dogs Sleep With a Harness on?

Harnesses are often chosen by dog owners in preference to collars with reasons that range from them being more comfortable for their dog, to making it easier to walk their dog, especially one that pulls.

If your dog wears a harness hopefully you are aware of some of the safety aspects that need to be considered, and these include how long your dog should wear a harness for, and specifically whether they can wear them at night.

These questions often receive conflicting answers, so we have done some research to try and resolve it once and for all, especially in relation to dogs sleeping with their harness on.

Each Dog to Their Own

The subtitle of this first section relates to the fact that each dog’s circumstances are going to be different from every other dog, so the information we impart in this article isn’t necessarily going to apply to every dog.

A prime example of this is the safety and welfare of puppies is going to look a lot different to that of adult dogs. Similarly, there are dangers that small dogs may face with regards to wearing a harness, that larger dogs do not face.

The reason we mention this point first, is that as their owner, no matter how well-intentioned any of the advice that we or any other dog enthusiast gives you, ultimately it is up to you to decide what is best for your dog’s welfare.

If you are unsure about your dog or puppy wearing a harness, then by all means discuss the best way forward with your vet. In the end, their advice, plus the correct mix of common sense and compassion from yourself, will most likely be the right thing to do for your dog.

Dangers of Wearing a Harness at Night

As we have already mentioned every dog will be living in a different environment, a different home, with different layouts, and obviously different owners.

Another major difference is, while each dog will be sleeping in its own bed, that bed can one of several types available. Some will sleep on a large cushion, some will be in a plastic bed with blankets in it, and others could be sleeping a large metal crate, akin to a cage.

It is the crate and cage type beds that we need to mention because they are the ones that could present a risk when your dog is wearing a harness at night.

Let’s say from the outset, that cage or crate beds are perfectly safe for your dog if they are assembled and used correctly. We also make the assumption that you have bought one from a reputable seller with quality products.

Where the risk might occur, based on the construction of the bed, is that a dog harness could get caught on  a part of the crate such as catches, hooks, and connectors used to hold the crate together.

While this is likely to be a greater risk to small dogs and puppies, do not assume that simply because your dog is a larger one that it is immune to being injured in this way.

Skin and Fur Health

Another reason why you might want to consider removing your dog’s harness at night is out of concern for the health of their skin and their fur.

Even harnesses that are the correct size and are fitted correctly can rub, and if this causes their skin to become irritable, then your dog is not going to get a good night’s sleep.

More worrying will be the damage to their skin and the risk of infection in any wound which is created as result of their harness.

Matting of their fur is another problem caused by excessive wearing of a harness. This not only causes your dog to start scratching the matted area, but it can also mean frequent, and costly trips to the pet groomer to have the matting removed.

A Comfortable Night’s Sleep

While most dogs will happily sleep for hours while wearing a harness, unless you are actually standing there watching them, you cannot be certain. While you are in dreamland upstairs, your dog could be having a restless night, every night, without you knowing.

Bear in mind your dog cannot tell you in words that they hate wearing their harness at night, and the fact that you would normally be in another room while they sleep. means they cannot show you either. 

Even if you think they are ok, why not simply remove it before they go into their bed? It only takes a few seconds, and this way, if your dog finds wearing the harness night uncomfortable, or worse, becomes stressed wearing it for long periods of time, at least at night they do not have those issues to deal with while trying to sleep.