Can you leave a harness on a dog?

Some dog harnesses are a pain to get on, so it’s tempting to leave them on your dog for a long period of time.

As a general rule, you should remove your dog’s harness when not in use, especially on hot or sticky Aussie summer days. You wouldn’t want to keep a hot sticky bra on all day, would you?

If you have a good quality dog harness which offers good airflow through a breathable material then your dog will be far more comfortable at all times. You’ll find great recommendations here.

In some situations you can leave a harness on your dog for longer periods, with the following guidelines:

Walking and exercise

It’s perfectly fine to put a harness on your dog when going for a walk or during other forms of exercise.

In fact, you will find walking much more enjoyable when your dog is wearing a harness – especially if your dog loves to pull on the leash!

A good quality harness will reduce strain on your dog’s neck and throat, so it will be much more comfortable and enjoyable for them too.

It’s best to remove the harness when the walk or exercise session is over, or if you’re on a long hike then give your dog a much needed break by removing the harness temporarily.

Supervised playtime & training

If your dog is wearing a harness during supervised playtime or other activities, this will generally be safe as long as you keep an eye on your dog.

Make sure the harness is properly fitted and does not cause any discomfort, which happens more often that you would think.

I’ve taught training classes many a time when a dog has a harness clearly too big (or too small) for their build, or not fitted correctly, and this can be very uncomfortable for the dog. It makes them hard to train as well!

Extended wear

Leaving a harness on a dog for extended periods of time, especially when unsupervised, is not recommended. It’s easy for a dog to get into tricky spots or caught on furniture, even in the familiar surroundings of your own home.

Prolonged use of a harness may lead to chafing or irritation, sore spots, and bald patches – not a good look. It’s not common, but your dog may get tangled in the harness and risk injury.

Lastly, you already know our dogs like to scratch themselves. Imagine needing a good scratch, but you can’t, because you’re strapped into a dog harness.

Proper fitting

Regardless of the situation, get in the habit of fitting a dog harness correctly. If you don’t, this can be very problematic for your dog.

A harness should be snug but not too tight, and you should be able to slip two fingers comfortably underneath the harness.

Regularly check for any signs of discomfort, chafing, or irritation.

As an example, here’s how to put on an EzyDog harness:

How to put on an EzyDog harness

Give your dog a break

Even during activities like hiking, make sure you give your dog regular breaks. When you remove the harness, get in the habit of inspecting the harness for any issues, and make sure it hasn’t been causing your dog discomfort.

Sleeping with a harness

It’s generally not recommended to let your dog sleep with a harness on, especially in a crate.

Dogs need time to rest without any restrictive gear, so you should always remove the harness before bedtime.

Remember that the specific guidelines may vary based on the type of harness and your dog’s individual needs. A good quality harness like those from EzyDog are recommended.



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Gina & David

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