Jun 06, 2023
11 Best Dog Harnesses of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we love. Promise. Show Fido who's really walking who. Let's be real here—we let our pups get away with A LOT (how could
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we love. Promise.
Show Fido who's really walking who.
Let's be real here—we let our pups get away with A LOT (how could you say no to those puppy dog eyes!), but it's time to stop letting them walk you. Yeah, that's right. It's time to leave the daily tug-of-war in the past and get the right accessories for comfier, safer walks. How, you may ask? Well, it's as simple as choosing a dog harness that checks all the boxes for you and your furry friend. According to the experts, the best dog harnesses can help you avoid chocking and damage to your pet's trachea—and yes, you can find options that v aesthetic, too.
If you're hoping to make walk time less of a struggle (or have an escape artist who constantly wiggles out of their collar), then a harness may just be the way to go. And, while I'm the first to admit that I'm the type of person who oftentimes opts for cuteness over functionality (cue slideshow of collection of cute dog toys), we got some insight from PetSmart's training expert Jodie Havens, CPDT-KSA, as to why that shouldn't always be the case. After all, [insert your dog's name here] deserves an enjoyable walk and you, my fellow pet parent, deserve some peace of mind when it comes to their safety.
Without further ado, here's some paw-some dog harnesses that your pupper will totally dig!
Who doesn't love a three-in-one situation? Thanks to the back leash attachment, front leash attachment, and car safety restraint, this leash offers a true no-pull solution. It also comes with a double-ended leash to attach to the front and back of your harness to effectively redirect your pup's inevitable pulling.
THE REVIEW: According to one reviewer, "We just adopted a rescue dog and she’s reactive to other dogs. We wanted a sturdy harness that she couldn’t escape from and that we could hook her leash on to the chest. Since getting it, she doesn’t pull as much and is easier to handle. The harness is very sturdy and has reflective stitching. We plan on getting one for our other dog and have recommended this one to friends."
The whole point of getting a harness is to make your four-legged friend more comfortable on walks. Well, that and to make sure they don't wiggle out of their collar when they see a squirrel. Since this one is made with breathable mesh and an adjustable chest belt, your pup will love the new found sense of comfort.
THE REVIEW: "Puppia are the best harnesses around for small dogs," one tester writes. "They do not wear out the fur/hair, are wear- and tear-resistant, [and] do not shrink or fray when (hand) washed. The mesh-type are ideal for trips to the beach because they dry very quickly. I have tried a variety of harnesses over the years, and none beat Puppia both for quality of construction, price, and above all, comfort."
Once the temps start rising, your pup is going to start wondering why walks are getting shorter and shorter. This harness keeps your adventure buddy cool by simply wetting it with water. But don't worry about the wet dog smell, because the inner mesh lining keeps your dog's fur dry while they stay cool.
THE REVIEW: "Our blue heeler mix loves this harness!" raves one tester. "He typically refuses to hike in the heat with his mostly-black coat. Now when he sees this harness come out he prances. He will chase tennis balls endlessly on a hot day now. He tries to cuddle and lick his harness after we take it off. It’s hilarious. Now we don’t have to feel guilty bringing him along on warmer days."
This versatile harness can be used in and out of the car. Made for dogs 75 pounds or less, the crash-tested harness keeps you and your pup safe. Fido can be buckled in with your car seat belt or with the included 10-inch dog seat belt tether to provide a bit more range of movement on the voyage.
THE REVIEW: "This harness was great!" one buyer raves. "We purchased this item because we were taking a long car trip. My dog seemed very comfortable, had enough freedom to move around in the back seat and could stand, sit or lie down. The harness was very easy to put on and take off. I purchased a strap that connected to the harness and pugged directly into the seatbelt. It was a great purchase."
Best for small dogs, this step-in harness makes walks a little less of a hassle. Simply let them step in the arm holes and buckle 'em in for a walk where you have control and they have lightweight comfort.
THE REVIEW: According to one tester, "My chihuahua is a chronic leash puller and getting older—he now has a collapsing trachea. I knew we needed to find a harness that sat low enough so he wasn’t choking himself on every walk. This was the first product I tried, and it will be the only one I need to! Material is not too itchy on my pup with pretty sensitive skin. The way it V’s is perfect, and I feel good knowing it’s safer and more comfortable for my boy."
As someone who grew up with a Rottweiler, having the right harness for a large dog is a n-e-e-d (not a want). Its two connection points make for better control and it sits strategically below the trachea to prevent choking. Plus, since 2 Hounds Design knows chewing is bound to happen, they even included a chewing replacement warranty just in case.
THE REVIEW: "I've never felt more in control on walks with my 65-pound Border Collie mix," one reviewer notes. "He's a puller, especially when he gets distracted/excited, and I have tried everything under the sun to help with this, but nothing has even come close to being as effective as this leash/harness combo. Huge bonus that it's super comfy and all his limbs have maximum mobility. The velvet on the underside is a great perk for added comfort!"
Even if you're able to pick 'em up in one easy swoop, extra-small dogs deserve a quality harness, too. Perfect for dog training or pulling, it has two attachments: one on the chest to stop your dog from pulling on walks, and one on the back, which is ideal for everyday adventures.
THE REVIEW: "This harness has worked great for my new puppy," reads one review. "It's adjustable in the right places, and she's very comfortable wearing it. Having the option to hook the leash at the front chest level vs. the back works well while she learns the fundamentals."
My roommate's dog uses this collar, and I can truly say that if I was a little pup, I'd want this in every color. I can only imagine that the amount of compliments she gets while wearing this is going straight to her furry head. The cushioned, lightweight material is soft and stretchy, making it perfect for walks to the dog bark park and back.
THE REVIEW: "I have tried so many harnesses for my 11.5 lb Jack Russell/Min Pin Mix," one review reads. "Either they are too big or small or have a dangling strap at the chest where you pull to make the adjustment. Not the Wild One! This harness is so pretty and well made. Soft, true to size. It seems so comfortable and moves with the dog. It is not stiff. My dog and I both love it!"
This veterinarian-approved harness is designed to fit your dog like a glove (literally). The elastic mesh chest piece is designed to "give" with your dog's natural movements to stop the pulling before it starts while the padded restraint sleeves offer extra comfort under their front legs.
THE REVIEW: As one reviewer writes, "My rescue dog has a sensitive trachea. I have purchased half-a-dozen harnesses to try to avoid pulling at her sensitive throat. This is the only harness that has ever worked. Determining how to put it on was a small challenge, but once I mastered that it'd been we have been happy walkers. I recommend this harness unequivocally."
Ideal for medium and large dogs, the breathable padded air mesh of this harness keeps Fido cool and cozy in any weather. Plus, the reflective material ensures visibility at night, keeping them safe during walks.
THE REVIEW: According to one customer, "My dog pulls less in this harness than his previous 'strap-only' style. It is a breeze to put on him and adjusts easily. I really like that there is a handle to quickly control my dog when he's off-leash, and I can attach a light to the handle for evening walks. The reflective strips are helpful for walking on the street safely at night. I would purchase again."
S*** happens! But, when it does happen—and it will—this harness can make clean up a bit easier thanks to the built-in waste bag dispenser. Plus, it's super durable, has a neoprene-lined chest plate for extra comfort, and features reflective strips for added visibility at night.
THE REVIEW: "We love this harness!" one review reads. "Having the bag dispenser built-in is one less thing we have to remember to grab! It’s cozy, and the pup loves it. The two hookups make it good for walks and helps reduce pulling."
First and foremost, you don't want the harness to fit too loosely. One on too loose, can allow your dog to easily slip out and potentially injure themselves. Before embarking on your adventure, a good rule of thumb to make sure your pup's harness isn't too tight is to make sure you can fit two fingers between the straps and their body. When choosing the best harness for your dog, check how many adjustment points it offers. The more adjustment points there are, the more customizable you can make the fit.
It's simple—harnesses provide more safety than a collar. When properly fitted, they're more difficult for your escape artist to wiggle out of, less likely to cause injury, and helps prevent injury to your pup as well as YOU on walks. Since the pressure is more evenly dispersed around a dog's body when using a harness rather than being centered on their neck, harnesses mean more comfort for all paw-ties involved.
Not all dog harnesses are created equal, and making sure that the one you choose is the right fit can do w-o-n-d-e-r-s for your walks. "There are plenty of harness styles, and the best choice will depend on your dog's size, personality, body shape, and training level," says PetSmart training expert Jodie Havens, CPDT-KSA. "You may opt for a harness instead of a collar to reduce the risk of injury to your dog’s neck or throat. Whether it’s a fashion, no-pull, or travel harness, it should suit the purpose of the pet parent and the comfort of the dog."
According to Havens, here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop:
If fit properly, a harness should be comfortable for your dog and allow full range of motion. Ideally, a harness should offer multiple points of adjustment, which will allow you to get a customized fit for your pup.
Look for a harness that feels substantial and well made. Prioritize durability, washability, and reflective stitching or material for visibility. Fabric that's breathable and soft is less likely to cause chafing under their legs. Likewise, harnesses with webbing may be more comfortable for dogs that run hot or are active in water/outdoors.
Consider a few extra qualities to improve your day-to-day experience with the harness, such as an attached poop bag dispenser or a handle on the back. Pockets are also helpful for carrying gear, water, and snacks for your dog (or you!). Customization with embroidery or patches can help communicate to others important info about your dog such as "anxious dog" or "don't pet." And ofc, multiple leash attachment points offer versatility (especially since a leash attached to the front of a harness can help decrease pulling).
Chaise Sanders is an Associate Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers anything from lifestyle and beauty to entertainment and style. Wanna upgrade your skincare game? She's got you covered with the best facial cleansing brushes. Or maybe you're in need of a new true crime show to binge? Got that covered too! Prior to joining the Cosmo team, Chaise was an editor at Country Living (also part of the Hearst fam) where she interviewed celebs like Dolly Parton, LeAnn Rimes and even Martha Stewart. Now, as one of the Big Apple's newest residents, there's a good chance that you can catch her checking out an Insta-worthy cafe or spending way to much $$$ in vintage stores.
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