Can Dog Harness Cause Hair Loss? [9 Helpful Answers]


Whether it is a walk in the park or an exhaustive roam. Back home, you notice that your dog is missing hair around his joints. Since he had been wearing his harness all day when you were out, you suspect your pooch’s harness to be the cause. Indeed, too much pressure on the bottom-size causes chafing, most likely due to an incorrectly adjusted harness. We have researched for you how to deal with hair loss, and how to overcome it.

Answered: Can A Dog Harness Cause Hair Loss?

Dog harnesses indeed cause hair loss. Due to continuous friction of an ill-adjusted dog harness or your dog pulling repeatedly, he may lose more hair around his joints. The longer your dog is wearing his harness, the more likely it is for his hair to thin. In severe cases, your dog may suffer from chafing.

It is best not to let your dog wear his harness continuously and to take the harness off once you arrive home. Preventing chafing in sensitive areas, mainly around the arms, can be achieved with velvet-lined straps.

The reason for hair loss mainly is that your dog wears his harness extensively as he is roaming around. Harness straps are usually adjusted closely to your dog’s body shape.

Hair loss can be detrimental if your dog tends to pull much. A bad harness will translate your dog’s pulling force into tension in those sensitive areas which in turn causes more pressure on the straps around your dog’s legs.

Interestingly though, hair loss even shows when your dog is not pulling much on the leash or long lead. The harness you got might just not be the right fit. A wrongly-adjusted dog harness causes additional pressure on your dog’s skin when moving.

Pressure from dog harnesses often shows at the intersection of arms and belly. As a consequence, hair is less dense in those areas and the skin underneath might look irritated.

If you notice any hair loss, it is best to loosen the straps a little and to double-check if your dog does still fit his harness. You might need to consider some adjustments in the areas where the harness harms the skin. Alternatively, you might look for a more comfortable dog harness.

Constantly wearing a dog harness that may feel tight to your dog will make him lose more hair. Is the harness worn longer, its material will likely irritate your dog’s skin and eventually cause harness chafing. In such a case, you should refrain from letting your dog wear his harness until the irritated skin has healed.

Does It Hurt My Dog To Wear A Harness?

Wearing a harness is not painful. If your pooch has worn his harness correctly and only used it for a proper amount of time, dog harnesses are a very useful tool to control your dog and to prevent him from pulling too much. The two points to pay attention to are: size and material.

Wearing a harness over time can cause chafing which can start to be an unpleasant feeling for your dog. This may turn into hurtful sensation if not treated accordingly. Therefore, it is import to take measure of your dog’s girth around his rib cage and lower neck where the harness will be worn. Visit your local pet store or order some harnesses online to determine the right size for your dog.

Make sure to check the usual pain points, which mostly are located at the intersection of your dog’s legs and his belly. Double check that there is enough room between the harness and his joints. The collar should give some space to your dog’s shoulders. When in doubt, go for the bigger size. This way you will guarantee to minimize the risk of a dog harness causing any harm to your dog.

What Material Is Best For A Dog Harness?

Most dog harnesses are made of nylon and polyester mesh, which is a durable combination but might cause an uncomfortable feeling in the long run. Choosing the appropriate material that touches your dog’s skin is an important step. Look for velvet-lined straps or anything that feels similarly soft underneath. A second factor is the structure of the harness itself.

What Style Of dog Harness Is Best?

There are different types of harnesses out there. We recommend to use dual-clip harnesses because they gently release pressure when your dog pulls and usually redirect your dog’s attention to you.

  • Front-clip harnesses are good if you want to discourage pulling behavior by gently redirecting your pup’s attention to you.
  • Back-clip harnesses are a suitable option to exert less force on your dog’s body.
  • Dual-clip harnesses are a great compromise that combine the strengths of front-clip and back-clip harnesses.
  • Martingale harnesses are suitable to discourage pulling by gently tightening around your dogs chest when pulling.
  • Head halters are generally not recommended because they go around sensitive parts that can easily get injured when pulling.

What Is Better, A Collar Or A Harness?

It has been discussed lately that a collar can damage your dogs thyroid glands, his esophagus, and trachea. More than that, a collar may have detrimental effects on your dog’s physical alignment. This is because as your dog is pulling, his throat gets compressed by the collar, applying more pressure to his throat.

We are naturally trying to pull as well when we notice our dogs wanting to move at a different pace, go another way, or suddenly startle. Therefore, a back-clip harness helps in protecting that area. But a harness is also not an item can be worn non-stop. Even if the harness is loose, your pup’s range of motion in his shoulder is limited, hinting at a permanent gait change. Instead of aiming to find a dog harness that can be worn all the time, have your dog wear his collar or harness only for as long as needed.

Should My Dog Wear His Harness All The Time?

If you are searching for a dog harness that can be left on, consider that you may affect your pup’s health. Generally, the answer is: as long as needed. When your dog is at home, take his harness off. Dogs should not sleep in harnesses. There is no suitable option for a dog harness they can sleep in, because the intensity of chafing and callus rises, the longer a dog wears his harness. To prevent most of the injuries we address in this article, it is not only a question of how well your dog’s harness fits your dog, but also how long you can leave it on your dog.

Whenever you are outside in the city or wandering the great outdoors and your dog is actively accompanying you, it is okay to leave the harness on. However, it is not a good idea to have your bud wear his harness inside the house or in a protected outside space, such as your garden.

Your dog will be laying on his harness for a longer period of time which may lead to pressure points and eventually causes callus. Moreover, by roaming around in a relaxed setting such as the nice garden party you throw for your friends, unnecessary movement while wearing a harness causes higher potential for chafing.

What Can I Do To Prevent Hair Loss?

The best advice we can give is to consider using your dog harness less often and to check that your dog is comfortable in his current one. You might want to upgrade your existing harness by buying additional pieces to it. Consider adding some skin-friendly materials to your harness in a solid DIY fashion. At last, you will have a comfy and unique dog harness.

How To Treat My Dog’s Bald Spots?

If you start noticing your dog’s hair becoming thinner and his skin getting irritated, consider treating the bald spots with coconut oil. It is recommended to use high-quality oils, such as one that you would apply to your own skin.

If you do not have coconut oil handy, you can as well apply aloe vera (natural, must not contain alcohols) or a chamomile tincture to your dog’s skin. If unsure, give your vet a call.

Make sure to cover the balded spots for approximately one week. For example, let your dog wear a t-shirt. Reapply the remedy daily and check frequently. After a week, your dog’s skin will surely have recovered, yet the fur in the affected area might take longer to regrow.

How Long Does It Take For The Fur To Grow Back?

It will roughly take between three to six weeks for your dog to grow his hair back once it has shed due to harness friction. The duration depends on your dog’s hair length and on your very self paying attention to harness chafing. Because bald spots need to be covered and further stress should be avoided, consider using a collar in the meantime instead.

If your dog is a frequent puller (harnesses potentially encourage this behavior), it is important to use a dog collar that does not slip over your dogs head. Adjust the collar correctly in a way that it is tight on your dogs neck but you can still fit two fingers under it.

If you want to take things further, consider using a tactical collar. Those ones usually got sturdy metal rings that stand out and will shift your dog’s pull force. There should be slack taken out at the end rather than the center.

As your dog is recovering, it is reasonable to consider upgrading your current dog harness. Certainly, the one you have been using so far has caused your dog some inconvenience, so it is time to opt for something more comfortable.

When selecting a harness, we recommend choosing ones that can be adapted to your dogs (changing) body proportions and choosing ones that got velvet-lined straps so your dog is protected from chafing, irritated skin, or callus.

Why Is My Dog Losing Hair Around His Collar?

Similar to what happens due to chafing while wearing a dog harness, the collar your dog is wearing is probably too tight. Recall the two-finger rule when putting on your bud’s collar.

A little hair loss is considered normal. That is because your dog moves a lot and the collar moves with him. Hence, losing some hair around the neck is not a reason to be concerned.

What Can I Do When My Dog Harness Is Too Loose?

You have changed the dog harness in order to avoid skin irritations, but now you fear that the adjusted harness might have too much slack and your dog might slip out of it. Here are some effective tricks that will help:

Many harnesses feature metal clips. If you own such a harness, you can just use a carabiner or something similar to attach your harness to your dog’s collar. That way, both are connected and your dog cannot easily slide out of his harness.

You might as well choose a collar that got a strap near the dog flank, which will effectively prevent your dog from getting out of it. The harness might got clips that are located under the belly, which makes it very challenging for your pooch to break free.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways a dog harness contributes to hair loss and related skin disorder. When suspecting that your dog’s hair gets thinner from extensively wearing his harnesses, it is best to replace the harness with a collar while you deal with the origin. Treat visible skin changes with coconut oil, aloe vera, and chamomile. Cover up bald spots for your dog not to remove any applied remedy. When looking for a dog harness, pay attention when selecting the right size. Measure both your dog’s rib cage and lower neck, and choose harnesses that have padded straps underneath in order to prevent chafing and hair loss.


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