Dog Harness Fitting Guide: How To Measure Dog Girth

You need to run out with your dog to get them some fresh air and exercise, but as many dog owners know, harnesses can be difficult. Even before you buy one, you might not know how to measure your dog so that they’ve got the right size. Of course your pup needs to be comfortable when you go hiking, walking, or running, so I’ll let you know how to both measure and choose your harness so you dog can have a good time too.

Also Read: The Best Dog Harness Review

Why You Need the Right Harness

You might be wondering why you can’t use one harness for all your dogs, or why you can’t just use a collar. Collars are actually detrimental for your dog’s neck and throat, especially if your dog loves to pull on the leash a lot and the collar doesn’t fit properly.

A harness however helps to dispermeasure harness pupse the pressure on your dog’s leash so they feel it throughout their chest instead of just on the neck. Harnesses help you a lot too thanks to the better control they offer, which is great when it comes to other dogs or strange people. If you’ve got a dog that loves to pull, a harness is a must.

Measuring Your Pup

Now that you’ve decided to get a harness, you’ve got to consider the size and style you want to buy. All of this has to do with how you measure your dog, which many of us dog owners are a little lost on. It’s lucky then that you’ve only got two simple steps: measure the neck and measure the chest.

Measuring the Neck

To measure your dog’s neck, get a cloth tape measure and wrap it around your dog’s neck like you would with a collar. Be sure to measure their lower neck, since that will be where the harness sits.

Chest Measurement

Next you need to look at the girth of your dog, which is the measure around their chest. Measure the deepest part of the chest, since this is where the strap of the harness will secure around your dog. To find this, look directly below your pup’s shoulder blades. Put the tape measure on this spot on your dog’s chest, wrap it around their shoulders, and then go back down around the chest.

Other Considerations

One of the most important things to remember is that you can’t choose a harness only based on the weight of your dog. It might be tempting since it’s so easy, but ultimately, it won’t be worth it if you get something that’s the wrong size. Remember the two finger rule too. Test for snugness by putting two fingers between the gear and your dog, just to be sure it fits right. Finally, think about length. This is just preference, but you’ll want to try and find a hardness that runs the length of your dog’s core.

Different Harness Styles

There are two different types of harnesses you can choose from: over the head and step in. The names make it pretty clear, but you and your dog might prefer one or the other. Many owners agree that over the head harnesses are a little easier to put on and take off, which may prove useful.

Buying Your Harness

When you go out to buy, try to buy locally. In the end, this gives you the best chance at getting something that will fit, since your dog can try it out before you buy it. If you do purchase online, be sure it can be returned. This is important since your dog might even prefer one style over the other.

Try out the local pet store to try out all sorts of styles to see what your dog is most comfortable wearing. One might be easier for you, but it comes down to what your dog feels better wearing.

Adjusting Your Harness

Many harnesses have a Velcro strap that will help you change the measurements of your harness when you put it on. This allows you to adjust the harness when you put it on your dog so the straps aren’t too loose or too tight. When the lower strap underneath the chest is too tight, your dog might experience some uncomfortable chafing. Remember to have enough room to fit two fingers in the harness.

If Your Dog Backs Out?

There are times when your dog backs out of the harness, and may try to slip out of it. In this case, be patient and let your dog adjust to it. Do not pull on the collar or leash, as you might hurt them.


When you’re picking out a harness for your dog, the most important thing to remember is to be sure your dog can wear it comfortably. That’s why you’ve got to be sure that everything is measured right before you even buy one. Once you have your harness though, you and your pup will be all set to relax and have some fun outdoors.

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