Best Harness For Pugs | Perfect For This Snub Nosed Breed
OUR #1 PICK
The best value for money
Puppia Soft Dog Harness
The Pug is best known for their winning personality and stunning good looks. (Also, loud snoring!)
Champions of class, citizens of snooze, and affection aficionados, the Pug is a popular toy breed dog that has won his way into millions of households. With low exercise needs and a lap-dog nature, the Pug makes an excellent companion for both urban environments and apartment life.
Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine
Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here
However, the Pug also has a few well-known health problems, thanks to the same snub-nosed face that gives him such great good looks.
This article will go over some valuable information for Pug owners, including why a harness is the best choice for this cutie-pie, rather than a collar. Then we will review the best dog harness for Pugs with top picks for budget, style and those pesky pullers.
The Best Pug Harnesses Overview
Cool Mesh Netted Dog Harness
Red Dingo Harness
Frisco Small Breed Vest Dog Harness
Puppia Soft Dog Harness
Noxgear LightHound LED Illuminated
Brachycephaly: Breathing Issues in Pugs
If you have a Pug, chances are you have already heard of Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS). This condition is a potentially life-threatening result of having the short, flat face that Brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boxers all share.
Although also responsible for the adorable good looks of this breed, the flat face that has been selectively bred into Brachycephalic breeds has also resulted in structural changes to the skull that include a smaller passageway for breathing in the nose, muzzle and throat.
Sadly, the soft tissues such as the tongue, larynx, and soft palate have not shrunk accordingly through the generations. This results in a situation where the soft tissue barely fits in the space allowed by the skull. In some cases, surgery is required for these dogs to breath even at a normal rate.
In all Brachycephalic breeds, including Pugs, the inflammation of the soft tissues from over exertion or exposure to heat can swell and fill the airways. If allowed to go on unchecked, this can quickly result in a life-threatening situation where the poor pup can’t breathe at all.
What the above means is pug owners need to research the best available options for pug body harnesses that will make it much safer for them to exercise.
More snub nosed breed harness guides:
Symptoms of a Potential Airway Obstruction in Pugs
It is critical that Pug owners know to be very careful when exercising their dogs with special awareness given to knowing the symptoms of a potential airway obstruction as well as the action to take if an episode occurs.
Symptoms to pay very close attention to include:
- Shortness of breath or excessive panting with even light exercise
- Open mouth breathing without any activity
- Snoring or loud breathing
- Coughing, sneezing or wheezing on a regular basis
- Vomiting, particularly if associated with periods of activity
- Problems eating or drinking
If you notice any of these signs, start keeping close attention to these behaviors in a log. Schedule an appointment with your vet where you can share your observations to help your vet determine if the situation warrants a surgical fix.
If you notice any of the above symptoms that suddenly start to occur, particularly during exercise, immediately stop any activity and cool your Pug down until breathing goes back to normal.
Trust your instincts. If you are unable to get your Pug’s breathing back to normal and things seem to be getting worse, keep as calm as you can (you don’t want to add anxiety to further escalate the problem) and take your little guy to the vet ASAP.
Prevention: A Harness is the Right Choice for Pugs
Owners of Pugs should make sure they are doing all they can to support the healthy breathing function of this lovable breed. Here are the recommended tips that all Pug owners should be aware of:
Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity can severely hamper your Pug’s ability to breath. It is dangerous to allow this breed to become overweight as it can further restrict breathing passageways, as well as making them more exercise intolerant.
Monitor closely during exercise.
It does not take much for some Pugs to start having strained breathing even with light exercise. Keep a close eye on them and transition to a more relaxing activity at the first sign that your Pug is working too hard to breath. Shorter but more frequent sessions of aerobic activity are better than longer sessions, particularly in warm or humid conditions.
Avoid activity during hot and humid conditions.
If the weather outside is hot and/or humid, it would be better to take a short potty break then a long walk. Luckily, you can give your pint-sized Pug a good work out indoors where you have the benefit of air conditioning. Try a game of fetch or “Find it!” in order to make use of cooler inside spaces.
Always use a harness for Pugs, never a collar!
Harness Vs Collar - you should definitely use a dog harnesses for any of the Brachycephalic breeds, including Pugs!
When you walk your dog with a traditional collar and leash, you are taking a risk that they might run to the end of the leash and put stress on the delicate areas of the neck. Even well-trained dogs can be excited by a stray cat or squirrel and hurt themselves in an instant.
Since the airways of this breed are potentially already compromised, this can spell disaster. Many vets insist that these dogs should be walked on a harness, not a collar, as a result.
Read this article on harnesses for Pugs carefully and make the right choice.
Training Tips: How to Get Your Pug to Love His Harness!
Teaching your Pug dog to transition from a collar to a harness is very easy work in most cases. Most canines are walk ready in a few ten-minute sessions getting them used to this gear. Here are some fast tips to make the job a piece of cake:
Keep a Positive Attitude.
When fitting a harness for Pugs, if you find yourself getting frustrated, then just come back to working with the harness later. Canines are very sensitive to the emotions of their people, and you want to make sure you are not accidentally associating the harness with your own anxiety about getting it fitted or learning to put it on and take it off.
Introduce the Harness with Praise and Reward.
Until your Pug has the hang of wearing the dog harness, make a special effort to lavish her with praise, pets, and a few treats here and there whenever the harness is part of the equation.
Eventually, the harness will become associated with the joy of a walk and you won’t have to make any more special efforts in the way of praise or rewards.
Fitting Your Pug Harness.
When deciding on the right type of dog harnesses for Pugs one of the main areas to think about is the overall fit. The perfect fit for a body harness is tight enough to prevent escape, but loose enough so that it will not in any way restrict the neck or chest area during exercise. If you can fit two fingers along the entire harness and your canine companion’s body, then you have found the right fit.
For more information on escape proof harnesses check out this guide.
Practice Makes Perfect.
Once you have the right fit, give your Pug a chance to get used to walking on the leash with the harness in the familiar environment of your home. Make sure to praise and reward for great walking as you go.
You will know when she is ready for an outdoor walk because she will no longer be fussing over the harness and instead will be facing forward and ready for the next adventure.
Pug Harness | Top Qualities to Look For
Small Dog Fitting
Small and large dogs do not just have a different weight, their body proportions are slightly different. Look for a harness that is specially made for small dogs where possible.
Front Leash Clip
The reason a front clip option (also called Front Range) is handy is that it can be a safe way to help make it harder for your Pug to pull obnoxiously on the leash, without putting any additional pressure on the chest or neck. It is not a requirement, but if you know you have a puller on your hands, it is a great idea.
Web strap harnesses, or breathable mesh fabrics, are the best materials to choose from for most months. However, you can go a little more heavyweight for added thermal protection in the cold months.
Critical for the flat faced breeds, making sure that the harness has a low neckline in front is an important safety consideration.
BEWARE ofthe following
Training harnesses that employ a chest squeeze
Some training harnesses are made to apply a corrective pinch when your dog pulls, usually around the front chest. While this can be an excellent tool for breeds such as Labradors, it is not a good option when looking into the best harness for Pugs or for any of the flat-faced dog breeds.
Halter style, or face harnesses
Another training tool that we recommend you avoid for Pugs are the face style harnesses. Actually, these harnesses should only be used by professional dog trainers because they carry a strong risk of whiplash…and they should NEVER be used with the short muzzle breeds such as Pugs.
Best Harness for Pugs: A Review
Best Ultra-Cool Harness for Pugs
Doggie Cool Mesh Netted Dog Harness with Matching Leash
We already discussed how important it is to keep your little guy cool. This can present a dilemma in the heat of the summer since most body harness styles can trap heat. This ultralight harness for Pugs is a great choice when the weather is sweltering hot.
Let’s be clear: This option within our list of best dog harnesses for Pugs, is a lightweight style that not sturdy enough to last forever. Then again, it is quite inexpensive to periodically replace.
On the other hand, it is pretty cute, and it does come with a matching leash for the fashion forward pug. And, unlike a plain collar, this soft and pliable vest style harness won’t compress the windpipe. Great news for a breed that already sometimes struggles with a compromised airway.
This vest works with two sections of Velcro along the back. Just place your pet’s paws through the holes and then close along the back to fit. Clip on the leash and you are ready for a nice walk!
Best Harness for A Pug Puppy
Frisco Small Breed Vest Dog Harness
When it comes to getting dogs used to a harness, it’s best to start early. However, when it comes to small breeds, it’s often hard to find such a tiny harness that will fit well. Pugs are even harder to please in this regard, considering their stocky build and sensitive throats.
Luckily, we’ve found a comfortable harness that suits the Pug’s body type and comes in tiny sizes - the Frisco Small Breed Vest Dog Harness. This step-in harness is shaped like a vest. It’s made of fluffy polyester mesh that is both lightweight and durable. The harness closes at the back with a wide Velcro strap so you can easily make it as tight as it needs to be. Plus, this harness will be able to grow with your Pug puppy - at least to an extent.
Overall, this is a great harness for Pugs that’s both comfortable and secure. There is a sturdy quick release buckle on the back as well as 2 metal D-rings for attaching the leash. In short - there is no way your Pug will be able to wiggle out of this harness!
Best Basic Strap Style Harness for Pugs
Red Dingo Designer Dog Harness
Sometimes basic is better, especially if you are buying your first harness for your sweet little Pug. This simple harness is easy to use and clean and is our “go to” best dog harness for Pugs option for everyday walking.
Once you adjust the size along the five different sizing buckles you will be able to get this harness on with a just a single click. Just slip it over his neck, place a paw through the opening on the left side, then snap the buckle on the girth strap closed.
Many brands neglect the tiny tikes when it comes to sizing. Not so with Red Dingo who has several sizes just for small breed dogs. They come in a wide range of colors, including some pretty fancy prints.
Soft and durable, this option in our best dog harness for pugs guide won’t chaff, although it may take your pup a little practice to get the hang of getting the paw through at first.
If you have a little puller on your hands, this may not be your best choice. Although it does have a front attachment point, it is low in the front and not in the ideal spot.
Best Harness For Your Pug | On a Budget
Puppia Soft Dog Harness
Neck 7.5", Chest 9-13"
Neck 9.8", Chest 12-18"
Neck 12.5", Chest 14-21"
Neck 14", Chest 19-29"
Great Bang for the Buck.
Whether you are shopping for an extra harness for your Pug, or are just looking for an economical choice, this is a stylish option that won’t break the bank.
This is the cheaper option on our best dog harnesses for Pugs guide, if you want something that is going to last for years to come, this probably is not the right choice for you. However, this lightweight mesh comes in 12 vibrant colors and really packs a punch when it comes to style.
A great option if you have a little puller or jumper on your hand as the mesh construction will help to evenly distribute the weight from any pulling over the body of your Pug. In addition, the low front line will safely protect his neck, windpipe and trachea. It is a good choice if you are looking for a nice lightweight body harness for a Pug with breathing problems.
For more information on the harnesses to help prevent jumping check out our below guide:
Although it comes in several sizes, you will notice they are all on the small side. This is gear that is specially made for the bodies of small and toy breeds which ensures a great fit for any sized Pug.
Best LED Lighted Harness for Pugs
Noxgear LightHound LED Illuminated & Reflective Dog Harness
11.5”, up to 15 pounds
17-29”, 14-45 pounds
Bringing us the latest in technology, the Noxgear lighted harness is made with the toy breeds in mind. Unlike most of the LED lighted harnesses out there, this one is trimmed down so it won’t be too bulky for tiny tikes like Pugs.
Going with a lighted pug harness is a great choice if you regularly take a walk in the evening or early morning hours. Or, if you have a large yard and want to keep an eye on your little pooch after dark, this will definitely come in handy.
This harness isn’t just bright, it is also designed well so that you can get a great fit and won’t have to worry about your wiggle worm slipping off the leash.
It can go as long as 12 hours on a full battery which you can charge using the included USB micro charger that is included with your purchase.
You will have to pay a little more for a lighted harness than a more basic model, but for some, the added safety and peace of mind is worth it.
Conclusion: Review of the Best Harnesses for Pugs
We hope this article has given you helpful information about why a specific pug harness is the best choice in gear for your pup while also helping you navigate all the choices on the market to find the one that works best for your budget, style considerations, and the special needs of your Pug.
If you want to share a story about your favorite Pug, please feel free to leave us your story in the comments section below!
If you think this article would be helpful for other when choosing the best harness for Pugs, please feel free to pass this along your social media channels to help get people informed about how a harness is a safer choice for this adorable but sometimes delicate breed.
- Packer RM, Tivers M (4 June 2015) Strategies for the management and prevention of conformation-related respiratory disorders in brachycephalic dogs: Retrieved from https://www.dovepress.com/strategies-for-the-management-and-prevention-of-conformation-related-r-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-VMRR
- Rose Gordon Sala (26 January 2014) Incorrectly used collars, leashes can do harm: Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2014/01/26/incorrectly-used-collars-leashes-can-do-harm/
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here