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Which is better? The Never Ending Collar vs Harness Debate

Dog trainers love to use collar (or even shock collar) for training. Holistic practitioners and physiotherapist promotes the use of harness. Big dog owners swears by collars or slip thru leashes (also known as Slip Collars). So which is a better system? This debate has been around for as long as we remembered. Even one of our key physiotherapist was allow her dogs to wear slip collars and blame that her dog is unable to walk in harness. Well, we have convinced her that is uterly rubbish and guess what, her dog is happily walking around with her new Ruffwear Harness.

It is really no rocket science. Think about it, if you have a rope around your neck, and someone is tugging on it, we bet that is not gonna be a nice feeling at all. Collar is great for hanging a dog tag, but it pretty much ends there. It was never really meant for “choking” a dog.

If you are agreeing so far, let’s take a look how it can damage your dog.


Ellison Bentley, MS, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CCRP
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgical Sciences. Resident/Postdoctoral Diplomate American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

Patty Khuly, VMD, MBA
Miami-based small animal veterinarian.

Liz Stelow, DVM, DACVB
Chief of Service UC Davis Veterinary Medicine

Peter Dobias, DVM
Holistic veterinarian, animal healthcare innovator, founder & CEO Dr. Dobias Healing Solutions Inc, natural holistic care products for dogs and their people.

Pulling on Collar


Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a canine’s neck. Everytime we pull our dog, we are constantly adding pressure to their lymph nodes, mandibular and thyroid gland, choking on the trachea and oesophagus.

When a dog gets excited, they run forward and we often have to apply a sudden tug on their collar. This sudden tug can be as much as 5Nm, which is probably the same force you use to apply a torque to a bolt and nut. And this tug increases if your dog is a big one.

Dogs who are led by collars, generally will display a signs of a injured trachea, which includes coughing, snoring and making low noises during sleep. Some dogs will also suffer from Hypothyroidism, which eventually will lead to a low immune system, opening them to all sort of illness including cancer.

dog collar vs dog harness shock choke chain

Possible Injuries from excessive use of dog collars

While this is probably not as well documented, there are some documented injuries resulting from using dog collars.

  • whiplash
  • fainting
  • spinal cord injuries
  • paralysis
  • crushing of the trachea
  • partial or complete asphyxiation
  • crushing or fracture of the bones in the larynx
  • dislocation of the vertebrae in the neck
  • bruising of the esophagus
  • damage to the skin and tissue of the neck
  • prolapsed eyeballs
  • brain damage

Imagine being choke all the time when you are brought out to pee. It is a rather disgusting feeling but yet, dogs will do it because they need to pee.


These are some other damages and injuries you can inflict on your dog.

Thyroid Damage

Dog breeds that pull on their leashes a lot tend to have a lot of thyroid issues. Many veterinarians speculate that thyroid problems happen when a leash pushes on your dog’s thyroid regularly; this consistent trauma can eventually lead to inflammation and bruising.

When your dog’s thyroid gets inflamed, its immune system sends white blood cells to the area to remove the inflammation. The white blood cells do get rid of the inflammation, but they eventually start to wear down the thyroid. Over a long period of time, this leads to a lot of thyroid issues.

Ear and Eye Damage

When a dog pulls on its leash, it restricts blood flow to its eyes and ears. When blood flow is cut off on a regular basis, it causes swelling, and constant swelling damages your dogs organs and appendages.

Paw Licking

Dog collars can damage the nerves in your dog’s front legs. When your dog’s nerves are hurt, it causes a tingly feeling in their front paws, and most dogs will lick their paws to try to make them feel better. If your dog has a problem with paw licking, you might want to consider using a harness instead of a collar.

Neck Injury

Yanking on a leash can give your dog whiplash; it’s never a good idea to jerk any type of animal’s neck quickly. Oftentimes, dogs don’t understand why their leash jerks their neck, so they become frustrated, depressed or aggressive.

The best way to prevent neck, nerve and thyroid damage is to get your dog a harness. When your dog pulls on a harness, it doesn’t hurt its body as much as a collar does. A properly fitted harness keeps your dog comfortable, and it helps you control your dog without a risk of injury.

too much things hanging

While I can understand how excited pet owners want to doll up their dogs and cats, there is a fine line not to be cross.

One for identification, one to repel fleas, one tick repellent, one to for religion, one pendant to carry your photo and all the items are being linked by a thick silver chain.

Honestly, one identification tag is all that is needed for your dog. There is not reasons why you should be hanging so many things on the neck of the dog.

The neck is the gateway of all the nerves connecting to the rest of the body and the neck should be protected to prevent any form of damages.

Very often we see clients walking into RA for treatment, and all our staffs are trained to educate them that collars are bad. And perhaps, that is the reason why your pet is in for rehabilitation the first place.

– Founder of RA Healing Centre.

Because we know that there is a need for a good stable harness, RA Healing Centre has decided to bring in the range of harness that our “zoo of animals” are using.

We are pleased to announce that Ruffwear Front Range™ Harness, the Web Master™, and matching leashes are now available at Ra Healing Centre. After trying many models of harness, we are convinced that Ruffwear Harness is the only one for our own furkids! Not only are their harnesses well made, they provide the right tug force which is at the chest rather than the shoulders; some ill designed harnesses continue to tug the pet at the shoulders or worse, their throats.  And for escape artists like our Naruto san who is able to wriggle out any harness, only the highly secured Web Master™ would do! It is no wonder that rated Ruffwear’s harness the top dog harness brand. also recommends the Web Master™ for chesty dogs like Greyhounds, Shar Pei, and Whippets or dogs with mobility or spinal issues as the additional handles make it easier to life them.

Drop by anytime between 11 am – 6 pm daily except Thursday to try these for your furkids!

Ruffwear Front Range™ Harness is now available in pink, orange, blue and grey. The Web Master™ is available in red and grey.

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