are there harnesses designed for dogs with respiratory issues
are there harnesses designed for dogs with respiratory issues

In the realm of pet accessories, one question that often arises is whether there are harnesses specifically designed for dogs with respiratory issues. It’s a concern many dog owners have, particularly those with breeds prone to respiratory problems. The good news is that there are indeed harnesses available that are specially crafted to accommodate dogs with respiratory issues, providing them with the necessary support and comfort while ensuring their breathing remains unhampered. These specialized harnesses are a game-changer for pet owners who want to ensure their furry friends can enjoy walks and outdoor adventures without any breathing difficulties hindering their experience.

Common Respiratory Issues in Dogs

In our beloved furry friends, respiratory issues can often be a cause for concern. It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience problems with their respiratory system, and it’s important as responsible pet owners that we are aware of these issues so we can provide them with the care and support they need. Some of the most common respiratory issues that dogs may encounter include tracheal collapse, brachycephalic airway syndrome, heart disease, and allergies. Let’s take a closer look at each of these conditions.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a condition that primarily affects small breed dogs, particularly those with weak cartilage rings in their trachea. This can lead to a narrowing or collapsing of the airway, causing a distinctive honking cough, difficulty breathing, and sometimes even fainting. It is crucial to address this issue promptly, as tracheal collapse can progress and become life-threatening if left untreated.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, have a characteristic short and flat skull shape, which can lead to various respiratory issues. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome encompasses a range of conditions, including narrowed nostrils, elongated soft palate, and a narrowed windpipe. These abnormalities can result in wheezing, snorting, and difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity or in hot weather.

Heart Disease

Heart disease can also contribute to respiratory issues in dogs. When the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, fluid can build up in the lungs, leading to coughing, labored breathing, and reduced exercise tolerance. It is crucial to have regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog’s heart health and address any potential concerns promptly.


Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies that affect their respiratory system. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, and certain foods. Allergic reactions can cause inflammation in the airways, resulting in coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Identifying and managing these allergies is essential to ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being.

Importance of Using a Suitable Harness

Now that we understand some of the common respiratory issues our furry companions can face, it’s important to consider the impact that daily activities, such as walking or exercising, can have on their respiratory health. A suitable harness can play a significant role in supporting their respiratory system and overall well-being.

Using a harness instead of a traditional collar can help distribute the pressure and strain across the dog’s body, reducing the risk of injury or exacerbating respiratory issues. However, not all harnesses are created equal, and it’s essential to consider specific features when selecting a harness for a dog with respiratory issues.

Features to Look for in a Harness for Dogs with Respiratory Issues

When searching for a harness suitable for dogs with respiratory issues, several key features should be taken into consideration. These features can help ensure your dog’s comfort, safety, and overall respiratory health.

Lightweight and Breathable Material

Opting for a harness made from lightweight and breathable materials is vital for dogs with respiratory issues. These materials allow for proper air circulation, reducing the risk of excessive heat and moisture buildup, which can be especially problematic for brachycephalic breeds. Look for harnesses made from mesh or other breathable fabrics to keep your dog cool and comfortable during walks or activities.

Front-Clip or Back-Clip Design

The design of the harness can also impact your dog’s breathing. Front-clip harnesses, which have the leash attachment on the front of the chest, help discourage pulling and provide better control. This can be beneficial for dogs with respiratory issues, as it reduces pressure on the neck and throat. Back-clip harnesses, on the other hand, may be more suitable for dogs who don’t have severe respiratory problems and need minimal restriction around their chest.

Adjustable Straps

Ensuring a proper, snug fit is essential when selecting a harness for a dog with respiratory issues. Look for harnesses with adjustable straps that can be customized to your dog’s unique measurements. This allows for a secure fit without putting additional pressure on the chest, throat, or other vulnerable areas.

Padding and Support

A well-padded harness can offer extra comfort and support for dogs with respiratory issues. Look for harnesses with adequate padding around the chest, shoulders, and back areas. This not only helps distribute pressure evenly but also prevents chafing or rubbing against sensitive skin.

No Pressure on the Throat

Avoiding any undue pressure on the throat is crucial for dogs with respiratory issues. Ensure that the harness design does not put strain directly on the neck or throat area. Instead, the pressure should be evenly distributed across the chest and shoulders.

Types of Harnesses for Dogs with Respiratory Issues

Now that we know what features to consider, let’s explore some of the different types of harnesses that are suitable for dogs with respiratory issues.

Ventilated Harness

Ventilated harnesses are specifically designed to promote airflow and prevent overheating during physical activities. They often feature breathable fabrics and incorporate mesh panels to enhance ventilation. These harnesses are particularly beneficial for dogs with respiratory conditions to ensure adequate air circulation while keeping them comfortable.

No-Pull Harness

No-pull harnesses are designed to discourage dogs from pulling on their leash during walks. These harnesses typically have a front-clip design, which redirects the pulling force towards the side, minimizing pressure on the neck and throat. This can be particularly advantageous for dogs with respiratory issues who may already have compromised airways.

Step-In Harness

Step-in harnesses are characterized by their ease of use and convenience. They have a simple design that allows you to secure the harness by having your dog step into it. This type of harness is especially beneficial for dogs with respiratory issues as it minimizes handling around the neck and throat area.

Front-Clip Harness

Front-clip harnesses, as mentioned earlier, have the leash attachment on the front of the chest. This design helps redirect pulling force and provides better control over your dog’s movements. The reduced pressure on the neck and throat area makes front-clip harnesses a preferred choice for dogs with respiratory issues.

Back-Clip Harness

Back-clip harnesses, with the leash attachment on the back, may be suitable for dogs with mild respiratory issues who don’t have significant restrictions. However, it’s important to ensure that the harness does not put excessive pressure on the chest or restrict breathing.

Choosing the Right Size and Fit

To ensure the maximum benefit from a harness, it’s crucial to select the right size and achieve the proper fit. Here are some important considerations when choosing and adjusting a harness for a dog with respiratory issues.

Measurements and Sizing Charts

Different manufacturers may have varying sizing guidelines, so it’s essential to measure your dog accurately and consult the sizing chart provided by the harness manufacturer. Measure your dog’s chest girth and neck circumference to determine the appropriate size. Be mindful of any specific instructions provided for breeds with respiratory issues, as their unique anatomical differences may require specialized sizing considerations.

Adjustability and Customization

Look for harnesses that offer several points of adjustability, such as adjustable straps or buckles. This allows you to customize the fit to your dog’s specific needs, ensuring a snug but comfortable fit. Avoid harnesses that are either too loose or too tight, as both can put unnecessary strain on the respiratory system.

Recommendations for Harnesses for Dogs with Respiratory Issues

With countless harness options available in the market, choosing the most suitable one for your dog’s respiratory issues can be overwhelming. To make your decision easier, we have compiled a list of recommended harnesses known for their respiratory-friendly features.

Ruffwear Web Master Harness

The Ruffwear Web Master Harness is a popular choice among dog owners, especially for those with dogs prone to respiratory issues. It is constructed from lightweight and breathable materials, allowing for superior airflow. The harness also features a padded chest and belly panel, providing additional support and comfort. The Web Master Harness has an adjustable strap system that ensures a custom fit, making it suitable for dogs with respiratory conditions.

Kurgo Journey Air Harness

The Kurgo Journey Air Harness is another excellent option worth considering. This harness is made from breathable materials and incorporates mesh panels to enhance ventilation and prevent overheating. It features adjustable and padded straps, ensuring a secure fit without compromising your dog’s comfort. The Journey Air Harness also has a front chest ring, which provides efficient control and reduces stress on the respiratory system.

EzyDog Convert Harness

The EzyDog Convert Harness is a versatile option that can cater to the needs of dogs with respiratory issues. It is made from lightweight and breathable materials, offering excellent ventilation during activities. The harness features adjustable straps and a padded chest plate, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. The Convert Harness also has a front chest ring, providing control and reducing pressure on the neck and throat.

Embark Adventure Dog Harness

The Embark Adventure Dog Harness is specifically designed to ensure comfort and safety for dogs with respiratory issues. Made from durable and breathable materials, it allows for optimal airflow. The harness features adjustable straps and a padded chest plate, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit. Additionally, the Adventure Dog Harness has a front chest ring for efficient control and reduced pressure on the throat.

Julius-K9 PowerHarness

The Julius-K9 PowerHarness is known for its durability and ergonomic design, making it suitable for dogs with respiratory issues. The harness is made from high-quality materials that are both lightweight and breathable. It features adjustable straps and a chest pad, providing a secure fit and distributing pressure evenly. The PowerHarness also has a back handle, offering additional control during walks or activities.

Consulting with a Veterinarian

While the information provided here can assist in selecting a suitable harness for a dog with respiratory issues, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian before making any decisions. Your veterinarian will have a comprehensive understanding of your dog’s specific respiratory condition and can provide personalized recommendations based on their medical history, breed, and unique needs.

A veterinarian can also ensure that there are no underlying health concerns that need to be addressed before using a harness. They can evaluate your dog’s respiratory health, provide guidance on the appropriate level of exercise, and offer additional advice on managing their condition effectively.


When it comes to the respiratory health of our beloved dogs, it is crucial to take proactive measures to support their well-being. Using a suitable harness can help alleviate the strain on their respiratory system during walks and other activities. By considering the features outlined in this article and exploring the recommended harness options, we can ensure that our furry friends are comfortable, safe, and able to enjoy their daily adventures to the fullest. Remember, always consult with a veterinary professional to ensure the best possible care for your dog’s respiratory issues.

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Brian Moore
I'm Brian Moore, a veterinarian with over 10 years of experience. I graduated from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation, I worked as a general practitioner in a small animal clinic for several years. In 2017, I opened my own veterinary practice, Moore Animal Hospital. I'm passionate about providing compassionate and high-quality care to all animals. I'm skilled in a wide range of veterinary procedures, including surgery, dentistry, and internal medicine. I'm also a certified animal behaviorist, and I take a special interest in helping animals with behavioral problems. In addition to my clinical work, I'm also active in the veterinary community. I'm a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association. I'm also a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences. I'm dedicated to providing the best possible care for my patients and their families. I'm a compassionate and knowledgeable veterinarian who is always willing to go the extra mile. I'm originally from San Francisco, California. I'm married and have two children. I enjoy hiking, camping, and spending time with my family. I'm also a member of the local animal shelter and volunteer my time to help care for homeless animals. I'm excited to continue my career as a veterinarian and help even more animals in need.