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Harness - Collar

Choosing a Harness and Collar
 for a Pomeranian


Choosing the right collar and harness for your Pomeranian is very important for all of the elements of comfort, safety and health. If you're wondering if you should have a collar or a harness and which one is better, the answer is that you will want to have both.

Each of these accessories will work in conjunction to achieve what is needed: a method to safely walk your Pom and to hold his identification tags.
Why Not Just a Collar? 

The Pomeranian breed is prone to a condition called Collapsed Trachea. It is a genetic condition in which the trachea rings are prone to collapsed inward. It may be degenerative or it may be triggered by an event such as a jerk to the neck area.

Even without this genetic health issue, all Poms are very susceptible to injury around the neck. The trachea (windpipe) is surrounded by rings of cartilage. 

These rings - whether they have a genetic weakness or not- are easily crushed. When one or more of the rings breaks and falls inward, this obstructs breathing and can cause a dog quite a bit of pain. It can cause massive coughing fits that trigger additional damage to the area.

Often heavy doses of a variety of medications including anti-histamines, anti-inflammatory meds and antibiotics are given to help control this. Some Pomeranians will need surgery to correct this.  It's a very serious condition that in many cases can be avoided.
When a Pom's leash is connected directly to his collar this puts all the force and pressure directly onto his neck. Here are just a few of the things that can happen:

1) While walking, the Pom lunges off to the side- A sudden jerk is directed onto the neck, snapping the windpipe.

2) The Pom's leash is dragging around behind him and is accidentally stepped on - The dog's neck is snapped backward, causing terrible injury. 
heavy collar on Pomeranian
3) The Pom is walking innocently across a raised platform (bridge, elevated crosswalk, etc.) and teetered off the side - He is now dangling by his neck, strangling him and cutting off air supply.

4) The dog (not yet taught to heel) is walking ahead of his owner, straining and pushing forward - Each time he is walked, all pressure is applied to his windpipe. This constant force wears down the structural integrity of the tracheal rings.
5) While in a car seat, the straps of the car seat connects to a dog's collar or harness; if you attach that safety strap to a collar and there is an accident, this can be fatal. You'll want to use a car seat and a harness together to keep your Pom safe while being driven.

What a Harness Does

A harness does not touch the neck at all. It runs along the chest, shoulders and back. Whenever there is any tension in the leash, pressure is distributed across these areas of the body which are much sturdier (with bones, not just cartilage) and can take the dispersed force.

Not only does a good one keep a Pomeranian safe in this way, it also gives an owner better control whenever the dog is on leash. Many owners hesitate to use a harness due to times in the past when a Pomeranian wasn't being intolerant of it. Ahead we will discuss how to help your dog become accustomed to wearing one.

How to Collar and Harness Work Together

Both a great collar and appropriate harness should be used in conjunction with each other. Here is what each will do:

The collar will hold your Pom' s ID tags. A national study in the US on pet population showed that only 20% of lost dogs are recovered. That's a pretty small percentage.  So, while you won't attach the leash to the collar, you should have a sturdy dog collar that securely holds your Pom's ID. More ahead.

The harness will fit snug yet comfortable on your Pomeranian to take the pressure and tension of the leash and distribute it over his upper body instead of just his neck. 
Pomeranian for blog
"Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this site before you read on."
How to Choose a Proper Collar

While obtaining a collar may at first seem like the easiest thing in the world, there are actually several important key factors to keep in mind. A cheap collar of the wrong thickness and width can be just terrible for the Pomeranian.

Here what you will want to look for:

1) Material - The best collar for a Pomeranian puppy or dog will be a lightweight, waterproof material. While chains made of various metals can be cute (depending on their design) most will be too heavy for this small toy sized dog. If it is not water resistant or water repellent, it will hold in moisture (from conditioner sprays, wet fur after baths, rain sprinkles, etc.) and could become smelly and create a safe haven for bacteria between the collar and the fur at worst.

Jeweled and decorated collars can be cute and as long as they are not heavy, these are just fine. The only thing you'll want to check is that it is a quality piece so that the decorations cannot fall off to then possibly be swallowed.

2) Width and Thickness - When a collar is too narrow and thin, it can cut into a Pom's neck area, causing discomfort. Alternatively, if it is too wide or too thick, it can impede mobility; a dog can have trouble turning his head, dropping his head down to eat and drink, etc.

The right width will be 1/4 inch for a Pomeranian puppy and 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch for an adult, depending on his weight. Although they are small, do not use a cat collar on a Pom; they are too narrow and are not appropriate. 

3) Proper Adjustability - When you have a collar that only has segmented sections in which to choose for making it tighter or looser, you may find that none of the settings fit your particular Pomeranian. The best type of collar for a Pom will have a sliding size adjuster that you can tailor to your puppy or dog's exact needs.

The Right Fit for a Pomeranian's Collar

While the general rule for dogs is to measure the neck and add one inch, this does not hold true for the Pomeranian breed due to its profuse coat of fur. The collar should be adjusted so that you can slip TWO fingers underneath it and easily spin it; but not so loose that it could snag on anything or slip off.

When to Take the Collar Off

In order to properly groom your Pom, you will want to remove the collar every time that you brush the coat unless you're doing a quick touch-up. This will allow you to make nice, long sweeping strokes from the back of the head and down the back to pick up shedded hairs without having it in the way. 

You'll also want to remove the collar for baths so that you can completely cleanse and condition the entire coat. Once your Pom is completely dry, it can be put back on.

*** If you do not like the collar that you have for your Pom now and would like to see our top-rated recommendations, look to "Accessories" in the Pomeranian Specialty Shoppe.

Proper ID Tags
The thing about ID tags is that some manufacturers concentrate on a design that looks pleasing to owners, but not on a design that is the proper weight and size for a toy breed. If it's too heavy, it will pull down on the neck. Also, you won't want one that dangles too much since it can be tempting for other dogs to play with it like a toy and it has more of a chance of getting caught on something. In regard to material, it's a good idea to have a water-resistant metal that will last quite a while in any weather without fading or tarnishing. 

Another option is to obtain a collar that has the ID running alongside it, either embroidered in or engraved onto a small placard that is connected to the collar.

Remember that the most important information to have engraved onto it is YOUR name (not your Pom's) and your contact information - both cell phone and email is a good idea.
pomeranian wearing a harness
Evie, at 18 months old
Photo courtesy of Anne Johnson
Pomeranian with harness on
How to Choose the Best Harness

Have you given up trying to put a harness on your Pom? Or have you not even tried because you 'know' that your dog will hate it? If so, chances are that you all need is the RIGHT harness for your Pom to willingly accept wearing it and for you to not have struggles with putting it on.
There are MANY types of dog harness and the wrong one could drive any owner batty!

A good, comfortable harness for a Pom will be easy to slip on and will fit just snug enough without pinching or being constricting in any way.

Let's look at the 3 main types of harnesses for Pomeranians:

1) Strapped harnesses will work for some Poms. If the straps are not too thin, this sort of harness can be comfortable and secure. You'll want one that has at least 3/4 inch wide strapping sections so that it fits nicely against the coat and skin without pinching.

This type is good for Pomeranians that do offer some cooperation. If not, they can get a bit tangled up. Shoppe.
2) Lightweight, breathable, wide mesh harnesses are among the best types for the Pom. These come in an assortment of colors, are super easy to put on because they stretch (like slipping on a stretchy shirt), and the material allows for good air flow for the coat and skin.

3) Harnesses that are built into clothes can work very well. This allows an even greater distribution of pressure across the body instead of the neck and additionally, having the harness built into a cute vest or jacket makes it super easy to put on.

Length of Time Wearing One

Wearing a harness will not cause any damage to the fur at all if it's only put on for walks. However, if left on too long, it can create temporary flat hair and if left on overnight (24 hours or more) can cause issues to the skin and/or coat. Once you get back from walking your Pomeranian, you'll want to remove it.
Pomeranians in comfortable harnesses
Yes! These Poms are in super comfortable harnesses, not only happy but safe from neck injury!
Gidget & Gizmo
Photo courtesy of Harry & Kathy Torres
Another benefit for taking it off once back inside is that your Pom will learn that it is only temporary; those that don't necessarily love the idea of wearing one will be more tolerant once they learn that it is only on them for a short time.

*** If you do not like the harness that you have for your Pom now and would like to see our top-rated recommendations, look to "Accessories" and under "Clothes- Harnesses' in the Pomeranian Specialty Shoppe.
You may also like:

Black Pomeranians - Pure black without any markings is rare for this breed.
Choosing Toys for a Pomeranian - What to look for in regard to teething, 'stay busy' and 'home alone' toys.
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