Dog harnesses are the quintessential canine accessory. Whether you're venturing rough environments with your furry friend in tow or just taking a walk around the block, harnesses offer far greater control. Plus, they're safer and more comfortable than using a collar alone.
Unfortunately, not all dogs are keen on wearing a harness..
While some have no problem donning these secure accessories, others with fight tooth and nail to remove them! Most harnesses out there are built with longevity and durability in mind. However, standard units aren't going to hold up to a determined dog!
If you're tired of discovering your pup's harness in pieces on the floor, a chew-proof dog harness is a must-buy! They're built with tougher materials and a more strategic design, ensuring that they hold up to anything your dog throws at it.
Ready to find a harness that lasts? Check out our top picks below!
Top 5 Best Chew-Proof Dog Harnesses in 2023
1. RUFFWEAR Reflective and Padded Front Range Dog Harness for Training and Everyday
Available in a slew of cool colors and a handful of size ranges, this harness from RUFFWEAR has a lot to appreciate. It's one tough dog harness that features a tightly woven shell material. Light padding throughout keeps your dog cozy through long walks. Meanwhile, the reinforced stitching and heavy-duty straps keep them contained.
The accessory is surprisingly robust. Not only are the exterior materials strong, but it features hardware made of thick plastic. The quick-release buckles and four adjustable straps are made to last. The same goes for the aluminum V-ring and reinforced loops. To top it all off, the harness comes in many vibrant colors and sports some reflective piping.
2. Dean and Tyler The Victory Solid Brass Hardware Dog Harness
Here's a harness with old-school style and classic construction. It's made of leather, which is ideal for strong chewers. The material is tough enough to withstand strong jaws. The leather is quite thick and adequately reinforced throughout.
On the opposite side of the leather, there's a soft suede lining. The suede helps to prevent chaffing so that your dog stays comfortable. As for hardware, you're getting solid brass fittings.
The buckles work like the buckles on a belt, so you can easily make adjustments to get the perfect fit.
3. YOGADOG Heavy Duty Dog Harness, Prevent Pulling, Reflective Stitching for Medium and Large Dogs
The heavy-duty harness from YOGADOG is made of thick nylon material. Not only is it chew-proof, but it's also resistant to weather, abrasive damage, and much more. It's a rugged accessory that also happens to be ultra-comfortable for your pooch!
Despite the thick and robust materials, YOGADOG made sure to add features that prevent chafing and overheating. The panels are all padded and have ventilation panels to keep your dog cool.
Quick-release buckles make it a breeze to put on, too. The harness even has an extendable handle to offer a little more control beyond the back-clip ring.
4. EzyDog Convert Dog Harness, Charcoal, X-Small
The Convert harness from EzyDog has a unique design. It's a two-strap model that features one thick strap over the chest and another around the neck. Holding everything together is a large panel that spreads the pressure evenly on your dog's core.
The harness is sporting a tough outer shell of polyester and tightly woven webbing straps. Many of the components are contoured to provide comfort. On the inside, the harness has a cotton lining to prevent chaffing.
This unit is called "Convert" because it's flexible enough to serve many purposes. You can customize it with LED lights, patches, and accessories. Whether you have a working dog or not, it has a lot to offer.
5. OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness
Available in two sizes, the Tactical Service harness from OneTigris is ideal for larger breeds. It's a unique accessory inspired by military gear. The unit is designed to look like a full human-sized tactical vest. Best of all, it features just as much practicality.
A removable back harness provides ample room for customization. It's sporting MOLLE webbing, which you can use to add patches, tools, and everything else you may need during your journey.
For durability, the harness is made of nylon. It resists chewing damage, water, and everything else! Soft padding on the interior keeps your dog comfortable and prevents unwanted chafing.
Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Harness?
There are many reasons why your dog might turn to destructive behavior when the harness comes out.
If you have a younger dog, the most obvious culprit is unfamiliarity. Wearing a harness, or any other clothing items for that matter, is a brand-new experience. When you consider the restrictive nature of these accessories, it's no surprise that dogs get a little fearful.
Harnesses can cause unexpected stress and anxiety. They see it as something that brings harm or discomfort. So, they revert to their gut instincts and do everything they can to remove the harness!
In some instances, chewing may be a response to other issues that don't have anything to do with the harness! For example, chewing is a natural response to separation anxiety, sheer boredom, and curiosity.
Most dogs will focus on toys or furniture. But if all that is out of reach, a harness is the next best thing!
It's on them and within reach, so why not chew on it?
Tips to Stop the Behavior
Aside from investing in a chew-proof dog harness, there are some things you can do to minimize chewing.
First, address any issues that might be causing the behavior. If you suspect that an emotional issue like anxiety is to blame, do your best to take care of that first.
Try spending more time with your dog or providing a chew toy to pull focus.
If chewing persists, you may need to resort to training and behavior modification. Your dog needs to learn that the harness is nothing to fear.
Teach your dog a "Leave It!" command and use it anytime they begin to chew on the saddle. Then, throw in some positive reinforcement whenever your dog chews on a toy rather than the accessory.
Training and behavioral modification for a specific act like chewing can be challenging. Don't be afraid to turn to a professional if the problem persists.
What Makes a Dog Harness Unchewable?
First things first, let's clear one giant misconception: There's no such thing as a genuinely indestructible dog harness!
You might see the term "indestructible" thrown around, but it's nothing more than marketing jargon. All harnesses can experience some level of damage.
However, chew-proof accessories are built to withstand all the chaos your dog puts it through.
Here are some ways that manufacturers toughen up harnesses.
Robust Strap Materials
There's a delicate balance between utilizing robust materials and providing flexibility. These accessories need a little "give" to ensure that they flex with your dog's movements.
Otherwise, the harness would be borderline dangerous to wear!
The best materials for chew-proof harnesses are rip-stop nylon, denim, and canvas. Kevlar and strong synthetic blends work well, too.
These materials are puncture-resistant and hold up well to abrasive damage. As a result, they're perfect for chronic chewers!
Contrary to popular belief, leather isn't always a good choice. Leather is pretty durable for occasional chewing. But, constant exposure to slobber can soften it up and pave the way for destruction.
You can't ignore the hardware. Harnesses utilize buckles, loops, and more to provide a snug fit.
Most harnesses on the market today use plastic. Unfortunately, the quality of the plastic can vary from one brand to the next!
Chew-proof units will have thick plastic. It can take strong jaws and sharp teeth any day!
An even better choice is metal. Metal holds up a lot better than plastic. However, it can damage teeth if your dog chews on it.
There's tons of variety in terms of design. The best chew-proof harnesses will place the straps in areas that are difficult for your dog to access.
Canines can reach most of their body without any issue. However, the shoulders, chest, and neck aren't so easy for your dog to get their mouth near.
Keep an eye out for these models! All dogs are different, so there's a degree of experimentation here. But once you find the right design, it'll make a world of difference.
Types of Dog Harnesses
Once you find some heavy-duty harnesses to pick from, there's still plenty to consider. The most important decision you can make is the core style.
Several types of harnesses exist, and they all come with unique pros and cons to mull over. Ultimately, the proper choice for your dog will come down to its training and behavior.
A back-clip harness is what it sounds like: It's a harness with the lead clip on the back. This design is the most prevalent. However, it's not for every dog!
Back-clip styles are ideal for pooches who are relatively well-behaved and unlikely to pull a lot. The position of the clip provides plenty of control. But it's not going to stop a strong puller.
In fact, yanking on a rear-positioned lead could cause injury to the dog if you're not careful.
If you have a strong puller, it's best to move on from back-clip harnesses.
Front-clip styles are a little more complex. It's easier for your dog's feet to get tangled up in them as they walk. That said, they are far better if your dog needs more guidance.
Great for pullers, the front positioning instantly attracts their attention. A slight pull forces the body to turn. It's like stopping your dog in its tracks! The best part of front-clip harnesses, however, is the safety.
Even with solid pullers, these harnesses don't put a ton of stress on the back or chest. They prevent your dog from moving forward, which is perfect for training!
Dual-clip harnesses offer the best of both worlds. As the name would imply, they feature leash clips on both the front and back of your dog.
They offer tons of flexibility, allowing you to adjust the level of control you have based on your surroundings. When you're in a relatively safe or empty area, you can move the lead to the back to offer up some more freedom.
Once you move to busier paths, you can switch to the front to keep your dog safe and contained.
Finally, we have the constriction-style harness. These are a little controversial. However, they work pretty well when used appropriately.
These harnesses are designed to apply a little pressure around your dog's chest whenever they start to pull. Despite the connotations, they aren't supposed to cause pain.
The force acts as a reminder. Think of it as a gentle nudge to tell your dog to behave.
Now, these units aren't going to work on every dog. More determined pups may end up pulling regardless of the pressure, which could cause injury.
Other Important Considerations
So, you've found the perfect tough dog harness for your canine companion. Before you jump the gun, make sure that it meets some of the basic safety and comfort criteria below.
Harnesses come in many different sizes. While most models have a degree of adjustability, you must start with the right size range.
To measure for a harness, you must jot down your dog's girth at the neck and chest. Some models will also require a length measurement from the withers to the base of the tail.
Whatever the case may be, don't ignore these measurements! A harness is only effective if it fits snuggly.
The overall fit of the harness will play a significant role in its comfort. However, there are other elements to think about, too.
Heavy-duty accessories are notorious for chaffing the skin. Not only does that feel awful for your dog, but it opens up a can of worms for bacteria and infections!
Look for harnesses that have light padding or anti-chaff fabrics around critical areas. The most vulnerable spots are under the arms where the harness loops around. Smooth fabric coverings will let the straps glide over the skin and fur rather than cut into it!
Good visibility is a must if you're walking around busy streets. In the daytime, it pays to have a harness with bright colors that drivers can easily see.
For nighttime walks, look for reflective panels and stitching. Reflective elements shine the light back into the eyes of drivers, alerting them to your dog's presence.
Ease of Use
Dog harnesses have a bit of a reputation for being cumbersome and difficult to put on. While that might be true for models from the past, modern harnesses are a lot more streamlined.
Quick-release buckles and simplistic design schemes make putting them on a breeze. If you have an inpatient or fussy dog, stick with models that take no more than a few seconds to put on or take off.
Have a dog that constantly chews through its harness? One of our recommended picks can put a stop to the constant replacements once and for all! These chew-proof models resist damage and hold up well to even the most determined dog.
Not only do they help you save money, but these harnesses also keep your dog much safer.