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Compact and Portable: Travel-Friendly Small Dog Harnesses

By Canada Pooch on Sep 6, 2023

Hitting the road or skies with a small dog by your side can be an adventure, but also comes with unique challenges. Tiny pups require specialized gear to keep them safe and comfortable when traveling near or far. After all, a Chihuahua has very different needs than a Great Dane! A regular collar simply won’t cut it for your petite pooch on-the-go. 

The Benefits of Using a Harness for Small Dogs 

Do you have an energetic Chihuahua that loves darting every which way on walks? If you’re a small dog parent, you likely know the struggle of trying to walk or travel with a tiny pup using just a collar and leash. But a better solution is a well-fitted harness designed specifically for pint-sized pooches. 

Harnesses provide much more control, safety, and comfort for toy and small-breed dogs than traditional collars. Here are some of the biggest benefits that make harnesses an essential piece of gear for your petite pup. 

Better Control 

Small dogs are notoriously difficult to walk on a leash. Their lightweight bodies allow them to lunge, pull, and change direction quickly. This constant movement risks injuring their delicate necks as the collar jerks in every direction. But a properly fitted harness gives you more control over your dog’s wild movements. 

Harnesses distribute pressure evenly across your dog’s chest and shoulders instead of the neck when they pull. This allows you to reinforce leash training and prevent sudden yanks gently. Your dog will learn not to dart off while exploring the outdoors. With the right harness, even the most erratic small dogs can learn to walk politely on a leash. 

While collars work fine for most large breed dogs, harnesses provide substantial benefits tailored to the needs of petite pooches. The greater control, reduced injury risk, security and visibility they offer is essential for active toy breeds. Properly fitted and adjusted, a quality harness designed specifically for small dogs can make walking your tiny companion much safer and more enjoyable. 

Factors to Consider in a Travel-Friendly Small Dog Harness 

Here are the key things to look for when picking a harness for a travelling toy breed: 

Proper Fit 

The number one priority is getting a properly fitted harness. All our designs come with adjustable straps that customize the fit around the neck and chest. 

Before selecting a size, carefully measure your dog around the widest part of the chest, as well as around the neck, to find the right fit range. Reference our size guide to find the right fit for your pup. If your dog is still growing, re-measure every few months to ensure you have the proper size harness. 

Always try the harness on your dog before use. Make sure you can easily slip two fingers between the harness and your dog’s body, and that straps don’t pinch or constrict movement. Proper adjustment ensures your pup stays cozy and secure. 


For travel convenience, lightweight is best. Harnesses made of soft, breathable mesh or nylon fabrics don’t weigh active pets down, making them ideal for on-the-go use. Seek durable yet minimal hardware and slender strap designs to reduce bulk. Sturdy plastic instead of metal buckles also contribute to a lighter feel. 


Harnesses that fold down, roll up, or otherwise collapse into a smaller shape are perfect for packing in suitcases and bags. Look for ones that compress neatly and come with their own storage pouch for easy packing. Collapsible harnesses take up minimal space until you’re ready to use them. 

Padding & Comfort 

All that travel means your pup needs ample padding for comfort! Cushioned chest and belly panels prevent rough seams and materials from irritating delicate skin. Padding also distributes pressure evenly across the torso for cozy security. For longer trips, harnesses with padded, adjustable straps reduce rubbing and chafing. 

Easy On & Off 

For travel convenience, quick-release buckles on the belly and neck portions make putting on and taking off a breeze. This allows swift harness removal for potty breaks or going through security. Straps that clip together rather than pulling over the head also facilitate on and off while preventing escapes. 

By keeping these factors in mind, you can find the paw-fect travel harness to keep your small pup safe and cozy on all your adventures together! 

How to Measure Your Small Dog for a Harness 

Getting an accurately fitted harness is crucial for your small dog's comfort and security. Loose harnesses can lead to escape artists wriggling free, while overly tight ones can cause chafing and restricted movement. 

That's why precisely measuring your petite pup and finding the right size is so important before purchasing any harness. Follow these simple steps to get your small dog sized up for a harness that fits them flawlessly: 

Step 1: Measure the Chest 

You'll need a soft measuring tape for accuracy. Have your dog stand comfortably and wrap the tape around the widest part of their chest. Keep it snug but not tight. Record this chest measurement. 

Step 2: Measure the Neck 

Next, gently wrap the measuring tape around your dog's neck, right behind their shoulders where a collar would normally sit. Again, keep it snug but not constricting. Measure down to the skin beneath the fur to get the true neck size. Record the neck measurement. 

Step 3: Consult Sizing Charts 

With your dog's chest and neck measurements in hand, you can now compare them to our sizing charts to pick the right harness size.

Step 4: Factor in Growth 

If your small dog is still young and growing, be sure to size up to allow for a few more inches of growth. Puppies grow rapidly so you want to ensure the harness will still fit properly in a few months. An adjustable harness also provides more room to tighten as your puppy grows. 

Step 5: Try It On 

Once you’ve purchased a harness in the calculated size, have your dog try it on before venturing out. Observe how it fits while they sit, move around, and lie down. The harness should not constrict movement or breathing. 

Step 6: Test Fit 

A proper harness fit means you can easily slide two fingers underneath each strap. Adjust the straps as needed to achieve this snug but not tight fit. Double check that your pup can't wiggle or back out of the harness once adjusted. 

Follow these six steps precisely and you'll end up with a supremely fitted harness suited to your small dog's proportions. They’ll barely notice it’s there thanks to the customized comfort! A perfectly sized harness ensures safety, security and freedom of movement for your petite pooch. 

Using a Harness for Car Travel 

A quality harness is a safe way to restrain your small dog in the car. Our Everything Harness series has as seat belt loop to keep your pup safe in the car.

Other Accessories for Traveling with a Small Dog Harness 

Along with a quality harness, the following accessories can make travel with a tiny dog even smoother: 

With the right accessories, your small dog will stay safe, secure and comfortable wherever your travels take you! 

Caring for Your Dog's Harness 

To keep your dog's harness in top shape: 

  • Hand wash in mild detergent and air dry after each trip. 
  • Inspect for damaged stitching or hardware that could break. 
  • Watch for signs of chafing like hair loss or skin irritation. 
  • Replace any chewed or deteriorated straps. 
  • Monitor for proper fit as your dog grows and adjust straps as needed. 
  • Store harness flat when not in use to prevent warping. 

A high-quality harness designed for a small dog's unique needs makes travel with your tiny pup secure, comfortable, and convenient. Just be sure to get the proper fit, choose lightweight and adjustable designs, utilize handy accessories, and care for the harness regularly. With the right harness, you'll be ready to hit the road or runway with your small doggie co-pilot! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Dog Harnesses 

Will using a harness encourage my dog to pull more when walking? 

Harnesses designed specifically for small dogs often have a front attachment leash point to gently discourage pulling. But even with regular harnesses, you can train your dog not to pull using positive reinforcement techniques. 

What temperature ranges are small dog harnesses suitable for? 

Look for lightweight, breathable, mesh-style harnesses to keep your small dog cool in warmer climates. In cold weather, seek insulating padding and avoid metal hardware against your dog's skin. 

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