If you have a Pomeranian, you need the perfect harness and maybe a collar. “Perfect” in this context means it’s comfortable, secure and doesn’t affect his health when he wears it; i.e. too tight or too loose.
Wearing a collar is not an ideal choice for most Pomeranians. Continued use of a collar will damage the full, thick coat.
Collars are also a safety hazard, it is not unheard for dogs to be found hanging by their collar. Conscientious owners will ensure their Pomeranian is micro chipped for safe and permanent identification. If your Pomeranian must wear a collar, restrict the use to outings. The collar and harness work well together when taking your beloved pet for a walk. His ID tags will be attached to his collar in case he manages to escape, which is especially important if he’s in a strange neighbourhood.
Why a collar is not a good choice for Pomeranians?
Pomeranians are prone to a genetic medical condition called a Collapsed Trachea. The rings of the trachea collapse inwards. This can be caused by a degeneration of the area or might be caused by a jerk to his neck or other similar problem.
Even if this problem wasn’t genetic to Poms, all members of this breed are extremely susceptible to neck injuries. Your pet’s trachea (aka windpipe) is completely surrounded by cartilage rings that can be crushed quite easily. If any rings break and move inwards, your dog’s breathing becomes obstructed and it can be very painful.
Your Pom may have huge coughing fits that may cause even more damage to the affected area and surrounds. Vets commonly prescribe numerous medications to rectify this problem. The list includes: antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and anti-histamines. In severe cases, surgery may be required to fix the problem. This is always a serious problem but it can often be easily avoided.
If a dog’s collar and leash are joined, all the pressure is directly applied to his neck and a number of problems may ensue:
1. During the walk, your dog may lunge forward in a side direction. The strength of the quick jerk can snap his windpipe.
2. His leash drags along behind him as he moves freely. If it’s suddenly trodden on, his neck would be snapped backwards and an awful injury would
3. While your Pom walks along a raised platform such as a: elevated cross walk, a bridge or something else, he teeters off to one side and ends up dangling by his neck. This stops him from breathing and also strangles him.
4. Your dog hasn’t been trained to heel so he walks ahead of you, pushing and straining because he wants to go faster. Every time he goes for a walk and does this, constant pressure is applied to his trachea and eventually breaks up the structural integrity of the rings inside his trachea.
5. You put your dog in the car seat and connect the leash or collar securely to the car’s safety straps. If the strap is connected to his collar and you have a car accident, it may prove fatal for him. You MUST use both the harness and car seat together so your Pom is completely safe when he’s a passenger in your car.
What’s the purpose of the harness?
A harness never touches your dog’s neck. It runs along the back, shoulders and chest of your pet. When the leash has become tense, that additional pressure is spread through the body into areas that are much tougher (as in bones instead of just cartilage) so your dog can easily disperse that pressure instead of it being laser focused on his neck, so fewer problems are caused. The right harness keeps your Pom safe and it gives you much greater control, when compared to just using a collar and leash.
Some owners are concerned about using a harness because they have had bad experiences with it in the past. So I’ll explain how to assist your dog in acclimatising to wearing a harness.
How can a harness and collar work well in sync?
The correct harness for your Pomeranian does not require a collar. This section is for owners who insist on the use of a collar. The right collar and harness will help you do a number of things such as these: Your Pom’s ID tags will be connected to the collar. A US pet population study concluded that only 20% of dogs that get lost are ever found. That means four out of every five dogs go missing for some reason or another. So, you don’t attach the leash to the collar, but a collar should be used for the ID reason, among others. The right size harness will fit comfortably on your beloved pet and divert most of the tension and pressure caused by the leash, and then spread it out through his body instead of only his neck.
Tips on selecting the ideal collar for your Pom.
Buying a dog collar may seem extremely easy BUT the opposite is true because there are a couple of vital elements to consider. If you choose the cheapest collar, it may be too wide and/or thick and that can be very uncomfortable for your beloved pet.
Here are things you need to look at when browsing your pet shop.
1. Thickness and width. If the collar is too thin or narrow, it can dig into your Pom’s neck, causing discomfort and, sometimes, even pain. If it’s too thick or wide, it can stop him bending his neck down to drink and eat, and also hinder his ability to turn his neck properly. The ideal width is a ¼ inch for a Pom puppy and ½ to ¾ inch for an adult; this will vary according to his weight. Despite poms being small, a cat collar is NOT the right thing to use. They’re too narrow and just shouldn’t be used.
2. Material. The ideal choice for your pet’s collar will be a waterproof, lightweight material. You can buy chains of varying metals and, although some designs may look “cute,” being metal makes them too heavy for such a small dog. If the chains aren’t water repellent or resistant, they’ll hold moisture from rain, from wet fur after baths, conditioner sprays and so on. They may start to smell and can become a safe place for bacteria to breed (between the fur and the collar. Collars that have jewels and/or other decorations can look nice providing they’re not heavy. However, there may be a danger in such decorations falling off and being swallowed by the dog. So it has to be a high quality collar if you insist on such decorations.
3. Adjustable. If the collar is only adjustable in sections (like a human’s clothing belt), it can be hard to get the collar adjusted in the way it needs to be. It may be unsuitable for your Pom, even if you do like the collar itself. The ideal collar will have a sliding mechanism to adjust the size so you can tailor it to your pet’s neck size, which will change as he ages.
How do you work out the best fit for your Pom’s collar?
To determine the right size collar for most dogs is to measure his neck and add one extra inch. However, this doesn’t always work for Poms due to the large amount of fur around the neck. The only true way to know is to put it on and adjusted. Then you should be able to slide two fingers under it and spin it easily, but not so easily that it can slip off or get caught on anything.
When is it appropriate to remove his collar?
Whenever your dog is groomed, the collar must be removed so you can do it easily. However, if you’re only doing a small touch-up, it’s unnecessary. Taking it off lets you do long strokes from the back of your dog’s head all the way down his back. You’ll collect all shed hairs as you brush.When bathing your dog, remove his collar so you can do the job properly. After you finish completely drying him, then it’s ok to put the collar back on.
Proper ID tags. Some manufacturers of ID tags only focus on the aesthetic look, so owners will like what they see and buy it. However, the design should be the right size and weight for a Pomeranian. If it’s too heavy his neck will be pulled downwards. It’s unwise to have tags that dangle too much or other dogs may think it’s a toy or it may get snagged in something. The tags should be made from metal that’s water-resistant, will last a long time and won’t tarnish or fade. Another option is to choose a collar that has the ID running alongside it. It can be engraved or embroidered onto a tiny placard joined to his collar. The essential information needed on ID tags is YOUR name and number. An email address is handy and your dog’s name is also handy but the latter two aren’t as crucial when it comes to getting your dog back if he gets lost. He must also be microchipped.
What’s the ideal harness?
If you struggle to get a harness onto your dog or you don’t try because you “know” he won’t like it. If either of these scenarios exist, then you generally won’t have the correct harness…because that should make it easy to put on and comfortable to wear. There are a LOT of different harnesses and making the wrong choice can cause you and your dog all sorts of problems. A comfortable harness will be easy for you to put on your pet and it will fit without constricting his range of movement. The best type of harness for a Pomeranian has a simple attachment to attach the lead or your dog’s car seat harness and there is no need for a collar.
Here are the major three harness types for Pomeranians.
Remember that it must be suitable for a Pom and not “just any small dog.”
1. Lightweight, wide mesh, breathable harnesses are the best overall type. They come in different colours and are easy to put on your pet as they stretch (in a similar way to a shirt that stretches) and the material enables great airflow for your pom’s skin and coat.
2. Some poms can handle a strapped harness as long as each strap isn’t too thin. The ideal width is a minimum of ¾ inches and it will fit your pet nicely, be comfortable and won’t pinch his skin.
3. Manufacturers make some harnesses as a feature of clothing so your pet gets a greater spread of the pressure instead of just the neck. If you like dressing your dog, having a jacket or vest will make it so simple to put on. Girl Pomeranians can be dressed in stylish harness’s resembling party dresses.
How long should your pet wear the harness in one “session?”
If your pet only wears his harness when you take him walking, his fur won’t be damaged in any way. However, if you leave it on for a long period (24+ hours), it can flatten the fur and cause problems with the coat and/or skin. So always remove it once you’re both safely home again. Another positive aspect of only wearing it while walking is that your Pom will learn it’s just a temporary annoyance. He’ll most likely tolerate it because of that knowledge and will quickly learn to enjoy dressing up and the promise of an outing.
Photos courtesy of Milo and Boobies Kinman.
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