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How do I measure my pet for a harness?
Last Updated: 12/01/2007
Question How do I measure my pet for a harness?

To correctly measure your pet’s girth size, you will need either a soft plastic tape measure or a piece of string and a ruler. Place the tape measure or string around your dog’s chest at the largest part of the rib-cage. This is usually 1 to 2 inches behind the front legs, but each breed is just a little different, so look for the biggest part of the chest.

Pull the measuring tape or string so that it is snug, then loosen it enough so that you can slip two fingers comfortably between the harness and your pet’s side. This will allow your dog to take a deep breath and expand his or her chest without feeling any pressure from the harness. As an example, if your dog’s chest measures 25 inches when the measuring tape is snug, the correct harness measurement will probably be 26 to 27 inches to allow for “breathing room”.

If you are using a string to measure, or if your dog is very excited by the new “game” that you’re playing, simply get the snug measurement and add 1 to 2 inches. If your pet is on the borderline between sizes, it is usually better to go with the larger size, as the center strap will fit better between his or her shoulder blades.

Once your new harness arrives, you will want to make a basic adjustment before trying it on your pet. The harness will be adjustable in 2 areas, both around the neck and around the chest. Start by adjusting the chest (girth) strap to the measurement you took before you purchased the harness. If you based your purchase on a 26 inch measurement, adjust the chest/girth strap to be 26 inches. Then take a look at the neck area and adjust it so that it will slide easily over your dog’s head.

For help putting the harness on, see related article.

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