THE PERFECT FIT® HARNESS (manufactured by Dog Games UK, sold by The Sable Life)
By Regan Demos
As any pet parent will know, there is a such a vast number of collars and harnesses on the market to choose from that selecting the right one can be somewhat daunting. If your pet is compromised through injury it is even more difficult to find an appropriate harness that will not impede movement but will still be functional.
The Perfect Fit® Harness is manufactured in the United Kingdom and after seeing the immediate benefit to the harness with my own dog, Sable, I applied to be appointed as their local agent in order to bring them into South Africa.
Up until that point, every harness that I had bought for Sable was either heavy and cumbersome or very restrictive across her shoulders and chest.
The Perfect Fit® Harness’s evolutionary design means that it is comes in 2 – 3 separate pieces in 4 different size ranges and 13 different colors and can be custom-sized to fit all animals from a 4 month old Chihuahua or cats, to extra-large, which is made for huge Mastiffs or even large pigs or small ponies.
The Perfect Fit® Harness sits on the skeleton, avoiding pressure points, soft tissues, and the throat/neck area, giving the dog full range of movement to run, swim and jump. Covered in thick padded fleece the Perfect Fit® offers the utmost comfort for the dog and helps the harness to adhere to the dog’s coat, preventing chaffing and slipping.
Wearing a harness helps disperse the pressure from one smaller area on the neck, to the back and the body. It spreads the stress over a larger surface area. Neck and trachea injuries might occur if a dog is constantly yanking, pulling, or fighting the leash. The damage that can be caused or exasperated from pressure around the neck including eye problems caused by Intraocular eye pressure, collapsed trachea, Syringomyelia, thyroid disorders, lameness and negative effects on the lymph system, blood flow and neural pathways.
The Perfect Fit® is designed not to go on over your dog’s head. The harness gets clipped AROUND the dog rather than having to manoeuvre the dog to step into the harness. This is much less invasive than other conventional harnesses and is especially beneficial for injured or otherwise compromised dogs.
Each harness is put together by selecting an individually sized
* Top Piece
* Front Piece and
* Girth Strap
The front is Y shaped and goes around the dog’s neck with the tail piece of the Y going between the dog’s front legs. It has black webbing stitched on to black fleece with the D-ring front attachment. The top piece has the webbing stitched on to the coloured fleece along with a D-ring attachment at the back. The girth piece also has black webbing where the D-ring is reinforced. This D-ring on the girth piece is where the tail end of the Y-front piece is attached.
The girth and front pieces have five points of adjustment to adjust the harness accordingly to each dog, ideal for growing puppies as the harness can grow with the puppy with the option of buying individual pieces when necessary.
A basic guideline to help you decide which size harness will suit your dog is:
* 15mm – small dogs and cats, not suitable for strong pullers eg small terriers
* 20mm – for small STRONG pullers, medium to large size dogs eg Spaniels and Collies
* 40mm – for VERY strong pullers, large and giant breeds eg German Shepherds
There are 2 D-rings on each harness: one D-ring which sits on the dogs back and a D-ring which sits on the front of the dogs’ chest, which means you can use the 2 points of contact with a double ended lead for more control over strong dogs like Sable
For anyone owning barrel-chested dogs, like English Bulldogs, Boxers and Pit Bulls, it is almost impossible to find an off-the-shelf harness that fits properly. Most harnesses that are available either fit these breeds too tightly around the chest and shoulders or rub under the arms as the dog walks.
Having three individual pieces – front, top and girth piece – is a great idea because as your puppy grows, or if the harness should get damaged, you will only need to replace the piece(s) that you need instead of having to buy a whole harness.
In the 20mm and 40mm ranges, the smallest front piece of each size has been designed with no adjustment on the shoulders. This is so that puppies wearing that range cannot chew this piece of the harness by dropping their heads down to it and in the 20mm range, the XS front (no shoulder adjustment) can suit front leg amputees (tri-paws).
The top piece comes in a variety of rich, vibrant colours to choose from – black, blue, brown, green, pink, purple, red, blue, wine, black reflective, high vis yellow, high vis orange and black fleece with rainbow webbing. The front and girth pieces are only available in black webbing and fleece.
The fleece is soft, it is very strong and durable. The fleece reduces rubbing and pressure points. This material is also lightweight, machine washable and quick to dry. Stiff leather can be uncomfortable, and webbing will slip and slide on the dog’s’ body no matter how good the fit is.
Harnesses come in different styles and can be quite tricky to fit onto your dog correctly. I found the Perfect Fit® Harness to be easy to assemble and fit. Attach the front and top pieces together, attach the girth to the front, put the back and front piece over your dog’s head, slip the girth piece under your dog’s chest, between his leg and then just clip the snaps of girth to the top piece. For head shy dogs, the front piece can be swung around the dog’s neck before being attached to the top piece.
The harness is light, durable and machine washable.
I have not been able to find another harness in its class that I can be assured fits Sable comfortably yet is still strong enough to give me peace of mind when we are out on walks.
Animal Health and Hydro would like to thank Regan Demos from The Perfect Fit® Harness for this content