Today’s population really loves their dogs. Eighty-five million families own pets, and that number is growing year after year.

Studies are showing that millennials frequently choose their pets over people, consider their pets first when searching for a home, and that they’re either choosing pet ownership over parenthood or consider their pets “starter children.”

If you’re a dog lover, then more than likely you want to give your dog the best life possible. Dog owners want their dogs to have the best of the best, and records show that people spend billions of dollars each year to give them just that.

The best of the best doesn’t end at food or doggy daycare. It also includes finding the best vet, the best groomer, and the best harness for dogs.

If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options out there, check out this list of different harnesses and what they’re for.

The Pet Industry Is Growing Steadily

With almost 70% of the population owning a pet, it’s no wonder that the industry is growing. As this generation continues on this trend of dog loving, they will continue to spend their money on high-quality products for their dogs.

The world of canine supplies is vast, and the pet industry continues to grow. It’s not just high-end food that people are buying for their dogs. It goes far beyond that.

Need a sweater for your Rottweiler? You can get one of those. How about boots for your chihuahua? You can get those too.

How about a customizable high-end water dish? Of course you can get one, right along with a Swarovski-encrusted collar spelling out your precious pup’s name.

Need a subscription box of toys and treats? A wifi-enabled camera mounted low to the ground so you can check in on your pups throughout the day? A GPS-capable dog tag in case your pup ever gets lost? An orthopedic memory foam dog bed? A summer hat? Insurance for your dog? A backseat car cover that converts into a hammock for your pup?

It’s no different when it comes to leashes, collars, and harnesses. There is something for everyone.

Harnesses Versus Collars

While for some, choosing a harness over a collar may be just a fashion choice, others choose harnesses for other reasons entirely. Harnesses can help with training, keep dogs from slipping their collars or choking themselves while walking on a leash, and/or give the person walking the dog more control over the canine.

Different Kinds of Harnesses

There are all kinds of different dog harnesses out there and they serve a multitude of different purposes. Some may stop your dog from pulling, while others offer joint support or relief from pain.

Unlike collars, not all harnesses are just for taking Fido for a walk.

Orthopedic Harnesses

If your furry friend is getting older but still loves a good walk, an orthopedic harness may be appropriate. Orthopedic harnesses are specially designed harnesses that attach a lead to the front and back of the harness and help offer spinal support for your dog.

Amputation Support Harnesses

Like orthopedic harnesses, amputation support harnesses offer additional support for your dog. Dogs who have experienced amputation may need additional assistance getting around.

Although some dogs are able to hop about on three legs, older dogs can experience muscle or joint pain from prolonged strain when they have limited mobility. Amputation support harnesses allow the owner to help their dog carry some of the weight that may cause their pet discomfort.

Other Mobility Aid Harnesses

Other types of harnesses available are mobility aid harnesses. Harnesses made specifically to help dogs get through water therapy, or simply offer specialized support as needed. Like humans, dogs’ medical needs are also unique — and the pet industry has found a way to service many of those needs.

Stop Pulling Harnesses

Stop pulling harnesses are also a popular option. These harnesses discourage the dog from pulling, which can make walking with your furry bestie really frustrating and suck the fun out of quality time together. A stop pulling harness will restrain the animal in such a way that will deter the dog from pulling your arm off while you walk, while remaining safe for your pet.

Carry Harnesses

Carry harnesses are exactly what they sound like: harnesses made specifically so that the dog owner can “carry” their dog. Typically these harnesses are made for smaller dogs.

The harness will have two handles attached to the top of it, allowing the dogs owner or caretaker to pick up and carry the dog, not unlike an attache or handbag. These can come in handy if your dog tires out quickly or if you’re going to be on your feet for a long time and anticipate that your furry friend may need a break.

Service Dog Harness

Service dog harnesses do not have any additional functions, but will bear the words “Service dog” and possibly any other message that its owner needs to convey. Many times, service dog harnesses will remind people not to pet the dog as it is working, or may have messages regarding its owner.

Message Harnesses

Message harnesses, like service dog harnesses, do not have any additional functions. However, they work to bear messages regarding the dog or its owner. Message harnesses may have certain words like “Deaf Dog,” “Nervous,” or any other message.

Seat Belt and Car Safety Harnesses

Car safety is just as important for our dogs as it is for our children and ourselves! People let their dogs roam the car while going for a ride far too often. If the worst happens and you get into an accident, your pet could escape from the car — or worse — be killed or seriously injured.

That’s why seat belt harnesses exist. Seat belt harnesses or other types of car safety harnesses are easy to use and typically will just clip onto the existing seat belt or anchor in the car, securing your pup while still allowing him or her some freedom to sit, lay, or let the wind blow through his jowls and flop through his ears.

Are Harnesses Harmless?

While some people may have a clear preference for collars over harnesses or vice versa, harnesses are harmless and there are no inherent risks when it comes to using one.

No products are without risks, though. If your dog is a big puller, it has been found that pulling in some harnesses can lead to shoulder or chest injury. Dogs should never sleep in their harness as it could lead to fatal accidents.

Additionally, dogs should never be left in wet harnesses for an extended period of time, as it can cause irritation to the dogs skin and/or lead to infection.

You can avoid injury with your dog by finding just the right product, even if that means testing several out.

Finding the Right Harness for Dogs

The key to choosing the right harness or restraint for your dog is discovering what works for both of you.

You may end up trying a lot of different products before settling on one that you find works for both you and your pet. You may even find that your dog’s needs evolve and what once worked no longer does.

The key is to stay patient, and be open-minded when searching for the right harness for dogs. There are a ton of products out there, and with some time and patience, you’re sure to find something that suits you both.

Harness Alternatives

When it comes to training your dog, there are a lot of collar or harness alternatives and variations. Choke collars, Martingale collars, slip leads, and head halters are all types of restraints that are widely used and harmless for pets.

Every product comes with some risk, as stated above. Collars can cause throat pain or irritation, if the dog pulls. Head halters can aggravate a dog and cause him or her to paw at it, which could lead to a neck injury.

The best thing you can do for your dog is to find what works for both of you.