I’ve tried almost every harness recommended for Dachshunds and I have two top favorites – one for normal life and and hiking.
This review is for the first one. The one my dogs wear around 90% of the time.
UPDATED: This post originally published in April 2014.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a qualifying purchase.
VelPro Mesh Choke Free Harness Review
The harness my Dachshunds wear most often is the VelPro Choke Free Mesh Harness.
We’ve been using this harness almost daily since 2014.
They wear it for short, casual walks around the neighborhood.
When we travel, they wear it 24-7. They don’t wear collars so it’s where I attach their ID.
In the 5+ years my Dachshunds have been wearing this harness, and during the almost 2.5 months Gretel wore it continuously, we have had almost zero problems with it (see the what we don’t like section below for more)
Why We Like the VelPro Mesh Harness
There are two main reasons that I am in love with this harness.
First, Gretel is a real puller and, possibly due to extra skin inside her throat, allergies or an irritated trachea from pulling, her breathing is labored sometimes.
It’s nothing serious most of the time (it sounds like she is snoring) but sometimes she starts coughing and “honking”.
I am paranoid about her trachea collapsing.
Of the many harness that are supposed to fit Dachshunds that I’ve tried, almost all put some kind of pressure on her throat (the one that didn’t fit loose and she could back out of it)
The VelPro Choke Free Mesh Harness puts all of the pressure right on her breastbone instead of on her throat.
Second, the harness is easy to clean.
Our harnesses get muddy and wet a lot in the Northwest so they need to be durable and machine washable.
I’ve seen similar harness styles to the VelPro Mesh one but they were made out of leather. It had to be conditioned to stay supple and took more effort to clean.
Other reasons I love this harness are:
- It’s a step-in harness so I don’t have to put it over their head
- It is soft and flexible so it conforms to their body
- Chester and Gretel have never wiggled out of it
- The Velcro is very strong and durable
Two Things We Don’t Like About the VelPro Mesh Harness
Removing ID Tags Every Time
One negative thing to point out about the harness is that, to close the Velcro strap, you need to pass the side with the slot in it over the metal D-ring.
The tags are too big to pass through the hole. That means that I have to remove the tags, put the harness on, and re-attach the tags each time.
I use a small Rubit clip to make the tags easy to take on and off and don’t really think about it anymore though.
Potential Chafing (in Rare Cases)
You’ll notice I said the VelPro is my favorite CASUAL harness.
There are certain cases where it can cause red chafed areas.
Really, any harness has the potential to chafe under certain conditions so I don’t see it as a fault.
The main issue in the case of this harness is that it sits right in the arm pits.
Because of their size and funny shape, there is very little space between a Dachshund’s leg and body there.
The harness has chafed my Dachshunds in the arm pits when it’s wet and dirty AND we walk for over 2-3 miles.
That can happen when we are hiking because most trails in the Northwest have water on them, even in summer.
It can happen at the beach. Besides getting wet, sand can stick to it and act like abrasive sand paper.
It can even happen walking around our neighborhood when it’s raining (but, again, only if we are going for longer walks)
The solution is simple, we just don’t use it in those circumstances.
Instead, we use the Casual Padded Y Harness from Hurtta.
Where To Get the Velpro Choke Free Harness
If you live in the US, you can order the Velpro Choke Free Mesh Harness from Amazon.
The other day, one of our Facebook fans saw a photo of Gretel in the harness and asked me where someone in lower mainland Canada could get the harness.
If you live in Canada, try using this Amazon link.
If you live in Vancouver, Canada you can also order the harness from Morrco Pet Supply Company for shipping to Canada. It looks like the shipping fee is $10 but I would email and confirm before you order.
A Note on Sizing
If the place you end ordering one from doesn’t have a size chart, here are the size measurements from the VelPro website:
Size XSmall fits 11″ – 12″
Size Small fits 13″ – 14″
Size Medium fits 15″ – 16″
Size Large fits 17″ – 18″
Size XLarge fits 19″ – 20″
The instructions for finding the correct size say to measure around your dog’s chest right behind their legs (in the arm pit).
Gretel’s chest measures 16 – 16 1/4 inches and Summit’s is 15 1/4 inches. I have a medium harness for both dogs which, according to the VelPro website, fits a chest of 15 – 16 inches.
In other words, the sizing chart seems accurate to me.
However, the instructions on the website say to measure the chest and then add an inch to get the correct size. I DO NOT recommend adding that extra inch because the harness stretches out after a while.
When the medium harness is new, it fits Gretel perfectly snug. Once she’s worn it a bit, and pulls on the leash as she does sometimes, it’s stretches out and becomes a tad looser.
It’s loose on Summit from the beginning. Occasionally, when laying down in it, her leg will pop through the hole. It’s easy to put back in though.
I’ve never had a problem with any of my Dachshunds slipping out of it but they also aren’t ones to pull backwards on the leash.
I highly recommend this harness for a Dachshund.