I am a glutton when it comes to leashes, harnesses, dog jackets, dog toys, dog treats, technology for your pet……you get the idea. I’ve tried almost every harness recommended for Dachshunds and my favorite so far is the VelPro Choke Free Mesh Harness (affiliate link which means I get a tiny percentage if you buy at no extra cost to you). It’s great for any small dog really.
I first saw this harness at the Superzoo Product Expo last summer. Superzoo is the place companies go to show off their new innovations, prototypes, and products. The company displaying the new, mesh version of the Choke Free Harness only had a few prototypes on hand. The harness was EXACTLY what I had been looking for so I convinced the owner to sell me one for Gretel before I headed home.
Why We Like It
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 (nothing serious but it sounds like she is snoring). I was really afraid of her trachea collapsing.
I’ve tried several different harnesses but they all put some kind of pressure on her throat (the one that didn’t fit loose and she could back out of it) and cause her to cough and wheeze. The VelPro Choke Free Mesh Harness puts all of the pressure right on her breastbone.
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 have seen similar harness styles to the VelPro Mesh Choke Free Harness but they were made out of leather that had to be conditioned to stay supple and took more effort to clean them (in fact, you CAN buy this harness in a leather version).
Other reasons I love this harness are:
- It’s a step-in harness so I don’t have to put it over their head (which Chester hates)
- It is soft and flexible so it conforms to their body
- It rarely chafes Chester or Gretel – even on the longest, hardest hikes (this is the only time it can be a problem)
- Chester and Gretel have never wiggled out of it
- The velcro is very strong and durable
One Thing We Don’t Like
I do have ONE negative thing to point out about it. To close the velcro strap, you need to pass the side with the slot in it over the metal D-ring.
Chester and Gretel don’t wear a collar so I attach their tags to the harnesses. In the case of this harness, the only place to attach the tags is that D-ring and 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.
I use a Rubit clip to make tags easy to take on and off so it just ads another simple step to the process. I admit that it was annoying at first but now I am used to it and barely think about it.
Where To Get It
If you live in the US, you can order the Velpro Choke Free Mesh Harness from Amazon (affiliate link). I don’t see an obvious size chart on Amazon so here is the one listed on the Choke-free 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 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.
I don’t live in Canada so I am not familiar with Amazon policies for shipping there. It looks like they do ship there though. I found this “shipping rates to Canada” Amazon Page to help calculate the shipping charges.
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
The instructions for measuring the correct size say to measure around your dog’s chest right between their legs (in the arm pit). Gretel’s chest measures 15 inches and Chester’s is 16.5 inches. I have a medium harness for both dogs which, according to the VelPro website, fits a chest of 15 – 16 inches.
When the medium harness is new, it fits Gretel perfectly and is tight on Chester. Once it’s worn and stretched out a bit, which it does a little normally and will do a lot more if your dog is a puller, it’s perfect on Chester and a bit lose on Gretel. In other words, the sizing chart seems very 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 don’t recommend adding that extra inch because the harness stretches out after a while.