At Summeridge Animal Clinic, we love seeing pets decked out in all the things. From cute bows to harnesses with bling, stylish animals make us smile. It’s amazing how some of this canine and kitty couture can capture the personality of the pets they adorn.

When it comes to choosing pet accessories, though, some things go beyond good taste. Good fit, safety, and appropriateness for the individual dog or cat are all important. Pet accessories should be fun and effective at the same time.

Considerations for Pet Accessories

It doesn’t matter how cute pet accessories are, if they are not safe, comfortable, and effective for their intended purpose, they are not worth it.

Safety is the first priority, whether it be a new hair tie, sweater, or collar. A safe piece of pet gear should:

  • Be easy to take on and off
  • Not restrict your pet’s movement
  • Fit well so as not to trap a leg, foot, or lower jaw
  • Not have small or loose pieces that can be swallowed
  • Be checked and adjusted regularly to prevent rubs, sores, and to ensure proper fit
  • Not contain or be coated in potentially harmful or toxic substances
  • Have a breakaway feature if being worn unsupervised (especially for cats)
  • Allow your pet to potty

Some pets thrive in a tutu, but for others wearing clothes and costumes can be stressful. Be sure to observe your pet’s body language and respect if that sequined sweater isn’t their thing. 

When it comes to functional accessories such as leashes, harnesses, collars, and other restraints, cute doesn’t always cut it, even if the item checks the boxes for safety. 

Harness, Collar, or Other?

Functional accessories must be safe and there are definitely fun options out there. But how do you pick which is right for your pet? Consider the following:

Traditional flat collars – Traditional flat collars are the choice of many pet owners. These are typically easy to fit (be sure that they are snug enough not to slip over the head) and are less likely to become tangled in long fur. Most flat cat collars offer a breakaway option as well. If you have a heavy puller, though, it can be harder to control a dog on a flat collar. 

Harnesses – Harnesses, although a little more difficult to get on and fitted, offer some definite advantages over plain collars. They are less likely to slip off and can help to disperse some of the pressure, which is important for smaller animals. They also can help by offering better control for larger or more excitable animals. 

Pinch or choke collars – While some people turn to these options for better control, these collars are designed to offer a negative sensation when applied. Most dogs respond better to positive reinforcement than punishment. If you do choose to use these methods, always do so under guidance to ensure correct fit and correct usage. Dogs should never wear these types of collars unsupervised. 

Alternative options – Alternatives like head harnesses can be a great option for some dogs with appropriate training. No-pull harnesses that are correctly fitted can also be a great option.

When it comes to functional pet accessories, it is important to pick the right one for your pet. If you are not sure about the best choice for your situation, please let us know and we are happy to help guide you in your decision. We want your pet to look cute and feel the part, too!