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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Product Review: Little Pals Adjustable Harness and Leash Combo

The Little Pals Adjustable Harness and Leash Combo by Coastal Pet Products is a step-in harness with an attached leash. It comes in two styles (daisy and bone) and each of those are available in two colors. This product fits dogs with chests 10-14" around.
Photo by Erin Koski

This is basically the harness version of a slip lead. It's not as fast or convenient as looping a leash over a dog's neck, but it is much safer for tiny tracheae. Normal step-in harnesses close at the back with a quick-release buckle and a D-ring extending from a strap on either side, the leash is clipped through both rings. The combo eliminates the buckle and rings and just has a big loop of strap connecting each side. The (tiny rat) dog's feet go through the harness, and then the long strap is pulled over the head and cinched down behind the shoulders. There is a swivel at the point where the leash attaches, preventing it from getting tangled.

This leash is totally freaking adorable, look at that daisy! It takes a moment to figure out how to put on the dog, but after that it's very easy to use. I love that it doesn't require me to manipulate tiny buckles or trigger snaps. The little metal slide that keeps the harness tight requires minimal effort to move, but performs its function fine.

When I first tried it on Ru, I noted how far the Y-shaped points of the harness were from meeting behind his shoulders. The large loop means that technically I could put this harness on a much larger dog, but the bigger the dog the more the small harness would restrict shoulder movement. Then I read what size dogs the harness is actually supposed to fit and remembered that Ru is actually quite large by Little Pals standards. This harness is intended for dogs with 10-14" chests, and Ru is 13". Still, this combo harness would probably be a better fit for a tiny dog.

Pros: Easy to put on for the spatially aware, requires minimal fiddling with tiny hardware. Fast and convenient, fit in pockets. Excessively cute. Sized for truly bitty dogs, the chest strap on mine actually measures 8" so I believe it would best fit a dog 8-12" around.

Cons: Whoever invented step-in harnesses has never actually tried to get a dog to step into anything on purpose. The leash is only 4' long, and that's not much for a 6" tall dog. I prefer 6' leashes for tiny dogs so I don't accidentally yank them off their feet by turning to fast while holding the leash at waist level.

Bottom Line: The Little Pals Harness and Leash Combo serves the same function for Ru as the Lone Wolf Martingale Slip Lead does for Brisbane. It's a great house-to-car leash, an emergency backup. An I'm-feeling-lazy leash. I would recommend this leash for people who have joint pain and want to use a harness but don't want to fiddle with tiny hardware.

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