Monday, October 26, 2015

Product Review: Top Paw Step-In Vest Harness

The Top Paw Step-In Vest Harness is designed to distribute pressure while protecting the throat. It is lined with a breathable mesh to help keep it comfortable in warm weather. This harness comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns to fit dogs with chests 16-32" around.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Photo by Erin Koski

I hate step-in harnesses. Whoever invented these things never had to make a dog or toddler step into anything on purpose. They never sit right. Either the front is too low across the upper arms with the buckle in front of the shoulders, or the straps are digging in behind the elbows. It's not even a sizing issue, this picture is of 22" Sisci wearing a size medium for dogs 23-28" around. The next size up might sit far enough back to clear her elbows, but it would also be 6" too big?

Brisbane and Ru both have similar fitting issues with most step-in harnesses, and I always have to wonder who the hell these things are made for. Whilst searching for information on this Top Paw harness, I found the dog it fits. Her name is Edie the pug, and like most pugs she is very wide and barrel-chested and basically the opposite of my dogs. The harness fits her perfectly, sitting high enough in front without pulling into her armpits, with the buckle at or behind her shoulders. Amazing!

Pros: Apparently fits stout, cobby bodies very well. Breathable and easy to adjust. Does not have huge dangly leash attachments hanging off the buckle. Machine washable.

Cons: Does not fit narrow sighthoundish chests very well, being too big in some places and too small or short in others. Wide neck straps may interfere with shoulder movement, not an issue for most dogs but something to watch for canine athletes.

Bottom Line: If it fits, it fits. I will definitely have to keep this harness in mind for dense dogs.

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