Thursday, January 21, 2016

Product Review: EzyDog Chestplate Harness

The EzyDog Chestplate Harness has an usual design that either works for your dog, or doesn't. This is a two-buckle harness that requires the dog to step over a strap to get it on, but it does not need to be pulled over the head. The Chestplate Harness features reflective stitching and comes with a seatbelt attachment intended to prevent driver distraction (but does not provide crash protection). It is available in nine different colors and seven sizes to fit dogs with chests 10-53" around.
Ranger the Australian Cattle Dog
Photo by Erin Koski

Years ago I bought one of these for Brisbane. It was a blue size large Chestplate Harness and it was terrible. The top of the stiff chestplate stabbed him in the throat and gagged him when he tried to put his head down to sniff. The plate also sagged away from his chest no matter how tight I made the straps. The next size down was too small. I eventually passed the harness along to a friend with a larger dog. Then I started a dog blog and realized this was the perfect venue to gripe about this thing.

The EzyDog Chestplate Harness modeled by Ranger in the pictures came from the 50-cent bin at the Humane Society. It's well-worn so obviously somebody had better luck with it than I did. Ranger has a longer neck than Brisbane, and the chestplate on this harness didn't stab him in the throat when he put his head down.

However, it does slide to the side a lot. The heavy buckles and leash attachment weigh it down and make the whole thing rotate. This pushes the plate into Ranger's inner leg. I've read a number of reviews with complaints of chaffing and scabs as a result of this issue. The company has replied to several Amazon reviews with claims that this is a fitting issue, but I can't get the harness to stop rotating no matter how tight it's adjusted, and this is the only size that fits.

EzyDog Chestplate Harness on heeler
Photo by Erin Koski
I really don't like the way EzyDog markets the Chestplate Harness. In addition to claims that the plate with mold to the chest for a custom fit, they claim that this harness helps control pulling. This is not a no-pull harness, in fact it makes pulling easier and more comfortable. It can help change the picture for a dog accustomed to pulling on a collar, but the novelty will wear off and the dog will be able to pull even harder once they get used to the feeling. This is the same for any harness though, there's absolutely nothing about the Chestplate Harness that discourages pulling.

Pros: Weird shape may fit some hard-to-fit dogs. Foam chestplate distributes pressure. Does not need to be pulled over the dog's head.

Cons: Stiff chestplate can stab dog in the throat if they are a certain shape or near the bottom of the size range. If the plate is low enough not to jab into the neck, the neck strap lays across the shoulders and may inhibit movement. May chafe insides of front legs. Several reviewers have reported their smaller-sized Chestplate Harnesses snapping shortly after purchase. Difficult to get a good fit, harness rotates and adjustment slides catch on chestplate, making it non-trivial to right.

Bottom Line: Like EzyDog's QuickFit Harness, this one has some major and common issues that the company likes to sweep under the rug by claiming nobody else is having this problem. The Chestplate Harness might be worse though, despite it being readily available at one of my local shops, I have never seen one on a dog in my area.

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