Monday, December 12, 2016

Product Review: Buddy Belts

Buddy Belts are the snazziest step-in harnesses around. They're also the only step-in harnesses that I really like. Forget floppy straps that never fit quite right, these are made from self-supporting leather so they stay right where they're supposed to go. Originally designed to fit the creator's dachshund, this harness stays well clear of the dog's sensitive throat, and the leash ring always stays right on top. They look awesome, and they last forever. Buddy Belts are available in a multitude of colors and finishes, and twelve different sizes to fit dogs with chests 8-42" around.
Choke-free safe dog harness
Photo by Erin Koski

Ok, this is basically the best kind of dog company there is. The company is quite clearly run by real people, and not some giant faceless corporation. The product was developed specifically to solve a problem that the founders were having with their dog, and that dog is all over the website. That little black and tan dachshund? That's Buddy!

The people behind this company are super nice! I met them at SuperZoo, where they asked if I had a Buddy Belt for my dog. Though I had been wanting one since they hit the market around 2001 (I remember looking up what size my cocker spaniel would wear) I had never had the funds to buy one when the opportunity presented itself. They're tough to find used, too! When I shared that I had been coveting their product for over a decade, they gave me one for Ru! It's a purple Flash Dance color with sparkly rhinestones, and he looks amazing in it!
Soft leather body harness that stays in place.
Photo by Erin Koski

The reason that Buddy Belts are so expensive is because they are made from very high-quality leather. They last absolutely forever, and people hang onto them. I've never seen a secondhand one for sale, either online or in a thrift store, and believe me, I have looked. The company recently released a synthetic leather version, the Buddy Belt 2, that is a bit more affordable.

The reason Buddy Belts are so unique is because they were designed from scratch. The harnesses available at pet stores either didn't fit Buddy, or rode up too high and choked him. Rather than modifying those designs, Buddy's family started over and came up with the Buddy Belt.

While most dog harnesses are made from flexible straps or fabric, Buddy Belts are made from leather that holds its shape. This allows it to stay centered in the dog, keeping the cut-away section right where it needs to be to prevent pressure on the throat. This design also prevents the harness from rotating around the dog's body. You know when your leash pulls a regular harness down to the side? That never happens with a Buddy Belt.
Dog harness that does not touch the neck.
Photo by Erin Koski

Pros: Very high quality harness. Sits lower on the chest than any other harness I've seen, great for a collapsed trachea or dog recovering from surgery. Metal buckle does not trap hair. Leash ring always stays on top. Fits different from any other harness, often fits when other harnesses don't.

Cons: Can cause chafing if poorly fitted, extra padding is available to prevent this. May restrict shoulder extension, so not ideal for canine athletes.

Bottom Line: Ru has hiked for miles in this harness without complaint. I feel comfortable leaving it on him all day. It also looks brand new despite daily use over the last four months. It's just as awesome as I always imagined!

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