Dog Running Harness: Best Gear For A Safe Jog With Your Pup!

dog running harness
If you love to run and love dogs, there’s something special about combining your passions.If you love to run and love dogs, there’s something special about combining your passions. Before you leash Fido up for your cross-country outing by making sure you invest in the right gear for your furbaby. Take his safety into account. 
A dog harness will give you more control over your dog and help prevent stress injuries. But all harnesses are not equal..
That’s why we evaluated several products available on the market to help you find the best dog running harness for your special pal.

Before we talk about the products, we’re going to look at the reasons to use gear that’s specifically made for running with your dog and describe the features you want in a harness. Then we’ll discuss safety tips and good running practices.

Table of Contents

Running Harnesses

best dog running harness
RUFFWEAR - Front Range Dog Harness, Reflective and Padded Harness for Training and Everyday
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

Available in five sizes ranging from XX-Small to Large/X-Large, the Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness comes with a trail-tested promise. It’s made with durable, lightweight nylon and has four adjustment points. There are two leash attachments. The back has an aluminum double D-ring on the back and a reinforced webbing loop on the front. With bright fabric and reflective trim, this product should be easy to see at night. There are foam-padded strips for the belly and chest for comfort. The product includes an ID tag pocket.

What We Like About It
  • The padding makes it comfortable for a dog
  • It’s durable and lasts for years
  • The adjustments make it easy to fit your dog
  • You can see it at night
What We Don't Like
  • Dogs can slip out of it
  • It can make long or curly-haired dogs get mats
RUFFWEAR - Web Master, Multi-Use Support Dog Harness, Hiking and Trail Running
Our Ratings:
4.6/5
Price Range: $$

Made for active dogs, this multi-use harness has five adjustment points for the right fit. There are a reinforced mesh handle and an aluminum V-ring leash attachment on the back. This product has foam padded straps for your pal’s comfort. It’s made of lightweight yet durable nylon and has reflective trim. A built-in safety light loop provides a place to attach a beacon when you’re out on the trail. This harness comes in five sizes from XX-Small to Large/X-Large.

What We Like About It
  • The handle on top comes in handy for lifting
  • The extra belly strap prevents dogs from slipping out of the harness
  • It fits well
  • The material is thick and sturdy
What We Don't Like
  • The materials are hard and tend to chafe
  • It can get hot in the summer
Blueberry Pet 8 Colors Soft & Comfortable 3M Reflective Strips Nylon Neoprene Padded Training Dog Harness
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

Made for active dogs, this multi-use harness has five adjustment points for the right fit. There are a reinforced mesh handle and an aluminum V-ring leash attachment on the back. This product has foam padded straps for your pal’s comfort. It’s made of lightweight yet durable nylon and has reflective trim. A built-in safety light loop provides a place to attach a beacon when you’re out on the trail. This harness comes in five sizes from XX-Small to Large/X-Large.

What We Like About It
  • Dogs can slip out of the harness if they pull backward
  • It tends to pull to the side
What We Don't Like
  • The materials are hard and tend to chafe
  • It can get hot in the summer
EzyDog Quick Fit Custom Adjustable Harness
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

This harness has reflective stitching and a waterproof padded chest sleeve made of neoprene. There’s a quick-click buckle to make it easy to put on and off. There’s a one-click fit system that allows for quick and easy fitting. It comes in six sizes.

What We Like About It
  • It’s easy to put on and take off - even the kids can do it
  • It’s easy to fit
  • It’s well made
  • The padded sleeve seems to be comfortable
What We Don't Like
  • The clips/buckles can break if your dog pulls really hard
  • It can rub/chafe behind the legs
TRUE LOVE Adjustable No-Pull Dog Harness Reflective
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

With front and back attachment points and padding for the chest and belly, this harness is made for active pups. It uses reflective nylon webbing and sturdy oxford materials for durability. The product also has double stitching and load capacity buckles to resist heavy pulling. There are four adjustment points for a proper fit. The leash attachments are aluminum and zinc alloy rings. It includes a lifting handle. This harness is available in 5 sizes.

What We Like About It
  • It fits well and doesn’t slide around
  • Owners say dogs are comfortable wearing this harness
  • It’s lightweight yet durable
  • The material is very reflective at night, so it’s easy to see
What We Don't Like
  • It’s hard to slip over the neck, and you may have to readjust the fit every time
  • Some owners say the sizing runs small
Tuff Mutt - Easy On Off Dog Harness
Our Ratings:
4.4/5
Price Range: $$

This Tuff Mutt harness has four adjustment points and is easy to customize to your pooch. The chest and belly panels have extra padding for your pup’s comfort. There’s a metal V-ring leash attachment on the back and a reinforced webbing loop on the front. There’s reflective stitching on the straps and reflective trim for extra night visibility. It has strong buckle connectors for a secure fit. This harness comes in Medium and LargeX-Large sizes.

What We Like About It
  • It’s padded in the right places and appears to be comfortable
  • The materials are durable
  • It’s easy to adjust
  • The reflective strips show up very well in the dark
What We Don't Like
  • Owners report that the buckles don’t last and will break over time
  • It tends to chafe large, deep-chested dogs
Rabbitgoo Dog Harness No-Pull Pet Harness
Our Ratings:
4.4/5
Price Range: $$

This adjustable harness comes in four size choices ranging from S-XL. It has metal D-ring leash attachments on the front and back. You can slide the neck part over the head and buckle the easy-release clips around the chest. There are four adjustable straps on the product for a snug fit. The chest and neck areas have breathable mesh padding for comfort. Reflective threading in the straps provides visibility at night.

What We Like About It
  • Owners report that their dogs can’t slip out of this harness
  • They’re easy to adjust to your dog’s frame
  • Dogs seem to be comfortable wearing this product
  • It’s sturdy with heavy stitching
What We Don't Like
  • It can rub/chafe larger dogs
  • The adjustment clips tend to slip, and you may have to tighten with every use
ComfortFlex Sport Dog Harness for Active Dogs
Our Ratings:
4.6/5
Price Range: $$

Made of nylon and fully padded, this sport harness is made for activity. It has an ergonomic design and reflective woven strapping on the chest band. There are ten sizes and an adjustable chest strap to help you find the right fit for your pooch. This product has a metal ring leash attachment on the quick grab handle on the back. 

What We Like About It
  • It doesn’t restrict movement when your dog is running
  • It doesn’t rub, and dogs seem comfortable
  • It’s easy to put on and adjust
  • It’s sturdy and has double and triple stitching
What We Don't Like
  • The velcro strap in the front can get clogged with hair and not work as well
  • The neck strap is not adjustable
Chai's Choice Best Outdoor Adventure Dog Harness
Our Ratings:
4.4/5
Price Range: $$

This Chai’s Choice harness is made of durable Oxford material and has nylon webbing with reflective stitching on the straps. There’s a reinforced handle on the back and leash attachments on the front and back. The chest and belly parts have soft mesh lining with sponge padding for comfort. It comes in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large. This product has Duraflex buckles with a large loading capacity for durability and strength.

What We Like About It
  • It’s easy to adjust
  • The handle allows for more control over your pooch
  • It’s durable and well-built
  • It’s easy to put on and take off
What We Don't Like
  • The sizes run small
  • Some owners report that the harness broke or fell apart in a few months
Embark Adventure Dog Harness
Our Ratings:
4.4/5
Price Range: $$

The Embark Adventure harness features military-grade nylon and strong metal leash attachments in the front and back. There are four adjustment points for a snug fit. It’s lightweight and has reflective trim for night safety. There’s soft padding around the neck and chest. This product has a handle on back to help you control or assist your pooch. It comes in four sizes from Small to X-Large.

What We Like About It
  • It’s tough and has heavy-duty stitching and D-ring leash attachment
  • It’s easy to adjust
  • The fit appears to be comfortable
  • It’s easy to put on and take off
What We Don't Like
  • Some owners report problems with the straps breaking or tearing after a few uses
  • The adjustment straps can slip and loosen
PetSafe EasySport Dog Harness
Our Ratings:
4.4/5
Price Range: $$

This Sport harness has a back metal D-ring leash attachment to prevent tripping. The neckline has elastic with padding for a snug, comfortable fit with some give. There’s a padded chest piece with an adjustable girth strap and reflective piping. It also has sturdy quick snap buckles for easy on and off. The product includes a top handle for control and assistance. It comes in four sizes from X-Small to Large.

What We Like About It
  • Dogs don’t have to step into the harness
  • It won’t chafe or dig into your dog’s chest
  • It’s a good value
  • The handle is great for control
What We Don't Like
  • The elastic bands tend to stretch and break down over time
  • Dogs can slip out of it

Hands-Free Leashes

SparklyPets Hands-Free Dog Leash
Our Ratings:
4.7/5
Price Range: $$

Made for hands-free or hands-on, this SparklyPets leash is made for medium and large dogs. The waist belt has a durable buckle with two stainless steel clasps to distribute the pulling force. Flexible bungee in the leash provides shock absorption for your pal. An easy-grip handle lets you take control when you need to. The leash is made of weather-resistant nylon and has reflective stripes.

What We Like About It
  • The bungee makes it more comfortable for you and your pooch
  • The handles let you pull your pup closer when you need extra control
  • It provides multiple options for walking/running with your dog
  • The waistband is easy to adjust and has a pocket for keys
What We Don't Like
  • Some owners report that the bungee broke after a few uses
  • The belt is too narrow and can dig into your back if your dog pulls
Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash for Running
Our Ratings:
4.6/5
Price Range: $$

The Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Dog Leash features an easy glide buckle that can slide back and forth on the belt to give your pup more freedom. The bungee leash is 4 feet long and can stretch to 5 feet. There are dual handles for extra control when you need it. This product includes reflective threading for night visibility. The waist belt is adjustable for your comfort and can fit a 26-48” girth. It’s made primarily for medium to large-sized dogs.

What We Like About It
  • Owners say it’s more relaxing to walk or run with their hands-free
  • The double handle lets you control your dog when they’re excited
  • It comes in handy if you have a shoulder injury
  • It’s well made and sturdy
What We Don't Like
  • The back portion of the belt should be wider to distribute pressure better
  • The belt adjustment tends to slip and needs to be tightened frequently

Favorite Gear For Running With Your Dog

Tuff Mutt Poop Bag Holder Attaches to Dog Leash
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

This poop dispenser has velcro wrap attachments that work with any leash or hands-free running belt. It lays flat, so there’s no dangling or bouncing when you’re moving. The pouch has room for a few extras like your key fob, spare cash, or a few treats. There’s a convenient dispenser to remove one bag at a time, and it comes with a roll of eco-friendly poop bags.

RUFFWEAR - Grip Trex
Our Ratings:
4.1/5
Price Range: $$

Ruffwear Grip Trex trail-ready boots come in 7 sizes based on your pup’s foot width. You can buy these in sets of two for four booties. They have a rugged Vibram outsole for protection and traction. The rest of the shoe features a breathable woven mesh to keep dirt out and for ventilation. It has a slip-on opening with a hook and loop closure for a secure fit. These boots also have reflective trim for low-light use.

Zuke's Natural Hip & Joint Dog Treats
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $

Zuke’s Natural Hip and Joint Treats offer a great way to support your running pal’s joints. The formula includes 104 mg of glucosamine and 34 mg chondroitin and is free of fillers. The chewy tidbits have real beef and digestible whole grains. You can break them into smaller pieces for training treats.

SafetyPUP XD - Protect Your Best Friend. Our Hi-Vis Fluorescent, Reflective Dog Vest Provides Crucial Visibility Helping You Safeguard Your Pet from Cars & Hunting Accidents
Our Ratings:
4.7/5
Price Range: $$

The SafteyPUP vest has blaze-orange Oxford-weave fabric and reflective trim for visibility at night or in the woods. There are adjustable straps and dual-sided fabric to prevent chafing and wearing. This vest comes in four sizes.

Nite IZE SpotLit Clip-On LED Light with Carabiner
Our Ratings:
4/5
Price Range: $

This handy clip-on LED light can attach to your pooch’s glow in the dark collar to light your path at night. There are glow and flashing mode settings. It has a stainless steel spring clip, and it’s lightweight and water-resistant. You can select from different beacon colors.

lesotc Pet Water Bottle for Dogs
Our Ratings:
4.5/5
Price Range: $$

This 18 oz water bottle is lightweight and safe for your furbaby to use. It has an invertible cap that works as a water bowl. There’s a screw top and sealed silicone gasket to prevent leakage and protect the contents from contamination. The product has a wrist strap for easy toting.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Comfortable On a Run

Why Use a Running Harness and Not a “Regular” One?

You may imagine you and your pal out on the trail running side by side without a leash. However, in most cases, that’s not safe or practical. There are two important reasons for investing in a quality running harness if you want to bring your pooch with you when you go for a run:
First, it’s rarely safe to let your pup run free. Even the best-behaved pooch can spook or wander off under the right circumstances. That can put your dog or others at risk. Remember that it only takes a few seconds to dash in front of an oncoming car. As Fido’s master and caretaker, it’s your responsibility to keep him under your control at all times.

Second, your standard leash and harness aren’t designed for the constant body motion that’s involved in running. A leash and collar alone could lead to pressure and damage to the neck region, and regular walking harnesses may rub and chafe your pal’s skin. If your pooch feels uncomfortable when running, it won’t be a good experience for either of you. 

What Features Should I Look For in a Dog Running Harness?

When you’re checking out running vests, you want something that suits your pup and your activity(light jogging, cross-country, etc.). With that in mind, here are some features to consider when you look for a running harness:
What Features Should I Look For in a Dog Running Harness
Material – The harness you use for running will need to be sturdy and able to stand up to more wear-and-tear than a standard vest. Look for durable textiles like nylon, double stitching on the seams, heavy-duty buckles and straps, and strong metal leash attachments.
Size Range – Just like you don’t want running shoes that are too tight or too loose, you want the right fit for your pooch. Look for products with size options that are suited to your furbaby. Pay close attention to manufacturer sizing charts and take time to carefully measure your pal’s neck and chest girths. If his measurements fall in between two sizes, get the larger option. Just make sure it’s adjustable.
Adjustable Straps – Neck and chest measurements give you a general harness size, but every dog is different. That’s why you want a harness that’s easy to fine-tune to your pup’s unique size. Look for options that have multiple points where you can adjust the straps for a snug fit.
Comfortable – If your pup isn’t comfortable in his harness, he probably won’t want to go on runs with you, and who can blame him? You wouldn’t want to run in shorts that are too tight or shoes that give you blisters either. Look for a harness that shows minimal sliding or movement when attached to a leash and that has breathable fabric and padding in high-friction zones like the chest and neck.
Secure – Hey, there are exciting things outside, like rabbits and squirrels. That’s why it’s important to have a secure harness that fits well. You don’t want something that Fido can slip out of if he suddenly wants to chase something.
High-Visibility Finish/Reflective Strips – This is a key safety component, especially if you want to run at night or early in the morning. You want drivers and other people to be able to see you and your dog. Many quality harnesses have reflective striping or high-visibility materials sewn into the seams.
Front or Back Leash Attachment – Harnesses come with at least one leash attachment. For walking, a front connection is useful to prevent pulling and to better control your pooch. With running, a back attachment tends to work better. It’s often safer for your pooch and may be less likely to break in some harnesses.
Accessories – Some harnesses have extra bells and whistles, like handles, pockets, or lights. You can select these based on your pooch and your running plans.
Style – There are two main harness styles on the market. The step-in variety slips over your pup’s head and legs. Once on, you use a clasp on top to tighten the leg straps. The other style is a buckle harness. Most of these have the fasteners on the side to connect and adjust as you put the gear on your pooch. This is often the preferred harness type for running.

Leash Length – If the harness offers a leash option, check the length. Generally speaking, you want one that’s fairly short, about 4-6 feet. It’s best to keep your pal close to your side on a run. That way you have control over your pup.

Hands-Free Leash Options for Running

Hands-Free Leash Options for Running
If you like to pump your arms when you run, hands-free leashes could be the way to go.
These nifty creations feature an adjustable strap or belt that you wrap around a part of your body in place of a handle. Depending on the brand, the strap may go around your arm, chest, torso, or waist and leave your hands free.
The dog-end of the leash is more conventional. It has a clip or clasp to attach to the harness or collar and is usually made of standard nylon webbing.

Can All Dogs Run With You?

Can All Dogs Run With You?
Plain and simple, no. While most dogs can run for short distances, some breeds can not tolerate long distances. Dogs with a short snout, like pugs or bulldogs, and toy breeds aren’t built for this kind of exercise. So, if you’re considering adopting a pooch, and you want a cross-country partner, research breed abilities first.

Another factor that affects whether your pup can run with you is his age. Larger breed dogs should not go on runs as puppies. Their bones and joints need time to develop first. Trying to include them in your outings before they’re about 8 months old could affect their growth. Talk to your veterinarian about your pooch before starting an exercise plan.

Safety Tips For Running in the Heat With Your Dog

If you live in a climate where it gets hot for at least part of the year, remember that your furbaby can’t shed his coat. However, there are some things you can do to help keep your pal more comfortable.
  • Take time to warm up and cool down. Starting with some light activity like stretching and walking helps to loosen muscles and protect you and Fido from injury.
  • Don’t run a marathon on the first day. If you haven’t been running regularly with your pooch, start with short outings to build his endurance. Slowly increase your distance over several weeks.
  • Take a shorter course on hot days. The added heat will put additional stress on your and your pooch’s systems. You won’t need to run as far for a good workout.
  • Run early in the morning or after dusk. Schedule your runs to take advantage of the cooler parts of the day.
  • Try interval training on hot days. You can give your pal a break by interspersing your run with short periods of walking.
  • Bring enough water for you and your pup. If possible, try running near a water source like a stream or pond. That way, your dog can cool off in the liquid.
  • If you can, let your canine companion run on a soft surface like grass. If your route has sharp stones or hard surfaces, you may want to invest in running booties.
  • Consider a cooling vest if your pal is prone to overheating.

Safety Tips For Running at Night With Your Dog

Whether you run at night to beat the heat or because there’s less traffic, you need to take appropriate precautions. So, here are some things you can do to boost your safety.
  • Make sure people can see you and your dog. Use a glow in the dark collar, or a harness with reflective materials, and wear clothing that people will see in the dark.
  • Know your route. After dark is not the time to try a new course. Stay with your normal routine. That way you’re less likely to bump into something that’s unexpected.
  • Stay alert. Remember defensive driving? Apply the same practice to your run by paying close attention to your surroundings, particularly at intersections and stop signs. Just because you can see cars, that doesn’t mean they can see you.
  • Run against traffic. This is always a good rule for pedestrians, but it’s even more important after dark. You’ll see oncoming traffic before you can hear it. You may want to don a hat with a wide brim to protect your eyes from oncoming headlights.
  • Turn off the music. Sure, good tunes can help you pass the time, but it’s also a distraction. You want to be able to hear what’s going on around you. Spend the time encouraging your running buddy instead.
  • Keep Fido Close. Use a shorter leash for running as long as it’s not so short that you’re tripping over your pup’s feet. Long or retractable leashes are risky because your dog can get too far ahead and dash into traffic before you’re able to stop him.

Rules of Thumb For Running With Your Dog

Rules of Thumb For Running With Your Dog
  • Start slow and train your dog with shorter runs to build his stamina. You can also take this time to teach him trail etiquette so that he’s a good running partner.
  • Make sure your dog is up for it before you start. Take his breed, age, and condition into account. Not all pooches are made for running, and it’s best to wait for puppy growth plates to close before you start taking out a youngster. Consult with your veterinarian and consider a health check if you have any concerns.
  • Teach your pal basic obedience. Your run will be more enjoyable if your pooch knows how to walk/run nicely on his leash. Take time to break him of the need to mark every bush and tree and to stop and sniff different areas. It’s also helpful for him to know sit, stay, and leave it commands.
  • Take time to warm up. Starting with a light activity like walking or slow jogging helps you and your pal warm up the muscles, and that may prevent injuries. You can also use this time to let your pooch do some sniffing. That will make it easier for him to stick to business during the run.
  • If possible, find a soft surface like grass or a trail that allows dogs for your run. It will be easier on Fido’s joints and paws.
  • Apply tick protection. If you’re trail running, plan to go through woods or grasses, make sure your pup has tick protection. You can wear bug repellent. After your run, immediately check your furbaby for ticks, burrs, or other items and remove them.
  • Use a short leash. Again, a leash about 4-6 feet long helps to keep your pup by your side. You don’t want him running ahead or lagging behind. It can help prevent pulling.
  • Bring plenty of water for you and your pal. Plan regular water breaks during your run. At first, you’ll probably want to stop about every 10 minutes. Once you’ve been running for a while, you can gauge how often your pal needs a drink.
  • Take the day off in extreme heat. Remember, dogs can’t shed their coats, so they’re more vulnerable to overheating. On warmer days, take measures to keep your pooch safe. Try running in the shade and on cooler surfaces like turf or dirt. And if it’s just too hot and humid, take a break.
  • Consider paw protection if you’re running in the winter or on hard/rocky surfaces. There are running booties that you can purchase for your pup to keep his pads safe from irritants and sharp objects. If your pal won’t tolerate that, try waxing his pads or applying petroleum jelly.
  • Plan your route with poop in mind. Chances are, your pup will need a potty break during some of your runs. Rather than carry the poop bag all the way, plot a course that includes public waste cans. It will be more pleasant for you if you only have to tote the bag a few hundred yards or less.
  • Monitor your pooch during and after the run. Don’t ignore signs that he may be overheated or suffering a heat stroke. Watch for lethargy, drooling, heavy panting, dark red gums, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pal wants to stop during the run and resists starting back up, don’t force him. He may be telling you he can’t go any further.
  • Cool down after your outing and don’t give treats too soon. This is particularly important with large-chested dogs that can be prone to twisted stomachs. However, all dogs can experience stomach upset if their system hasn’t had a chance to reset after physical exertion.
  • Have fun! Make the experience positive for you and your pal. You want him to be excited to see the leash come out. Don’t be afraid to give him a day off if he seems stiff or sluggish. We all need rest sometimes.

F.A.Qs

Do you have to readjust the fit every time you put it on? For some harnesses, you may need to readjust the neck portion after sliding it over your dog’s head. Other than that, the buckles should not slip after you adjust them.
Is it crash-tested? Some harnesses may have multiple purposes. If they’re intended for use as a car safety harness, the manufacturer should have crash test results listed for your review.
Will the harness fit a male dog? The harnesses we reviewed have chest/belly parts that are located far enough forward for male dogs. They should not interfere with the sheath.

Breaking the Tape - Our First Place Pick

the winner - dog running harness
After evaluating the above products and comparing their features to our criteria, we chose the ComfortFlex Quick Fit Sport Dog Harness for Active Dogs as our best dog running harness.
It’s made of sturdy nylon material and has reinforced stitching for durability. The chest strap has woven reflective strips. This product comes in ten sizes, so you’ll have an easier time finding a good fit.
The straps are fully padded to prevent chafing. There’s a quick grab handle for added control when needed. It’s easy to slip on and has a side-clip for the girth. The snaps are heavy-duty, and the back leash attachment is a durable metal ring.

The above features make ComfortFlex harness our top pick.

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