Tracheal Collapse: How Dog Harnesses Prevent Further Injury

Tracheal Collapse: How Dog Harnesses Prevent Further Injury

Welcoming a new doggo fur baby to your loving home? Already a dog fur baby parent? There are things you should know about tracheal collapses and how the walking accessories you pick can have positive or negative results.

Tracheal collapses are unfortunately a common occurrence and cause of airflow obstructions with dogs. Tracheas, also known as windpipes, is a “cartilaginous tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs, allowing the passage of air, and so is present in almost all air-breathing animals with lungs.” [Source

Certain breeds are prone to tracheal collapse, especially of the toy breed variety. According to WebMD Pets, it can be associated with “a congenital abnormality, in which the cartilage of the tracheal rings is less cellular and therefore weaker than normal”.

However, on the subject of dogs and tracheal collapses, there’s developing awareness of how pressure around the neck of dogs can lead to such damage. Collars, especially choke collars, are walking and training tools that can lead to tracheal collapse because of the repetitive pressure applied to the neck.

“Repeated corrections done ‘correctly’ to the soft tissue of the dog's neck can cause tracheal damage. This damage can be mild causing a mild cough or severe including tracheal collapse and suffocation. A dog died in a Petco dog training class from a choke collar. The cause of death was ‘postobstructive pulmonary edema (POPE) as a result of a 'choke' or 'restraint.’" (Source: Kindred Companions)

This is why choke free harnesses, such as the Pug Life Harness, are recommended as alternatives to collars. Harnesses secure around the chest rather than around the neck which makes them an ideal option when considering long-term health of dogs. 


Carol - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Size/Color: N/A - Purple

“Getting a harness snapped on a pom is hard with all the hair, this is easy. More important however is that Pom's are prone to a collapsed trachea. This takes all pressure off the neck, but I still have full control without the pulling.”

If my dog already has tracheal damage, is it too late to switch to a harness?

It’s not too late! Not all dog parents get an early start with harnesses. Depending on the severity of damage, which can be fatal at times, other dog parents who’ve used collars discover problems with their dogs’ tracheas and then they make the switch to harnesses so no further injury occurs.

Darlene P. - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Size/Color: S - Green

“My dog has some problems with his trachea so having the strap lower on his chest is exactly what I wanted and so very easy to put on and take off.  So glad I found your site.”

Whatever phase in dog parenting you are in, it’s not too late to consider switching from collars to harnesses. If you’re on the fence, we hope this breakdown of information helps you in your decision making. Our hope is to raise awareness of the negative impacts that can result in tracheal collapse and damage so that dog harnesses aren’t sought out as a last resort. 

Want more? Feel free to follow us on Instagram at @puglifeharness and take a look at more furbaby photos! New to Pug Life Harness and need some help picking the right size for your doggo? We have a detailed informational blog post that you can check out: Click Here To View

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