How does a harness affect your dog's heat distribution?

Nobody likes complicated research papers. In most cases, not even the people who wrote them. So we'll try to write this blog in plain english! Ready? Let's dive in.

Goal: Using a thermal camera, measure the degree and repartition of heat under the Ascension™ Harness and Dog Pack, before and after a physical effort. Compare the results to other brands and models of harnesses. Prove that a waterproof, crash tested harness does not create more heat retention as any other harness.


Simplified even further, under the same circumstances, will your dog be more or less warm wearing the Ascension harness than other harnesses.

Read the test settings

Equipment used:

  1. Bosch GTC400C 12V Max Connected Thermal Camera
  2. Bosch Thermal Connect (Iphone app)
  3. Säker Ascension™ Harness size medium
  4. Säker Ascension™ Dog Pack size medium
  5. Ruffwear Front Range® Harness size medium
  6. Ruffwear Front Range® Day Pack size lage

Volunteer Dogs:

  • Molly (northern breed mix, double coated dog) 
  • Scotch (hound dog mix, short coat dog)

Steps:

  1. Take a picture and a video of both dogs, relaxed, in the house, not wearing any harnesses with the thermal camera.
  2. Put the Ascension™ Harness on both dogs.
  3. Take a picture and a video of both dogs, relaxed,wearing the Ascension™ Harness in the house,with the thermal camera.
  4. Go out for a 1 km walk with both dogs for the same amount of time in the same temperature.
  5. Indoors, let the dogs cool off for 1 minute.
  6. Take a picture and a video of both dogs wearing the Ascension™ Harness with the thermal camera.
  7. Let the dogs cool off until they reach back their original temperature (as measured in step 1.)
  8. Repeat steps 1 to 7 with the Ruffwear Front Range® 
  9. Repeat steps 1 to 7 with the Ascension™ Dog Pack 
  10. Repeat steps 1 to 7 with the Ruffwear Front Range® Day Pack
To see the exact steps we took, you can read the test settings above. But basically, we first measured the dog temperature at rest inside. That way we were able to keep the environment temperature the same. We had two dogs, one with a long coat and one with a short coat.

Dogs at rest

See temperature at rest without harnesses

Northern breed mix (long coat)

Hound dog mix (short coat)

With no more effort required on the dog part, we wanted to see how wearing a harness would affect the dogs temperature at rest.

Long-haired dog at rest

profile view

front view

Short-haired dog at rest

profile view

front view

Dogs right after a 1 km walk

The dogs were taken on a 1km walk to warm them up. Rigth after coming back from the walk, the dogs' temperature was taken while the harness was on.

Long-haired dog right after a 1 km walk

profile view

front view

Short-haired dog right after a 1 km walk

profile view

front view

Heat print right after a 1 km walk

Taking pictures with the harness on would show us how a harness would affect the temperature of other areas of the dog. But we couldn't to see how the areas covered by the harness were affected. 

So right after the picture with the harness on, we would remove the harness to show the heat print of each harness on the dog.

Heat print of harness on long-haired dog

In this picture, we just took the harnesses off the dogs to see the how hot was the dog under the harness.

profile view

front view

Heat print of harness on short-haired dog

In this picture, we just took the harnesses off the dogs to see the how hot was the dog under the harness.

profile view

front view

Dogs right after a 1 km walk (Dog Pack Edition)

The dogs were taken on a 1km walk with dog packs. Rigth after coming back from the walk, the dogs' temperature was taken while the dog pack was on.

Long-haired dog right after a 1 km walk

profile view

top view

front view

Short-haired dog right after a 1 km walk

profile view

top view

front view

Heat print right after a 1 km walk (Dog Pack Edition)

Taking pictures with the dog packs on would show us how a pack would affect the temperature of other areas of the dog. But we couldn't to see how the areas covered by the dog pack were affected. 

So right after the picture with the dog pack on, we would remove it to show the heat print of each dog pack on the dog.

Heat print of dog pack on long-haired dog

In this picture, we just took the dog packs off the dogs to see the how hot was the dog under the dog pack.

profile view

top view

front view

Heat print of dog pack on short-haired dog

In this picture, we just took the dog packs off the dogs to see the how hot was the dog under the dog pack.

profile view

top view

front view

Conclusion

Based on the tests with the Säker Ascension™ Harness and the Ruffwear Front Range® Harness, it seems that the Ascension is better at keeping your dog cool. Especially when looking at the profile view after the 1km walk.

However, when you check the Dog Pack Edition, the results are different. From the profile and top view, we can see that the Säker Ascension™ Dog Pack isn't as good as the Ruffwear Front Range® Day Pack to disperse heat. 

One of the probable reason for that is that the sun wasn't hitting directly on the dog's skin when wearing the Front Range Day Pack.
Another possible reason for that is the color of each harness used in the test. The Ascension was black while the Ruffwear was red.

The goal of those tests was to determine whether the Säker Ascension™ Harness and the Säker Ascension™ Dog Pack would lead your dog to overheat due to the waterproof material. 

These showed not only that this is not the case, but that in some configurations, the Säker Ascension™ Harness is better at keeping your dog cool than the Ruffwear Front Range® Harness (widely recognized as one of the best harnesses).

Move the slider to compare both harnesses