By Coastal Pet Products Staff
We put collars on our dogs to keep them safe. They hold valuable contact information should a dog go astray, giving anyone who finds them an easy way to reach us. However, collars can be dangerous. Every year, some 26,000 dogs are injured or killed in a collar-related accident, according to research conducted by PetSafe®.
Collars can get caught on fences and gates, furniture, dog crates, loose branches and roots, and even while playing with another dog. If someone is not there to free them immediately, they risk serious injury to their necks. And, in the worst cases, death by strangulation.
Does that mean your clients should toss their traditional buckle collar out? Of course not. A buckle collar is perfectly safe while a dog is out and about and under supervision. That way if the collar does get caught, they can take action right away.
To ensure every client’s dog is safe wearing a collar, Coastal Pet Products has compiled this list of dog collar safety tips.
Choose the Right Size
One of the top causes of neck injuries in dogs is wrongly sized collars. Both collars that are too tight and too loose present a danger. Collars that are too tight can lead to skin irritation, inflammation, and infection. This is common in puppies when owners forget to resize their collars as they grow. In the worst cases, the collar can cut deep into the dog’s neck.
Collars that are too loose present an entirely different danger. For instance, a dog wearing a too-loose collar might get a paw stuck in it while scratching. If the dog pulls hard enough to try and get free, the leg can break. Dogs that get their teeth or tongue stuck in a too-loose collar often end up with mouth injuries.
When sizing their dog’s collar, tell your clients that they must be able to fit two fingers—and only two fingers—between their dog’s neck and the collar. Have your clients do a size check when their dog is standing and sitting to ensure it does not tighten up when he lies down.
Remove the Collar at Home
The vast majority of dog collar-related accidents happen while a dog is unsupervised. To ensure clients’ dogs are safe at home, tell them to take the collar off if they are not going to be around and at night when sleeping. If their dog will be crated for any length of time, they will need to take the collar off entirely.
This is particularly important in homes with more than one dog that enjoy playing together. Many tragic accidents happen when one dog’s teeth or ID tags get entangled with the other dog’s collar. Their natural reaction is to jerk, twist, and try to pull away, but this is what leads to strangulation.
Pay Attention at the Dog Park
Dog collar accidents most commonly occur when a dog is playing with another canine, such as at the dog park. A dog’s tooth or tongue gets caught in the other’s collar during a sniff and greet. Or the dangling I.D. tag on one collar gets stuck in the other’s while wrestling. Because they cannot reason out how to fix their problem, they panic, twisting and pulling to try to break free. Unfortunately, one dog will be on the choking end of that struggle. It only takes about 3 minutes for a dog to choke to death by collar strangulation.
Remind your clients to always keep an eye on their dog so that they can intervene quickly should something happen. (Let them know that they might need to cut the collar to get it off. Carrying a small pair of scissors or Swiss Army knife is a good idea.)
Avoid Dangling Name Tags
We appreciate a bone-shaped I.D. tag as much as the next dog lover. However, dangling tags are a common cause of collar-related accidents. They can get stuck in other dogs’ collars, as well as in crate wires, fences, and on tree branches and roots. The resulting struggle to break free can cause neck lacerations and, in the worst case, strangulation. Personalized collars are a great option if you want your dog to go tag-less.
Get Dogs Microchipped
Although collars can be a fashion statement, their primary use is to carry I.D. tags in case a dog runs away or is lost. It is why many owners are hesitant to leave their dogs without a collar, even at home. Dogs can be masters of escape. One quick slip past their legs when heading out to get the mail is all it takes. Getting dogs microchipped allows owners to keep the collar off, but still know their dog can be identified if he gets away.
Note: All images are courtesy of Coastal Pet Products
Top: Life is Good Styles Adjustable Dog Collar
Middle: Morris Animal Foundation Styles Adjustable Dog Collar
Bottom: Circle T Double-Ply Fashion Leather Collar