Be aware of potential dog collar accidents and how you can keep your pup safe with a few preventative measures and supervision.
It’s every dog’s must-have accessory. And yet, tragically the collar can be deadly in certain situations, even when your dog is under your supervision. Collar and leash accidents can cause strangulation when caught on fences, branches, gates, vents, even the wires inside of a crate or carrier. They can also occur when dogs are playing together or when leashes or tie-outs are used unsafely. Fortunately, with a few preventative measures and supervision, you can keep your pup safe and his tail wagging.
For expert advice on collar safety, the Woof Report turned to Melanie Monteiro’s trusty Safe Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out. Here are Melanie’s expert tips to keep your dog safe.
Tips for Preventing Dog Collar Accidents
- Remove collars whenever possible while dogs are playing together (do not do this in any area that’s not safely enclosed and free from road traffic).
- Avoid traditional belt buckle style collars, which are difficult to remove quickly in an emergency. Use a quick release snap buckle collar or “breakaway” collar designed to snap free if snagged or caught on an object. One such collar is thePetsafe KeepSafe Break-Away Collar .
- Avoid chain collars or prong collars. If you must use one to walk your dog, remove it whenever she is off leash.
- Avoid dangling ID tags whenever possible. Look for collars that let you hand write, embroider or engrave your contact information directly on the collar, or one with a riveted nameplate that attaches to the collars flat surface. If there are tags the dog must wear, attaching them to the breakaway collar offers protection against dangerous snags.
- Never tie your dog up on a raised surface or in the back of an open vehicle. If you must tie her up somewhere on ground level, be sure it’s free of obstacles and cannot be “circled around” to avoid entanglement.
- Check your dog’s collar regularly to ensure proper fit: You should be able to slip just two or three fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. If a collar is too loose, the dog’s jaw or leg can become stuck in it. If it’s too tight, it can restrict breathing or cause damage to the trachea, especially in puppies and toy breeds.
Many thanks to Melanie Monteiro, author of Safe Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out, for the tip. Find the book on amazon.
Originally published September 2009; reviewed and updated September 2016.