How Tight should Dog Collar be: Easy way to check it yourself

The dog is man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean that the dog will understand all that the man tells him. You will have to train your dog for him to listen to you and do as per your direct him to. Dogs are easily distracted by their surroundings, and your pet might get out of control and try to jump on strangers in case he gets angry with them.

It gets essential for you to control your dog using a collar. It would help if you pulled him using a leash while taking him for a walk to direct him to walk on the right path. Large dogs are difficult to control, and you would have to pull them with you in case they are reluctant to go home from the park. But have you ever thought the collar around your dog’s neck might hurt him?

Tight collars can be quite painful to dogs and being a good owner; you would want your dog to feel comfortable. While it’s okay to wrap the collar around your dog’s neck all through the day, you should buy him a necklace that properly fits him and makes him feel comfortable.

Why does a dog need a collar?

You must have realized why your dog’s collar should properly fit his neck. But is it vital for your dog to wear a collar?

Taking a dog out of the home without a collar is illegal in many countries. Attaching a leash to the collar additionally helps you to control the dog. Many owners also attach their address and phone number with a collar so that people report it to them in case their dogs go missing.

How Tight should Dog Collar be

The collar becomes a type of ID for your dog. Having a leash around his neck would further keep him in control and help you withdraw him from sniffing on filthy things.

Problems with a loose dog’s collar

You might think that a loose collar is better than a tight one as it gives the dog proper space to move and doesn’t hurt him. But a loose collar comes with its own set of problems as listed below:

  • A loose collar slips a lot and doesn’t ensure proper control. Pulling your dog from a loose collar would result in unnecessary pressure on his neck. You would also have to apply more force to pull, and it becomes challenging if your dog is large.
  • Your dog may slip out of the loose collar and run away in the woods or the road. He may latch on to strangers in the park if he’s aggressive landing you in significant trouble.
  • The loose collar can get your dog stuck in branches, furniture, fence etc. It can choke his neck as he desperately tries to get out.
  • Your pet may lose his fur on one side of the neck if the collar doesn’t fit properly and you pull him with a leash. It can also cause itchiness and redness in the skin leading to irritation.

Looking at the problems coming with a loose collar, you might think that a tight collar would be better. But that’s not the case as it can have further complications.

Problems with a tight collar

  • If your dog is still young and in its growing stage, a tight collar would choke him up as his neck grows. It can restrict your dog’s airway and cause him breathing problems.
  • It can lead to obstruction in blood flow to the brain. Your dog might faint or suffer from unnecessary exertion due to the constant choking.
  • It would rub hard on his neck. Synthetic collars can lead to redness and loss in fur if they are tight. They can further lead to accumulation of sweat and bacterial infections.

How to make sure your dog’s collar fits properly?

  • Measure your Dog’s Neck –

If you are looking to buy a new collar for your dog, you must take the proper measurement of your dog’s neck. Dogs of even the same breed and may not have the same size as the neck. Please take out a measurement tape and wrap it around your dog’s neck.

How to make sure your dog's collar fits properly

Place one or two fingers under the measuring tape to ensure that the collar gives him enough breathing space. To ensure proper measurement, measure the size from different parts of his neck. The lower portion will get the most accurate results.

  • Choose adequate width and material –

The width of the collar you choose for your dog depends on his breed and how you handle him. You should buy a wide and thick colour for a large dog whom you have to pull on a leash while taking on a walk.

Smaller dogs need a thin collar as a thick collar would rub hard on their necks. You should buy an extremely thin collar if you have a Chihuahua or Dachshund. Pugs and Bulldogs would do better with collars of medium thickness. It all depends on how comfortable it looks. Just test them on the dog and judge appropriately before buying.

You may choose polyester or nylon collar if you need a thinner one. The leather collars are thicker but more expensive, so invest only if you have a huge dog like a German Shepherd.

  • Do the Two Finger Test –

After selecting the right collar, do this final test before buying it. You can also do this test on your current dog collar to know it’s comfortable for your dog. Secure the collar around his neck and try to slide two fingers under the collar. If the fingers slide in properly without rubbing on his skin, the collar has a comfortable snug fit.

You should also check if your dog can easily slide the collar off his head. Pull the collar over his head and check. Dogs with triangular heads like Greyhound remove the collar from their head and run away. If the collar slides past the ears, you should look for a different collar.

Ways by which a collar can harm your dog:

  • Strangulation

Tying your dog with a fence might lead to strangulation and even the death of your dog. There have been cases when the dog tries to jump out of the fence but ends up hanging freely on the leash. This is more about how you use the collar as even a well-fitted collar can cause such accidents. He can also get stuck in crates and choke himself so, you must take precautions while tying your dog.

  • Neck injuries

Many owners powerfully pull their dog’s leash when the dog tries to run away outdoors. Frequent pulling can cause serious neck damage. The neck is a susceptible area, and you must refrain from applying too much pressure on it. It can also lead to long term injuries like damage to salivary glands or thyroid glands.

Ways by which a collar can harm your dog

A harness is a safer option if you need to pull your dog frequently. A chest harness equally distributes the pressure and protects the neck from damage.

  • Skin issues

Even a moderately tight collar can irritate the skin. The skin becomes prone to infection and can also lead to hair loss in the area. If you are still using a puppy collar on your grown-up dog, it may also cut into the skin and cause bleeding. Regularly use the two-finger test to ensure your dog’s collar is comfortable. Let your dog sleep without the collar at night to give the skin some breathing space.