Should My Dogs Collar Be Tight? (Solved & Explained!)

You want a dog’s collar to fit snugly, but not tight. Ideally, it should sit flat against the neck, lightly atop your dog’s coat. To test to see if it is too tight, you can take your middle and index fingers and press them together, followed by attempting to push them in-between your dog’s collar and neck.

If you are able to do this easily, then hook your fingers and gently pull the collar up. You want to make sure that it is not easily ‘slipped’. If the collar cannot be pulled off of your dog’s head by the gentle tugging, then the fit is just about perfect.

Collars are basically how your dog carries their ‘identification’, but care must be taken to ensure that they are not put on too tightly, otherwise they can be too restrictive and can even cause nerve damage over time. Provided that you test the fit regularly while your dog is growing, the collar will be perfectly safe to use.

In today’s article, we’ll address common collar questions, such as whether or not your dog should sleep with one, how to tell if they are fitted perfectly, and what damage they can do if you aren’t careful. Let’s take a look at common collar concerns and questions trending on the web this week!

What happens if a dog’s collar is too tight?

When a collar is too tight, it can start abrading at the skin and can also cause hair loss in relatively short time. If it is much too tight, however, it can damage nerve roots in your dog’s neck, which in turn can damage their legs!

You want to be careful to ensure that you can always fit two fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck easily. You want the collar to be snug, but if your fingers don’t fit in between then the collar is definitely too tight!

How do you know if your collar is too tight?

To test your collar properly, press together your index finger and your middle finger, and simply push these two fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. You should be able to get your fingers in between them with very little effort, though not easily enough that you can tug the collar right off of their head.

If the collar is loose but comes off, then you need to tighten it and test again, but if you have problems putting your fingers in between the collar and your dog’s throat then it definitely needs to be loosened.

How many fingers should fit in a puppy collar?

The ‘two-finger’ test of pressing together your middle and index fingers together and pushing them beneath the collar works just as well for puppies as it does for adult dogs. Provided that you can push your fingers in between the throat and the collar with very little effort, the collar should be perfectly snug.

If it’s a bit difficult to do, then you need to loosen up the collar a bit so that it is snug but not loose enough to be pulled up and off of your puppy’s head.

How should a collar that is fitted well sit?

The collar should fit snugly against the coat, while still allowing your to push 2 fingers in between the collar and your dog’s throat. The goal is to get it just tight enough that it cannot be pulled off, but not so tight that it is restrictive of your dog’s airway nor to abrasive against the skin.

If it’s your first time to collar a dog, just relax and set it to the notch that you believe is proper, and then push your fingers through the collar. If it’s easy to do, but you cannot pull the collar off of your dog’s head, then it’s just about perfectly fit.

Can a dog’s throat be damaged by a collar?

Yes, if a collar is too tight, then it can be restrictive of airflow and if it’s too tight, it can even damage nerves that will affect your dog’s legs. Aside from standard wear, you want to avoid pulling your dog around by the collar whenever possible, and when walking them you should use a harness.

This will take the pressure off of your dog’s neck and relocate it to the front of their chest or distribute the pull across their back. That way the collar is just for tags and there is no risk of hurting your dog’s neck.

Can dogs wear a collar all day?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine for your dog to wear their collar all day, and it’s also a good idea. During the day, your dog is most active, and there is always a chance that a playful dog might decide that they want to play chase… outside.

If that happens, you want them to have their tags, so that it is easy for someone to contact you if your dog gets lost. So, leave the collar on during the day – it’s always best to err on the safe side.

Should puppy sleep with collar on?

When your dog is a puppy, they tend to worry their collars, often trying to insert a paw inside and occasionally getting themselves stuck! If your puppy doesn’t have this tendency, it is okay to let them sleep with the collar, but if they still pick at it then you should consider removing it at night.

When they are first getting used to collars, it is best not to leave a dog unsupervised. The collar can become easily caught on something, even just a probing paw, so to play it safe simply stick to this rule – remove the collar when you aren’t awake and present to supervise!

What collar is best for a puppy?

With puppies, a lightweight collar made out of nylon is your best choice. It is not too heavy for them (as a leather collar with metal buckles might be), but it is still quite durable and inexpensive to obtain. If your pup is 6 months or younger, however, then go with a whelping collar or a satin-strip style collar.

Both of these options are soft and won’t harm a young pup, provided that you put the collar on so that it is snug, but not overly tight.

Should an adult dog sleep with collar on?

You can take your adult dog’s collar off at night and give their skin a little time-off from it, if you like.

Removing your dog’s collar is good for the skin and the fur at their neck and when the morning comes, you can enjoy the ritual of your dog running up and sticking their nose against the collar trying to help you put it back on for a walk!

Are harnesses better than collars?

Harnesses should be used in conjunction with collars. They provide a way to walk your dog safely, without putting any stress or strain on your dog’s neck. That said, they can strain the shoulders if you leave them on too long, so only put on the harness for walks and take it off immediately after you return home.

While we have a mental image of dog’s being walked with leashes at their collar, it’s a very outdated way to do things now that we have the safer option of the harness. Just think of the collar as a way that your dog carries around their ‘identification’, rather than a walking tool, and you’ve got the right idea!