How Do I Choose a Dog Collar? (Solved & Explained!)

Dog collars have a variety of uses, ranging from fashion, protection, restraint to medical reasons. The task of choosing and buying the right collar for your dog can be a daunting ordeal, given the plethora of brands and styles available. 

So how exactly do you go about choosing the right collar? There are quite a few things you should keep in mind. These include deciding upon the right material, type as well as the correct size that fits your dog perfectly. You should also pick a reliable brand.

Does the collar material matter? 

Picking the right material for the collar is important. Common materials include polyester, leather, nylon, fabric and silicone. Go for a material that is durable and comfortable for your dog to wear. Additionally, the collar material shouldn’t impact your dog’s well-being in any way. If your dog has any allergies to a particular material, hunt out alternate choices or consult a veterinarian to get an expert opinion.

What type should you choose? 

Besides the material, choosing the right type is also essential. There are a number of types out there. These include the Martingale collar, flat buckle collar, center ring collar and smart collars. Each type is intended for a specific purpose. 

For example, the Martingale collar suits dogs that usually back out of their collars. The flat buckle collar is a very common type, intended for dogs that behave well on a leash. Smart collars track your dog’s location using GPS, so you always know where your dog is.

Why is the correct size important? 

Now that you’ve figured out the right material and type, it’s time to pick out the correct collar size for your dog. An ill-fitting collar can prove to be dangerous and can have lasting effects on your dog’s health. 

If the collar is too tight, it can put pressure on the neck, leading to pain and skin inflammation. If it’s too loose, it can slip off the neck quite easily or get caught on some object. This can potentially cause choking. Moreover, if the collar has contact information and slips off, it could become difficult to find the owner in case the dog gets lost.

How to measure your dog’s neck 

Here are a few steps to correctly measure your dog’s neck:

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  • Drape a measuring tape around the dog’s neck and tighten it until it fits snugly. 
  • Note the length at the point where the two sides of the tape cross each other.
  • Add an extra 3-7 cm to ensure your dog is comfortable in the new collar.
  • Use a reference chart to pick the correct collar size based on your measurement. Common sizes range from small to giant/x-large.

Customized dog collars 

Customized dog collars are becoming increasingly popular these days. These customizations include engraving your dog’s name on the collar or printing contact information on it. The latter is good practice, ensuring the dog’s owner is identified and contacted in case it gets lost. Smart collars can also be used for this purpose. Other customized collars types are reflective, waterproof, embroidered and designer ones.

Good and bad collars 

There are certain types of collars that are ranked highly with regard to safety and comfort. Safety collars prevent choking or hanging by releasing the clasp. Similarly, the Martingale collar mentioned earlier also prevents accidental choking but gives more control over adjusting the tightness.

On the other hand, some collars are quite harmful to dogs. Some of these are choke chains, Citronella spray collars and prong collars. These collars force dogs to comply by using corrective measures.

How to clean a collar 

Having a clean collar is key to maintaining good hygiene and ensuring your dog’s well-being. A dirty, smelly collar can cause sores and bacterial infections among other problems. Having an easily washable and odor-resistant collar also helps. Here’s how to wash a collar:

  • Soak the collar in warm water for around 30 minutes and add soap or washing detergent.
  • Scrub the collar using an old toothbrush.
  • Rinse it once and leave it to dry outdoors.

Signs you need to get a new collar 

Replacing your dog’s old collar with a new one every once in a while is a good idea. While there is no specific period after which you should replace it, there are a few tell-tale signs you must watch out for. 

If the collar is slipping off constantly, or conversely, has become too tight, then it isn’t the correct size for your dog anymore. Another sign is a persistent smell that won’t go away no matter how hard you try.

Should you take the collar off at night? 

Whether you should or should not take off your dog’s collar at night is an oft-debated topic. While there may be risks associated with both of these approaches, it all boils down to how your dog reacts to the situation. If your dog has become too accustomed to the collar, it may be better to leave it on. 

Taking the collar off at night does have some advantages. It allows your dog to have a more peaceful sleep and prevents chafing.

When should a harness be used? 

Harnesses are a special type of alternative to collars and are designed to support the body of your dog. Harnesses are designed to reduce pulling. These are quite effective for dogs that pull too hard and inflict damage on their neck as a result. Harnesses are also a good choice for smaller dogs and for dogs recovering from injuries as they provide greater support than collars. 

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Using a harness together with a collar is a good idea as harnesses don’t usually have space for ID information as opposed to collars.

What are some good collar brands? 

Picking a dog collar brand can be a tall order as there is no dearth of them in the market. Especially since many brands out there offer really good collars. These are some of the best ones: PetSafe, Perri’s, Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies and Seresto. If you’re getting ready to buy one, head over to Amazon which has a wide collection of collars from these brands.