Do Spike Collars Hurt Dogs? (Solved & Explained!)

Spike collars are not harmful to the dog wearing the collar; however, they can be detrimental to a dog, wild animal, or person who comes in close contact with the spike collar wearing dog. The spikes on the outside of the collar protrude enough to puncture and poke those that come too close to the dog wearing the collar. 

Where did the idea of spike collars originally come from?

Used initially on herding and farm dogs in Spain, Italy, and Turkey, The Dog Geek explains these collars kept the dogs safe while they, in turn, kept the sheep, cattle, and horses safe while out to pasture. Even the fashion idea came from Greece when shepherds would reward their best defenders with spike collars to show status.

When should I use a spike collar on my dog?

If you plan to be around other dogs, and the environment is unstable or could become out of your control, it would benefit you and your dog to have a spike collar around its neck. Another reason to use a spike collar will be if you live in a rural area where your dog is free to roam and may encounter wildlife. 

Does the size of the dog wearing the collar matter?

As long as the size of the collar fits the dog’s neck so that it does not choke it or allow it to come off, a spike collar is useful for any size dog, for fashion, or for protective uses. One consideration is what size spikes are on the collar, so when the dog rests its head or looks down, the spikes do not poke its chest.

What kind of materials are spike collars made of?

When crafted initially, these were made with leather straps, crude bits of metal or a combination of wood and metal, and the spikes made from whatever metal was available, sharpened to a point, some as long as 3 inches. Today, these same collars are made of softer leather straps, thick enough to protect, and spikes wider than they are long.

Does the thickness of the collar matter?

The thickness of the spike collar determines how much of the dog’s neck is protected from potential bites or attacks. A wide, thick piece of material is harder for teeth to penetrate, whereas a thinner, more narrow piece will leave more of the neck and the dog exposed to the potential harm.

Can a spike collar be used for fashion only and not be a threat to other dogs?

A spike collar will always have the threatening look to thwart off predators, whether intended for fashion or not. The spikes on a dog’s collar serve one main purpose: to provide protection to themselves and those they are trained to guard and putting a collar on purely for fashion will still lead other dogs to be wary of approaching yours.  

How does a spike collar really work?

When the collar is being used for protective reasons, the protruding spikes will poke or dig into the skin and mouth of the aggressor, making the attack dog back off and reconsider its plan. The thick leather material of a spike collar also helps protect the dog’s throat as leather is much thicker and harder to penetrate.

Will it protect my dog from attacks against wild animals?

The most significant benefit of putting your dog in a spike collar is to provide protection from any unwanted encounter by covering the most common point of attack, the neck, from a bite. The attacker will be thwarted by the sharp spikes, causing it to either back off or try for a less-lethal bite, thus protecting the dog from the attack.

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If I have multiple pets at home, should I still use one?

When your dog is at home with its family of other pets or with other family members’ pets, it is essential to take the spike collar off, allowing the animals to safely interact with each other. The only time you would keep the collar on is to protect a very submissive dog when being introduced into a new home. 

Are spike collars safe to use at dog parks?

You should always take off your dog’s spike collar before releasing them into the dog park playing area because they are there to socialize with the other dogs. If they have a protective type collar on, like a spike collar, the other dogs may become injured or avoid playing with your dog altogether.

What is the difference between a spike and a prong collar?

A Spike collar has spikes on the outside of the collar, meant to protect the dog from attacks from animals that may try to bite them at the throat or for decoration. A prong or choke-type collar is typically used for training purposes and will tighten around the dog’s neck, possibly causing physical damage to the dog. 

Are there other types of protective gear I can put on my dog?

In addition to the spike collars for protection, there are spike-loaded vests and accessories to add to a vest or collar that will protect more than just the throat of a dog. The vests will protect the back and underbelly of the dog, whereas the accessories will keep a predator further away, preventing any attack.  

Do vets approve of the use of prong collars?

Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD feels these types of collars are very dangerous for various reasons, including the misuse of them by the dog’s owner. Like her, many vets believe these types of collars are negative training aids, and if used improperly, can very seriously harm the dog.

My dogs are part-time workers and part-time house dogs. Should they have separate collars?

If your dog plays multiple roles within your household, be sure to accommodate their comfort and social abilities by switching collars for the appropriate environment. When your dog is an inside house pet, use a standard collar with no protruding spikes, and when outside working, use a collar that will protect it and whatever it is working with.