Should You Take A Dog’s Collar Off At Night? (Solved!)

It’s ok to take your dog’s collar off at night if your house and yard are absolutely secure. It is crucial that your dog cannot leave your home or yard, because without a collar (which contains his identification), his chances of being reunited with you are not good.

This article looks at the issue of removing your dog’s collar overnight for some collar free time and identifies the risks for you dog if he happens to venture out (accidently) without his collar.

What Happens If My Dog Gets Out Without His Collar?

Unfortunately, dogs who venture out without visual identification are less likely to be reunited with their owners than those with it.

And yes, your dog may be microchipped, but his return depends on him ending up at a service that has microchip reader technology.

Dog without collars tend to be viewed as “strays”. Most people will keep their distance and alert animal control services if they see stray dogs.

According to The American Humane Association, around 10 million dogs (and cats) become lost to their owners in the US each year, and only around 15% of these animals without ID make it back to their owners.

Therefore, if there’s any possibility of your dog leaving your home without your knowledge, train them to wear a collar all night.

Is It Safe For My Dog To Wear A Collar All Night?

Your dog can safely wear a collar all night long providing the collar is made of the correct materials and is fitted properly and checked regularly.

Monitor your dog’s collar for the following issues:

  • Large jangly clips and hanging items that are irritating, noisy, and unsafe, especially at night
  • Your dog won’t be able to sleep in a collar that is too tight
  • Check for skin irritations or matted fur under the collar
  • Keep the collar clean and damage free – check for crooked or broken buckles

Some dogs just don’t like a collar, and this is fine. If they’re home with you and the premises is secure, allow them that collar free time.

The important thing is that your dog knows he must wear it again in the morning.

Why Doesn’t My Dog Doesn’t Like Wearing A Collar At All?

It’s normal for some dogs to find wearing a collar uncomfortable and stressful. Reasons for this range from previous “collar” trauma to badly fitting collars:

  • Trauma associated with collars can include being pulled or jerked abruptly and/or aggressively or forced to go somewhere they don’t want to go
  • Dogs can associate collars with places or events that upset them, such as vets, or animal hospitals, especially if they are left alone without you
  • A dog may have previous experience with shock or prong collars and now associates pain and fear with all collars
  • Badly fitting collars can cause acute discomfort and pain, which usually only gets worse the longer the collar is left. It is not surprising that a dog will resist wearing a collar under these circumstances.
  • Worn or damaged collars can irritate skin, which may be further aggravated by a build up of fur under the collar. Small periods of collar free time will give your dog’s skin a welcome “breather”.

What Can I Do If My Dog Won’t Wear A Collar?

It’s possible to help your dog become accustomed to their collar by introducing them to one in gradual stages and to approach the task gently and with patience.

  • Make sure the collar is a comfortable fit.
  • Every time you fasten the collar around your dog’s neck, reward them with praise and a treat.
  • Leave the collar on for short periods of time to begin with.
  • Always do something your dog loves while the collar is on. Your dog will gradually begin to associate the collar with doing something pleasant – a game with a favourite toy or a walk to the park, for example.
  • If you do remove the collar at night, make replacing the collar a firm part of your morning routine.
  • Avoid grabbing your dog by the collar or using the collar to force your dog to anything that upsets them. Eventually they will associate the collar with anything unpleasant.

What Kind Of Collar Is Best For My Dog?

The best collar for your dog is one they can wear safely and comfortably all the time and in any place. When choosing a collar for your pet, keep the following in mind:

  • The collar should be made from vinyl or polyester. These materials are the most durable and washable. Leather is ok, but is harder to clean
  • The collar should be wide, flexible, and lightweight. Heavy collars are uncomfortable, and narrow ones can cut into your dog’s neck
  • Collars should not be worn or frayed
  • Collars should not be too loose: a loose collar can slip off or become entangled or caught on objects, which could injure your dog
  • A collar that is too tight is uncomfortable and can become painful. You must check collars regularly for correct “fit”, especially if your dog is still growing. You should be able to get two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck

How Can I Make Sure My Dog Is Secure At Night?

If you want to allow your dog to sleep without his collar, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure she’s absolutely secure within your home.

If your dog sleeps inside:

  • Make sure all doors are secured shut (dogs are very intelligent and it’s not unknown for large dogs to learn to open doors)
  • Make sure you secure any doggy doors
  • Always do one last check before going to bed.

If your dog sleeps outside:

  • Remove any climbing aids from around the perimeter of the fence
  • Secure all gate latches
  • Place wire along the bottom of fences to deter diggers
  • Landscape your garden so that your dog’s view of the road is blocked. This deters dogs that like to “patrol”.