To keep our dogs safe and easily identified we put collars and identifying tags on them but what we could be doing is actually putting them in danger. Yearly thousands of dogs lose their lives in preventable collar accidents. Not surprisingly the most common collar accident is strangulation.
Below are the most common areas of danger:
- Fences or Dog Runs: Problems can occur when the dog jumps on the fence to look over it, tries to jumps over the fence or out of the dog run, or digs or crawls under and the collar is caught.
- Play: When dogs play they mouth at each other’s necks. One dog’s lower jaw and teeth can easily get stuck on or slip under the other’s collar. While trying to free themselves, one dog may suffocate while the other can be left with a broken jaw.
- Crates and Xpens: Dangling identification tags can get stuck in the bars or the collar could be caught if the dog tries to jump out of the xpen.
- Running in the Woods: Branches can easily snag the collar and strangle the dog or puncture his neck area.
Heating and Cooling Air Vents: Hanging identification tags can get stuck in air vents causing the dog to struggle and possibly be injured.
So what to do?
Remove any collar when the dog is in the house or backyard.
Never leave training equipment on the dog. Remove training collars (choke, slip, prong, martingales) and head halters when not training.
Research and invest in a “break-away” collar rather than a standard collar.
Avoid dangling identification tags and invest in a tag that slips onto or is riveted to the collar and lies flat or get a collar that has identifying information embroidered onto the collar.
Have your dog microchipped rather than using tags for identification (Note: most states require dogs to be licensed and vaccinated against rabies and proof be provided if questioned. You may not be required to have those tags on the dog but need to be able to produce them or related documentation if questioned).
Don’t tie your dog and leave him unattended but if you have to, use a harness rather than a collar and make sure there are no obstacles in which your dog could get tangled.
Don’t tie your dog while he’s on a raised surface such as a deck, in the back of a pick-up truck or anything the dog can jump from.