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How loose should a dog collar be?

08/17/22 1:52 PM

Is your dog’s collar too tight? Too loose? Both can be dangerous to your dog’s health and safety, so it’s important to make sure your dog’s collar fits correctly. Here’s how loose your dog’s collar should be.

Check a Dog Collar’s Fit with One, Two, or Three Fingers

Slip your finger(s) under your dog’s collar to check the fit. You should easily be able to slip one finger under the collar if your dog is small, two fingers if they’re a medium breed, and three fingers if very large.

If you can barely get your finger(s) in between your dog and their collar, it’s too tight and needs to be loosened a notch. If you can fit more than the right number of fingers, it’s too loose and needs to be tightened.

Keep in mind that flat buckle dog collars should be positioned lower on the neck while slip collars and prong collars should be positioned high up on the neck under the ears and away from the trachea.

The Dangers of a Dog Collar That’s Too Loose or Too Tight

If your dog’s collar is too loose, it’s more likely to get caught on furniture, a door handle, fencing, or something around the house or yard. Unfortunately, many dogs have died when their collar caught on something and ended up strangling them. Ensuring your dog’s collar fits correctly, removing their collar when they’re sleeping at night or otherwise unsupervised, or using a breakaway collar are ways to prevent this from happening to your dog.

Also, a dog collar that’s very loose is a danger because your dog may be able to slip out of it and run off. If you have a slim-headed breed, like a greyhound or whippet, this is a real possibility. Using a martingale collar rather than a standard flat collar will help.

Finally, a loose collar can cause irritation to the neck and skin because of all the constant movement and friction.

The Dangers of a Dog Collar That’s Too Tight

A dog collar that’s too tight can be uncomfortable for your dog and cause chafing of the skin, which can lead to infection if the skin is rubbed raw, and loss of fur.

More seriously, a dog collar that’s very tight and positioned improperly can cause damage to the trachea, lead to strained neck muscles (as the dog tries to move their head to relieve the pressure from the collar), and even cut off airflow, causing difficulty breathing. This can happen without you realizing it if you have a fast-growing puppy; one week the collar fits fine, and the next week it’s way too tight. Be sure to check the fit of your puppy’s collar regularly during those early months as they grow quickly.

Choose from a Huge Selection of High-Quality Dog Collars at Hot Dog Collars

At Hot Dog Collars, we have over 800 styles of dog collars, including slip collars/slip leashes, martingale collars, flat buckle collars, and more, and over 180 styles can be personalized with your dog’s info. We also have hundreds of styles of dog harnesses, leashes, tags, accessories, and more. Check out our huge selection!