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How to tighten a dog collar

07/07/22 4:34 PM

Getting the fit right on your dog’s collar is important for their comfort, health, and safety. Here’s what you need to know about how to tighten a dog collar by type, how tight a dog collar should be, and signs your dog’s collar is too tight.

How to tighten a dog collar

How to Tighten a Dog Collar by Dog Collar Type

How to tighten your dog’s collar depends on what type of collar they wear.

Belt buckle-style dog collars

Belt buckle-style dog collars are tightened just like a belt, by moving up a notch (or more, if needed) to make the circumference smaller. Flat buckle collars with a snap buckle are designed with a metal or plastic piece that allows you to pull a section of the collar through to tighten it.

Martingale collars

Martingale collars are tightened in a similar way, by pulling a section of collar on the bigger loop through the metal or plastic piece to make it smaller. When martingale collars are properly tightened, the two metal rectangles where the big loop connects with the small loop should be a couple inches apart from each other at rest.

Slip collars

Slip collars, also called slip chains or choke collars, are made tighter or looser depending on how tight or slack the attached leash is, so they don’t need any adjustment before being put on your dog.

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

A dog’s collar should be tight enough that they can’t slip out of it but loose enough that it doesn’t hurt or cause discomfort. It should fit snugly enough that it’s comfortable to wear for a long time and doesn’t pose a risk of getting caught on things.

A good rule of thumb is to tighten your dog’s collar so that you can slip one finger in between their collar and their neck if they’re a small breed, two fingers if a medium-size breed, and three fingers if a large breed.

Make sure the collar is in the correct place, too. While slip collars should be placed up high on the neck right below the ears, other collars (like buckle collars and martingale collars) should be worn lower on your dog’s neck, closer to the shoulders.

Signs a Dog Collar is on Too Tight

A dog collar that’s on too tight can be uncomfortable for your dog and can cause health problems. Some signs your dog’s collar is too tight include:

-Loss of fur on the neck

-Raw, red, or irritated skin


-Difficulty breathing

If you notice these signs, try making your dog’s collar a little looser to see if it helps. Just make sure it’s not so loose they can slip out. If the problem persists, consider switching to a dog harness instead.

Choose from Hundreds of Dog Collars at Hot Dog Collars

We have over 800 styles ofdog collars at Hot Dog Collars, including flat buckle collars, slip collars, martingale collars, leather dog collars, light up dog collars, personalized dog collars, and much more! And if you’re looking for an alternative or addition to a dog collar, check out our selection of over 900 styles ofdog harnesses in all kinds of colors and patterns. You’re sure to find the perfect one for your pet.