Is It Safe for Dogs to Wear Collars or Not

is it safe for dogs to wear collars

It’s the norm to see a dog wearing a collar, whether walking on the street with their owner or at the dog park. A dog needs a collar to attach a leash, a form of ID tag or embroidered name and phone number.

Most of the time it’s safe for dogs to wear collars, although there are some instances when it could become dangerous. Let’s explore dog collars further below.

Possible problems caused by wearing a dog collar

If a dog is wearing their collar all the time, meaning even inside the home, with tags attached to it, these could get caught on something.

One of our dogs, years ago, loved to lie down near the heating vent. One day, coming back from an outing, I found her on top of the vent and not moving. Wondering what was wrong, I got closer and OMG! poor thing, her ID tag was stuck in the vent. Thankfully, I hadn’t been gone long.

I also heard of dogs playing together, and their paws got tangled up in one of the dog’s collar. Just make sure you are around if this happens and you can remedy the situation without any dog choking.

To prevent these problems, you have options, like when the dog is home alone take off the collar, or use a break-away collar or/and an embroidered collar.

Quick release/break-away dog collar

These types of dog collars are the safest.

The KeepSafe Break-Away Collar is specially designed for quick release to help prevent collar accidents such as those mentioned above.

The collar has two buckles: the break-away one which releases when pressure is applied if a collar get snagged, and the traditional buckle to put on and take off the collar easily.

What about when walking the dog? Doesn’t the break-away buckle releases if the dog pulls? The solution is that it has two metal D rings on each side of the break-away buckle to attach the leash to both in case is releases…It’s genius!

Embroidered dog collar or heat-sealed personalization

The solution to getting rid of the tags hanging from a collar is to buy a dog collar with the dog’s name and your phone number on it.

We bought the heat-sealed kind from for our dogs four years ago and as you can see, they are still in very good shape.

I feel better knowing that if ever one of them gets lost, someone will call us. Even if they can’t get too close to the dog, at least they could take a picture of the phone number.

Yuki – the husky mix

What size collar should you get your dog

It’s very important to make sure you find the right size collar and that your dog is comfortable wearing it.

How do you know if you’ve got the sizing right? If you can fit your thumb between the collar and your dog’s neck, you’re ok. If not, it’s too tight. Or if your whole hand can slide under the collar, it’s definitely too loose and your dog can escape from it.

How to measure your dog’s neck for a collar?

You will need a soft tailor’s measuring tape or if you don’t have one, a rope will do too and then you can use a standard measuring tape to get the length.

A dog’s neck is wider near the shoulders and narrower near the head. With your dog sitting down, wrap the soft tape or rope around the part of the neck the collar would sit, add two fingers between the dog’s neck and tape and write down the size you measured . If using a rope, place it on your standard tape to know how long it is.

Equipped with this measurement, you’ll be able to figure out from the size chart of the dog collar you wish to buy.

Types of dog collars

Standard flat collar: most common. Not suitable for dogs whose necks would be larger than their heads, such as Greyhound or Whippet. They come in all forms and styles: nylon, leather, personalized, reflective

Martingale collar: most suitable for Greyhounds and Whippets. This collar is a slip collar without the buckle and is often recommended by trainers.

Choke collar: our husky mix has one, which is a chain looped around the neck which tightens when he pulls. The dog trainer we used when he was about a year old recommended it and that’s what we use to walk him.

Dog collars that don’t irritate the skin: you’ll find a variety of collars for sensitive skin on the market, some better for long hair others for short hair.

Dog collars that can’t be chewed off: there’s no such thing as an indestructible or chew-proof collar. But you can find some very tough and durable ones which claim to last longer.

Safest dog collars for puppies: those made of lightweight nylon. Leather and those with metal buckles should not be used on a puppy as they are too heavy. And making sure the collar is narrow enough for the puppy to be able to move its head and neck comfortably.

Designer brands: did you know you can even find dog collars made by familiar fashion designers like Gucci, Coach, and Juicy Couture!

Reflective dog collars: will have reflective strips on the collar for maximum visibility when walking your dog at night.

Best way to clean dog collars

Machine wash a nylon dog collar: yes but best to put it in a mesh bag and with dog beddings. Lay it flat to dry.

Clean it by hand: soak the collar for ten to twenty minutes in a small amount of dog shampoo or mild dish soap. With an old toothbrush, scrub it lightly and then rinse it under hot water. Again let it dry flat on a towel.

Can leather dog collars get wet: do not machine wash. And it’s not recommended to soak a leather collar. Instead follow the cleaning instructions and warnings from the manufacturer. 

Can you make dog collars

Are you good with sewing and have the right equipment? Then you might want to make your own dog collar and save money.

What you would normally need:

  • Fabric
  • Nylon Webbing
  • Buckle 
  • Tri-glide slide
  • D-Ring 
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape

Here’s a good tutorial I found. There are others as well if you search on Youtube.

What to do with old dog collars

Here are a few suggestions to take care of an old dog collar, depending on circumstances.

  1. If you have collected a few collars over the years because your puppy grew up and needed bigger sizes – Donate to a local shelter.
  2. If your beloved dog passed away and you want a keepsake to remember him by, you’ll find on Etsy a few ideas of shadow boxes.
  3. Change it into a bracelet after your dog is gone. See a tutorial here.

Can your dog wear a harness instead of a collar

No, a harness cannot replace a collar. The collar is used not only to walk a dog but also to make sure the dog has ID tags or contact info embroidered on it.

You can’t leave a harness on all day and its main purpose is to walk the dog.

Is a harness better than a collar

I never used to think a harness was better, but now I do!

I always thought a harness was for walking small dogs who don’t pull! Our dogs are big and pull.

But our new addition is a Beagle and came with an Easy Walk dog collar/harness because apparently it reduces the pulling. I don’t like it. I don’t feel it’s the right type of harness for his body type.

I started searching for tips on how to choose a harness and found out they are great for dogs of all sizes.

Types of harnesses

Easy Walk harness: slips over the head and buckle up on side of belly. It’s has a front Martingale loop on the chest piece.

No-pull harness with 2 clips: has a clip on the back and one on the front panel. Also has a handle on the back.

No-pull harness with back clip: fits over the head and has a chest padded strip, with a clip on the back as well as a handle.

Happy the Beagle with dog harness
Happy the Beagle

There are so many different styles and prices on the market, it was a bit overwhelming to choose one for the Beagle.

But I did find one that fits him perfectly and so far, it’s been so much more fun walking him.

I’m so happy with using a harness, that I ordered another type (which has the front and back clip) to be shared with the Chocolate Lab and the Husky mix. We’ll see how that goes!

Bottom Line

Dogs need a collar for identification purposes. It’s up to us, as owners, to make sure their safety is number one.

That’s why our focus should be on buying the right fit, a break-away kind (if tags are attached to it) or an embroidered collar with contact info, in which case no tags are necessary.

Happy Trails!