Buying the Right Sized Dog Collar

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Dog collars come in many sizes and designs. Make sure to get the correct one to ensure the safety of your pet. This is a page for buying the right sized dog collar.


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December 14, 2011

Along with other things that I keep in my cell phone, like hubby's shoe size, friend's birthdates, gym lock combination (don't use that often enough to remember!) I note (in inches) my dog's collar size. I tend to impulse buy things for my three dogs, so I keep that info handy. Should you have a growing puppy in the house, keep a strand of yarn that's longer than what you've measured around his or her neck in your purse or wallet and mark and keep it as your pup is growing. This is helpful as you gauge what the next size up collar your dog will need.

By Maile from Onalaska, WA

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Catherine Forman
May 14, 2006

Unless your dog never leaves the house and never ever has a chance to escape, your dog needs a collar. Not only a collar, but one with ID tags and proof of rabies vaccination. It's the best way to ensure that if your dog ever does get lost, he gets found quickly and easily.


As far as the type of collar your dog should wear, that's going to be up to you and your dog, really! When fitting a collar on your dog, make sure that you can fit at least two fingers in the space between collar and neck; any more and your dog may slip out, any less and your dog risks choking.

Buckle Collars

Just like the name implies, a buckle collar is a collar that fastens with a buckle. It works the same way your belt works.

Quick Release and Break-Away Collars

A variation on the buckle collar. A plastic side-squeeze buckle lets you get the collar on easily. This is the type of collar I use on my dogs, for the ease of getting it on and off. Break-away collars are designed with a special release that will fly open if the collar is pulled strongly.


Slip Collars (Chokers or Choke Chains)

A slip collar can be nylon, cotton, or leather -- not just chain link! Each end has an O shaped ring, and the collar loops through one of the rings. Traditional training methods suggest using a metal choke chain to correct a dog if it does not obey a command. Metal choke chains can cause neck, back, and throat injuries if used improperly. A heavier chain does not slide as smoothly as a smaller chain, and chokers should never be used on puppies.

Limited Slip Collars

This is an adjustable collar that will tighten around a dog's neck to keep him from slipping out of his collar, but will not actually constrict the neck. Also called a "Greyhound Collar".

Martingale Collars

Often used on toy dogs in show situations, this is an adjustable collar without a buckle. A piece of plastic tubing slides along the lead to adjust the size.


Prong Collars (Pinch Collars)

These collars work on the same premise as the metal choke collars -- a yank to the neck corrects the dog's behavior. Prong collars are often used on dogs who pull on lead, and should never be used on puppies.

Head Halter

A good alternative for a dog who pulls on lead. These are not muzzles -- dogs can still eat, drink, bark, and bite while wearing a head halter. The advantage of a head halter is that your dog's motion is controlled by gently pulling their head where you want them to go, instead of dragging at their neck.

Body Harness

Traditionally used on sled dogs, the harness helps a dog distribute weight while pulling. These may also be good for breeds with shorter respiratory systems, like Pugs or Pekinese, since there is no pressure on the neck.

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