You may not think there is much to purchasing a dog collar, but there are more factors at play than you might think. A collar is the one accessory that your dog will be wearing for the majority of their life, so you must ensure to select something that’s going to stick.
Sizing is probably the most important consideration, but there are other factors at play too, such as comfort, durability, and design. Did you know there are also different styles of collars available besides the commonplace standard collar? There is a vast array of collar designs available for different purposes. Read on to discover how you can find the perfect fit for your pooch.
Sizing Up The Situation
Before doing anything else, it’s important to determine which size of collar best suits your dog. When selecting a size, the ‘Goldilocks principle’ applies: if the collar is ‘too tight’, this will constrict your dog’s neck and cause discomfort, and if the collar is ‘too loose’, your dog will be more likely to go ‘off-lead’, which is the last thing a responsible dog owner will allow to happen. You’re looking for a collar that’s ‘just right’, and you can determine this by taking a measurement of your dog’s neck with a flexible measuring tape.
Place the tape around your dog’s neck—in the place you intend to place the collar—and take the measurement. Repeat the process to ensure your measurement was accurate the first time around (literally). When you finally place the collar onto your dog’s neck, place two fingers beneath the collar. If the collar is pressing gently against your fingers, this means the fit is correct. If it feels tight, you will need to loosen it.
Similar to human clothing, small, medium, and large sizing is not necessarily consistent across brands. Do not use this schema when making a purchase. Instead, take note of your dog’s measurement and purchase the size that this specific number falls under.
A Twiggy Collar (featuring a matching harness) from the Stylish Hound.
Select the type of collar that will best fit your dog’s needs. Most dogs will only require a standard collar, which does not have the extra bells or whistles. Typically the most comfortable collar type, these come in different designs with varying materials and buckles. If your dog is likely to grow, a basic collar may be a good first purchase. This way, you will not have splashed all your cash on an early installment prior to purchasing the next size up.
LED collars are like a high-vis version of a standard collar. These are especially handy if you take your dog walking in dark conditions. Whether you walk your dog before sunrise or after sunset—or if your dog joins you for day trips such as camping or hiking—an LED collar literally highlights your dog’s presence with LED lighting and reflective materials. Your dog will be more visible to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
Waterproof collars are another variant of the standard collar. They are great for rainy-day walks, or for dogs who love to swim. These designs tend to be more bacteria-resistant and are easier to clean than nylon- or leather-cased collars. In terms of durability, these collars win out. Please note that these designs are not suitable if you require more of a training collar.
A training collar is for dogs who require behavioural training or stronger control in stressful walking conditions. If you are completely new to this type of collar, research will be critical. These collars can be harmful if used improperly, so ensure you are using them correctly. The most popular and least harmful training collar available is the martingale collar, which is typically nylon-based with a small chain section. This collar is like a softer version of the controversial chained collar, which poses more of a choking hazard to your dog. Ultimately, the martingale collar will tighten when your dog pulls away, but release to a comfortable fit once appropriate walking behaviours resume.
There are many different types of dog collar materials available, the most common being nylon. Standard collars are typically nylon-based, and these budget-friendly companions typically come in an array of fashionable designs. Although they are the least durable option, nylon collars will meet your dog’s basic needs whilst looking fabulous. Neoprene collars, on the other hand, are a higher-quality, more water-resistant option. If your dog likes swimming (or frequently endures wetter climates), this could be a more comfortable alternative to a waterproof collar. Neoprene is great for dogs with skin allergies, although it is not as readily available as its nylon counterparts. Consequently, there are fewer neoprene designs to choose from.
Leather is one of the more high-end options, so it will be an investment in quality. It is a durable, comfortable, breathable material that will be easier to clean than classic nylon. It’s also an alternative for pups with allergies or skin sensitivities. If you would prefer a vegan leather, this is available too, but it tends to consist of cheaper materials, rendering faux leather’s benefit to be purely aesthetic. It does not come with the durability or longevity of genuine leather.
Biothane is a more cost-effective alternative to genuine leather, and it is comfortable and waterproof, making it easier to clean. Suitable for all fur types, it will not carry odour or stray bits of fur. It’s ideal for dogs who love to swim or play in the mud. The only downsides to biothane collars are a) that they are not as readily available as other collar types and b) they’re low-budget and it shows. Fashion-conscious owners may seek an alternative material.
Some Final Notes To Choosing the Best Dog Collar
When choosing your collar, consider all your dog’s requirements. For example, if your dog has greater exposure to the elements, then a plastic buckle may not be the best fit. A metallic buckle is a more secure option, especially if your dog tends to pull on their lead. If your dog is growing or losing weight, you may want to select a collar with more adjustability. Nylon and neoprene collars are among the more adjustable types, whilst leather or biothane may have less scope for adjustability (due to typically featuring fewer notches on the collars). Finally, if your dog is prone to chewing, ensure to buy a stronger material. This will a) help keep the collar intact, and b) prevent coloured dyes from bleeding onto your dog’s fur and skin. This is especially important if your dog has an allergy or sensitive skin.
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