Dog Collar

The Perfect Fit: How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be?

(Last Updated On: 13th July 2020)

One of the standard items that you have for your dog is their collar. A dog’s collar performs a couple of essential functions for them.

For one, the collar around their neck allows you to clip on a leash and have your pet within your control at all times.

It would be a total disaster if you took your pooch for a walk only to find that no other dog in the neighborhood was restrained. Mayhem would ensue!

A collar also allows you to keep your pet safe from darting into traffic, or running into the woods and being unable to find them.

You love them too much to risk their safety. It is a necessity for their safety and well-being that they wear a collar.

In the United States, most states and local governments have “running at large” statutes that forbid dogs from being off of their owner’s property without proper restraint.

A dog’s collar is essential to be able to provide the restraint that is necessary to keep them safe and within your control.

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How a Dog Collar Should Fit

You must provide your dog with the right size collar. Besides being uncomfortable, having the wrong size collar on your dog could cause them to choke. 

If a too-tight collar impedes their airway, it could also cause serious injury to your pet.

Pay special attention to your pet if it is just a puppy. Puppies grow like weeds and will go through several different size collars as they grow. 

Too tight collars can rub and chafe the skin and possibly cause infections if left untreated.

Conversely, if a collar is too loose, your pet could slip out and run away.

The rule of thumb for how a dog collar should fit is this: you should be able to fit two fingers between your dog’s collar and their neck. 

Use both your index and middle finger and slide them in between the dog’s collar and their neck with your fingers in a vertical position to the collar, not parallel. 

In other words, your fingers should not be lying flat against their neck.

Veterinarians recommend that you check your dog’s collar every two weeks throughout your pet’s lifetime. 

If you take your pet to a groomer, always double-check the fit of the collar. The collar may have been put back on too tight or not tight enough.

Kinds of Collars

There are a variety of collars that can be used for your pooch. The ones listed below are the more common type of collars.


A standard dog collar comes in a buckle on or snap-in variety. The collar should also have a metal loop that can hold the dog’s identification tag. 

The collars can be made of leather or nylon, with nylon being the most common. Nylon can come in a variety of colors, is waterproof, extremely durable, and inexpensive.

You can get a dog collar that is bejeweled or adorned and embellished with all manner of decorations.

Slip Collar

There are some dog breeds whose necks are the same widths as their skulls. Greyhounds, whippets, bulldogs, and pugs will be able to slip out of even a tight collar. 

If you have a breed like this, you will want to look into a slip collar. A slip collar will gently tighten when pressure is put on the leash attached to the slip collar. 

Some slip collars come with extra padding so that it is not rough on the dog’s skin.

Martingale Collar

Another type of collar for dogs whose neck and skull are the same width is a martingale collar. This collar looks like a large collar and a small collar connected by two metal rings. 

A martingale collar fits loosely and tightens when the dog pulls against the leash. These collars distribute their pressure evenly around the neck rather than in just one area.

Head Halter

This type of collar controls the dog using the skull rather than the neck. The head halter is especially helpful in controlling larger dogs or those that have a lot of strength. 

The collar uses the dog’s momentum to restrain him. If the dog is pulling, the collar will close the dogs’ mouth, much like a muzzle, but otherwise, it will keep the collar relaxed.

How Often Should A Dog Wear Their Collar

Some vets suggest that you let your dog’s sleep at night without a collar, which will give your dog’s skin a chance to breathe.

If your dog is in the house, with no chance of escape, you could consider taking their collar off. Any time that your pet is outside, they should have their collar and identification on. 

It is the easiest and least expensive way to help ensure that your pet will get back to you if they are ever lost.

When first introducing your dog to a collar, start gradually. Use the collar without any tags that jingle or make noise. 

Properly fit the collar and leave it on for about ten or 15 minutes. Take the collar off for a while and then put it back on, leaving it on for a more extended period each time you do so. 

Reward your pet each time. Replace and remove the collar several times over the course of a few days until you can see that your pet is comfortable wearing the collar. 

If your pet has never worn a collar before, do not leave them unsupervised with a collar on until you are sure that they have accepted it.

You can add your pet’s registration tag to the collar if wanted, their rabies tag and an ID tag. It is a good idea to have an ID tag that includes a phone number for a rescuer to reach in case of your pet getting lost. 

Some pet owners don’t prefer the jingling of metal tags on a pet’s collar. You can get around this by adding tag silencers, which are a soft plastic that is flexible enough to go around the outside of the tag. 

You can wrap a rubber band around a tag, and that will keep it from clanging against another one. A personalized collar with your phone number and the dog’s name embroidered right on the collar can also be purchased.

In Conclusion

Our love for our pets is age-old. According to hieroglyphics, Egyptians constructed leather collars and adorned them with precious metals and jewels. 

Not only were dogs pets, but they were also working members of the family, and their owners protected them.

The ancient Greeks used dogs for herding animals and safeguarding them from wolves. The dogs themselves were also vulnerable to wolves. 

The Greeks put collars with large metal spikes pointing away from the dog’s neck that would help protect them from wolves. During the middle ages, there were no ID tags. 

Owners would place ornate collars on their dogs that were held in place by a padlock. Only the owners had the key, and so could prove ownership.

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