On the surface, getting a collar for your dog seems like a pretty mundane thing. After all, this pet accessory is essentially a circular band of material wrapped around your pet’s neck. Experienced dog owners, however, know that a collar is much more than that. Making the right decision on this accessory has plenty of implications on your dog’s comfort, safety and aesthetics.
Whether you’re a first time dog owner or you’ve owned dogs before but have never given collar choice much thought, this article is for you. Here are four vital considerations when you’re trying to pick the best possible collar for your canine friend:
- Your Dog’s Breed
Your dog’s breed is the first of several factors you need to consider when choosing collars. As you may know, different breeds come in different sizes and different fur types. Having the right collar prevents them from enduring discomfort and fur loss around the neck area. You’ll also find out that most breed-specific collars are adjustable to make room for a puppy’s growth into adulthood.
Aside from the obvious size and fur considerations, different dog breeds have different tendencies and temperaments. More active dogs such as huskies, retrievers and collies will put a collar through more abuse than toy breeds. Therefore, it’s important that your style of collar matches the expected activities. Fortunately, some collars will have labels that say which breeds they’re best suited for.
- The Collar’s Size
Some pet owners may assume that a collar which fits around a dog’s neck is the right size, but this is a more nuanced subject than that. Collar size is crucial because buying a loose-fitting one will likely result in the accessory falling off all the time. Conversely, a tight-fitting collar can be very uncomfortable for your pet and inflict constant pain and irritation.
Knowing your dog’s breed and its approximate size when fully grown isn’t enough. Every dog — even those from the same bloodline — slightly differ in size and weight. The best way to choose a collar based on a size standpoint is to measure your dog’s neck circumference when it’s fully grown. You should then add some extra collar length to ensure that the fit isn’t too tight.
Small dogs that weigh 10 pounds or less will be fine with a 1 inch allowance on their collars. Medium-sized dogs that range from 11 pounds to 79 pounds should be okay with 2 extra inches on their collars. Big dogs that weigh 80 pounds or more will require 3 inches extra at the very least.
If your dog has long fur and needs to be regularly groomed, measure the neck circumference after grooming and up to the point just before he or she is groomed. This is because the collar’s fit tightens as fur grows thicker. You’ll want to make sure that the collar can fit your canine well regardless of its length at a given time.
- The Collar’s Material
Not all collars are made of the same stuff. Different materials are used in producing different collars with a variety of qualities. When choosing a collar for your pet, make sure that you know what the implications are for every type of material that you see. The collar’s aesthetics, durability and comfort all have a lot to do with what they’re made of.
Here are the most commonly used materials on dog collars sold:
Nylon webbing collars are the most commonly seen collar types with respect to material. It’s durable, lightweight, non-irritating and best of all, it’s inexpensive. If you decide on a nylon collar, go for the comfort variety. Standard nylon collars sometimes irritate dog necks especially when the fit is too tight and the dog has short fur. Comfort nylon webbing collars help you avoid this problem thanks to their improved texture, weave and flexibility.
If you’re an active participant in the “green” movement, you’ll want to consider hemp dog collars for your pet. Like nylon, hemp is very strong and durable. It’s also made of all-natural hemp fibers woven specifically for durability and comfort. It’s non-dyed, so you can be sure that harmful chemicals were not used in the manufacture of these products.
If you prefer something more classy and traditional, leather collars are always an option. Like hemp and nylon, they’re very durable and can withstand constant activity even from big, heavy breeds. The only drawback to this type of material is that it can be more expensive than hemp and nylon. Dog owners who are passionate about animal welfare in general may also not want to use a product derived from animal hide.
Once you’ve settled on the size and material of the collar, you’ll want to choose a design that you and your mutt will both love. Collars come in a variety of colors and patterns. Choose something that’s easy on the eyes as far as you’re concerned. You can also choose a custom style such as a bowtie collar as long as you feel that your pet would be comfortable wearing it.
When choosing the look on the collar, try to balance safety and security with aesthetics. Reflective collar surfaces and colors are great to help you find your dog easily even after sunset. If you’re the collar has provisions for attaching a tag with your dog’s vital information on it, that’s much better.
Ultimately, choosing a dog collar isn’t rocket science, but it has to be given some careful thought. Getting it wrong not just wastes time and money – it also leaves your pet in a less than comfortable position while it’s using the accessory. Follow these four guidelines and you should be just fine.