Disclosure: Some of the links in the article below may be affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you click on them and make a purchase.
A dog collar is an important accessory for your dog to wear and can serve multiple purposes. Many people leave them on their dog 24/7 without ever taking them off. Is this a good idea?
Is it necessary for a dog to always wear a collar and is it safe for them to do so?
Every dog should have a collar that gets worn most of the time. It can serve as a very important identification piece and can be invaluable if your dog were to get lost. However, there could be times when your dog should not wear a collar in order to prevent problems from arising.
If you are like me, you want to make sure your dog is always safe and has their identification on them. Similar to how humans never leave the house without their ID card or driver’s license, a dog needs some sort of identification in case they get lost.
My dog has this identification attached to her collar in the form of a dog tag. I have always made sure she has her collar on nearly all of the time.
It gives me peace of mind knowing that if she were to get lost, she has her name, address and phone number listed on her identification tags located on her collar.
I have always considered this a very important step to ensuring her safety and making sure that people always know where she belongs.
However, it might not be a good idea for your dog to always wear a collar. While it is true that your dog should be wearing a collar with identification anytime they are in public, there are times when they are at home that a collar may do more harm than good.
We will look at some of these ways that a collar could harm your dog but let’s first look at a few topics in order to understand more about dog collars.
Do Dogs Like Collars?
Do dogs even like to wear their collars? Dogs generally do not have a problem with wearing their collars. As long as it is comfortable and not too tight, the dog can get used to wearing the collar and may not even know that it is there.
My dog was wearing a collar as a puppy when we picked her up and she has worn it ever since. She does not mind at all and actually looks forward to you snapping it back around her neck after it has been taken off for some reason.
She often looks naked when she doesn’t have it on and she may even feel like something is missing when she isn’t wearing it.
How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?
A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to insert two fingers between a dog’s collar and their body. If you can do this, your dog’s collar is properly fitting without being too tight.
Once you have made sure it is not too tight for your dog, you will need to make sure it isn’t too loose. A collar that is too loose could easily slip over their heads causing it to fall off.
This can often be a problem with dogs that have smaller heads and stocky bodies such as a boxer. It can also be a problem with dogs that are overweight, making their bodies and neck large but their heads normal or smaller in size.
You will also need to adjust your dog’s collar after they have gotten a haircut.
When my dog gets a haircut, her collar is often too big and has to be tightened a little to make up for the space lost from the hair removal.
If this is the case, the collar should be monitored as the hair grows back so that the collar does not become too tight again. Our dog’s collar has to be adjusted ever so often depending on the length of her hair.
Are Collars Bad For Dogs?
Certain types of dog collars may present a problem if your dog wears them continuously. Chain collars, choke collars, or electric collars can be very uncomfortable for your dog and may also lead to skin irritation and may also cause a rash and damage to the hair or fur.
However, if you ensure that your dog is wearing a comfortable collar made from a comfortable material, there should be no problem.
No matter what collar you use, it’s usually best that your dog does not wear it 24 hours per day, especially if your dog lives inside your house. The most obvious time that your dog should not be wearing their collar is throughout the night.
My dog sleeps in the bed right next to me so there is no reason that she needs her collar on and this is a great time to give your dog a break and let their neck breathe.
I used to fear this but only because my negative thinking got the best of me. I would think about what would happen if the house catches fire and we all woke up in the middle of the night and had to make a run for it.
What if our dog got lost during this time? She would be lost without a collar on and without her dog tag for identification.
This type of thinking is irrational. I always wanted to make sure my dog had her collar on without thinking it through. It would be like a human always wearing a hat or a watch and never taking it off. Sometimes, it feels good to take it off and just let that area enjoy its freedom.
The same is true for a dog that is wearing a collar. It’s easy to see that my dog enjoys it when her collar comes off at night.
She can lay in the bed and be completely comfortable and not have to worry about her collar causing any discomfort from her laying positions.
She often becomes playful as soon as her collar comes off as if she has gotten a burst of energy from the good feeling of having it taken off.
5 Reasons to Take Your Dog’s Collar Off at Night
If your dog sleeps in your house or even in your bed, there is probably no reason that a collar should be worn. Of course, this advice is only for those dogs who don’t have a doggy door and aren’t able to go outside at will.
In this case, I would not recommend taking the collar off.
However, if your dog is locked in with you and cannot get out of the house, taking their collar off can be very helpful in avoiding common problems with them wearing a collar throughout the night.
If you are wondering if your dog should sleep with a collar on, the list below will help you make this decision.
If your dog wears their collar at night there is a chance that it could get caught up in something such as a fuzzy blanket.
We have some blankets and throws on our bed that our dog has scratched over time, pulling out threads. Some of these loose threads have resulted in loops.
It’s very easy for her collar dog tag to become tangled in these small loops. There have been numerous times that we have had to untangle her collar from these because she was stuck.
Had we not caught it and untangled it, she may have choked and might have not been able to breathe. This is often a concern of ours when we leave our house with our dog home alone.
We always make sure that no blankets are left out on the couch that she could get tangled up on. Of course, when we leave our dog home alone we have to make sure that her collar and identification are on her in case something were to happen.
The main culprit of our collar issues is the dog tags and the little rings that hold the tags on. The keyring opens up to allow you to slide the tag on and this area has the potential to get caught on materials.
By taking her collar off at night, we avoid the chance that she could get tangled up in something and be choked in the process.
Skin rash or irritation
Skin rash or irritation can occur if your dog’s collar is too tight or the material of the collar is too abrasive.
Imagine wearing a tight collar around your neck all the time. It’s likely that you would have some irritation and might develop a rash as you squirm and move around in the bed at night.
Your dog may have the same issues and if they are not wearing a collar, you won’t have to worry about it.
Damage to the fur
Going along with the skin rash and irritation, fur damage can occur if the collar is worn for too long in these situations. The fur can be pulled out over time and cause a spot on your dog’s neck where no fur or hair is growing.
It may also cause the hair to become matted or their fur to become discolored.
Perhaps the main reason that you should take your dog’s collar off at night is to give them a night of comfort. If your dog wears their collar all day long, it can be a refreshing feeling to have the collar taken off at night.
Similar to a human who would take their shoes off at night, a dog may feel a great sense of relief when allowed to be without a collar.
When I take my dog’s collar off at night I often massage her neck and try to make her feel comfortable around the place where she has worn her collar all day long.
Hopefully, this helps to reduce any discomfort she has felt from having the collar on all day long. I can rest easy each night knowing that my dog is beside me in a comfortable sleeping position without any restrictions or discomfort around her neck.
It reminds me of when I wear a hat. If you have worn a hat for long periods, you may be aware of the feeling of having that painful feeling that almost seems like your hair itself is hurting. You just want to take your hat off and give your hair a break.
If your dog wears a collar, you probably are well aware of the noise that can be made. If they have a dog tag attached to the collar, it can be super noisy each time they shake their head or even move around.
My dog often moves around to a new spot in the bed at night and she also occasionally scratches and when she scratches with a collar on it can be very loud which would wake us up quite easily.
When we take her collar off, we don’t hear her when she moves around or scratches. We are not woken up throughout the night as we would be and we left the collar on. It took us years to realize that this was a smart move.
Choosing a Comfortable Collar For Your Dog
Choosing a comfortable collar is important if you want your dog to be comfortable while wearing it. I like to imagine that I am the one that will be wearing the collar and if the comfort level of the collar is sufficient for me.
I tend to stick with soft, lightweight collars that a dog could easily get used to. If you purchase one made from material like this, it will probably be comfortable for your dog and not have any sharp or hard areas that could create discomfort.
Using a Break-Away Collar For Safety
If you want your dog to wear a collar 24/7, you might consider a break-away collar. These types of collars are designed to break away from dangerous situations before your dog becomes choked or strangled.
If your dog was to get his dog tag caught in a floor vent, for example, a little force of pulling will unclasp the buckle so that the dog could get away without being choked.
These can come in handy when you have a dog that might find themselves in situations like this. They are still strong enough to use for walking.
Here is an example of a breakaway collar.
Examples of times when you should consider using a break-away collar.
- If you have multiple dogs that wrestle and play together, it’s possible that their collars could get tangled up or caught on some object.
- Dogs that lay near vents could have their dog tags slip through the vent and get stuck.
- If you have any reason to believe that blankets or other items on furniture could snag your dog’s collar or tags.
Any of these reasons may be a good reason for you to consider this type of collar. This will help to ease your mind and allow you to rest easy knowing that the collar is designed to self-release if a problem arises.
Using a Dog Tag Silencer
We have found success using a dog tag silencer on our dog’s tag as a way to cover up sharp areas that may catch on soft materials like blankets, clothing, etc.
These are also great to help keep the noise to a minimum and may also make wearing a dog tag more comfortable for your pet.
We often use one of these when we leave the house and want to make sure our dog’s tag will not catch on any of the blankets or areas that she generally lays on.
I recommend using the Quiet Spot Pet Tag Silencer for this purpose.
Having a collar for your dog is a great idea if you intend to have dog tags with identification on them. I can’t count the times that a stray dog has wandered by our house not wearing a collar and with no form of identification such as a microchip.
I don’t understand why any dog owner would want their dog to be without identification. This is irresponsible in my opinion and it is not fair to your dog if you care anything about him or her.
I suggest finding a collar that is comfortable for your dog and then letting them wear it for much of the time and only taking it off when it is safe to do so.
Sleeping at night is the only time we take our dog’s collar off and I feel that this is a good, safe time for your dog to feel the freedom around their neck.