How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

Collars are important for identifying dogs. Plus, wearing them on walks can give them a bit of style! When wearing the collar, it’s important for your dog’s health and safety that it’s fitted properly. But how tight should a dog collar be? Continue reading our helpful guide to find out everything you need to know about collar safety.

Why do dogs wear collars?

There are three main reasons why we put collars on our pups: restraint, identification and fashion! There are other reasons too, like keeping fleas at bay, but overall a collar has three purposes.

  1. Firstly, collars are used for control and restraint, either at home or out on a dog walk. Connecting a lead to the collar and keeping them close by your side while crossing roads or walking past other dogs is a key facet of a collar. 

  2. Identification is also an important reason for wearing a collar. Collars can include tags that show owners’ information like address, phone number and more. So if they were ever to get lost you can be contacted. You can also purchase light-up dog collars or reflective ones that are easy to identify when light is shone at it.

    These types of collars are great for wearing throughout the winter when the sunlight departs a little earlier in the evening. That means you can still enjoy your daily walkies in the dark!

  3. And finally, a collar can be a point of fashion for your pup. Imagine them strutting around the dog park showing off their new personalised dog collar or harness.

How to measure and fit a dog collar

So, how tight should a dog collar be? As a dog mum or dad, you obviously don’t want to fit the collar too tight or even too loose, so what’s the appropriate fit?

Well, to understand how to fit a dog collar, you should understand the steps beforehand, like measuring and picking the right collar for your paw-some pup.

Measurement and fit

When measuring your dog’s neck to pick the right collar, use a measuring tape to check the circumference and then add two inches. This is the length of collar you need to purchase for your pup. One thing to remember, though, is if you have a small dog, only add one inch. If you have a large dog, add three inches to their neck measurement.

Now you’ve chosen the right collar, it’s time to fit it. If your dog is able to slide the collar off over their head, then it’s definitely too loose. You also don’t want it too tight, so use the ‘two finger rule’. If you’re able to fit two fingers underneath the collar quite comfortably then that’s a good sign that it’s a snug fit for your pup.

Similar to the measuring, if you’re a parent to a small dog then use just one finger and for larger dogs, use three. If you’re unable to fit the right number of fingers underneath the collar, this is a sign that it’s too tight. In contrast, if it’s far too easy and you can actually fit more fingers in the gap between their neck and collar, it’s much too loose.

Collar upkeep

Over time, you must ensure that you regularly check the health and the fit of your pup’s collar. Gradually, it can become more loose and they may even snag it on an object that tightens it, so always make sure you’re checking it’s still a comfortable fit.

Equally important is the health of the collar. If it’s looking a little old and has seen its better days, this is a sign to get a replacement before it potentially breaks while out of the house. This is the last thing any dog parent wants, especially if you’re near roads and passing cars.

There are also safety considerations with a collar, like taking off the dog’s collar at night, because they may catch it on something while everyone in the house is asleep.

Puppy collars

If you’re a mum or dad to the most adorable puppy in the world then picking a collar is slightly different to older dogs. Because your puppy will grow a lot over their first few months, you’ll need an adjustable collar that you can gradually open up the more they grow. This gives their neck plenty of space for growth and means you don’t need to keep replacing collars every few weeks with every growth spurt!

Grab a paw-some collar at Yappy

At Yappy, we have a range of fur-bulous dog collars that are paw-fect for your pup! With each collar you can grab a matching lead to make your daily walkies as stylish as possible.

Personalise the collar with your dog’s name to make them feel even more special. And while you’re out walking, why not take along some poop bags to collect their doo-doos? 

We also have a brilliant range of walking bags and stylish tote bags, so you can take all of you and your pup’s essentials out with you on your adventures, including tasty dog treats for them and a water bottle for you!

If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us on

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