5 Ways to Avoid Collars Harming Your Dog

Ideal for walks and attaching your dog’s ID tag, there’s no denying that collars can be super useful for dog owners. But they can also be harmful if used wrongly, which is why it is so important to take time to research the best dog safe collars for your pooch.

We know the last thing you want is to cause harm to your canine companion, so we’ve listed some helpful tips on how to choose the right collar for your dog and the top dog safe collars on the market. Keep reading to hear from the experts at Yappy.

How to choose the right collar for your dog

Whether you’ve got a new family member on their way or you’re keen to ensure you're using dog safe collars, determining what kind of collar is best for your canine companion can be a tricky task. 

First comes first, when you’re choosing the right collar for your dog, you need to consider the shape and size of your pooch. Start by measuring your dog’s neck to get an idea of what kind of collar you need. Some collars are labelled by the length of the collar and not the neck size of the dog, so be mindful of this. 

Once you’ve measured your dog’s neck, you can then move onto choosing the right kind of dog safe collar.

1. Choose the Right Type of Collar

With various types of collars on the market, it’s important to pick a collar that suits the needs of your dog.

Flat Buckle Collars

Flat buckle collars are your standard, everyday collar. They’re available in a huge range of colours and designs, and are easy to fit and adjust. Attaching your dog’s ID tag to this collar is also easy.

However, until your dog has been trained on walk etiquette, they may pull against this collar.

Slip Collars

Slip collars don’t have a buckle closure. Designed as a loop that slips easily over your dog’s neck, you can easily attach a lead to this collar. They’re often used as a training tool when teaching your dog to behave when walking on a lead.


Martingale collars fit like a flat buckle on your dog’s neck and have the added pressure of a slip collar, but with a limitation on how tight the collar can slip. These collars are best suited to pooches with narrow heads in proportion to their necks.

Head Collars

Head Collars slip over your pooch’s snout and attach behind their ears. These collars can help redirect your dog’s attention and prevent them from pulling. However, they can hurt your dog’s head if used improperly, so it is important to be mindful of this.

It’s worth noting that all collars have the potential to hurt your dog’s neck if they pull excessively. This is why it’s so important to train and encourage your dog to walk nicely on their lead. If you’re looking for tips on what to do when walking your dog, check out our blog on dog walking tips.

2. Encourage Your Dog to Walk by Your Side

Going for walkies can be the most exciting part of your dog’s day, so it’s no wonder they may want to pull ahead and go where they want as fast as possible!

While it’s simple to purchase a collar and lead for your dog, teaching your pup to walk by your side without pulling or lunging can take time and a lot of patience. The benefits will be well worth it, though, when your dog is walking in a calm manner and not straining against their collar.

Check out this video by The Dog’s Trust for some simple tips to stop your dog pulling on their lead.

3. Choose the Right Fit

This is where choosing the right collar for your dog is crucially important. 

A collar that’s too tight can cause neck wounds, yet a collar that’s too loose isn’t a good solution either. It’s important to regularly check the fit of your dog’s collar, especially if they’re a growing puppy.

Looking for a quick and easy way to choose the right collar for your dog? Look no more. 

A good rule of thumb when choosing your dog’s collar is by actually using your thumb. Adjust your dog’s collar to the point where you can fit your thumb between their neck and the collar to ensure a comfortable fit.

Also, keep in mind that your dog’s collar can fit differently depending on how they’re positioned. A collar that fits when your pup is lying down may be too tight when they sit up.

At Yappy, all of our dog safe collars feature a quick buckle release and an adjuster to ensure the perfect fit for your dog. You can also use our helpful size guide to aid with measurements.

4. Watch Out for Collar Burn

A collar that’s too tight or made from materials that irritate your dog’s skin can result in collar burn, skin soreness, and even loss of fur.

If you notice collar burns on your dog’s neck, then it’s important to remove the collar until their skin heals. Applying a soothing agent, such as coconut oil, to the area can also aid the healing process.

Once healed, make sure to check your dog’s collar size is correct and replace it with a hypoallergenic collar if they have sensitive skin or allergies.

5. Swap to a Harness if Your Dog Pulls

Dogs that like to pull hard on their lead can be at risk of serious harm. Tugging excessively on their lead can put pressure on your dog’s neck and spinal cord, which can result in neck, nerve, and thyroid damage.

When it’s time for walkies, attaching your dog’s lead to a harness is a safe way to take the pressure of your dog’s neck and distribute it throughout their torso instead.

However, if you opt for a harness, this doesn’t mean you need to ditch your dog’s collar completely as both can be worn together. A vibrant, personalised collar will make your pup stand out from the pack on walks. Plus, it’s a great place to secure their ID tag.

Navigating the world of dog safe collars

Dogs aren’t able to communicate the same way as humans do (sadly!), so they may not vocalise or make it obvious if their collar is causing them discomfort.

Being aware of incorrect collar use and following these tips is a good way to make sure your dog is equipped for safe, calm, and happy walks.

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