Before we start with the topic, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking about your dog’s welfare. It’s very important for a dog’s collar to be properly fit, to ensure his overall safety. I’m glad you are wondering “how tight should a dog collar be?”, and I will try to answer you exactly that.
How should a dog collar fit? The easy answer is, it should fit tight, yet your dog should be comfortable. If you want a snug fit, fearing your overly-enthusiastic dog might slip out of it, beware of the health risks your pet might face.
To learn the more elaborate answer on how tight your dog’s collar should be, you need to learn the necessity of a dog collar, the types of collar that are commonly used, and also consider why you’re buying that collar.
Why Should Dogs Wear Collars?
Chances are you’re already set on buying a collar for your pooch, so I don’t really need to sell you the idea. You might be thinking about aesthetics, or maybe you want the collar for the purpose of training your dog. In my view, there are three major reasons to get your dog a collar:
First, a wide and sturdy collar can go a long way to protect your dog’s neck from the teeth and claws of an attacking animal. Second, you need to always fit an ID tag to the collar, which contains your dog’s name and your contact information. Additionally, you can also fit your dog with a GPS collar, if you fear him going out and getting lost.
Lastly, a leash can be attached to your dog’s collar so you can train him and afterwards, control him while you’re both outdoors. Even if you don’t know how to fit a dog collar, your collar would not be useful even in these basic points. If the collar sits too tight, you risk health issues.
If it is too loose, there’s a possibility that your pet will wiggle out. Maybe you’re wondering, how tight should a dog collar be for controlling him? Even if you’re training him or trying to reduce his habit of pulling on the leash, never tighten the collar so much that he’s uncomfortable.
Also, I suggest you don’t make your dog wear a collar 24/7. There is discord about whether or not to keep the collar on. Personally, I always take it off when my dog Limo is safely inside. You should at least take off the collar when your doggy is in his crate, to make sure he’s not too uncomfortable to sleep.
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Ensuring the Perfect Fit
If you are a new dog parent, you’re probably anxiously wondering, “how tight should a collar be on a dog who’s never been collared before?”. The answer is, the collar should be fit comfortably whether or not your dog is used to wearing one. How tight should a dog collar be? Well, think about a man’s shirt collar.
To measure whether a shirt fits or not, men tend to slip a finger or two under the collar to measure the tightness. Similarly, you can measure the tightness of a dog’s collar with that method! Slip two fingers under the collar. If you’re unable to fit them, the collar is too tight. If you can slip more fingers in, the collar is too loose and your dog might escape it.
Now, how to tighten a dog collar? Dog collars usually come with buckles and loops for that necessity, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Just read the package your dog’s collar came in. Depending on the type of collar you’re using, the procedure to tighten it will vary. How tight should a dog collar be: did you get your answer?
Check Your Dog’s Collar Often
Don’t think your work is done once you’ve managed to fit a collar on your dog. If you have a puppy, they’re going to grow out of that collar pretty soon and you should check at least once a month to make sure it’s not tightened uncomfortably. How tight should a dog collar be on your growing puppy?
Enough to leave some room for him to grow into. Checking the collar once a month is also important for other reasons. If you notice hair loss or irritation around the collar, your dog might be allergic to the material it is made of. This is also common if your dog is wearing a flea/tick collar.
Additionally, make sure to check the collar thoroughly before winter to see if the ID tag and tracker is secure. If by some unlucky stroke your dog goes out and loses his way, it would be very difficult to find him without identification in time to save his life.
Types of Dog Collars
How tight should a dog collar be does not depend on its type. However to ensure you choose the best one for your dog, you should have a preliminary idea on the choices. I am very partial to dog collars made of leather as they are durable and offer a measure of protection.
Nowadays, textile dog collars are also pretty popular. Some owners prefer metal collars or chain collars. These are not suitable for long-haired breeds. While choosing a new collar for your dog, keep in mind any allergies he has. Moreover, try to choose one that isn’t so narrow that it cuts into your dog’s neck, but also not so wide that it impairs movement.
There are also collars that offer additional functionality. For example, tick/flea collars carry some pesticide that keeps your dog free from these annoying pests. While you might think it’s an easy way to keep your dog healthy, the chemicals used in it might be harmful to some extent for your family or even your dog.
If your dog is a bit of a troublemaker and an escape artist, you can fit him with a GPS collar or a smart collar. You can even get waterproof ones. For training purposes, Martingale collars or head collars work well, in my opinion. There’s also the option of a slip collar or a prong collar, but those are not to my liking.
If you’re worried a collar might hurt your dog’s neck or worsen any health issues, you should consider using a harness. Harnesses come in two types, slip-on and step-in. Alternatively, they can be classified into back-clip, front-clip and dual-clip variations.
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Collar or Harness?
Perhaps you don’t want to put a collar on your dog and instead want a harness. In that case you might have a question: how tight should a dog harness be? I really like the idea of harnesses. In fact I use one on Limo when we go out for a walk because she’s so energetic and I find that a harness gives her more independence.
Harness is a set of straps that wrap around your dog’s chest and abdomen and then join at the back. Okay, so you’ve decided on using a harness. Now, how tight should it be on your dog’s body? Just like how you checked the fit of your dog’s collar, slip a couple of fingers under your dog’s harness.
It should be a snug fit no matter at which point of the harness you check. Wiggle room for more than three fingers means your dog’s harness is too loose. Being unable to fit two fingers means it’s too tight and your dog will be thoroughly uncomfortable in it.
To buy the right size of harness for your dog, always check the package. You could buy one based on your dog’s weight. You could also measure the breadth of his chest and the thickest part of his neck for some more reference. When in doubt, always get the harness in a size larger, you can just tighten it later.
You can’t just put a just-bought harness on your dog right away and then flounce out the door, no. The first time, you need to coax your dog into wearing it and then tighten all the straps so that they sit comfortably on your dog’s body. After ensuring this fit, you can just slip it on your dog next time.
Dogs are often very fond of getting a collar from their masters. They get excited when presented with a collar and might even try to put it with their toys. That’s how you know your dog loves his collar! Now that you know the answer to “how tight should a dog collar be?”, get your dog a comfortable one.
Every dog is an individual being with his own personality and needs, so you should choose a collar based on what your dog needs, specifically. If you have any more questions, queries or concerns regarding dog collar tightness, come and tell me in the comments section!