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How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be?

A dog collar is an essential accessory that you need to get for your pet.

You can easily find one in different sizes, materials, colors, and styles. But the most crucial consideration is the collar’s fit and how comfortable your dog is when wearing it.

A well-fitting dog collar ensures that your canine companion does not feel pain or discomfort or develop skin issues. The collar should not restrict its head and neck movements.

To ensure all of this, you must understand how tight should a dog collar be so you can buy the right one.

In this article, we delve into the problems with loose and tight collars and how to find the perfect fit.

Should Dogs Always Wear Collars?

Photo of Firs Walk With Dog on collar

A dog collar allows you to easily hold onto your pet without hurting it.

It is the easiest way to attach a leash to your dog, which is necessary when you go out for a walk around the neighborhood or a romp in the park. A dog collar also comes in handy when you’re moving house or traveling with your pet.

In many cities around the world, dogs in public places must wear a collar with its owner’s name and address attached to it in some way. If your dog gets lost, its collar offers a way for others to identify it and return it to you.

So, as you can see, a dog collar is essential whenever your dog goes out of the house. When it is indoors or in its crate, you can remove its collar with no worry. In fact, wearing a collar inside a crate is a potential choking hazard—its ID tag can get stuck between the bars.

You can also remove the collar after your dog’s last potty break when it is about to sleep. This will give its coat and skin a bit of breathing room and allow it to sleep without discomfort.

If your dog plays with other dogs in an enclosed area, it’s best to remove its collar. This ensures safe play—there will be no hanging objects that can latch onto another dog’s collar or leg.

But if your dog plays with other dogs outdoors, such as in a dog park, keep the collar on.

Problems With Loose Collars

Here are the problems that can occur if your dog’s collar is a bit too loose:

1. Loose Dog

Photo of labrador with slipped collar

If your dog’s collar is loose, it will easily slip away from your hold. It may run onto the street and hurt itself or other people. It can also run away and end up lost.

2. Skin Irritation

 A loose collar may constantly rub against your dog's skin and cause skin irritation.

3. Mouth and Limb Injuries

If your dog’s collar is too loose, its jaw can get stuck in the empty space around its neck. This may cause injuries to its mouth, teeth, or jaw.

4. Choking Hazard

A loose collar could get caught on furniture, fences, or even other people when your dog moves past them. This can lead to choking or suffocation.

Problems With Too Tight Collars

Here are some of the problems that can occur due to a tight dog collar:

1. Strangulation

Photo of Husky with Tight Collar

An excessively tight collar can restrict your dog’s airways. This will lead to difficulty in breathing and even strangulation.

2. Wounds and Infection

If your dog’s collar is too tight, it may cut into and chafe its skin. This can cause skin irritation, painful wounds, and infections.

3. Lack of Blood Flow

A very tight collar can also restrict blood flow to your dog’s head. Over time, this can cause discomfort, swelling, and long-term damage to important body parts.

4. Loss of Fur

A tight collar on your dog may lead to a loss of fur and bald patches around its neck.

5. Neck Damage

Photo of Dog Scraches Neck

Regularly wearing a tight collar for weeks or months can cause strain on your dog’s neck and all the structures within it. This can damage its thyroid glands, tissues around the neck, and salivary glands.

Finding A Perfect Tightness

Finding the perfect tightness for your dog’s collar should not be too difficult. Just follow the simple steps below:

Step 1: Use the Right Tools

Get a soft or flexible measuring tape. This will help you get the right size and make it easier to order a well-fitting dog collar.

Step 2: Measure Carefully

Photo of Two Fingers Rule

Wrap the measuring tape around your dog’s neck where its collar usually lies. Use the “two-finger” rule by sliding two fingers under the tape to loosen it a bit.

You should be able to slide your fingers easily between the tape and your dog’s neck. It should feel snug and secure but not tight.

You should not be able to slide the tape easily off your dog’s head—this is too loose and will lead to a runaway dog.

Step 3: Buy the Collar

You can use this measurement to buy a brand-new collar for your dog. Most collars are adjustable, so even if your dog’s weight fluctuates, you should still be able to find a good fit.


So, how tight should a dog collar be? The answer depends on your dog’s neck size.

With the help of our sizing guide, you should be able to find the correct measurement for your dog’s collar and get a snug fit.

As your dog grows, its collar will also need to be adjusted or replaced. Check the collar’s fit every month or so. If your dog seems uncomfortable or if it constantly scratches at the collar, it may be time to get a new one.

Remember to remove your dog’s collar when it is in its crate or at bedtime. Doing this will prevent chafing. And with the collar off, you can check if it has been digging into your pet’s skin or causing matted fur.