How do you know for sure that your pet's collare is safe? Is it because nothing’s ever happened? Or because the collar your dog or cat is wearing has been thoroughly tested for its reliability and safety?


The latter’s unlikely to be the case. After all, there is no government agency that vets consumer products like dog and cat collars for safety and efficacy. Even if they did, you should still be suspicious. That is, if you ever thought to worry about your pet’s collar ever before.


If you’re in the club of never-thought-about-it-befores, you’re in good company (I’d like to think so, anyway). I mean, I never worried about collars too much — OK, cat collars, yes; dog collars, no.


Everyone knows cats can get hung up on stuff with all their leaps and bounds. But dogs? Not so much. Yet I have seen my share of tragedies — albeit few. It’s clearly a worthy topic. Unfortunately, it’s also one I know little about. So I thought it’d be one you all could help me out with.


Consider this recent e-mail exchange:


Q: Hi, I am a reader of your Fully Vetted blog, and also subscribe to the Daily Vet blog as well. I'm sure this topic has been brought up previously, but I was wondering if you could share any of your knowledge on the safest collars for dogs. I have a 2-year-old, 35 lb. terrier-lab mix, and in the past he has slipped out of any set-radius collar I've tried. He's now in one that tightens to a certain point upon resistance (a slip-on collar with no clasp). He doesn't slip out, but when he pulls he gets a little wheezy.


Additionally, my parents’ dog, a 20 lb. Chihuahua-pug mix, just passed away from his collar getting caught in his bulldog brother’s mouth during a play date with those two and my dog.


I've heard about breakaway collars, but I don’t know how they work, and if it would be feasible with my boy's ability to slip out.


If you have any knowledge on the subject that you could share, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm very conflicted right now about what path to take as far as keeping my dog safe as possible. Also, along the lines of what happened to my parents’ dog, do you have any insight on the effects of a trauma like that for the surviving dogs?


A: I honestly haven't reviewed collars beyond a mere few, and since my dogs are crated when I'm not home, and I see very few cases of collar entrapment in dogs, I haven't given it great thought.


However, I do believe it's an issue that deserves exploration. As such, I think it's a perfect question to put to my readers. So many of them are so knowledgeable, we're certain to get a few thoughtful suggestions.


OK, so now’s your turn: What collars have worked for you? And have you ever really put them to the test?


Dr. Patty Khuly


Pic of the day: No bling dog collars by psd

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