Wearing a collar is an important part of a dog's life. A collar serves many purposes, but perhaps most significant is that it holds tags with vital information in case your dog gets lost. But sometimes collars can irritate your pup by rubbing, chafing or pinching his or her neck. So here is an overview of collar chafing and how to prevent it:
What Is Collar Chafing?
Collar chafing occurs when your dog's collar rubs his or her neck the wrong way and causes irritation, usually in the form of an abrasion. Symptoms of collar chafing include hair loss, redness or skin that looks like it has a mild rope burn.
Is Collar Chafing Preventable?
Yes! Collar chafing is usually preventable. But sometimes it's difficult to see the issue developing because the collar covers up the affected area. Because of this, it's recommended that you regularly check on your dog's neck under the collar, especially if he or she wears it all the time. Try taking the collar off every few days or weekly.
What Causes Collar Chafing?
Collar chafing can be caused by several different factors or a combination of them. The following are the main reasons behind collar chafing and how to prevent or resolve them:
- Pulling - if you attach leash to collar and your dog pulls on walks, it can cause major irritation or pinching. (Pro Tip: This can actually cause damage to the neck itself, on top of the chafing. If your dog pulls, look to use a harness that distributes pressure more evenly.)
- Tightness - when a collar is too tight, it can irritate your dog's neck or cause pain. This is usually an issue for puppies who quickly outgrow their collars. (Pro Tip: The proper fit for a collar is snug but not tight, where the flat of two fingers can fit comfortably between your dog's neck and collar.)
- Pinching - collars that pinch at the closure, specifically those with buckles or catches, can grab your dog's hair or skin. (Pro Tip: Make sure your dog's collar can always move around to avoid this issue.)
- Rough or stiff material - collars that are made from rough or stiff material - like untreated leather or stiff synthetics - can irritate your dog's neck. (Pro Tip: Opt for collars that are softer and more supple, even when brand new.)
- Dirty collar - sometimes mud and dirt make their way under a collar, which can cause chafing. This is one reason it's recommended that you wash your dog's collar regularly. (Pro Tip: Clean your dog's collar after walks and check the fur under the collar during grooming or bathing sessions.)
- Wrong type of collar - all dogs are different, which means some collars will work better than others. To reduce irritation, choose a collar wide enough to distribute pressure evenly. (Pro Tip: Padded collars do help prevent chafing, but they tend to wear down, so you'll need to regularly check the collar's status and replace it if the cushioning has flattened.)
How To Treat Collar Chafing
If you find that chafing has occurred, stop using the collar for a little while to allow the skin to heal and fur to regrow. You can use a harness as an alternative since that will serve the same purposes as a collar - just make sure to put your dog's ID tags on the harness.
If the chafing looks particular bad or their are open abrasions, you may want to go to the vet in case your pup needs antibiotic cream or other medical treatment. In addition, your vet will be able to suggest a collar that works better for your dog.
If you're in the market for a new collar, The Pawsitive Co. products are soft and wide enough to reduce irritation. Our dog Brody, the inspiration behind founding the company, has been using his for years and has not had issues with chafing. Plus they come in a variety of colors!