Some of the stories that follow are tragic, but we are telling them to alert you to a danger where you would least expect to find it -- around your dog's neck.

One of the first things you do when you acquire a new pet is to put a collar with identification tags on him. This is the responsible thing to do, but you should be aware that collars can also present unexpected, even fatal, dangers. Several YGRR members have recounted their "collar" stories which we will share with you to alert you to the dangers. We are grateful to these members for sharing this information.

"We had gone on vacation and left our two Goldens and kitty with our usual wonderful pet-house sitter. She keeps a daily log for us and upon returning and greeting everyone, reading the events in the log is the first thing I do. The front page on the log is the contract with how much we owe and our trip info along with a brief summary/note. It said there was 'one incident of concern' and to see the notes of July 14th.

'A harrowing experience this morning! After walking both dogs and watering flowerbeds out back, they were romping and wrestling in the yard when I heard Dillon make a strange noise and Abbie was coughing/choking. Dillon, in wrestling, got his lower teeth and jaw caught in her collar! Every time he struggled, her collar got tighter. Took a few moments for me to get them free - phew! Took collars OFF. They will only have them on when I'm here to supervise. Abbie is fine -- drinking and ate a treat. Dillon's teeth are unharmed.'

My husband and I have always disagreed regarding buckle versus quick release collars. My husband felt that buckle collars were stronger when walking Goldens and I just liked the convenience of the quick release collars. The day the above incident happened, the pups were luckily wearing their quick release collars. If they had been wearing buckle collars, it would have been much more difficult to release the dogs."

A member tells us that his boyhood Golden strangled and killed his Labrador in exactly this manner.

Another member recounts her story. "One afternoon, two of our Goldens were having their customary wrestling match. Suddenly Abby started howling. We rushed over to them to find that, in the course of their play, Abby's teeth had become caught on Tasha's collar. When the two dogs pulled in an effort to free themselves, Abby's tooth broke off. She was bleeding profusely but we were able to staunch the flow while we rushed her to the vet. If we had not been at home, Abby might well have died from the loss of blood. She required major dental work but she survived the episode."

Another danger is present if your dog is alone, but is in a crate or on a deck. This summer, a family returned home to find their dog dead on the back deck of their home. Apparently, the tags on the dog's collar had dropped between the slats of the deck and become caught. The dog, desperate to free himself, had spun and spun until he choked himself to death. Many dogs have died when, while in their crate, they have caught their collar on the crate and been hung.

Most dog owners are aware of the dangers presented by training or "choke" collars which can be made of chain or nylon. These collars can easily become caught on a fence or other obstacle, resulting in a dog that is marooned or strangled. NEVER leave a training collar on an unsupervised dog.

The lesson in all this: Use a training or "choke" collar only for walking your dog on a leash and leave that collar permanently attached to the leash. For identification purposes, use quick release collars. If you have more than one dog and the dogs are in the habit of wrestling with each other, do not leave them unattended wearing collars. (Naturally, dogs should never be left outdoors when their owners are not at home and they should be secure in the house without collars.) Keep the collar handy by the door which the dog uses so you can put it on him before he goes out.

Return to Dog Safety Main Page

This information is made available to you by the efforts of YGRR volunteers. To join them in helping our homeless Goldens, please consider becoming a member or making a donation.

Thank you.



Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1985.
Rescue and Adoption services for Golden Retrievers from the six New England states.
Address: P.O. Box 808, Hudson, MA 01749-0808
Hotline: 978-568-9700


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