Have you just bought your first dog? If so, it can be an exciting and adorable time – but there are so many accessories to purchase!
One of the most important ones is a reliable collar. It helps to identify your dog with ease, and makes going on walks or to the vet infinitely easier.
But what are the key characteristics to look for?
You’ll be delighted to know that the dog collars available to buy have exploded in recent years – and now, there’s much more to a purchase than practicality. You have countless designs to choose from, and some even contain luxurious padding to ensure your dog will always be in the utmost comfort.
It’s important to know the temperament of your beloved canine before you make a purchase, as well. If they’re constantly bounding round the place, tend to scratch and have a pendant for muddy puddles, there are certain features to look for which will increase the lifespan of the dog collar.
For the first purchase, it might be worth investing in a cheaper collar to see how the dog behaves.
For the first purchase, it might be worth investing in a cheaper collar to see how the dog behaves – and this way, you’ll also get accustomed to the technique of getting your pet ready for trips to the park.
These days, only a few manufacturers specialize solely in producing dog collars.
This isn’t a bad thing – but if they have a wider product portfolio, you get the added advantage of discounts – and it’s also guaranteed that any of the complementary items in their range will be fully compatible with the collar in terms of size.
Choosing the Right Dog Collar
Back in those days, reeds and ropes were used to keep frolicking canines under control – and we can’t even begin to imagine how uncomfortable this must have been for the dogs.
The one safety concern that you’ll want to bear in mind is the collar’s flexibility.
The one safety concern that you’ll want to bear in mind is the collar’s flexibility – and even a more rigid material, such as nylon, can guarantee this. We’ll explain why in our next section, when we explore some of the buying specifications you should always bear in mind.
Hundreds of great products have been manufactured in the USA, and there are several reasons why you should purchase one.
First off, you can rest assured of brilliant quality as soon as the collar comes out of the box – and even if there are a couple of issues with the product, this will easily be handled through the firm’s customer services department. Plus, if you’re an impatient soul (like us!) you won’t have to wait for the collar to be shipped halfway around the world – which can also cost an arm and a leg.
You’ll also be supporting local economies just like your own by supporting a “made in USA” manufacturer. It helps jobs to grow, confidence to grow, and means the workers in these collar factories have money to spend in your place of work. Sure – they might be a dollar or two pricier than foreign brands, but this is an investment in quality that’ll stand the test of time.
As you’ll soon learn, there’s also a lot of science that goes into producing a dog collar – and it’s like revisiting your physics lessons from school!
Tensile strength helps companies to determine how much wear and tear a collar can handle before it snaps.
Dog Collar Buying Specifications
How many sizes are available?
If you buy the wrong-sized dog collar, you’re not guaranteed a refund or replacement, as it’s at the manufacturer’s discretion to offer one. That’s why it is important to measure the circumference of your dog's neck accurately the first time around – and we’re going to show you exactly how.
First up, you’ll need a measuring tape that’s made out of cloth – as a plastic one will be a nightmare to use, and will more often than not deliver an inaccurate result. When your dog is feeling calm (and not particularly boisterous), run the tape around their neck, and find out how many inches it is.
According to many dog care experts, it is best practice to ensure you can fit two fingers between the collar when you take the measurement.
According to many dog care experts, it is best practice to ensure you can fit two fingers between the collar when you take the measurement. But some manufacturers say this isn’t necessary, and instead, just add 2″ as a rule of thumb.
Given that most collars on the marketplace do come with adjustable straps, and several holes which allow you to decide the best fit, you’ll soon find the perfect fit for your dog.
Most manufacturers offer their collars in five to eight sizes – ranging from extra small to extra large. This will be accompanied by the measurements, in inches, of the necks they’re designed for.
Although going for a more specific collar might seem like a good idea, you should opt for a brand which covers a wider range of lengths – and that’s because it becomes easier to use the same collar if your dog has a growth spurt.
Does it boast stainless steel hardware?
This is a great feature to look out for, not least because it can be a solid indication of whether the collar has been sturdily built.
Collars with plastic buckles can be more susceptible to breaking over time, especially if you end up having to apply some pressure on it while you’re walking your dog on a leash. The difference in cost between stainless steel and plastic hardware is negligible – and another good material to consider, offered by some of the more high-end manufacturers, is brass.
You’ll need a roller buckle and a D-ring swivel clip, allowing you to securely attach leashes and harnesses whenever necessary.
There are several things you should rightly expect from the hardware. First up, you’ll need a roller buckle and a D-ring swivel clip, allowing you to securely attach leashes and harnesses whenever necessary.
The one thing you’ll need to be careful about is ensuring that your dog’s fur doesn’t get caught up in the various clasps, but most collars have been carefully designed to eliminate any risk of this happening.
Let’s explore some of the other advantages you’ll enjoy from stainless steel hardware. First up, it won’t rust over time – and when it comes to how long it’ll last, you’re talking years instead of months.
Better still, the hardware also means that the collar becomes easier to clean – and all you need is a wet cloth to make sure it’s as good as new. Steel prevents the proliferation of bacteria and mold, not to mention that pesky “wet dog” odor that can make you regret getting a dog in the first place!
The last – and most obvious – benefit to stainless steel hardware is that it looks good. Let’s be honest, it’s got far more of a refined touch than black plastic ever can!
Is there a reflective layer for added safety?
But one major flaw, and this is for obvious reasons, is that such collars don’t contain batteries – which means that you’re left with a hefty bill to purchase a brand-new one afterwards.
A much more sensible approach to take when making your purchase is choosing a collar which offers a reflective layer. Some manufacturers use brightly-colored neon strips made by well-known brands such as 3M – with eye-catching colors including hot pink, neon orange and blue available for your consideration.
Better still, many of these collars are completely waterproof, which means that you’ll be able to wipe away any dirt (and excess food!) with a damp towel in no time.
Better still, many of these collars are completely waterproof, which means that you’ll be able to wipe away any dirt (and excess food!) with a damp towel in no time. It’s probably the type of collar which requires the least maintenance of them all.
These luminescent collars come into their own when you’re walking your dog late at night, and could prove especially beneficial during those long winter nights. When your pet is wearing one, the collar will flash up in the eyes of motorists, helping them to adjust their driving accordingly.
Now, nobody likes to think of such a scenario, but a reflective strap can also be a brilliant idea if your dog has a tendency to run away from home. If they become lost overnight, not only will they be easier to find with a searchlight, but it can help to keep them safe.
According to recent research which was conducted by the Blue Cross charity, Labrador retrievers are most likely to run away – along with cocker spaniels and Jack Russells. Own one? Get ordering now, we say!
Can you get a matching leash?
Although all manufacturers will give you the option to purchase a collar individually, buying a matching leash can be a fantastic way to make sure that your pampered pooch is well coordinated in the fashion department.
By buying them together in a combination – something which most websites offer – you can save yourself a bit of money too, and that’s never a bad thing. Check to see if there are any multi-buy deals available that’ll save you some coin.
These days, there are some truly eye-catching designs which will make your dog stand out from the crowd.
These days, there are some truly eye-catching designs which will make your dog stand out from the crowd. If you’re feeling patriotic, you could opt for a collar which has been adorned with the American flag – or one that has a solid color in the background (such as fuchsia or chocolate) with another bright shade in contrast.
If you want a zoological theme, it’s even possible to get collars with zebra and snakeskin patterns – but if you’re a traditionalist, paws might just do the trick.
You shouldn’t just choose a leash because it matches your dog’s collar. Buying a leash is something that needs a great deal of thought, especially if you’re training a puppy with regular walks for the first time.
It’s also possible that the leash will be missing out on some really useful features, such as being retractable, or being split in several directions so you can walk two dogs at the same time.
As such, be sure to keep an open mind with this specification – it’s by no means a deal-breaker. Your main concern as a loving pet owner should be making sure that it’s a heavy-duty leash that won’t let you down, especially if you live in an urban area.
Is this dog collar washable?
Ah… that “wet dog” smell. It’s something that we’ve touched upon extensively in previous sections – and as you and your dog become well acquainted, you’ll soon realize that keeping that odor under control is the main battle for your household.
However, many manufacturers have tagged onto this – and have begun to offer collars which are completely machine washable. Detailed instructions on which temperature settings to use are included, too.
The collar should have been rigorously tested in such conditions to make sure that it doesn’t lose its shape or resilience.
The collar should have been rigorously tested in such conditions to make sure that it doesn’t lose its shape or resilience – as there’s little point in having a clean collar that’s been structurally weakened.
There are other tests for making sure that your dog collar is durable, too. First off, you’ll want to guarantee that no amount of your pet’s scratching can shred the collar over time.
Also, one downside of including products which have been designed using garish colors is that they can begin to run when they come into contact with water.
Most brands which claim to offer a machine washable collar also ensure that it’ll protect your dog against unpleasant dust mites which can cause extreme irritation to their skin. Antibacterial and antimicrobial properties will additionally prevent the color from becoming a health risk for your dog and family over time.
But, all of these specifications aside, it’s your dog’s comfort that should be your number one priority. And unfortunately, there are very few reviews out there where a canine can give us their own personal opinion of the collars they wear! As long as the padding which lines the inside is soft, and you’ve got the sizing right, you’ll be onto a great product that’ll go the distance.
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