Putting identification tags on collars is the most classic way for others to know that your pup has a home somewhere in case he/she gets lost. It’s even more convenient that you can attach a leash onto it so you can walk him/her, but this convenience can have long-term health issues for your pup.
Through research, we’ve found that having a leash attached to your dog’s collar can increase the risk of your dog’s likelihood of injury. In fact, according to LabAdoption.org, 96% of veterinarians have reported seeing or heard of a collar-related injury or death within the last year their article.
In this blog post How Collars Can Lead to Health Issues in Your Dog, we'll go over what injuries and health issues your dog can get from wearing a collar!
Health hazards of Using Collars
Increased risk of neck and spinal injuries
This may not be so obvious to some, but your dog can experience neck and spinal injury from collars. One small tug while walking with its leash attached to its collar can dislocate or misalign a segment of the spine. According to Dr.Kaufman in this LabAdoption.com article, it only takes a weight of a dime to decrease a nerve’s function by 50%.
When dogs wear collars, it pushes right up against a vital hormone gland called the thyroid. If your dog pulls and tugs, it can irritate and inflame this gland. As a result, your dog’s immune system will start attacking the thyroid as a response to the inflammation. When this happens, your dog’s thyroid will stop making enough of the hormone thyroxine, which controls your dog’s metabolism. The lack of production of this hormone causes hypothyroidism in your dog.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, exercise intolerance, mental dullness, weight gain without change in appetite, obesity, cold intolerance, increased shedding or hair loss, thickening of the skin, and reproductive disturbances in intact dogs (American Kennel Club).
According to Pets.WebMD.com, there are certain breeds that are more prone to this common disease, such as, medium to larger breeds, such as golden retrievers, Doberman pinscher, Irish setters, dachshunds, boxers, and cocker spaniels.
Increased glaucoma risk
Glaucoma is a common eye condition where there is an insufficient drainage of fluid in the eye. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. It’s caused by increased intraocular pressure in the eye. A study done in the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that dogs that pulled with collar leashes on can actually increase the intraocular pressure of dogs’ eyes, making them more prone to glaucoma.
Can irritate a collapsed trachea
According to Pets.WebMD.com, a dog’s trachea is made up of strong, cartilage rings that transports air in and out of the dog’s lungs. However, sometimes, those rings collapse. This is called tracheal collapse. When air is being squeezed through the trachea, a honking cough - the most distinguishable symptom of a collapsed trachea - comes out. It’s most common in toy-breeds, particularly in Yorkies.
Despite popular belief, collars do not cause a collapsed trachea. It’s a genetic condition and how it started is unknown, but wearing a collar can certainly irritate it and make it worse for your pup by causing a coughing episode, especially if your dog pulls.
Alternatives to Collars
This whole blog post we’ve been telling you the dangers of a collar. You’re probably freaking out because you don’t want your dog to have any preventable health issues, and that’s understandable. But, luckily, there is an alternative to collars: harnesses.
According to Jan Reisen of the American Kennel Club, harnesses disperse the pressure around a bigger surface area as opposed to the pressure being concentrated in a small but vital area, like the neck. Other pros of the harness is that it gives you more control of your dog, discourages pulling, and reduces strain on the neck and back of your dog.
There are two different kinds of harnesses: the vest harness and strap harness.
The vest harness is typically made with soft material to make it comfortable for your pup to walk around. This harness is perfect for smaller dogs, especially the smaller dogs that pull, because of the softer material.
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These harnesses fit bigger dogs, too! Look at our pup rep, Paxton (@paxton_thegolden), rocking it down below!
The strap harness is perfect for any big dog. Because bigger dogs are stronger and have thicker skin, they have a higher pain tolerance and can endure the straps digging into them better than smaller dogs.
Although, the strap harness is also perfect for that smaller pup that does not pull!
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