Your dog's collar is important to his safety and wellbeing. It might contain his name and contact information, in case he ever runs off or gets lost, or even a GPS tracker. But, under certain circumstances, that collar can also be detrimental to his safety. Some experts suggest a breakaway collar instead. What is a breakaway collar, and what are its advantages and disadvantages? Let's take a look:
What Is a Breakaway Collar?
Most collars are designed to stay in place once they're put on. Many have belt buckle designs, which allow you to adjust the size according to the hole's in the collar. They're great for dogs who live an active lifestyle and are prone to getting out of their collars or losing them.
However, if your dog's collar gets caught on something, such as a tree branch, it can cause a safety hazard. The more he struggles to get away, the more he could find himself choked by his own collar. And unfortunately, the belt buckle style that keeps the collar in place, also makes it difficult to remove, particularly in an emergency, when the dog is struggling.
A breakaway collar has a quick release fastener that allows you to remove it quickly when you need to. Just squeeze the two tabs at the buckle, and it releases immediately, freeing your pet from whatever was trapping them.
Pros and Cons of Breakaway Collars
The major advantage of a breakaway collar is, of course, safety. No matter how well a collar fits, it still has the potential to get caught on something and cause your pet to choke. Particularly if he gets into a scrap with another animal, the collar can get caught in his jaws. Or, when scratching, your dog could get his paw caught underneath the collar and be unable to dislodge it, which could end up causing injury. The longer and more cumbersome it is to get the collar off in a key moment of crisis, the more your dog's safety is in jeopardy.
However, there are problems with the breakaway collar as well. First, the fact that it's easier to take off means it's also easier to lose. Your dog might release the catch accidentally, potentially leaving him without identification or tracking in a strange place.
Additionally, breakaway collars still pose many of the other risks that regular collars do. They can still cause neck injuries if they pull against your pup while he’s on his leash. It can also cause skin irritation over time.
Fortunately, there are solutions to these issues. Skin irritation can be greatly reduced by making sure the collar fits your dog well and isn't too tight or too loose. Breakaway collars have a slightly different sizing mechanism from regular, belt buckle collars, but they can still be adjusted to fit snugly.
As for neck injuries, one solution Is a body harness that attaches to your dog’s leash instead of the collar. That way, if he pulls away, it doesn't put pressure on his sensitive neck, but on the chest, which is a lot stronger.
If you're worried that your dog might get into a tight spot and not be able to get out, then a breakaway collar is a helpful solution. It's not perfect, but there are things you can do to mitigate the problems, and in a pinch, it might be the best option for keeping him out of harm's way.