A lot of people have questions about when, how, and how long they should leave their dog’s collar on. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to these questions. The answer will depend on your dog’s size, body type, breed, personality, and environment. Let's start by asking the question, "Can I leave my dog’s collar on all the time?"
First, you should consider whether or not your dog needs to wearing a collar yet. If your dog is still a small puppy and hasn't received all of their shots yet, they should be indoors at all times because they're still vulnerable to exposure. Therefore, a collar is not necessary. Meanwhile, puppies will need an indoor potty solution like DoggieLawn. It's a patch of real grass delivered to your door. This is something that all puppies will need anyway until they are successfully potty trained. The hydroponic grass absorbs urine and urine odor so it's a helpful and eco-friendly alternative to pee pads. You can use THIS LINK to share it with a friend!
If your dog does spend a lot of time outdoors, there are probably a several dozen situations in which a dog would normally wear a collar but might temporarily go without one. The questions you should probably ask yourself are:
Does the collar pose a threat to the animal’s safety?
To answer this question, you'll have to examine your dog’s environment and the ways he or she interacts with it. If your animal spends a lot of time outside on their own, there is a chance of may get caught on things like branches and fences. Generally, this is only a concern for indoor/outdoor cats who do a lot of climbing and running through bushes. A more common situation for roaming outdoor dogs is jumping over or digging under fences. If this is typical of your dog's behavior, you might want to fit them with a harness instead of a collar. Harnesses are less dangerous when they get caught on things and you can still attach identification to them. If you feel the need to keep your dog in a collar at all times, there are a number of different products that can make doing so safer for your animal. There are many dog collars on the market that will break away if caught on a fence, branch, or gate to prevent your dog from choking.
Is my dog allergic to the material the collar is made from?
Most of the time, this can be addressed by purchasing a high-quality collar that’s made out of hypoallergenic material. If your pup has been wearing the collar for a while and you notice irritation, take it off long enough for the condition to subside, and then fit them with a hypoallergenic collar. If the irritation returns, your doggo's skin might be a little too sensitive to wear a collar continuously.
Does the collar interfere with my pup’s sleep?
If the collar interferes with your dog’s sleep, it could be due to it not fitting comfortably. Consider choosing a collar with a narrower band, using a harness, or foregoing a collar altogether. If you're concerned about taking them for a walk at night or early in the morning but the trouble of putting on a collar cuts into precious sleeping time, consider having a DoggieLawn in your home or on your patio. It's a patch of real grass for dogs that gets delivered to your doorstep. This way your dog doesn't need to go outside in the middle of the night. Not only will a collar be unnecessary, you and your dog can both squeeze in some extra ZZZs.
Is the collar necessary?
If you’re having a hard time getting your dog to accept a collar, you might consider whether or not it is really necessary. If there’s a high probability that your dog will escape or get lost, you probably need a collar so that they can wear an ID at all times. But if your dog is still a puppy, and primarily using their DoggieLawn pet potty grass instead of going out to handle their business, then they won't necessarily need to wear a collar.
Have I chosen the right collar for my puppy?
Finally, if you're set on keeping your best friend in a collar all the time then you'll need to figure out whether or not you have chosen the best collar for them. Is it comfortable? Is your dog allergic to any materials? Does your dog’s personality suit constant collar wearing? If you’ve tried a variety of collars and none seem to be working for your dog, then you’re probably wondering whether or not you’re infringing on the dog’s quality of life by trying to make them wear one.
We should address situations where the animal may need to wear a collar for a prolonged period of time. One such situation might be when you take your dog along with you on a camping trip. Another would be staying in a kennel while you're on vacation. If you anticipate events like these or you've decided your dog must be collared at all times, then collar habituation training may be necessary.
Whether you decide to use a collar full time or not, you can always use a collar to indicate to your pup that it’s time to go for a walk. This is an especially helpful habit to start when they are young--they'll learn to be eager about putting on a collar at least for the duration of the walk.
Finally, dog owners should reconsider frilly or decorative collars--are your intentions to make your dog look cute in a fancy collar or is it actually for the benefit of the dog? It's understandable to want your dog to keep their collar on at night for both safety and convenience reasons. However, it's our job as dog owners to make sure we choose a collar that is the best fit for them and not us.
Deciding whether or not to collar your dog and when, is a decision that is going to depend on you, your dog, and your lifestyle together. Taking the dog’s preference into consideration as much as possible is important if you care about his or her quality of life. Just keep in mind that happy dogs are the cutest and most loving dogs.