Home Dog Supplies How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

Dog collars have a few purposes, but their main job is to provide a way for you to easily restrain your pet. If the collar is too loose, it will side right over Fido's head. If it's too tight, it will choke him and could cause damage to his neck/throat. How tight should a dog collar be?

Dog collars are a small and cheap piece of essential dog supplies. They may not seem very important, but it's crucial to have a quality collar for your pooch. They make it easy to identify your dog in case you lose him, or to restrain him in the event of an emergency. Without a dog collar you'd have to pull on his neck, causing pain and possible injury.

There are thousands of dog collars to choose from, but which is right for your Fido? The collar that you choose for your dog is mostly up to you and your preferences. Of course, you need to take your pet's comfort into consideration too.

When shopping for the perfect dog collar, there are several criteria that you should be looking for, including:

  • durability
  • ease of adjustment and use
  • ability to stay put when adjusted
  • comfort
  • appearance
  • price

Picking the right collar is just the first step. Once you get the collar, you'll need to know how tight should a dog collar be. In this guide, I'll describe how to properly fit a collar and how to tell if it's too tight.

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?Measure Your Dog's Neck Size

Before you can learn how to fit a dog collar properly, you need to make sure that you have one that will fit your pooch well. You'll need his neck measurement before you begin shopping for a new collar. The easiest way to find this information is by measuring his neck with a cloth tape measure.

All you have to do is wrap the tape measure around your dog's neck until it's snug against his fur but not too tight. Now, insert two fingers between the tape measure and your dog's neck. Your fingers should fit snugly in the space with the tape measure tightly pressed against them without choking your dog.

This measurement is the circumference of your dog's neck. You'll use this measurement to buy the appropriately sized dog collar. For example, my chocolate Labrador, Saddie, has a neck circumference of 18″. Let's say that there are three dog collar sizes available at my local pet store:

  • 14″-18″
  • 16″-20″
  • 18″-22″

The best choice for Saddie would be the 16″-20″ collar. The other two options do not leave much room for weight loss or gain. They might be too tight or too loose, and I wouldn't have the ability to adjust them any bigger/smaller.

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How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be on Your Pet?How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be on Your Pet?

You've chosen the right dog collar in the right size. Now, it's time to learn how to fit it properly around your dog's neck. It's actually very simple.

First, fit the dog collar around Fido's neck as best you can. Depending on the pet collar that you chose, you may have to slide a buckle to the correct notch or tighten an adjustable strap.

Once you think you have the right adjustment, use the two-finger measuring method that I explain in my video guide above. Slip two fingers between the collar and your dog's neck.

If you can't fit two fingers between them, the collar is too tight. If you can easily slide your fingers through and there is additional space, the collar is too loose.

Make the necessary adjustments until you can comfortably fit two fingers between the collar and your pup's neck. Remember that the collar may also loosen over time. Be sure to check it regularly using the two-finger rule. This is especially important for brand new collars that may stretch during the breaking-in period.

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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.