Choosing the Right Harness or Collar For Your Pet
Submitted by Melissa Kilpatrick,Customer Service RepresentativeCaseVeterinaryHospital
As a receptionist at CaseVeterinaryHospital, I help clients choose the right collar for their pet. Last week we discussed different harnesses and this week we will concentrate on collars. We carry the Lupine line of products at our hospital as our clients have appreciated the 100% guarantee they offer, even if your pet chews through the material. The following are different types of collars:
1. Many people choose to use a traditional cloth or woven collar and this works just fine for most pets. Care should be taken to ensure that there is the right fit and one should use caution as the pet may slip out of the collar which could be dangerous.
2. Some dog breeds such as Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, and Whippets require special collars because of the size and shape of their necks and heads. A Martingale collar is most often used with these breeds of dogs. With this type of collar there is a loop around the neck with 2 D-rings and another loop of fabric going through these with a D-ring on it. The collar attaches to the single D-ring and when the leash is pulled a slight, non choking pressure is applied until the leash is released. With this the dog is unable to pull his head out of the collar ensuring safety.
3. The Combo Collar that Lupine offers is very similar to a Martingale collar but offers two D-rings on the second piece which allows the option of using the collar in a traditional method.
4. Some owners choose to use a â€˜choke chainâ€™ collar. This is a metal chain with two larger rings on the ends that loops over your dogâ€™s neck and the leash attaches to one of the larger rings. There is always a slack in the collar unless the leash is pulled. Some pets do very well with this type of collar but there is still a potential for them to slip out or choke themselves if pulled too hard. This collar is not one we carry and is not advocated by our trainers or our veterinarians.
5. Another popular type of collar, especially with big, powerful breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, etc. is the metal â€˜pinchâ€™ or â€˜prongâ€™ collar. This type of collar has blunt ended prongs that push into the petâ€™s neck when pressure is applied with the lease. While some owners feel this is the best control option for their pet, this type of collar can cause damage to nerves in the petâ€™s neck and potentially cause paralysis if not adjusted or used properly. We do not advocate this type of collar and do not sell them at our hospital.
For leashes, we offer the popular Flexi brand retractable leashes with varying lengths and Lupine woven leashes in 4 ft or 6 ft lengths. Others use loop leashes that simply loop through a D-ring and go over the petâ€™s neck allowing for no need in a collar; some also choose to use the metal chain length leashes that usually have a cloth or leather handle and clip to the collar.
When it comes to leashes, it is best to consider when and what you will be using them for. If you are training your pet, have a child that will be walking the pet, or have a pet that becomes aggressive when leashed or with other animals it would probably be best to use a shorter leash with a 2 or 4 foot length. If you choose to use a retractable leash there are some courtesies one should remember. These not only show how well behaved and trained your pet is but can keep them safe in some situations.
When running or walking in your yard, neighborhood, or an area you know it is okay to let your pet pull the full length of the leash as long as the area is not heavily congested with other people or pets. If you are in a park or walking path during a peak time or that is always busy, you should monitor your petâ€™s distance to be sure your are allowing others plenty of room and keep him or her from getting stepped on or tripped over by someone that may be running. When you are at your veterinarianâ€™s office, a store, or function that allows pets and you know you will be distracted by checking out, shopping, or networking, itâ€™s safer to not let your pet walk at the full length of their retractable leashes. If there is an aggressive pet that enters the area then there is the potential for your pet to be attacked. If your pet was to become excited by another animal or person they could slip out of their collar and out an open door into a busy parking lot or street and potentially get run over. Neither of these situations are something any pet owner would want to happen.
Being armed with the knowledge of what products are out there and what your pets needs are puts you one step ahead in finding the perfect fit. Just remember that as your pet gets older or your situation changes, your leash/harness/collar needs may change as well. If you feel confused or just arenâ€™t sure, itâ€™s never a bad idea to check with your veterinary professional!