How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

Last Updated on December 28, 2021 Ashley Camelia

If you are an animal person, there are high chances that you have a pet in your home. We, when it comes to pets, you are either a dog person or a cat person. Well, the dogs are our favorite not only because they become the shining armor but they are highly loyal and caring as well. As a pet owner, you want to ensure the ultimate protection of your pups and dogs.

For that, you need to use dog collars as they are important for keeping your dog safe and sound. Whenever the dog is leaving your house, they need to wear dog collars as collars are their identity. However, most pet owners leave the dog collars on a continuous basis because it adds a touch of security to their dogs.

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be

But whenever choosing the best dog collars, owners usually have an issue deciding how tight a dog collar should be. On the contrary, some pet owners don’t believe in using dog collars because they think their dogs are well-trained. Well, it’s not true because no matter how trained the dog is, it will always have a rebellious personality. The dog collars ensure that your pet is well-contained.

But one thing that pet owners don’t understand is that dog collars are only effective if they fit perfectly. In addition, these collars should suit the personality and needs of your dog.

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In this article, we have shared a comprehensive guide to help you choose the fitted dog collar and decide much fitting is essential. So, if you have a dog with a need for a collar, read up already!

Some Fine Lines

Whenever you are deciding the dog collar, you need to consider the loose or snug-fitting because there is a fine line between them which people tend to blur out. The collar needs to fit enough, so your dog doesn’t wiggle his way out. Similarly, it shouldn’t be too tight that it causes pain and injuries to your beloved dog.

It is highly essential to consider the side effects because accessories can be dangerous for your dog. If you look at stats, injuries caused by the improper collar or ineffective fitting are so spiked up that you can ever imagine. With all this in mind, everyone asks the same question:-


How Tight Should A Dog Collar Be? – Finding the Perfectly Fitting Collar

Before investing your hard-earned money in a dog collar, you need to make sure it fits your dog perfectly. For that, you need to have accurate measurements to ensure it’s well-suited for your dog. It is essential to note that every dog is different and so are their neck measurements.

For instance, if you have two dogs of the same breed, their neck measurements will be different.

The differences in measurement depend upon the dog’s weight and lifestyle. It is better that you don’t play the guessing game and use the tape measure to take exact measurements. You can use the tape measure to measure the dog’s neck. You can simply wrap the tape measure around the dog’s neck and make sure you are taking measurements from different points to ensure accurate measurement. While deciding the measurement, try to focus on the lower part of the neck because that’s wearing your dog’s going to wear a collar.


What Affects the Dog Collar Size?

While you are measuring the dog collar size, you need to think about the force of gravity. For instance, the force of gravity will slide down the neck to hit the shoulders. For instance, if you have a dog, you can use a free piece of fabric or string to measure the size of the neck. This technique can be used if you don’t have a tape measure. So, after measuring the fabric or string, measure it with a standard ruler to get the numbers.

This way, you will be able to measure the neck circumference of the dog but you need to measure the thickness as well. For instance, if you have a bulldog or pug, they have shorter necks which only need thin collars. Likewise, if you use a thick collar for your pug or bulldog, it will be comfortable to wear while walking.

But for measuring the width, there is no technique and you will need to play the guessing game here. So, just look at your dog and guess if your dog will be comfortable in the thick or thin collar. On average, thin collars are comfortable for overweight dogs that have smaller necks or if they are small themselves. There are different sizes of collars in the market that are designed to match the needs of different breeds.

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Commonly, small, medium and average sizes are available in the market. However, with the brand, the collar size will vary in small variations. Yes, this works similarly to the clothing brands’ work. The size tag might be small but the measurements might be for a medium collar if you are using a different brand. You can different measurements of collars but make sure it’s a bit larger than the dog’s preferences.


Two-Finger Trick

Once you have found the perfect dog collar, put it around your dog’s neck and do the two-finger trick. So, take the collar and secure it around the dog’s neck and make sure there is some room for moving the collar. In other words, the collar shouldn’t be pressed on the neck. One reason that people opt for a bit larger collar is that the collar can be made tight but you cannot add extra material to a small collar.

After securing the collar around the neck, slide in two fingers behind the collar and against the neck. If there is some snugging, the size is perfect but make sure you aren’t forcing your fingers inside the collar. It is simple that if you need to force the fingers inside, the measurements are tight. Also, you need to check if the collar is slipping over the head by sliding it a bit up.

If you have a husky, you need to be careful because, in multiple instances, they have slipped out of their collars. In other words, if the collar is loose enough that it goes past the ears, you need a tighter grip.


Are Collars The Only Option?

Well no, collars aren’t the only option because there are multiple alternatives to the dog collars. For instance, some pet owners are looking for a harness instead of using a collar. The harnesses are wrapped around the body which provides enhanced security and protection. The harnesses are suitable for pups who slide out of the collars, heavy pullers, or dogs with fat necks.

If your dog is fluffy, you can opt for a harness because if you opt for collars, they seem pretty tighter as they really are and your bundle of fluff will be out of it before you know it. On average, harnesses are more beneficial as compared to traditional collars. The best part of harnesses is that there are no choking problems in harnesses.

There are times when you use the tight (in your opinion, the perfect fit) can lead to choking because dogs tend to pull up. In addition, the tightening of collars will lead to multiple issues. In contrast, the harnesses will not wrap around the neck and the pressure is exerted on the dog’s chest. All the straps are wrapped around the dog’s body, back, and under the legs.

These accessories are a great way to ensure your dog is behaving nicely and is not involved in unauthorized activities. For instance, using the harness on the dog will put pressure on them when doing something they aren’t supposed to. The pressure will be applied to the body & chest and in the case of the dog collar, the pressure is implied on the neck and the dog will stop its activity immediately. In other words, these accessories promise control over the dog.

However, you also need to consider the optimal fitting of the harness in addition to the collar. If your dog is relaxed, you can loosen the harness but the multiple straps will keep the dogs secure and they won’t be able to run away. The two-finger trick can be used on collars as well as harnesses.

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The Importance of Using the Fitted Collar for Your Dog

From the above-mentioned section, you must have a clear idea that dog collars need to be comfortable and safe to wear. However, if you don’t ensure safety and comfort, it can lead to multiple issues in dogs, such as;

Neck Injuries

The neck injuries can be highly risky and are caused if the dog is jerking suddenly in one direction or if the dog collar is too tight for them. The neck issues are usually minor and can cause pain in the neck muscles. The symptom of a neck issue in a dog is coughing because they will have difficulty in breathing. The issue might be minor at the start but if you don’t loosen up the collar, it can lead to advanced complications. For instance, it can impact glands and tissues around the neck. In some cases, it has also caused a neck bone fracture.


Well, this is pretty obvious because if your dog is fond of running around, they might get their collar stuck in something. They won’t stop running and the increasing tightness will lead to choking. On the contrary, your dog might get strangled with a leash. The collars can get stuck on tree branches, posts, or fences because dogs are fond of jumping and running around.

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Mouth & Leg Injuries

You need to ensure that the dog collar is fitted according to the daily activities of the dogs. For instance, the injuries caused by loose collars are increasing, imagine that your dog is licking themselves and their mouth gets stuck in the collar, it will leave bruises on their face. Also, they may lose their teeth to breaking and cutting the mouth.

On the other hand, if your dog is enjoying the scratching session, they might stick their foot in the collar. This can lead to stumbling and they might also break the limb while trying their best to get free from the collar.

Skin Irritation

If the collar is too tight, it can lead to skin irritation. Some people think that the edges of the collar aren’t that damaging. But little do you know that edge can cause cuts, hair loss, and rashes in extreme cases. If there are some skin irritations on your dog’s neck, consider changing the fitting.



1. When is it too tight?

The collar can either be too loose or too tight. The tight-fitting can be more dangerous as compared to loose-fitting. For instance, you need to consider if the dog is still growing. In this case, opt for a collar that has multiple fitting levels.  Also, sometimes the dogs will try to take off their collar which can lead to choking or an uncomfortable experience.

If there are fitting issues, your dog will show symptoms. Some dogs start vomiting or coughing while some just lay aside to see what suits them. These are extremely strange behaviors and you need to check if your dog’s having difficulty with the fitting.

2. When is it too loose?

Some people have a misconception that loose collars aren’t going to do any harm. For instance, the loose dog collar can be lead to red and itchy skin. Also, your dog will always be irritated. You can just apply the two-finger trick. If more than two forces can be added, the collar is too loose for the dog.

3. What is the cost of a dog collar?

There is no rule of thumb for the price of a dog collar. First of all, the price depends on the brand and type of collar; electric or simple. Then, the factors like size, quality, adjustability, and materials will help determine the cost as well. The leather collars are of high quality and will charge more. On the other hand, polyester or nylon collars will be cheap because the material isn’t much high-quality.

4. How to properly measure your dog’s neck?

While you are choosing the dog collar for your dog, you can use the tape measure to get the exact measurements. You can use the standard ruler as well by measuring from the piece of fabric or string. However, once you have bought the collar, you can use the two-finger technique to see if it settles with your dog’s neck adequately.

5. Does the collar width matter?

There are different lengths available in the market for dog collars but little do you know that there are different widths as well. The thick collars are designed for strong dogs as they provide excessive support by reducing pressure on the neck. However, the thick collars cannot be used for small dogs because they are heavy in weight!



All in all, the dog’s collar should not be loose or tight, the fitting needs to be moderate. The moderate fit will promise protection without causing any irritation or injury. In the end, it is advised to consult the dog’s vet to see what his/her right fit will be. You can also ask them if your dog needs a harness or a collar. So, best of luck!