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This article is proof that the collar you choose for your dog matters. See which types of dog collars are safe… and which ones are not!
In this photo, you can see that Destin is leary of approaching 2 of his favorite toys because they are a little too close for comfort to the floor vent — which had “attacked” him the day before. (More on that in a minute.)
It’s strange to see Destin so timid like this, because he absolutely loves that green Ninja Turtle toy. He carries it around everywhere. Then he’ll drop it out of his mouth, watch wherever it bounces to, and retrieve it — just to do it all over again. This is how he regularly plays with that green Ninja toy. It’s definitely one of his favorites.
What makes this picture doubly noteworthy is the fact that he also loves ice cubes! Ice is almost better than real dog treats to Destin.
Despite his love for that green Ninja head and that ice cube that’s melting right before his eyes, Destin is too scared to get much closer in order to retrieve them.
Notice the brown floor vent?
These pictures were taken the day after Destin had a really unusual mishap with that floor vent.
Destin’s dog collar and ID tags got caught in that floor register!
How It Happened…
We were outside grilling when we suddenly heard a loud banging noise in the kitchen.
I ran inside and found our dog with that entire floor register attached to his head! (I couldn’t tell how, but it was.)
This made him start jerking his head back and forth trying to get the floor register off of him. As a result, the metal floor register kept banging into the wall, the floor-level cabinets, and a bench that we have near the door in the kitchen.
As it turned out, Destin’s dog tag (which dangles from his collar) is what got caught in between the slots in the floor vent.
It must’ve happened when he leaned down to sniff at something on the floor near the vent — like a bug… or a piece of food… or whatever else caught his attention at the time.
At first, I thought his tongue was caught in the floor register, and I immediately remembered the story of the dog that got its tongue caught in a paper shredder.
Luckily, Destin’s tongue was not involved. It was simply his dog tag (attached to his collar) that had slipped in between the open vents of the floor register. And when he lifted his head up, the rectangular dog tag had turned slightly so it wouldn’t come back through the vent in the same way that it went in.
Unfortunately, Destin found himself entangled — at the neck — to an odd shaped, slightly heavy, metal floor register.
How pitifully sad it was to see our dog trapped in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. I’m glad I was there to calm him down and remove the floor register from his neck.
As soon as I realized what was happening, I was able to hold the floor register still while turning the dog tag just enough to slip it back through the slots in the vent.
He was free!
Yes, Dangling Dog Tags Can Pose A Danger
The next day, when I snapped these pictures I saw how differently Destin reacted as he got near that floor register again.
It reminded me of just how serious this situation was, and how damaging it could have been.
Imagine if no one was home at the time to free Destin from the floor register:
- Some dogs might become so stressed out that they could panic and ultimately hyperventilate.
- Others might freak out and start charging through the house in an attempt to get away from the thing — all the while, banging into things along the way.
- If the dog went under a chair or around a stair banister or anything else with edges and protruding parts, such objects could “catch” on the protruding floor vent and, effectively, trap the dog.
- Worst of all, any one of these scenarios could cause the collar itself to become tightened around the dog’s neck — and the dog could ultimately suffocate.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize that these are all highly unpredictable worse-case scenarios, but they are indeed things that could actually happen.
My aim here is simply to remind you, as a fellow dog lover, to pay attention to your dog’s world and all of the things that are at your dog’s eye level. Your dog could — accidentally or on purpose — interact with anything in his path and cause injury or harm to himself or others.
Another Close Call We Had With A Different Type Of Dog Collar…
Related to this floor register incident, Destin later experienced another scary incident that involved his dog collar.
This time, it was a different type of collar:
- As a young puppy, Destin always wore a dog collar with a snap clip closure like the one described in the incident above. (Here’s another example.)
- As an adult dog, he used to wear a part nylon / part chain dog collar. (We later switched to a solid nylon dog collar with a snap closure — for the reasons you are about to read.)
One downside of the part nylon/part chain type of dog collars is the fact that they hang looser around the dog’s neck. (Which of course is a good thing for the dog’s comfort level, but not necessarily for the dog’s safety.)
While riding around in our Jeep Wrangler one day, with Destin buckled into the rear seatbelt and wearing a dog harness, I glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed that he was “caught” in some way near the rear window of the Jeep.
Terrified, I immediately pulled over and checked to see what was going on.
The metal loop on Destin’s collar had gotten hung up on a 1-inch metal piece that holds the Jeep soft top in place. It’s not sharp, it simply juts out a bit and my dog’s collar momentarily got caught on it!
When I noticed it, he was just starting to panic a bit, and he was tugging hard to pull away from whatever had his neck. He was silent, and he didn’t have much room to thrash around — so it wasn’t very obvious to me that something was wrong.
Had I not removed the loop on his dog collar myself, Destin could have strangled himself — especially since it was a choke-chain type of collar that he was wearing at the time. (Again, we don’t use these types of dog collars anymore.)
Must read: Dog Collars Can Strangle Dogs While Playing
2 Takeaways From These Dog Collar Mishaps:
#1 – Choose a dog collar without any loose, open areas around your dog’s neck that could catch on things (…or use a breakaway collar).
#2 – Choose a dog ID tag that doesn’t dangle from the collar itself (…or use a breakaway collar with traditional dog tags).
By the way, did you know that you don’t have to attach your dog’s rabies tag to your dog’s collar? I haven’t for years — because I can’t stand the jingle jangle noise all day long whenever my dog moves around. (I work from home.)
So yes, while the rabies vaccination is required in most states, the rabies tag itself is not.
That said, my vet says that he legally has to give me one — and charge me $1.50 for it each time — boo! (Even though we get the 3-year rabies shot.) But he said we really only need to show the paperwork itself if there’s ever a question — or when boarding, traveling, etc. You don’t actually need the rabies tag itself.
Safer Types Of Dog Collars & Dog ID Tags
Here are a few good examples of dog collars and pet ID tags that are safer than most:
Breakaway Quick-Release Dog Collars – these prevent dog strangulation by “unbuckling” themselves whenever pressure is applied to the collar. Breakaway collars are great for those who want their dog to wear ID tags at all times (when home alone, on walks, in the car, etc). The collar automatically releases from your dog’s neck if it should happen to get caught on something… or if your dog’s tags which are attached to the collar should get caught on something. BONUS: When this collar is attached to your dog’s leash using the 2 D-rings, it will NOT automatically unbuckle itself — which is great!)
EzyDog Convert Harness – this one’s on my wish list for hiking, long neighborhood walks, and car trips. I like how durable it is — and I’m not crazy about leading a dog around by their neck. The traffic handle on this dog harness is a huge bonus! There are lots of other types of dog harnesses as well, but the EzyDog harness has been consistently highly rated for years.
More Ways To Make Your Dog’s World Safer
- Best Dog-Proof Trash Cans
- How To Dog Proof Your Yard
- Do These Things Now To Protect Your Dog At Home & On The Road
- Little Known Facts About Puppyproofing Your House
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I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.