I’m back from my trip, and was all ready to write a clever blog about by dog adventures in sunny Spain…but tragedy intervened.
Today I received a call from a dear client whose two dogs come so frequently to my kennel, that we all consider them family here. They are litter mates and inseparable. Cared for to the Nth degree, by an owner who is so careful and conscientious as to make all of us blush in shame.
Her call today, however, was to tell me that one of her two beloved dogs died tragically last week, after her collar became entangled in her brother’s mouth while playing. It was an innocent game of wrestling and running. One minute they were cavorting and having fun, and the next, the male’s jaw and canine tooth were embedded in his sister’s collar and he panicked to get loose. In the sudden fracas, his sister’s neck was broken. She was dead. It took only seconds.
Here at my kennel, sure we remove all collars before dogs are allowed to play together, because I had heard that this sort of “freak” accident could occur. But when I learned today that the dog watcher overseeing these two dogs had had a similar incident with two of her dogs, AND that the vet who was consulted after this tragedy had also had a similar incident with her two dogs…AND when I recalled that one of my own friends found her two dogs entwined by their collars last year, I realized that this was NOT a “freak” accident at all, but a VERY REAL RISK to ALL households with more than one dog! A message of collar safety MUST get out to the dog owning public who are dangerously unaware of the risk in their midst.
Any collar, other than a break-away style, is a potential death trap for a dog when he or she lives and plays with other collared dogs. Normal playing and mouthing can result in one dog’s lower jaw becoming twisted and/or entangled in another dog’s collar. Efforts to break free from a normal collar are futile, and can cause further damage – commonly strangulation or as in this case, a broken neck.
Break-away collars ARE available on the market. I did some research today. They are designed to stay on the dog in normal circumstances, but to break open if subjected to unusual pressure. THESE are the collars that dogs should be wearing if they are part of a multi-dog family. For walks in public places, go ahead and use a different style of collar that cannot break apart under the pressure of your leash…but for everyday living and playing, especially while unsupervised, a break-away collar is the ONLY safe option.
Breakaway collars are available through a variety of outlets, including Amazon.com and SitStay.com and range from $14.25 to $16.00.