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News Article

Dog collars: study explores risk of neck injury

Collars have the potential to cause harm when the dog pulls on the lead

Collars risk causing neck injuries in dogs as they pull on the lead or the lead is jerked by the owner. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham looked at the potential impact of pulling on the lead and the related pressure on the neck, using a variety of collar-types and styles. Their findings are published in Veterinary Record.

Seven collars and a slip lead were tested on a canine cylinder neck model with a pressure sensor. A range of forces were applied to the lead representing different interactions – a firm pull (40 Newtons) strong pull (70 N) and a jerk (141 N) – with the contact area of the collar and the pressure on the neck being recorded.

The study found that with all the collar types and styles tested – even those that were padded or had a wide fitting – the pressure exerted on the model neck would be sufficient to risk injury to the dog.

No single collar tested provided a pressure considered low enough to reduce the risk of injury when pulling on the lead, the researchers found.

Lead jerks on the collar may occur when dogs on extendable leads abruptly come to a stop, when a dog lunges on a lead, or is ‘corrected’ by the handler.

The researchers argue that as all collar types will pose some risk, dogs should be trained to walk on a loose lead without pulling, or walked using a harness which applies no pressure to the neck.

“All types of dog collar have the potential to cause harm when the dog pulls on the lead,” said Dr Anne Carter, a researcher in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

She said: “While collars provide a means to identify a dog or demonstrate ownership, they are also frequently used as a connection between handler and dog and to facilitate control, restraint or movement.

“Even the ‘best’ type of collar is putting too much pressure on the dog’s neck if they pull on the lead and this is risking injury. We suggest that collars should be used to display ID tags and dogs should be walked on a harness or loose lead that avoids any pressure on the neck.

Article: Carter, A., McNally, D., Roshier, A. (2020). Canine collars: an investigation of collar type and the forces applied to a simulated neck model. Veterinary Record, online 17 April 2020, doi: 10.1136/vr.105681

Article details

  • Date
  • 07 May 2020
  • Source
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals