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Beyond the Bling: A Guide to Pet Collars

Beyond the cute patterns and jingling bells, pet collars are an essential part of every pet's wardrobe. Today, we're delving into this vital piece of pet gear in Beyond the Bling: A Guide to Pet Collars. Check out last week's blog to learn more about harnesses for dogs.

A Guide to Pet Collars: Function

At its core, a collar serves two primary purposes: identification and control.

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  • Identification: A collar with an ID tag is your pet's lifeline when lost. Collars allow good samaritans who find your furry friend to contact you and return them home. For cats, a collar could mean the difference between receiving help when lost. A cat that isn't wearing a collar is usually seen as a stray or feral cat. These cats are often left alone, which can be deadly for an indoor cat that is lost.

  • Control:  A collar provides a seamless way to attach a leash, enabling you to guide your pet during short walks or training sessions. While we don't believe that collars are the optimum way to walk your dog - and should never be used to walk your cat - they can be used in a pinch. We prefer harnesses on walks for maximum control and safety.

A Guide to Pet Collars: SPECIES

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While functionality is key, safety is paramount. Different collars suit different pets:

  • Dogs: Nylon or leather collars are popular choices for dogs, offering durability and adjustability. If your dog is active and enjoys swimming, opt for nylon, which is easier to clean and dries more quickly after romps in the lake or pool.

  • Cats: Breakaway collars are essential for feline friends. These collars are designed to release if your cat gets caught on something, which prevents asphyxiation.

A Guide to Pet Collars: Types

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While the collars of yesteryear were pretty basic, today's collars offer a plethora of features. In addition to having a D-ring that allows you to display tags, some collars offer the following options:

  • Limited or No-Slip Collars: Martingale collars provide a gentle tightening effect, helpful for slight pullers. Limited or no-slip collars also tighten around the neck. They prevent dog breeds with heads smaller than their necks from slipping out of their collar.

  • Reflective Collars: Ensure your pet's visibility during night walks with a reflective collar that catches car headlights.

  • GPS Collars: For added peace of mind, GPS collars allow you to track your pet's location in real-time.

  • Medical Alert Collars:  For pets with medical conditions, an alert collar can inform others of their needs (e.g., diabetic or needs medication).

  • Flea & Tick Collars: While convenient, it's important to consult your veterinarian before using flea and tick collars, especially for young or sensitive pets and in highly infested areas.

A Guide to Pet Collars: Precautions

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While collars are useful, it's important to understand their limitations:

  • High Pullers: Collars are not meant for high pullers because they can cause tracheal damage. If your dog pulls during walks, invest in a high-quality harness and consider loose-leash training.

  • Chew Toys: Collars are not chew toys. If your pet is a persistent chewer, never leave their collar or harness on because they can cause choking or obstruction. Instead, consider providing them with appropriate chew toys.

  • Primary Restraint: Collars are not meant for tethering. This can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for your pet.

  • Fashion Statements (at the Expense of Safety): While a cute collar can enhance your pet's style, prioritize safety features. Avoid collars with heavy embellishments or dangling charms that could pose a choking hazard.

  • Cat Adventures: Adventuring with cats is becoming more popular, but it has to be done properly to ensure everyone's safety. When taking your cat on a walk or hike, invest in a cat-specific harness and train them to move in the harness before heading outdoors. KittyCatGo™ offers great tips for leash and harness training cats here.

  • Crate Training & Crating: Collars should be removed before crating to prevent snagging and possible asphyxiation. Just remember, collars should immediately go back on once the dog is let out from his or her crate to ensure they are wearing it if and when they go outdoors.

A Guide to Pet Collars: SIZING & Care

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A well-fitting collar ensures both safety and comfort. For dogs, a good rule of thumb is to ensure two fingers can comfortably fit between the collar and your pet's neck. For cats, a snug but not restrictive fit is ideal. Regularly check the fit as your pet grows.

Like any accessory, collars need proper care. Regularly inspect your pet's collar for signs of wear and tear. Wash fabric collars periodically and replace worn-out or damaged ones promptly.

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A well-chosen collar plays a vital role in pet protection and safety. For this reason, we ask that your pet wear ID tags while in our care. While most of our clients' pets are microchipped, we believe in layering precautions for every pet's safety as well as our clients' peace of mind. At House of Paws Pet Care, we strive to keep your fur-end safe, happy, and ready for their next adventure!

To learn more about our dog walking, dog adventure, and dog sitting services, contact us at

(314) 690-5154 or email If you're ready to book services in one of our service areas submit a new client form to begin our registration process.

House of Paws proudly serves Eureka, Wildwood, Ballwin, Manchester, Maryland Heights, Des Peres, Fenton, Chesterfield, Valley Park, Ladue, Creve Couer, Town & Country, Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Clayton, Webster Groves, Maplewood, The Hill, South City & Affton.

We look forward to caring for your paws-itively perfect pets!


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