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Protecting Your Dog During Play

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two dogs playing

The May 2013 issue of Whole Dog Journal brings to light a safety hazard dog guardians may not be aware of…your dog’s collar.  Dogs often use their mouths when they’re playing with other dogs, and sometimes one dog’s mouth can get caught in the other’s collar, jeopardizing the safety of both dogs.

The dog caught in the collar risks a broken jaw when trying to get free, while the dog wearing the collar causing the problem stands a high risk of being choked by his own collar being twisted around his neck.

To keep dogs safe during play, the article recommends these steps:

  • Take off collars and harnesses before allowing play.  Even though a harness may not have as big of a choking risk to the dog wearing it as a collar, harnesses have many more straps to get caught in.
  • Use quick release collars.  A good option is a breakaway collar, the article recommends the KeepSafe Break-Away Collar from Premier Pet Products (
  • Don’t allow your dog to play with other dogs that are wearing gear.  This could be a problem, especially at a dog park, since most dog guardians have collars or harnesses on their dogs, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so look for places for your dog to play where collars and harnesses are removed from the dogs before they start playing.
  • Let others know about this safety hazard.  Many pet owners aren’t aware this is even a problem.  The more pet owners that know about this problem, the less accidents will result.
  • Keep something sharp close at hand.  Hopefully, you will never encounter this problem and have to react immediately, but if you see dogs struggling and think it may be due to a tangled collar, have something that will cut through the collar to release both dogs.  This could end up saving both dog’s lives.

Please let others know about this potential safety hazard.  In this case, knowledge is golden and could save the lives of many dogs.



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