How to keep my dog identified without hurting her skin?
November 24, 2012 9:12 PM   Subscribe

How do I prevent my dog with a wrinkly neck from getting irritated where her collar rubs her?

My dog's neck has a whole lot of extra skin and falls in wrinkles below her chin that run perpendicular to her collar (picture her collar basically as a belt around a pleated skirt). As a result, the collar rubs her neck wrinkles and she's constantly getting hotspots under there because it itches and she scratches it.

I sympathize, but she's a bit of a wild woman and escape artist and we can't put her out in the yard without her collar or loosen it for fear of her getting out without human-readable ID. We have another dog and they sometimes play rough, and they've definitely pulled each other's collars off before while tussling, so a looser collar is definitely risky.

What have you done to keep a tag on your dog if a collar just didn't work for their body? Can you recommend collars that your dog with sensitive skin didn't hate? We've tried tons, but I'm sure we haven't tried them all. I'm going to work on keeping her skin folds cleaner, but the infections spring up literally in a line right across the area where her collar sits, so I'm not sure we can really address this without dealing with the problematic collar too.
posted by town of cats to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We use a strap wrap, which I can assume you can make yourself if you're crafty (I am not.)
posted by griphus at 9:13 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Microchip ze pup, or line the collar in something soft like moleskin.

(Pictures of pup please?)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:15 PM on November 24, 2012

What breed of dog is this?

We have a droopy boxer and at one point I owned a Shar Pei, so I'm familiar with the problem. Get rid of the collar altogether and use a harness. They normally have a metal ring where you can clip the tag. Your dog should obviously also be micro chipped.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:19 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get a rolled leather collar which is designed specifically to prevent chafing. And regularly clean it thoroughly and condition it with leather cleaner and conditioner (not oil).
posted by fshgrl at 9:28 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes, I should mention that she's microchipped - but honestly, it's so much easier for people to get her back to us if they can just give us a call. Otherwise they have to take her to a vet or the pound, which is a lot more annoyance for whoever finds her.
posted by town of cats at 9:29 PM on November 24, 2012

My dog has lots of extra skin around his neck. We use a soft Martingale collar, which is loose until he tries to pull on it, i.e. perfect for escape artists. We use this one in particular and also own a soft, super comfy padded martingale collar made by Spindrift that is unfortunately a bit too large. Have it sized in a pet store if you go that route - it should just barely slip over your dog's head, folding one ear back at a time.
posted by halogen at 9:32 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just read through this article for another reason, and it looks like they feel a harness is the best bet - several styles have a ring on the front for ID.
posted by batmonkey at 9:40 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would never leave a dog unsupervised in a harness, they get hung up in stuff constantly. It freaks me out to see dogs running in our (wooded) dog park wearing them at this point because I regularly see them stuck in trees or the chainlink fence or with another dog having stuck it's paw in the harness and that nylon is unbreakable. Also several brands hinder shoulder movement and can leave nasty rubs under the elbows if the dog is allowed to run fast in them, they're meant for walking on a leash not free range activities.
posted by fshgrl at 10:33 PM on November 24, 2012

As Halogen says, Martingale collars work pretty well for us.

But you know, unless we are letting the dogs out, they don't wear collars in the house. That seems to help the itching/scratching/carrying on. We put collars on them when we take them anywhere - although we have a fenced in backyard which helps.

Anyway, you might try a martignale for when she goes out. It slips on, slips off. and we've had some success with it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:56 PM on November 24, 2012

I would suggest you also investigate the Holt Headcollar. It was recommended to me by my dog's walker/trainer. Here's why:

When I first got my adorable fox terrier, I used to walk him with just a collar and a leash, but he turned out to be a puller, which caused irritation to the skin on his neck, and also made it difficult to keep him under control without yanking, which made me fearful that I could be harming his trachea.

So I soon switched to a harness for leash walks. That helped in some fundamental ways, most importantly that his collar -- with id, contact info, rabies cert, etc. -- was always attached when we were out, and the less-abrasive harness was the on-leash control, and could be removed in free range situations (see fshgrl's comment above). So the collar was no longer a problem as far as chafing, but still served its purpose as a permanently-attached id.

But I found that even that solution was not ideal, for reasons that the excellent article batmonkey links to above outlines: a back-linked harness left his head pointed forward, so that even when I pulled on it, it just made him pull against it trying to continue to move in the direction his head was pointed. In effect, this simply moved the chafing down from his neck to his breastbone.

With a headcollar, a gentle tug turns his head towards me, and interrupts his lunging toward whatever was capturing his attention. No chafing or pulling or yanking.

The reason I'd recommend the Holt over similar products like the Gentle Leader is that the Holt has an extra strap that attaches the headcollar to the regular collar, so that even if the dog slips out of the headcollar, everything is still attached and you still have leash control over the dog.
posted by trip and a half at 12:10 AM on November 25, 2012

I love a brand called Puppia that makes soft harnesses. I have used one that is like a vest that clips on their back and it has a ring on it where I hang their tags. It's made out of a soft mesh material and all in bright colors.

I have one small dog that wears sweaters all winter, a yorkie mix, and I had iron-on labels made that have my contact information on them in as a second line of defense.
posted by dottiechang at 12:14 AM on November 25, 2012

The OP seems to be looking for a source of ID that the dog can wear at all times. In that case, the headcollar is out - no dog should be left in a head collar when not on walks.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:22 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Squeak Attack, I guess I didn't make myself clear: with the headcollar, the tags are left on the regular collar, which is worn at all times. The headcollar, rather than the regular collar, is used on walks to control the dog, thus eliminating the chafing from use of the regular collar to control the dog.

In other words, the regular collar serves *only* as ID -- the headcollar serves only for control, and is removed when not on walks.
posted by trip and a half at 12:21 PM on November 25, 2012

I would recommend a martingale as well. Here is one I bought my Vizsla. The difference on this one is that the chain portion stays loose when they are off leash and loose if they are walking properly (which mine does not) I think this would work well sicne the extra few inches of space that hangs will not rub into his neck.
Also, I have to highly recommend this specific collar and artist, we have had this collar on a very active Vizsla for almost 2 years and even with her running through the woods, wrestling dogs and swimming its in amazing shape, and she gets great compliments on the uniqueness of the design.
posted by brinkzilla at 2:06 PM on November 26, 2012

I'd like to rescind my recommendation for the Canine Equipment collar as it broke today while out walking (my dog was pulling to go greet another dog and a metal ring broke; fortunately it happened in a park and not out in traffic and both dogs were friendly).
posted by halogen at 2:19 PM on December 1, 2012

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