Sometimes an accident can happen, and pets get lost. That’s why it’s advised to keep the collar on. But there are some times when it’s perfectly safe to remove it. So pet owners might be thinking: when and why should I take my dog’s collar off at night?

Should I Take My Dog’s Collar Off at Night?

It’s advised to be kept all day, especially when going out or traveling. But there are some moments of the day when the doggy can be freed.

During Crate and Bedtime

Collars, no matter their quality, can provoke choking while the dog is resting. That’s why it’s advised to take it off. It can also injure them while they’re scratching their neck, leading to a fracture or another type of leg wound.

After the last potty break before bedtime is the best moment to do it. Not only for the pup, but also for the other family members since its movement (such as scratching or shaking) can produce some noises. In case there’s a dog door at the house, it should be kept on.

During Play Time

Any type of collar should also be removed when they are playing with other dogs. Pooches are energetic and love playing crazy with their peers. So it is better to let them enjoy their romp, although in an enclosed, supervised area.

No collar means any risk that can happen accidentally, like catching the other dog’s collar or limb will be reduced. There are many pet-sitting facilities that remove collars from dogs during group play, meanwhile others, like dog parks, require it as an ID tag.

Do Dogs Like Collars?

Pets react differently to their collars, it mostly depends on the context in which they have to wear it. If a dog is aware that they may be going out for a walk, he will react excitedly. If the collar is used to correct their misbehavior, they might not like it.

Besides these two clear reactions, most dogs are indifferent towards collars. Past experiences can also play a crucial role in whether a pup likes or dislikes its collar. If the dog isn’t used to wearing their collar at home, they will automatically associate it with going out.

Sadly, there’s a chance that the dog suffered from any type of shock collars in the past. Any of these devices that provoke an unwanted feeling for the dog will inevitably make them associate it to a negative experience. Needless to say that these collars must not be used in any case.

Any bad experience for a dog, such as aggressive restraints, poor training techniques, and collars that cause pain will be redirected towards the collar.

When Should a Puppy Wear a Collar?

Puppies do not have to wear their collar until they are able to go out in public. This happens when they are fully vaccinated, around 12 weeks old.

While they shouldn’t be taken out until they are old enough, there is no reason not to introduce a collar to them. Taking them out to the garden with a collar can help them get used to this way of walking. Vets say it is ok for puppies to go outside in the garden since the risks are almost none.

Their extremely curious behavior during explore time means it’s crucial to keep an eye on them at all times when they are out in the garden. Collars can get stuck around many places when the pup is trying to sniff and explore its surroundings.

How Tight Should Collars Be?

The most known parameter to know how tight a collar should be, is the “Rule of thumb”. Owners should be able to insert two fingers between a dog’s collar and the pup’s body. If this is done without too much pressure, the collar is properly fitting without being too tight.

Once that it’s addressed that the collar isn’t tight enough, another check must be done to make sure it isn’t too loose. Unsecured collars can easily slip over a dog head, causing it to fall off.

Some problems can present in dogs that have a small head and stocky or bigger body, like Boxers for example. Overweight doggos can also present complications since their bodies and neck are larger, but their heads stay normal or relatively smaller in size.

Adjusting a dog’s collar after a haircut is also important. Collars tend to be too big and need tightening to make up for the space lost after hair was removed. Same goes for when the hair grows again, in order to avoid it getting too tight again.

Using Break-Away Collars

There are many types of collars, but for those owners who want their dog to keep wearing their collar all day, break-away collars are the best option. These devices are designed to break away if a dangerous situation is presented, before your dog becomes choked or strangled.

For example, if a pup is caught due to its collar, a little force of pulling unlocks the buckle, allowing the dog to get away without being choked. They are still strong enough to use for walking, so there’s no need to worry about a dog escaping.

It’s advised to get one if multiple dogs are present in the house, that play together a lot. Their collars could get tangled up or caught on something. Blankets or other items of furniture can also snag a dog’s collar or tags, making Break-away ones a really viable option to choose.


Next time an owner asks “should I take my dog’s collar off at night?”, they need to know it’s up to them to decide to take the collar off when it’s safe to do it, or decide to keep it in case the dog can escape or wander off.

Providing the dog some free time, better breathing space and comfort at least during the nights is still advised.