Pet Collar Awareness

The following is excerpted from the website "Pet Collar Awareness" - a Canadian website that's working to build awareness around dog collars and their abuse - there is a lot more information at that website - if you want to read their information in it's entirety - I suggest you go there to read it all - it is all really important - this is just some of the information that's written there.

Here is some of the information on that site:

Collar choices for pets are endless. They are the perfect place to hang identification and, with a variety of colors and designs available, to make a statement. However, the aesthetics of collars is not what plagues most pets. It is how they work. If your collar works by shocking, choking, pinching, inducing pain, fear and intimidation, then you've picked the wrong collar. Through recent credible research we've learned that many of the assumptions previously made about shock, choke & prong collars are completely wrong and all three have critical flaws. All three are capable of seriously damaging your pet physically and psychologically and can even cause death.

To us, as pet owners, our dogs are not businesses or profit centers, they are beloved family members. Caring owners go to great lengths to keep their pets happy and healthy. Yet too many others exploit our pets for profit. Their primary objective is financial, not the wellbeing of our companions. We need to be wary of promotions and claims by these entities that not only mislead us but downright lie about the safety of their products and services.

Choke, prong and shock collars are as common as free advice yet many pet owners never question their barbaric appearance and purpose. It is quite remarkable that the effects of these collars are not widely understood or recognized. Few people know how physically and psychologically devastating they can be to an animal. It can hardly be considered a latent defect when shock, prong and choke collars are designed to hurt in order to work.

As damaging as these collars are they are still sold in pet shops everywhere to anyone for any reason. Pet store employees are not paid to tell people the potential pitfalls of such devices. Why would they? It's not profitable.

Pet store staff are rarely a reliable source for knowledge based information regarding the health and welfare of your pet, regardless of how they present themselves. A pet store run by a trustworthy, well intentioned proprietor would refuse to stock a good portion of pet related inventory if they truly cared about the wellbeing of pets. Young minimum wage employees who have never owned a pet are not a brain trust you want to rely on, no matter how earnest they appear. Instead when looking for advice you would be better off consulting a vet or credentialed animal behaviourist. Vets and behaviourists routinely see physical & psychological damage caused by choke, prong & shock collars.


CHOKE CHAIN - A chain with looped ends designed to tighten around a dog's neck when it is pulled in order to cut off air supply and choke the animal. This collar has caused severe tracheal injury, nerve damage, whiplash, unconsciousness and even death. Can you imagine repeatedly being choked just for behaving normally?

PRONG COLLAR - A prong collar has a double row of steel teeth that dig into a dog's neck. As the chain tightens the teeth pinch the skin hence the slang name 'pinch collar'. When pulled on roughly the prongs can penetrate the skin causing infection, sores, pain and suffering. Included with the physical pain is its constant companion, emotional pain. Manufacturers now make an outside cover to disguise the prongs below.

SHOCK COLLAR - A shock collar sends an electrical current of varying intensities and duration through two pointed contacts into an animal's neck often causing pain, anxiety and fear.

Despite the denials of manufacturers, we now know these collars can cause burns, sores and serious infections. Malfunctioning collars can deliver a stronger and longer current than intended, or in the case of anti-bark collars, be set off by ambient noise. Only the wearer will know this is happening. Until the burns and sores are visible the owner will likely be unaware of the dog's suffering. In addition to the potential physical damage, scientific studies conclude the impact on an animal’s emotional state can be even more harmful and longer lasting.

REGULAR FLAT COLLAR – a handy all purpose collar designed to attach tags & leashes. A flat collar and leash can help to keep your dog under control and safe when needed. Although the collar is generally comfortable if fitted properly, it can also harm an animal when it is too tight or yanked on severely. Only attach a leash to a flat collar once a dog has been properly leash trained using a harness.

HARNESS – an arrangement of straps that when attached to a leash is designed to restrain and control a dog comfortably without causing any undue discomfort, pain or damage. A proper fitting is critical to ensure the straps don't accidently rub and irritate. Numerous styles and types are available with rings to attach a leash to the front of the chest, on the back or both.


"The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national voice for the veterinary profession dedicated to serving and representing the veterinarians of Canada." Position "The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports the use of humane training methods that are built on current scientific knowledge of learning theory. Methods using positive reinforcement are highly favoured. Methods causing fear, distress, pain or anxiety are unacceptable"….