Animal Rights

'Break-away' Collar Can Save Your Dog's Life (And Cat's)

| by Denise A Justin

A collar can be a dog’s best friend, or not!  Most owners know that the most effective way to assure a lost dog gets back home is a microchip PLUS a collar with a license and ID tag. But, what if the collar gets hooked on a fence or other protrusion or becomes inextricably entwined with the collar and tags of another dog while playing


A few years ago, my two large dogs were engaged in healthy, happy play when it suddenly turned into snarling, yelping and quickly to full-blown fight mode. I ran over to find that the tags on their collars had become hooked together and they panicked from being locked literally “in each other’s face.” Fortunately, I could reach the release on one of the collars, but not before I had a minor bite, two bloody dogs and one almost choked to unconsciousness. If I hadn’t been there, it might have been a much different ending.

Last year a friend called to say sadly that just before he returned home from work one of his dogs--an inseparable, adoring pair-- had just killed the other because her teeth apparently got hooked in the other’s collar and twisted her jaw and broke her neck. The details were gruesome.

I immediately began researching to see if there was an alternative and found there are “Break-Away” collars for dogs (much like those for cats), which release under strong pulling or twisting. The stories in the testimonial section were heartbreaking and enlightening.

With the large number of owners using doggie day care and going to dog parks, I have to believe that collar strangulations and/deaths are a widespread problem, but few people know that a collar was invented for dogs just because of these tragic incidents.  The break-away collar is about the same price as a regular collar and can be used for walking by hooking the leash through the rings on each side of the release mechanism.  I ordered one for each of my energetic shelter rescues--a Boxer and a Rottie mix--and on several occasions I have come home to find a chewed collar in my yard, but two live, happy, rambunctious animals.

I am providing (at the end of the testimonials below) a link to the site where I found the collars, because it has an FAQ section and photos.  I have no personal or professional involvement with this company and have had no contact with them other than that they filled my order quickly and were willing to let me copy testimonials to share.  I’m sure there are other distributors, and I urge readers to research this for themselves.  

It may save the life of your best friend(s)! 

Testimonials received from customers

“We rescued Molly in October 09, she passed February 4th, 2010, she was only 11 months old. We felt she needed a friend and rescued Jake. He had lots of energy. Jake played rough with Molly but she seemed to be accepting. We knew he wasn't the right friend for her so we were in the process of finding him a home and agreed to keep him as a foster home. My girlfriend came home and saw only Jake at the gate, went around to the back but didn't see Molly. She called for her, saw her laying and knew something wasn't right. In fact, had the very feeling that she died by her collar. Turns out Jake played too rough and pulled on her collar that caused her windpipe to collapse, causing her death. If she has a breakaway collar, she would be here today. I think all other collars should have disclaimers about the real potentials of danger. It's just not right.- Joshua B

“I have 2 very large Boxers that jump and rumble to play a lot. I had just gotten out of the shower when I hear a weird bark type moan. Upon going to see what it was, my Brindle Boxer was laying on the floor while the other smaller Boxer was standing over her neck. At first I thought maybe the smaller one had bitten my Brindle & gotten her teeth lodged in her neck. I realized my smaller girl had gotten her teeth caught in my Brindle's collar and was strangling her. I broke two pairs of scissors trying to cut them loose. At this point I just knew my Brindle was dead, but I still tried CPR. I went to call my husband and as I turned around she had actually caught her breath and was standing. I have owned boxers for over 20 years and have never witnessed anything like this horrific in my life.  AJ

“We had a beautiful Boston terrier (2-yr-old) that got his collar caught in his crate. He strangled himself to death. His brother was in the crate next to it and watched the whole thing. Hindsight is always 20/20 and we should have known to not put a dog in a crate with his collar on, but we didn’t. It is a very sad story. - Josh L.

“We had a close call with our two Labs last night. One dog's tooth got hooked on the other's collar. Luckily, I heard the commotion & was able to free the collar. (actually, I could not, but my husband could). If we had not been home, not heard them, or not been able to release the collar, Ruckus would not have made it! So glad to find your collar online... I am telling all the dog lovers in my life our story, & about your collars!!”

More testimonials and FAQ’s are at: