Beware: Martingale Dog Collars and Strangulation

collarsYes, you heard me right, and believe me until four years ago, I had no idea that was such a common thing.

Four years ago, Lola gave birth to my beautiful “mutts”. OK, OK, this is a very affectionate nickname. They are pure breed Labrador retrievers coming from an amazing Dad, FC Honor, and a great Mom, Lola, my girl!

Having five puppies in your house – this is a long story, but I just did not trust anyone enough to take care of them, so we kept the five of them! Thank God it was not a litter of 10! – makes you see things with another outlook on the K9 world!

My other dogs have always been playful, but they were not raised together as puppies. I had rescued ones like the dog of my life, Zeus, and a few others, as well as puppies but that I got separately.

Suddenly, I have five rambunctious pups who were playing nonstop with each other. Everyone had a martingale collar, and my wild children were playing in the fenced backyard with locked gates since one day, they figured out how to open them. Suddenly I heard squealing noises from outside. My blood doesn’t freeze that often, but it was one of the times when it did!

I saw Sophie’s jaws twisted into her brother, Jackson’s collar. Sophie was screaming, and Jackson was losing consciousness. I managed to free both of them fast, and I remember seating in my yard crying like a baby with my two furry ones on my lap. I thought it was just a freak accident, and did not think about it more than that.

A few days later, after feeding them breakfast, they were chasing each other in the house. Again, same squealing noise. This time, I grabbed a pair of scissors and ran to my bedroom when I saw Jackson being strangled again by George whose jaws were stuck, totally entangled in the collar. This time, I don’t think I could have done anything without the scissors. I cut the collar, and my two pups just collapsed on me.

That day, I removed collars from everyone in my pack! I started looking on the net, and was shocked to see how many dogs died when playing with their buddies. Later on, I was talking to my vet about it, and he confirmed it to me, telling me that he had a client not long ago, who had two young dogs, came for shots and left to go home with her two dogs in the back of her truck. When she arrived home, one of them was not breathing anymore, strangled by his brother.

Not having collars on my pack is not easy. It’s so convenient to be able to grab one or two when it’s needed. I looked on line to see if there was any alternative, and found break away collars to prevent strangulation. I think by that time, I was so traumatized that I decided to pass on them, and leave the mutts’ collar free.

Their collars are now neatly on a rack, and are used only for walks. Jackson was my lucky boy. Twice he could have died, twice he survived. But so many dogs died, and it is so easy to prevent it. And I was careful. For instance if they were crated, they were always collar free, but I never thought they could get entangled into their collars.

Just trying to keep everyone safe and happy!

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