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!

4 replies
  1. Megan
    Megan says:

    Thank you for posting this article. My husband and I just lost our five month old puppy in this EXACT same way. Our two year old dog and puppy were playing in our fenced yard when I heard the most terrifying screams. The martingale collar was wrapped so tightly around the oldest dogs jaw, while the puppy was being strangled. While we were able to cut the collar with a knife and take her to the vet, she did not make it. The guilt and “what if” scenarios have played out in my head 100 times have tormented me to pieces. When we adopted our oldest dog as a puppy, we were not only recommended to get this collar, we were REQUIRED to by the adoption agency. I plan on not only reaching out to the adoption agency, but also the manufacture to warn about this horrific and traumatizing tragedy due to this terrible collar.

    Reply
  2. Sam Burton
    Sam Burton says:

    This just happened to my dogs while playing at the dog park. I have two German shepherds so I thought a collar they can’t slip out of would be the best option. However, My older dog got his lower jaw stuck inside my puppies collar. It got so tight that I couldn’t free either of them. My puppy couldn’t breath and was foaming at the mouth. I was helpless. I didn’t have anything to cut the collar. I began screaming for help. Luckily good neighbors came to the rescue and cut them free.
    My dogs bit each other in the process and also bit me. My puppy also lost several baby teeth during the incident. I was completely unaware of how dangerous these collars are. If someone hadn’t heard me yelling my puppy would be dead right now. People need to know how dangerous these collars are to prevent more dogs from dying in incidents like this.

    Reply
  3. Jill Frack
    Jill Frack says:

    My dog had her martingale collar on while playing outside and I thought she was biting at the leash, but after I went out to look her lower jaw was stuck in the collar. She was choking herself trying to get her jaw unstuck. I tried to adjust the collar and get her jaw out. I carried her inside and rang the doorbell so my husband would see us on the ring camera and come assist. We ended up cutting it off her. It was a traumatic experience! I will be going back to quick release.

    Reply
  4. Li
    Li says:

    Yup! I saw my 5 month old puppy get her lower jaw stuck in her own collar. Our trainer said “I’ve never seen that.” Just now, I was in a work meeting with my pup in her crate nearby. I saw she had her jaw in there again, so I thought I ought to take off her collar. By the time I walked the two feet to crate, she had her jaw very stuck and was yelping. I was trying to loosen it while she was struggling and yelping. My fear was that she was unable to breath, but I don’t think that was the case, luckily. She and I were both quite terrified! If I’d not been in the room, I may have returned to a dead dog. Horrible experience, and now, after searching Google for this topic, I see it’s not rare at all. I’m going to write the makers of this collar. I imagine, for a pup getting their own jaw stuck, it’s a question of sizing the collar properly. For other dogs, I can’t see a way to avoid that. Scary!

    Reply

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