Dog collars: old fashioned, inefficient and cruel? Podcast from Pete the Vet on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

To listen to the podcast, follow the link at the foot of this page.

Collars versus head collars and harnesses

Dog collars are the traditional way to control dogs, but there are now several far more effective alternatives.

Head collars

So-called head collars are similar to those used in horses: “Halti” is the best known brand for dogs. A standard dog leash clips on to a metal ring on the harness under the dog’s chin. It can take a while to train a dog to get used to a head collar, but it can then be an excellent way of gently controlling a dog on walks.

Lightweight dog body harnesses

These harnesses are similar to the type of harness that a parent might put around a young child’s body to stop them running off. They are light, and once you have worked out how to fit them on, they are easy and quick to put on. They can be very effective for smaller dogs.

Standard dog body harnesses

These harnesses have a heavier construction, with wider nylon webbing, and snap-into-place buckles to fasten them in place: Julius-K9 is the best known brand of high quality harness of this type. A handle is sometimes built in at the top of the harness. As well as being useful for larger dogs on walks, this type of harness is used for dog sledding teams, Canicross and other semi-professional dog activities. They often have loops and slots that allow the harnesses to be used as an aid to securing a dog during travel in a car.

The importance of transporting dogs safely

If dogs are not transported safely and securely in cars, they can be dangerous to humans (travelling at speed around the inside of a car after a collision) as well as suffering injury themselves. There is a shortage of good information on the best, safest way to transport dogs in cars, but to date, the safest option is probably to use a good quality dog harness designed for securing dogs in cars. It is also possible to travel with a smaller pet inside a carrier, restrained by seat belt attachments.
Finally if a dog is in the boot area (hatchback or estate) then mesh/ grid barriers may suffice


Questions from listeners about pets

  • Could you please ask Pete about Syringomyelia in King Charles spaniels.  Ned, Co. Wicklow.
  • Please ask ‘Pete The Vet’ why my friend’s small dog (mixed breed I think) simply doesn’t want to walk when she’s taken out. She sits down and won’t move! She will walk and run if he’s throwing a ball (so ok IN the park but getting there and back is a challenge! Thanks Sheila
  • My dogs and my next door neighbours Dogs love to fight. What can we do?
  • My 18 month (rescue dog) licks everything himself (no real concern there). He also licks me, my clothes, furniture everything. He sometimes coughs like he is choking similar to a cat with a hairball. Is there anything I can do to stop this or is something lacking in his diet. He gets dry nuts twice a day and meat once as he was very thin when I got him. He’s a Maltichion and I have him 3 months, help please. Laura Sutton
  • I have a 63 kilo wolfhound. Can Pete recommend where I’d get a harness that size.

To find out the answers and to listen to the podcast, click on the play button below

To watch Pete’s Facebook Live Q&A session, follow this link.


Listen to the podcast:

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