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Should I Take My Dog’s Collar Off at Night? [Expert Advice]

Imagine you’re getting ready for bed. You likely have specific steps in your routine, such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, or winding down with a warm cup of tea. Now, picture yourself getting into bed. Chances are, you’re not wearing jeans or a suit or any other sort of uncomfortable clothing – you’re in pajamas because you want to be as comfortable as possible. 

If you wonder “Should I take my dog’s collar off at night?”, because it has their identifying information on it, nighttime is the best time to do so because that is when your dog will leave the house at least. That way, you can safely remove your dog’s collar and not worry about them getting lost without their tags, including your name, phone number, and other identifying information. 

should I take my dog's collar off at night
Should I take my dog’s collar off at night? [Expert advice]

You may feel tempted to keep their collar on if you’re concerned about them getting loose and running away, but there are measures you can take to prevent this, such as ensuring all your doors are locked at night and taking steps to train your dog to get used to going without a collar at night time. 

Just like humans, dogs need a break to be comfortable in their sleep as well! Imagine if you had to go to bed each night in the same clothes you wore to work. Their collars can feel itchy or too warm if they wear them for too long, so your furry friend will thank you for removing their collar at night before bed. 

Reasons to Remove Your Dog’s Collar at Night: Comfort 

close up of a dog collar
A close up look at a leather dog collar

Many dogs will enjoy having their collar taken off at night because it allows them to scratch parts of their neck that they were not able to during the day. It also offers some relief from the pressure of having it on for many hours in a row. It can also relieve your dog from overheating or getting too warm in the neck area, giving them some much-needed air

If you have a dog with longer fur or curly fur, they are probably more prone to matting, and keeping their collar on all the time can cause matting around the neck. Matting is not only uncomfortable for your dog, but it can also cost you extra at the groomers if you’re required to pay extra for mat removal. You can attempt to remove the mats yourself, but this tends to be time-consuming and potentially painful for your dog if you’re not a professional groomer.

Try to avoid matting by giving your dog daily breaks from wearing their collar. 

If your dog wears a harness regularly, it’s extra important to give them frequent breaks to avoid excess matting on their chest as well, which will make your dog even more uncomfortable. In fact, if you use a harness to walk your dog, it might be a good idea only to put the harness on your dog while you’re walking to ensure they aren’t feeling too smothered by it throughout the day. 

small dog with a collar
A small dog with a collar.

Reasons to Remove Your Dog’s Collar at Night: Cleanliness 

This type of matting can also affect your dog’s appearance and make them appear unkempt or messy. While this is not necessarily the most important reason to take your dog’s collar off at night, you don’t want other people to think you do not adequately groom your dog. If the fur around their neck is matted or sticking up due to excessive collar wear, your dog will not appear as sleek and clean as they should. 

This step is especially important if your dog has recently been playing in the dog park, enjoying a jump in the mud, or swimming in a lake. These and other fun activities for dogs are a great way to give them some exercise in an exciting way, but they can also cause bacteria and dirt to build up beneath their collar. Taking off the collar at night is a great way to check if your dog needs their neck cleaned, and maybe a full bath depending on how dirty they got. 

checking dog's neck
A woman checking her dog’s neck for any dirt.

Reasons to Remove Your Dog’s Collar at Night: Noise 

If your dog constantly itches their neck area when their collar is on at night, it most likely makes a jangling noise that could keep you from sleeping. If you remove the collar, you could also get the bonus of better sleep. Plus, if your dog continually keeps you awake at night with the noise from their scratching, it is another sign that they are uncomfortable having their collar on all the time.

Removing it will be a win-win for both of you; your dog will be more comfortable, and you will be able to enjoy a more restful night of sleep.

Staffordshire held by collar
Staffordshire held by the collar.

Reasons to Remove Your Dog’s Collar at Night: Health & Safety

You should also remove your dog’s collar at night for safety reasons. Unfortunately, strangulation by collar happens to thousands of dogs every year. If your dog’s collar gets caught on something during the night, like their crate or a piece of furniture while you’re sleeping, your dog could choke.

This is especially important if your dog tends to roam around at night or chew on a toy or bone before bedtime. 

For this reason, it is also essential to take off your dog’s collar when you leave them alone in the house or in their crate for an extended period of time. Better safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of the dog you love! 

Other injuries that could occur due to leaving your dog’s collar on at night include: 

  • Skin problems if the collar is too tight. Your dog could develop a rash
  • Injuries to their legs. While scratching, your dog can get their foot stuck in the collar, causing breaks or sprains. 
  • Damage to the dog’s mouth, teeth, jaw, or tongue if something gets caught as they groom. 
Labrador puppy scratching
A Labrador puppy on the grass is scratching.

How Will My Dog React When I Take Off the Collar?

Most of the time, dogs will not have any sort of reaction initially when you take off their collar but end up appreciating being able to get a good neck scratch and sleep without having the collar in the way. 

This can also be an excellent training tactic if you want your dog to have a designed bedtime. If your dog associated taking off their collar with going to sleep, they will recognize that it is time to lay down once the collar is removed. This can help prevent any wildness before bedtime and build a structured routine for your dog’s day. 

Some dogs may act disappointed or like they want you to put their collar back on. Many dogs may associate their collar with walks, so if your dog falls into that category, you may notice they are not as excited or comforted by its removal. Your dog may also be unaccustomed to change and feels more secure with their collar on.

Just be sure to give your furry friend extra scratches around their neck to soothe them, and soon they will grow accustomed to spending the night without their collar. 

removing dog collar
A woman removing dog collar.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve provided the necessary information to answer the question “Should I take my dog’s collar off at night?” 

The bottom line is that your dog will probably be fine at first if you leave their collar on all the time, but it’s always better to take it off at night and lean on the safe side when it comes to the health, wellness, and comfort of your canine companion.