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Years ago our Komondors routinely wore the “fur saver” choke collars very popular in our breed. These collars have elongated (thus fewer) links, smooth edges, and do minimal cord damage.

One afternoon my husband Alan and I were relaxing on the deck when our Komondor, Eos, began to display what I first thought was a seizure. I immediately grabbed a hold of her to control the spasms. It took me several seconds to realize what was really going on: The dangling end of the choke collar had slipped between the deck boards, and she was choking herself. Thank goodness we were both there. I held her tight against the flooring, and Alan got a pry bar to pull up the board so we could release the collar.

It was incredibly scary for Eos and us. Needless to say, all choke collars were removed from the dogs.

I relayed this story to my veterinarian, and I was told that in that single practice, several dogs died every year from choke-collar accidents.

We continue to use them now, but only when the dogs are at one end of a lead and we’re at the other.

Recently I heard the incredibly devastating news that a friend’s 5-month-old show-prospect puppy (not a Komondor) had accidently died while playing with their other dog in the yard. It appears the two were wrestling, and the older dog had gotten his lower jaw stuck on the puppy’s buckle collar. It was too late to revive the puppy when he was found.

We have a dilemma: Go “naked” and risk the dog not having identification or something to grab onto, cords notwithstanding, or leave regular buckle collars on and accept the risks?

Your dog’s risk increases depending on the following: how often they are in a crate with collar on; whether they wrestle with other dogs; and whether there is anything in the yard a collar could get caught on—branches, fencing, decks?

Your dog’s environment probably poses some risks. If your dog can’t go “naked,” what are the options?

There are several brands of safety collars currently available. One is the Keep Safe breakaway collar. The design of this collar is a connection between two “D” rings. With minimal force, the tab breaks away, allowing the dog to be free of the collar. You must snap the lead clip through both “D” rings to ensure a secure walk.

Another breakaway collar is called Tazlab. This collar stretches between its two rings, allowing the dog to back out of the collar if it gets hung up on anything.

There are numerous places online to purchase both these brands. Read the reviews, look at the designs, and view the demonstration videos to help decide which brand is right for you. I think I’ll try a couple of both and see which one works best for us.

Remember: If in doubt, remove the collar(s). —Adrienne Freyer, Komondor Club of America, October 2012 AKC Gazette

WATCH: Dr. Wendy King of Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic in Elgin, S.C., talks about collar safety.
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This article was originally published in AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today ($12.95 for 6 issues, including digital edition) to get expert tips on training, behavior, health, nutrition, and grooming, and read incredible stories of dogs and their people.
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