Which dog collar is right for your pet? 

2 minute read

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A dog collar is just a dog collar, right? Wrong. There are so many varieties, from flat collars and slip collars to harnesses and head collars. So where do you start?

  • What's the best type of dog collar? 
  • Why your dog needs an ID tag 
  • How to choose the right sized harness 

A dog collar for identification

When your dog's out in public, it's your legal responsibility to attach an ID tag to the dog. The tag should always include your dog's name, your address, postcode and a contact number. Some tags state whether the dog is microchipped

Many owners place a traditional flat or rolled collar around the dog's neck to display the tag.

This is ideal for identification purposes, but is it the best type of collar for walking your dog? Choosing the right collar is important - an inappropriate or ill-fitting collar or harness can cause health problems and run up expensive vet bills.
An inappropriate or ill-fitting collar or harness can cause health problems and run up expensive vet bills. 

Types of collars: which should you choose?

There are a few different types of dog collars. Which one you choose will depend on your needs and your dog.

Flat collar

Attached around the neck with a buckle or plastic clip. Breakaway collars have a clip that breaks loose if the animal gets caught by the collar and tries to pull away.

Slip collar

Made from nylon, rope or sometimes chain, these collars are designed to tighten round a dog's neck if they begin to pull. The lead makes a loop that goes over the dog's neck and hangs to one side.


Fitted around the chest and shoulders rather than the neck, a harness takes the pressure off the dog's neck and throat if it begins to pull when on the lead.

Head collar

Designed to help with dogs that pull on the leash most of the time, a head halter fits around the dog's head and over the nose.

There are also so-called 'corrective collars' available, like choke, prong and shock collars. Modern training methods have shown these collars exacerbate fear and aggression issues in dogs, and aren't recommended.


Choosing the right dog collar

It makes sense to use a flat collar to display your dog's ID tag. But it's not always the best type of collar for walking your dog, even if your dog only pulls occasionally.
Pulling on a flat collar can cause neck and throat problems in your dog, including crushed trachea (windpipe) or even fractured vertebrae. Health issues like this can be expensive to treat, so make sure you have adequate pet insurance cover.
Slip collars can also cause injury from choking as the collar tightens when the dog pulls away from the owner. A better way to control pulling and prevent choking injuries is with loose leash training and a harness.

When a dog collar is actually a harness

There are a variety of different types of harness, but the one thing they have in common is that they fit the body rather than the neck. As such they don't apply any pressure to the throat or neck when the dog pulls.

When you buy a harness it's important to make sure it fits your dog correctly. If poorly fitted, a harness may change the way a dog walks, which can cause problems with their shoulders.

Most harnesses have a lead attachment at the front on the chest, which helps to deter pulling. Some also have a lead attachment between the shoulder blades that can help with controlling your dog when used with the front lead attachment.

Speak to a vet or a qualified dog behaviourist who will be able to recommend a suitable harness for your dog.

Dog collars and training

A dog collar or harness is simply a tool to help keep your dog secure when you're out and about. It won’t magically stop your dog from pulling on the lead.

Dog collars and harnesses should be used in conjunction with reward-based training to help your dog understand what you want it to do. Loose lead walking training can help your dog understand you don't want it to pull on the lead.

Speak to a vet or a qualified dog behaviourist if your dog keeps pulling on his lead. LV= provide cover for some behavioural treatment with their Lifetime Policies.


All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts