How to Adjust Dog Collar – A Complete Guide


If you care about the health and well-being of your dog, you will need to pay extra heed to the adjustment of your dog’s collar.

The dog collar’s fitting determines your dog’s behavior and breathing patterns. If the collar is too tight, it can irritate the skin, put excessive pressure on veins, cause shortness of breath and loss of fur.

In contrast, if the dog collar is loose, your dog can easily escape from it and run across the road, increasing the chances of an accident.

Moreover, the dog can get stuck by inserting its legs or paws into the open space during playtime. Thus, to avoid all these incidents, you need to adjust the dog collar size according to the dog’s lower neck. 

Why Your Dog Needs a Collar

If you are looking for an answer to why a dog needs a collar, then you are at the right place. We will tell you the main reasons why your dog must wear a collar. 

Collars are usually made of fabric or leather with a metal buckle or plastic snap. It is not a mere accessory for your dog; instead, it gives them proper identification.

How to Adjust Dog Collar

Dog collars are the primary differentiation between stray dogs and pet dogs. Hence, a collar will save your pet from the municipal cooperation staff while they are out on a hunt for catching a wild animal.

Moreover, for your dog’s safety, a smart dog collar is necessary to control its movement, whether inside or outside the house.

The long leash, harness, or strap with the collar helps you with this task and prepares your dog for a picnic. Yes, with the dog collar and leash, you can take them with you on trips and picnics without any fear of losing them. 

The ID tag is another important reason. It is always wise to pin the identity tags on the dog collars, whether you are going out or not.

You cannot wholly rely on your dog; they can try and escape from the vicinity or randomly move out of the house’s boundary. In such cases, the identification tag will help you retrieve your dog back.

You can add your phone number, address, or other contact details with any acute medical conditions of your dog. So, to attach the identity tag, you will need a collar; thus, it marks one of the crucial reasons your dog needs a collar.  

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How to Adjust Your Dog’s Collar

Usually, dog owners shop online for dog accessories, and during this process, one cannot be entirely accurate about the size and fitting. Therefore, there is always a difference of a few inches in the new collar size.

Instead of replacing the product repeatedly, you can adjust it according to the size of the dog’s neck. For this purpose, you can use the measuring tape and then check the modules of the collar.

The ideal way to keep the collar fit is to check it regularly in growing dogs. As your pup grows, the mass increases so that the collars can get tight. You can follow the following steps if you do not know how to adjust your dog’s collar.

Measure Your Dog’s Neck

You will have to measure your dog’s neck to get the perfect size in the new collar. The measuring tape will aid you the most in this process, wrap it around the lower neck of your dog and note down the final figure.

Try to have a plastic measuring tape and avoid the metal ones because that can cause cuts or scratches on the dog’s neck. Once you have the measurement, you can use it for comparison with the reference sizing charts on online websites.

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Slide the Collar to the Correct Module

The next step is to slide the collar into the correct module. For this purpose, you must take off the collar and measure it according to the dog’s neck size.

Usually, dog collars are adjustable, and the straps have various size-changing modules or holes where you can adjust the buckle of dog collars.

While measuring the dog’s lower neck, you can mark the position or the module with a marker or keep your finger on the spot.

Wrap it again around the dog’s neck and tie it up carefully. In this way, you can adjust the same old dog collar into a new fit according to the changing size of the dog’s lower neck. 

Check It Regularly

You will have to keep a regular check on your dog’s collar. Once you adjust the dog collar, you cannot leave it forever; rather, you will have to keep track of its fitting.

Your dog will keep growing with time, increasing its mass as well. Therefore, the dog collar can get tighter day by day. So you will have to check it regularly for any changes in the fitting and re-adjust accordingly.

You can check it by observing your dog, and making sure it’s not tight or loose. This proactive action will help you in taking prompt actions that can save your dogs from injuries. So, there is no harm in keeping an open eye on your dog’s collar if you want its company for a longer time. 

How to Tell If Your Dog’s Collar Doesn’t Fit Properly

The pet itself cannot express the discomfort and pain in words. Instead, you will have to observe your pup to detect any signs of pain due to the dog collar.

There are quite a few signs that can tell you that your dog’s collar does not fit properly. So, you need not worry if you do not know how to tell if your dog’s collar does not work correctly.

You can look for signs like shortness of breath, lethargy, irritation, chafing, loss of fur, and changes in eating patterns. However, regarding physical examination, you can use the two-fingers rule to better assess the dog collar’s fitting. 

Two-finger Rule

how to fit a dog collar

The two-fingers rule is an ideal way to examine the dog collar’s proper fitting. You do not need any instruments or equipment. Instead, your index and middle finger will do the job.

The process is quite simple; you insert your middle and index finger between the dog collar and neck. If your two fingers slide easily and there is a little snuggle, then your dog collar has a perfect fit.

However, if you have to use excessive force for this insertion and there is near to no free movement between the dog collar and the dog’s neck, it is too tight.

In this particular case, you will have to loosen or re-adjust the dog collar immediately as it can affect the dog’s breathing.

Red, Itchy Skin

Other than the two-finger rule, there are visible signs that can also tell that your dog’s collar does not fit properly and requires adjustment.

If you notice your dog repeatedly itching and scratching around its collar, it is a significant sign of an ill-fitted dog collar. The tight grip of the dog collar can cause itchiness around the area. Also, the constant rubbing and friction between the collar and neck can make the area red.

Moreover, the shortness of breath can be an alarming sign that your dog’s collar is too tight. Likewise, the loss of fur and chafing can also make you realize that there is excessive pressure around the neck due to the tightness of the dog collar.

There can be bald patches around the lower neck area and at the placement of the dog collar due to tight grip and excessive friction. Thus, you must be a keen observer if you want to save your dog from such torture. 

how to fit a dog collar


In a nutshell, there is no rocket science involved in adjusting the dog collar. You must be a sharp and attentive observer if you want to save your dog from discomfort.

Adjusting a dog collar is simple; you must be meticulous about measurements and sizes.

Measure your dog’s lower neck with a plastic measuring tape, not the metal one, change the dog collar modules accordingly, wrap it around the dog’s neck again, and do not forget to keep a regular check as your buddy keeps on growing with time.

Moreover, you can examine your dog’s collar fitting with the two-finger rule that gives the most accurate results and is easy to execute.

In addition, you can look for signs that reflect the misfit of the dog collar. For instance, you must act instantly if your dog has shortness of breath or red, itchy skin around the dog collar.

Most importantly, do not forget to put tags on dog collars with important information. We hope you and your pup have a healthy and pleasant experience together. 

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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