Should I Take My Dog’s Collar off at Night? – Consider Risks

After getting home from a long day at work, the best part of our day is changing out of our stiff work clothes and into something more comfortable.

With this in mind, we should consider removing our pup’s collar at night too so they’re just as comfortable.

Generally, removing our dog’s collar at night is a personal preference but factors like age, breed, personality and nighttime environments should be considered.

This article will help us decide if removing our dog’s collar at night is the right idea and we’ll discuss where it’s safe to have a collarless animal and where collars are a must.

Things to Consider

should I take my dog's collar off at night?
Taking your dog’s collar off at night is a great way to keep your dog comfortable and prevent accidental harm.

There are many different considerations that should go into the decision of whether or not you should take your dog’s collar off at night.

These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Your dog’s personality
  • Your dog’s nighttime environment
  • Your dog’s age

Does my Dog Want Their Collar Taken Off at Night?

Some dogs’ personalities lend them more to needing to wear their collars all night than others. 

While other dogs are wanderers and will make some noise throughout the night if they are wearing a collar with jingling tags.

This may motivate some owners to take their pets’ collars off at night, as they want a peaceful night’s sleep.

If you want your pet to wear a collar at night, but dislike the sound, there are some options for personalized collars.

For example, you can get a personalized dog collar where your dog’s information is located on the band of the collar instead of on tags, or even stitched into the collar instead. 

Some dogs also cannot comfortably sleep in their collar and seem to want it removed to sleep. 

Other dogs, seem to not mind wearing their collar all the time.

This happens when they are conditioned to believe that they will not be allowed to go outside without their collar.

As a result, some dogs may get upset when you attempt to remove their collar, as they want to still be allowed outside. 

Overall, you know your dog’s personality best and this makes you the best person to decide if they want their collar removed at night.

Should I Take my Dog’s Collar off in their Nighttime Environment?

should dogs wear collars all night?
Should I Take my Dog’s Collar off in their Nighttime Environment?

We consider this to be the biggest factor in determining if you should take your dog’s collar off at night.

There are certain environments where a dog needs to have their collar on at all times, especially for identification purposes. 

Outside dogs, dogs that are prone to escaping, and working farm animals are a few types of dogs that need their collar on at all times.

Leaving their collar with tags on will help identify them in the case that they escape. 

However, dogs that could get themselves hung up on something in their environment should have their collar removed at night to reduce the risk of strangulation.

Collar Strangulation

Some pets (especially those who won’t sleep through the night and tend to get into mischief) may need their collar removed for their own safety.

Removing these animals’ collars prevents them from becoming stuck on something and injuring themselves.

This type of injury is called collar strangulation and is more common than you may think.

This article, called ‘Preventing Dog Collar Accidents’ will help you identify areas where a dog would be at higher risk for injury. 

It’s extremely important that a dog who wears its collar 24/7 has a properly fitted collar to reduce the risk of this type of injury. 

Keep in mind that a pet’s collar may fit differently when they are sitting or laying down versus when they are standing and moving.

Make sure you adjust your collar appropriately.

This video shows how to ensure that your dog’s collar is properly fitted:

Is my Dog at Risk for Other Collar Related Issues or Injuries?

We have already discussed collar strangulation, but there are a few other problems that could be caused by your dog wearing a collar, especially when they’re unsupervised.

Again, the major concern comes down to the dog’s collar fitting properly.

If the collar is too loose, the dog may be able to slip one of its limbs under the collar, or even get its mouth trapped on the collar.

The dog’s subsequent reaction to being stuck can cause him to injure himself.

Likewise, if the collar is too tight, there is a higher risk for the dog to have hair loss in the affected areas and this increases the risk for infection.

In extreme situations, the collar can even cut into the dog’s neck if it’s too tight. This is unfortunately common in neglect cases.

Many vets recommend rotating through different collars and checking your pet regularly to make sure that their collar is fitting appropriately and not adding risk for injury. 

They also say that choosing to remove the collar when it is safe is a good way to allow the skin in the area to breathe.

An article on PetMD, called Ways Collars Can Harm your Dog, goes into great detail on potential collar-related injuries.

Is my Dog Old Enough to Wear a Collar?

Puppies who have not yet received all of their shots are sometimes raised fully indoors, to the point of even using indoor restroom solutions instead of going outdoors. 

If your puppy is still inside full-time, then a collar is likely not needed at this point.

Thus you can choose to have your puppy wear it during the day and take it off at night if you choose, or you can let your new four-legged friend go collarless all day.

The same can be said for any other pup who is a fully inside dog.

If there is no chance that the dog will escape then a collar is merely optional. 

Alternative Collar Types

 Collar Types
There are a variety of alternative collar types when it comes to keeping your dog safe.

There are a few different types of collars that a dog can wear.

These different types of collars can be used differently, and as such, may have different rules when considering full-time wear.

Electric collars (or E-Collars), whether they’re used with an underground fence, for training, or to prevent other behaviors, should only be worn when they are being used. 

If an e-collar is being used to keep a pet inside of its underground boundary, it should be taken off when the pet is allowed inside.

The same can be said for an electric collar that is being used in place of a leash, it should be removed when not in use.

A flea collar for dogs and tick prevention collars are also quite common.

As long they are being used as the instructions describe, they are safe for your pet to wear all of the time.

If you want your pet to wear their collar all the time, but have safety concerns, another great option is a breakaway collar.

Although these are most commonly for cats, they do make them for dogs. 

If your dog were to get its collar hung on something in its environment, this collar is designed to simply break off, freeing your pet and protecting them from harm.

Legal Considerations

One thing to keep in mind is the legality of having your pet out and about without its collar.

Some areas (states, counties, cities, etc) have laws relating to pets wearing their collars.

Always check local laws before you take your dog on an evening stroll without their collar or turn them out at night without any identification.

Some pet daycares will also require your pet to wear their collar 24/7 for the duration of their stay, for safety and identification purposes, including in their kennels at night.


Overall, when it comes to deciding if you should take your dog’s collar off at night, the decision is all yours, and an argument can be made for either side.

The most important thing is that you consider all the facets, and make the best choice for your pup’s safety.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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