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5 Health And Safety Concerns With Bark Collars And How to Address Them

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Home » Blog » 5 Health And Safety Concerns With Bark Collars And How to Address Them

Risk Of Skin Irritation And Injury

Stop-bark collars may cause skin irritation and injury if not used properly. In one of the examples, if the collar is too tight, the skin ends up against that collar in a cuspidate shape, and necrosis or gangrene will be the ending. The University of Pennsylvania conducted an investigation that determined that about 10% of dogs using electronic collars suffered some kind of skin damage. In practical terms, developers state that two fingers should fit between the strap and the dog’s neck. It advises each time the device is used to check the fit. According to the same data, if an owner checked the fit of the device once a week, injuries could be reduced by 40%.

Prevention and Monitoring

Presumably, the first signs of injury are redness and small abrasions. Regardless of charge and need, the collar should be removed if any evidence is seen that something is amiss. A veterinarian should also be seen, if necessary. There have been studies in California that found that collar injuries could be reduced by more than 40% if the pet owners inspected the fit every week.

Alternative Training Methods

Both veterinarians and animal behaviorists agree that positive reinforcement regimes can be used safely with better results. Instead of punishment after a dog barks, animals are rewarded with treats, games, and cuddles when they are quiet. Real-world cases demonstrate these methods produce far fewer barking problems. One example is a school in San Antonio, Texas, that used a positive reward and punishment system and claimed a 70% success rate in training 36 dogs from barking to not barking within three months.

Technological Developments

Despite any sanctions related to animal abuse, there have been technological advances. Incoming of relatively vague niches, represented in swipe-generated prices and the deliverable ‘artifact’” is a contemporary collar. Additionally, the device is more highly developed and reacts weakly to barking, vibrating, or blowing in the dog’s ear. The firm that makes this kind of device, SmartCollar Tech, also started quietly. Data from a pilot study in 2021, indicated that there was a 25% drop in skin issues when these newer models are used.

Ensuring Proper Fit And Comfort

When using a stop-bark collar, one of the primary considerations is ensuring it fits correctly to prevent any discomfort or possible injury. A collar which is too lose or too tight can easily result in skin irritation or, perhaps, even a wound. To guarantee an appropriate fit, it is suggested that one use the ‘Two Finger Rule’ – upon placing the collar around the dog’s neck, try to slip two fingers underneath. This should feel snug but not tight, with an appropriate amount of space above and around the neck of the animal. If it feels too tight, slacken the collar and if it slides freely, tighten it up. To provide an example, a training manual of one reputable canine Association suggests that the adjustment should be checked and noted during regular training sessions.

Material Considerations

Another factor of importance is the material from which the collar is manufactured. Ideally, it should be gentle against the skin and not cause any irritation. Thus, materials like nylon and soft leather are preferable. More recently, silicon-coated collars have also become popular for their anti-allergic characteristics and increased durability. A study published in Journal of Veterinary Behavior in 2020 shows that there is a 30 percent decrease in skin irritation cases with silicon-coated collars as opposed to more traditional ones made out of nylon.

Regular Adjustment and Cleaning

Finally, it is also important to note that dogs grow and may also gain or lose weight, thus bringing the need for regular adjustment of the collar. Ideally, this should occur on a monthly basis to ensure that the collar fits well and cleaning it on this timetable is also a good idea. This allows preventing the buildup of dirt and oils, which may cause skin issues. Indeed, an online survey with 3566 dog owners who use bark collars showed that those who clean the collar once a month experience significantly fewer skin problems than those who do not.

Limiting Duration Of Use

The period a stop-bark collar can be worn for primarily influences its effectiveness and the degree to which the dog is safe from the device. A period of extended wear causes higher levels of both physical and psychological stress that the animal experiences.

Recommended Periods of Use

Expert recommendations stipulate that stop-bark collars should not be worn for more than 12 hours a day. Interrupting this period several times and allowing the dog to stay without the collar during prolonged periods of inactivity helps to avoid potential skin irritation and discomfort. A study conducted by a veterinary behavioral clinic in 2022 discovered that dogs who wore collars for extended periods without any regulation of use displayed the higher frequency of stress and discomfort behaviors. Monitoring the dog while it wears the collar also effectively tracks this factor. If the animal scratches itself near the collar, changes the pitch of barking while wearing it, or tries to avoid it, its collar should be immediately removed and the training regimen should be reassessed. Therefore, practical advice by trainers tends to focus on monetary the dogs’ behavior with the collar worn and keeping a log for any changes and signs of improvement.

The Adjustment Process

There are multiple ways to ensure that the introduction of the collar does not cause too much stress for the animal. Regular 30-minute sessions that the dog spends with the collar around its neck is a slow and gentle path to extend this period. Real-world feedback, such as a dog training forum, indicates that a plan of this nature is responsible for approximately a 50% decrease in the initial negative reaction to the collar over the course of three weeks. Not only does this method make it much easier to accustom the animal to a new and potentially uncomfortable accessory, but it also increases the overall effectiveness of the training tool at large doses.

Recognizing Signs Of Stress Or Discomfort

It is important to be able to identify early-warning signs of stress and discomfort in your dog while wearing a stop-bark collar. It is an utmost issue for their health and well-being. It allows you to prevent more severe health problems and behavior.

Behavioral Signs

There are a few changes that should be considered as indicators of your dog’s mental status. Your dog should be monitored in terms of different types of behavior changes. It may include increased pacing, whining, and changes in the tone of barking. For instance, the behavioral study showed that if you see that your dog frequently paws at the collar or tries to rub its neck against an object, your dog probably feels some discomfort or pain.

Physical Signs

Many physical symptoms may also demonstrate the stress that comes from the collar. They may include red marks, hair loss, and raw spots around the neck. In the survey of the first animal hospital, it was revealed that about 20% of dogs wearing the collar demonstrated mild to severe dermatological reactions in the period of six months.

Monitor Engagement and Response

It is important to monitor how your dog engages its environment and how it reacts to it. The strong decrease in normal activity levels, such as playing and eating is a valuable source of information that your dog feels too much stressed by the collar. According to the statements collected from owners of dogs, there was a strong pattern: if a dog starts to show far less interest in daily activities, it is increasingly stressed by the collar, and owners should try to readjust the use of the collar or provide additional training facilities.

Seeking Veterinary Advice For Safe Use

One of the first steps, one must do before using a stop-bark collar is to consult with a veterinarian. Why is it so important to talk to a vet before using such a device? Veterinarians know your dog personally – they know your dog’s unique temperament, its health issues and individual history. Here are the reasons, why such consultations are so important.

Medical Reasons

Before using a stop-bark collar, one can do health check-up. There is always a chance, that your barking is induced by pain or discomfort. Animals without any medical reasons, that were given a stop-bark collar. We treat around 15% of those cases – those are animals, that need treatment, and collar will not help. In other cases the figure was much higher – Eddie Gray, animal clinic in New York.

Customized Use

Veterinarian can consult on whether the collar is properly installed, set and used. He also might recommend to purchase a certain brand or type of a collar, according to the results of physical and behavior examination of your dog. Veterinarians also take an active part in conducting practice, in which they put a collar on a certain dog for some time and help the owner set the collar properly, advises innovative training methods and exercises and helps set up a schedule of the device characteristic adjustment. If the dog owner refuses to participate in such practice, it is recommended not to use the stop-bark collar. What measures to judge the perfect collar setting and dog behavior and physiological reactions?!”


It is recommended to have regular follow-up visits with your vet. Those visits are important to trace your dog’s adaptation to the collar and perform necessary, timely adjustments to the training plan. Those steps are essential to trace, that the collar does not cause development of certain stress-related behaviors and other signs of stress and, therefore, does not cause prolonged injury of a dog’s skin ( according to a veterinary journal, consistent follow-up every 3 – 4 weeks during the collar introduction period significantly decreases risks of such problems).

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