Explained: Should Your Dog Wear A Collar All The Time?

Collars are an important item that no dog should be without. They are essential when it comes to the security of our pets. However, there is some debate on how long a dog should wear a collar.

Should a dog wear a collar all the time? It all comes down to your dog’s safety, comfort and happiness. You can choose to have them wear the collar 24/7 as a practical measure and in case the dog wanders off, remove the collar as soon as they get home to let the skin around the neck breathe and offer more freedom. Or, you can just take it off when they go to bed. 

So, can a dog wear a collar all the time, should you take it off at home, and what about puppies? I am going to tell you what I think about these matters.

Should My Dog Wear A Collar All The Time?

There are differing opinions over the use of dog collars at home. On the one hand, some don’t see the need for collars unless the animal is out of the house on a walk. On the other, some feel it is more practical or perhaps safer to keep a collar on a dog. It is important to consider the pros and cons and the potential risks to your dog either way. Also, you may need to re-evaluate your approach when dealing with puppies.

Why Is It So Important That Dogs Have Collars?

Before we look at whether or not to take off a dog’s collar at home, we need to remember why we use them in the first place. Collars have two important purposes.

  • The first is to provide an attachment point for a leash – unless you prefer to use a harness system. You need to be sure of having a secure point to clip a leash to a dog before you step out of the house and the whole time you are out. Otherwise, it could be difficult to get them under control. Taking the collar off when letting dogs run off the lead isn’t a good idea.

One of the reasons why you don’t want to remove the collar when off the lead is because of its other purpose.

  • Collars act as a means of identifying dogs. They should have your contact details and the name of the dog, just in case they get lost or in an accident somewhere. Without this, a rescuer may think that a dog is a stray and commit “theft by finding”.

Should I Take My Dog’s Collar Off At Home?

You might decide to take your dog’s collar off when they get back in the house and only use it on walks. This is fine as long as you are sure to attach the collar before leaving the house again and sure that your dog won’t kick up a fuss about wearing it again. This is sometimes seen as the kindest thing to do, as there are worries about collars aggravating the dog’s neck with repeated wear. However, you need to be sure that your dog is secure in the home during this time. A worry about removing a dog’s collar is that they might go out in the yard, escape the fence, and have no form of ID on them.

Should Dogs Sleep With Collars On?

This is another area of concern for dog owners. There is the possibility that a dog’s collar with be uncomfortable and rub against their skin as they sleep. This could then lead to skin irritation and possible patches of fur loss. A deciding factor here may be to examine your dog’s neck and see if there are any signs of irritation or damage. If your dog seems fine and comfortable about wearing a collar at night, I wouldn’t bother taking it off at night.

Should I Take My Dog’s Collar Off At Night?

Taking a dog’s collar off at night, and then putting it back on in the morning, could be a good compromise here. It is understandable if you are worried about taking it off when they get home, but also if you don’t want them wearing it 24/7 either. Taking it off before bed could help. It gives the dog more freedom and comfort in bed. Also, there is no risk of the collar getting caught on something while you are asleep.

With that in mind, it is important to make sure that your dog’s collar is comfortable and secure at all times. Whether they only wear it outside or all the time, you need to make sure that it has a good fit. You can learn more about how tight should a dog collar be in our other guide.

Should Puppies Wear Collars?

The situation is a little different when it comes to puppies and, again, can come down to situations and best judgment. Many owners don’t see the need to put a collar on their puppy unless they are on a walk. This is understandable as the collar could be uncomfortable on little dogs. Some also refrain from getting one at all until the dog has had all their shots and is able to venture outside. There is no need for a collar on a housebound animal. However, you may want to start training your dog to wear a collar before they actually need to wear one.

At What Age Can Puppies Wear Collars?

Advice varies on the exact age that a puppy can wear a collar. If they are old enough to go outside and socialize with other dogs and people, they are old enough to wear a collar. The most important thing here is that the collar is well-fitted and comfortable. This can be difficult with smaller pups as some brands may not go narrow enough with neck sizes. Don’t use an oversized collar as this could get caught on something and pose a choking hazard. You can always talk to a vet about any concerns too.


In short, it is up to you whether or not you let your dog wear their collar at home. You can choose to have them wear the collar 24/7 as a practical measure and in case the dog wanders off. You can remove the collar as soon as they get home to let the skin around the neck breathe and offer more freedom. Or, you can just take it off when they go to bed. What is most important here is that the dog is happy and healthy when at home and that they have a well-fitting collar in place when they go outside.