How to Measure for the Right Size Choke Chain

By G.D. Palmer

Used correctly, a choke chain is a humane and effective way to keep a dog under control. However, a chain that's too large or small will be ineffective and may even hurt your pet. It's vital to choose a collar that's the correct length for the dog. A combination of the right training and the right choke chain could help you teach your pet proper behavior.

Determine whether your dog should use a choke chain. Toy breeds and other very small dogs are too delicate to wear this kind of chain. They're prone to trachea collapse when their throats are under pressure. Larger breeds will usually do well with a choke chain. Talk to your veterinarian if you're not sure.

Measure your dog's neck with a soft measuring tape. Measure high on the neck, rather than close to the dog's shoulders. A chain that's too loose won't work and may be a hazard. The tape should be snug, but don't pull it so tight that it puts pressure on the neck.

Look at the available range of choke chains. Most are sold in 2-inch increments. Add 3 inches to your dog's neck measurement, and choose the chain that' is closest to this number. If the number is between sizes, choose the larger size. A choke chain should slide easily over your pet's head and shouldn't pull on its ears.

Test the fit on your dog. Slip the collar over its head with the free end placed over the neck, not under. This will prevent the so-called “choke chain” from actually choking your pet. According to the Fort Smith Animal Society, a correctly fitted collar should be completely relaxed with about 6 inches of slack chain.