Causes and Treatment For Dog Collar Burn

By Lisa McQuerrey

Dogs can develop collar burn from chafing, straining or from electronic fences that malfunction. Regardless of how the collar burn occurs, fast treatment will protect your dog against further discomfort. Once you address the burn cause and treat the wound, take steps to prevent against such an injury from occurring again.


If your dog’s collar is too tight, it can cut into his neck and result in a burn-like injury. You should be able to comfortably put two fingers under your dog’s collar. Anything tighter will be uncomfortable and may even interfere with his eating, drinking and respiratory function. Also, if your dog is on a chain or other tie-out, a too-tight collar will become even more uncomfortable if your dog strains against his restraints during the day. The cure for this problem is simple -- loosen the collar or buy a larger size.


Does your dog have the tendency to pull while you walk him? This may lead to collar burn (or harness burn, if you use a regular body harness) if this behavior isn't attended to. You may even develop leash/rope burn on your own hands! In addition to training your pup not to pull, you should also consider using a gentle head harness or an anti-pull harness. For more information on selecting the right walking gear for your dog, refer to this helpful guide provided by the ASPCA.


Anytime moisture is trapped under your dog’s collar, there’s the potential for chafing, which can rub the skin raw. This is especially prevalent in outdoor dogs or hunting dogs exposed to the elements. To protect against this problem, regularly remove your dog’s collar, especially after he gets wet, and allow both the collar and his fur and skin to dry before putting it back on.

Electric Fence Collars

Electric fence collars typically have metal prongs that push against a dog’s neck and deliver a shock if he breaches boundaries. If the Electric fence and collar system malfunctions or is set too high, it can leave burn marks on your dog’s neck. This same problem can be associated with shock collars as well. If this happens, remove the collar, safely restrain your dog by another means, treat the wound and allow it to heal.

Collar Burn Treatments

Minor burns can be treated similar to treating a hot spot, cut or abrasion. But to be on the safe side consult your veterinarian for the best treatment for your dog's collar burn.

Healing Time

The healing time for a collar burn is based on your dog’s overall health and how severe the burn is. Don’t put a collar back on your dog until his neck is fully healed, and when you do, take precautionary measures to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again. While the dog heals, use a harness leash when you walk him or take him out in public places.

By Lisa McQuerrey


About the Author
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.