Written by Sarah Connor - Pet Nutrition Expert. Updated on 27/07/2023.
Treating Collar Sores on Dogs
Shock collar sores, also known as pressure necrosis, are more common than you think. They come about from e-collar misuse or malfunction and not from the regular use of an e-training collar.
Shock collar training has advanced in many ways and can be an excellent turn-to for most dog trainers and pet parents. But sometimes, even the best e-collars can cause shock collar sores and pressure ulcers if misused or left on for too long.
The main reason for pressure necrosis is from keeping on the shock collar too long, with the contact points of the receiver causing neck sores. You should also never connect a leash to a shock collar.
This will result in excessive pressure on the contacts and pressure necrosis. So many variables come into play with pressure necrosis, like skin sensitivity, moisture, and coat length. Here's the takeaway:
Written by Sarah Connor, an experienced canine trainer and nutritionist for over a decade. Her positive reinforcement methods and passion for pups make her a go-to for dog owners.
How To Train With Pressure Necrosis
We looked into what Redditors had to say about shock collar sores in dogs via dog training forums, and a few trainers came up with the following threads.
"If she's collar-wise, have you considered removing the tips and letting her wear the collar without the tips? You can train without the tips, I would assume, and work on dealing with that issue specifically," says one Redditor.
"How often is your dog wearing the e-collar? Rotate every few hours and use the comfort pads; it doesn't matter where it's placed as long as there's contact. Also, you may be putting it on tighter than you think you need to, especially with comfort pads. It doesn't need to be too tight unless the dog has super thick fur," says another Redditor about healing pressure sores and hair loss.
"The quickest way to heal is to keep the area free of any further irritation. Then sit down and plan management techniques so your dog is kept under threshold as much as possible. Then look into clicker training and start teaching your dog to learn that way. Don't put any sort of collar, bandana, anything on their neck until fully healed," adds another Redditor.
What are Shock Training Collars?
The best Bark Beyond shock collars allow for no-shock training via beep and vibration modes. All Bark Beyond training shock collars are fully adjustable and feature a comfortable fit with no collar sores if used correctly. Bark Beyond shock collars offer reflective stitching for optimal safety and extra comfort.
Bark Beyond gives you the best value duo and trio sets for homes with multiple dogs, fast, free worldwide shipping, and a 14-day money-back guarantee.
High-quality shock collars like the ones Bark Beyond offers for low-medium or low-high output. By using the correct corrections, you can stop your dog from bolting out the front door and allow for obedience training and plenty of off-leash playtime.
How do I Fit The Shock Collar Correctly?
The e-collar should be fitted properly, not too tightly or too loosely. One of the most common myths is that if you use an e-collar, the contact points will cause redness or pressure necrosis.
The e-collar, when used correctly, can be an effective tool for training dogs. When fitting the shock collar, it's important to ensure it is neither too tight nor too loose on your dog's neck.
- Measure your dog's neck: Start by measuring the circumference of your dog's neck using a flexible tape measure. Make sure to measure snugly but not too tight. This will give you an accurate measurement for selecting the appropriate collar size.
- Choose the right size: Once you have the measurement, refer to the manufacturer's sizing chart to select the correct size of the shock collar. Following the manufacturer's guidelines is crucial to ensure a proper fit.
- Adjust the strap: Place the collar around your dog's neck and fasten it securely. The collar should be snug enough that it doesn't slide around or rotate, but it should still allow you to fit two fingers comfortably between the collar and your dog's neck.
- Check the contact points: The e-collar has metal contact points that should contact your dog's skin directly. Ensure these contact points are positioned correctly and make firm contact without causing discomfort. If necessary, adjust the length of the contact points using the provided tool, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Test the fit: With the e-collar properly fitted, conduct a quick test to ensure it works as intended. Use the lowest level of stimulation and observe your dog's reaction. This test aims to confirm that the contact points are making sufficient contact without causing harm or discomfort to your dog.
Understanding Dog Collar Sores
Dog collar sores can happen with any type of collar that's too tight. Pressure necrosis occurs with improper wearing time and misuse of the shock collar.
Ulcers and wounds develop due to prolonged pressure on a specific area. This continuous pressure restricts blood flow to the affected area, leading to tissue damage and the formation of ulcers or wounds.
Collars left on for extended periods without proper adjustments lead to reduced blood flow, eventually resulting in skin damage.
Preventing Dog Collar Sores
To prevent collar sores, you should avoid using a collar with an improper fit where the receiver is either too loose or tight. If the collar box is fitted too snuggly against the dog's neck, the contact points will restrict blood flow to the tissue underneath the collar. Here are some other causes of dog collar sores:
- Moisture: If a dog collar or shock collar gets wet and is not removed and dried thoroughly, it can result in skin irritation and, eventually, sores.
- Friction From Tight Collars: If there's constant friction and movement of the dog training collar against the skin, it can also lead to neck sores
- Prolonged Use of Dog Collars: Electronic dog collars should be kept from being left for 8-10 hours. Avoid leaving the shock collar on for extended periods. Give your dog breaks from wearing the shock collar to allow their skin to breathe and recover.
Identifying Signs and Symptoms
A high-quality shock collar from Bark Beyond is fully adjustable for all dog breeds, from small to large, and can prevent neck sores and pressure necrosis when used correctly and not left on for longer than 8 to 10 hours. That said, it's best to remove shock collars when you're done with training.
Dog collar sores, or pressure necrosis, can cause discomfort and potentially lead to open wounds if left untreated. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:
- Redness: One of the initial signs of collar sores is redness around the neck area where the collar sits. The skin may appear inflamed and irritated.
- Swelling: Dogs with collar sores may experience swelling in the affected area. This can range from mild to more pronounced swelling, depending on the severity of the pressure necrosis.
- Pain or Discomfort: Dogs may exhibit signs of pain or discomfort when pressure is applied to the collar sore area. They may try to scratch or rub their necks against objects to alleviate the discomfort.
- Skin Breakdown: In severe cases, the skin can break down and form open sores or ulcers. These sores may be moist or have a raised appearance. Monitoring the skin's condition and seeking veterinary attention if open wounds develop is essential.
- Hair Loss: Collar sores can cause hair loss around the neck area due to constant friction and pressure. You may notice bald patches or thinning hair in the affected region.
If you observe any of these symptoms in your dog, removing the collar immediately and consulting with a veterinarian is key. A veterinarian can assess the severity of the collar sores and recommend appropriate treatment options to promote faster healing and prevent further complications.
Move Shock Collar Around Every Two Hours
That said, you should never leave the collar on for more than 8- 10 hours a day, and when doing so, you should constantly reposition the collar every one to 2 hours to avoid neck collar sores.
Take the Shock Collar Off Regularly
When using a shock collar, it's key to take the collars off regularly and to inspect the neck areas for skin sensitivities. Some dogs may be prone to skin irritations, while others may get skin infections.
Visit Your Veterinarian
If your dog has sores, visiting your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment is best. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.
Bark Beyond suggests that to help avoid neck sores, you should wash your dog's neck and collar with a damp cloth weekly and examine the neck area often to check for signs of a rash or infection.
Effective Remedies for Dog Collar Sores
If your pup is wearing his training collar for longer than 2 hours, then it's best to rotate the collar and make sure that it's not fitted tightly. You should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and the dog's skin. Trapped moisture beneath the shock collar can increase the chances of irritation.
"How often is your dog wearing the e-collar? Rotate every few hours and use the comfort pads; it doesn't matter where it's placed as long as there's contact. Also, maybe you're putting it on tighter than you think you need to, especially with comfort pads. It doesn't need to be too tight unless the dog has super thick fur," says one Redditor.
If you notice pressure sores under the collar, the best thing to do is remove the collar, disinfect the collar, and wash your dog's neck wash the affected area with chlorhexidine or betadine solution.
You should also use a warm washcloth a few times a day to clean the area for a few minutes, allowing the wound to drain. After that, use a microbial ointment with no hydrocortisone components.
It's always best to visit your veterinarian as your dog may need pain meds and antibiotics. When dogs suffer from pressure necrosis, you'll need to keep an eye on your dog for loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, discharge, and swelling.
Witch Hazel & Coconut Oil
"My dog developed sores and hair loss from his prong collar, and the best products I've found to heal it are witch hazel and coconut oil. It took a couple weeks for his hair to grow back, but that combination of products did the trick for him. Twice a day, I pour the witch hazel on a cotton pad wipe his neck with it, and then apply some coconut oil to the sores. Maybe that can help you and your pup," says one Redditor.
"My dog will scratch these sensitive areas on his neck raw. Like blood and torn-up neck skin raw. He only does when he's home alone because once at the groomer, he got a razer burn, and I always stopped him from scratching it; I think because of that, he has learned not to scratch his head/neck area while I'm around."
The user continued, "The first time I came back from leaving him home alone, he scratched his neck violently and developed a hot spot; thankfully, after some cleaning and care, it healed well.
o, my current situation is when I leave him home alone; I tie a towel around his neck so he can't get to that area. Thankfully, it's been quite successful in saving his neck from being scratched at."
Choosing the Best Shock Collar
When choosing the best shock collar for your dog, you should opt for brands like Bark Beyond that allow you to have a proper collar fit and keep your dog safe and comfortable regardless of breed and neck size.
With the fully adjustable Bark Beyond positive training collars, you get humane, shock-free training corrections whenever training.
Bark Beyond advises that if you find collar sores and redness, discontinue the collar until it has completely healed and visit your veterinarian for antibiotics and treatment.
FAQ's: How to Treat Shock Collar Sores on Dogs
Q: Can a dog shock collar cause sores?
A: If your pup is wearing his training collar for longer than 2 hours, then it's best to rotate the collar and make sure that it's not fitted tightly. You should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and the dog's skin. Trapped moisture beneath the shock collar can increase the chances of irritation.
Q: Why does my dog have sores under his collar?
A: When choosing the best shock collar for your dog, you should opt for brands like Bark Beyond that allow you to have a proper collar fit and keep your dog safe and comfortable regardless of breed and neck size.
Neck sores and pressure necrosis come about from low-quality training collars, collars being on for too long, using a collar on a wet neck, and not repositioning the shock collar every two hours.
Q: Can shock collars cause hot spots on dogs?
A: Yes, the main reason for pressure necrosis is from keeping on the shock collar too long, with the collar destroying skin tissue and contact points, resulting in neck sores.
Training collars that are too tight or loose can also result in pressure necrosis. You should move the collar around every two hours so the contact points do not always touch a specific area.
To stop the itching, the best remedy for hot spots is rooibos tea, topical or oral steroids, and antihistamines. VCA Animal Hospital says that treating the hot spot aims to stop the trauma and prevent developing a deep skin infection. Keeping your dog well groomed, especially around the neck, helps prevent skin issues.