Regrettably Easy to Overlook
When you give your dog a bath or take them to a groomer there is a clear expectation to get them clean! When they are freshly bathed, dried and beautified, you collect your dog clean and smelling wonderful all over…Right? If you didn’t bring a freshly washed or new collar/harness to the grooming salon then there is a hole in that perception. Dirty collars can carry debris, fur and moisture which will foster bacteria and fungus, major odor factors. How many times do we really stop to check how clean our dog’s collar is? In my experience, the average pet owner, devoted and loving as they are, might check the collar if their dog has rolled in something or perhaps buys a new one annually. It’s easy to overlook, it is so necessary to have ON our dogs. We don't usually take them off to clean them and traditionally dogs only get one collar once they are at adult size so having multiple in a rotation may still be a novel idea to most people. The downside to that approach is that we are repeatedly reintroducing contaminants to the surface of our dogs skin. Luckily most dogs' immune system can ward off infection but sometimes they can’t. The resulting condition could require a Veterinarian’s assistance to resolve. The trouble can be avoided by washing collars, and beds, whenever you bathe your dog. I always recommend a 4 or 6 week bathing schedule for optimum health.
The benefits are not just your dogs! You and your home will benefit since you are removing a potential carrier of some pretty gross stuff. Most collars can be washed in the washing machine or top rack of a dishwasher, leather goods and specialty materials require gentler hand-washing. Refer to the manufacturer for washing instructions for your specific piece of gear.
It’s a small effort to make a big difference in your dog’s life, and your life too. Find a routine to fit into your life and it will be a breeze to include collar hygiene into your hygiene routine.