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article by aishwarya srivastava

Your Ultimate Guide on How To Clean A Dog Collar

If you own a dog, chances are that you use a collar around its neck, and if that is true, you would know how dirty and smelly dog collars can get over time. This can happen pretty frequently for an active dog that spends some amount of time outdoors regularly, rolling on the grass or some puddle or playing on the beach. So every dog owner needs to understand how to clean a dog collar to maintain proper hygiene. 

Proper washing of a dog’s collar is not only important for your dog but also important for the well-being of you and your family as a whole. Those cuddle sessions you have with your dog or the time it spends on your couch or running around your house or when it plays with your kids can be a potential health hazard as you get contaminated directly or indirectly from the bacteria or germs that get collected over time on the collar. So if we give a little effort to clean the dog collar as frequently as we clean our pet, it will be beneficial for our furry friend as well as us. 

In this guide, we’ll try to understand what makes our dog’s collar smell and see the steps we need to follow to clean the collars effectively.

Why do Dog Collars Smell?

Dog collars can develop unpleasant odors over time due to various reasons and understanding the reasons behind the usual causes of odors and identifying which one is causing your dog’s collar to smell will help you to estimate how frequently the collar needs to be washed and what are the appropriate sets that need to be taken. Here are some of the reasons for your reference:

1. Lack of cleaning:

If you have never washed your dog’s collar or you don’t wash it as regularly as you clean your dog, the accumulation of dirt, oils, and bacteria becomes more pronounced, resulting in a strong noticeable odor.

2. Accumulated Dirt and Sweat:

If you have an active dog and you provide your dog regular outdoor time, then you know how much they love to roll on the grass or the sand, or how much they enjoy splashing or rolling over a puddle. In the process, all the dirt and grime accumulate on the collar. Also as the collar is constantly rubbing against the fur, around the neck, even a normal play time, especially in warm weather will result in sweat, dirt, and oils accumulating on the collar fabrics. These buildups will emit unpleasant smells over time.

3. Bacterial Growth:

If the collar gets wet in the rain or maybe in the pool or simply from the dogs’ sweat, it can hold the moisture for a long time if not properly dried. These moist collars combined with dirt and oil with the presence of warmth from the dog’s body will become a breeding ground for bacteria. And we all know bacterial growth can result in a foul odor emanating from the collar.

4. Food and Treat Residue:

If your dog wears the collar constantly or they wear it during eating or receiving treats, then small bits of food will accumulate on the collar over time. Even some dogs may rub the collar against the food or water especially if it is loosely hung around its neck. This build-up on the collar will result in mold and bacterial growth and eventually result in an unpleasant odor.

5. Water exposure:

If your dog's collar gets wet frequently, such as during baths, swimming, or playing in the rain, and is not properly dried, it can develop a musty smell. Moisture trapped in the collar can contribute to mold or mildew growth, leading to unpleasant odors.

6. Drool, Smell, and Body odor:

Dogs have sweat glands just like us. When your dog wears a collar, sweat, oil, and normal body odor can transfer onto the collar over time. At times drool might drip down and come in contact with the collar. These things can cause the collar to smell.

7. Environmental Factors:

Dogs love being outdoors and they enjoy exploring the places around them. Maybe you took him to the farm or maybe for a fishing trip. They tend to run around, enter bushes, a pile of dry leaves, chase a squirrel, etc. In the process, the collar can come in contact with mud, dirt, grease, or even urine and feces of other animals. These external elements can contribute to your smelly collar issue.

How to Prevent and Eliminate Dog Collar Odors?

If you have identified the cause of dog collar odor and looking for ways to eliminate it, here are a few steps that you can consider:

1. Regular Cleaning:

Just as you wash your clothes after a few wears, you should make it a habit to wash your dog’s collar regularly. Use some dog shampoo or mild detergent and rinse it thoroughly. This is the most vital step in eliminating the odor. You can click on this link to quickly jump to the part where we discuss the steps needed to clean a dog collar.

2. Deep Cleaning:

If you have a persistent stink and regular washing isn’t helping, you can consider some deep cleaning methods like dipping in vinegar or using a paste of baking soda followed by a good scrub and thorough rinse.

3. Proper Drying:

After every wash, make sure to dry the collar thoroughly before you put it around your dog. A damp collar will result in molds and bacterial growth, which will contribute to odor. For this, consider hanging the collar in an airy place or you might use a fan to aid in the drying process.

4. Rotation and Replacement:

Having multiple collars will always help deal with odors. For instance, if we possess a few shirts and wear them in rotation while airing the others, this will increase the number of wears between washes and effectively prevent odors. Similarly, airing the collar and rotating will decrease the accumulation of odor. Also consider replacing the collar if it is worn out as weak fibers of collars and its strands are more likely to hold dirt and grime, which will contribute to the odor problem.

5. Consider Collar Materials:

Collar material plays a vital role in the odor prevention and elimination process. Materials like leather or nylon may be less prone to retaining odors compared to fabric collars. So consider switching to a collar material that is less likely to absorb the odor, hydrophobic, and easier to clean.

How to Clean a Dog Collar Effectively?

Having a clean dog collar is not only important for our dog’s hygiene and potential skin issues but also plays a key role in maintaining our well-being. Dog collars accumulate dirt, sweat, and grime over time and it becomes necessary to wash them regularly. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you clean your dog’s collar effectively:

Step 1: Gathering the Supplies

To get started with the cleaning process, here are a few things that you will need:

  • Mild detergent or dog shampoo
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Small bowl or bucket
  • Optional: baking soda or vinegar for odor removal

Step 2:  Removing the Collar from Your Dog

It is always advisable to remove the collar from the dog before cleaning it. You should also remove any tags or GPS units or any such things that are attached to the collar.

  • Unfasten the collar buckle or release the clasp.
  • Gently slide the collar off your dog's neck.
  • If your dog has long fur, gather it away from the collar to avoid entanglement.

Step 3: Preparing the Cleaning Solution

Now that we have the dog collar and the supplies in hand, it is time to get the cleaning solution ready for a regular wash.

  • Fill a bowl or a bucket with warm water, remember to not make it too hot if the collar is made of nylon. You can fill up your sink also for the process.
  • Now add a small amount of dog shampoo or any mild detergent to the water.
  • Stir the solution to create a soapy mixture.

Step 4: Cleaning the Dog Collar

Now that you are ready with the solution, follow these steps to clean the collar:

  • Submerge the collar in the soap solution and let it sit for a few minutes. Make sure that it submerges completely.
  • During the soaking period, agitate the collar periodically to loosen up the dirt and grime.
  • Now use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub the collar thoroughly with special attention to the areas with visible dirt or stains.
  • If you are dealing with a particularly strong odor or stubborn strain, you can consider the deep cleaning process. 
  • If you have a metal collar, avoid any kind of acidic cleaning agents. Sticking to soaps and detergents will be the best choice. But remember to use a brush between the chain links for a thorough cleaning.
  • Rinse the collar thoroughly under a running tap to remove all the soap residue or other cleaning agents.
  • You should check the collar to ensure it is thoroughly clean and free from any odor. If the smell persists, you can repeat the step once more, or move to the deep cleaning process. 
  • Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, use a clean cloth or towel to pat it dry. You can also hang it to let the water drip down.
  • Then proceed to hang the collar in a well-ventilated airy place, away from direct sunlight. Be careful if you are using a leather collar. Leather will break if you dry it under sunlight or any direct heat source like a hair drier. 
  • Use a proper conditioner on the leather collars after drying.

Step 5: Reattaching the Clean Collar

When your collar is clean and properly dried, adjust the collar length to fit your dog and reattach it. Don’t forget to attach your dog's identification tags.

 

How To Deal With Collars With Persistent Odors? 

If the smell persists, here are a few deep cleaning methods for you:

1. Using Baking Soda:

Baking soda can be used on most types of collars. Take a spoonful of baking soda and mix it well in a container, then submerge the collar in it. If you want, you can make a paste using baking soda and warm water and apply it thoroughly and let it sit for a few minutes. Then use a brush to gently scrub the collar. Use running water to rinse the collar properly and then dry it before use.

2. Using vinegar and baking soda:

Use this method only for nylon collars as this solution can damage other materials. Make a solution of vinegar and baking soda and apply it to the collar and let it sit for 15 minutes. using a brush gently scrub the collar. Use running water to rinse the collar properly and then dry it before use.

3. Using Peppermint Soap:

Peppermint soap can be used to remove odors from leather collars. Soak the collar in water, then take some peppermint soap in hand and rub to make a lather. Apply this on the collar and scrub gently with a soft brush. Rinse it thoroughly and pat it with a towel. Hen let the leather collar dry under a shade.

 

Using A Washing Machine Or Dishwasher To Clean Dog Collar

If you want to use a washing machine then remember that all materials won’t take the beating equally. If you are using a nylon collar, then you are fine with either a washing machine or a dishwasher. For washing machines, remember to use normal water and a gentle setting and put the collar inside a laundry bag to avoid unwanted damage. It is best to avoid collars of other materials in the machine.

 

Takeaway

Ensuring proper hygiene and overall well-being for your dog necessitates regular cleaning of their collar. Hopefully with the help of this article, you can identify the cause of a smelly collar and by following the steps discussed above you can maintain your dog's collar in a clean, fresh, and odor-free state. You should periodically inspect the collar for any indications of damage and replace it if needed. Your beloved canine companion will surely enjoy the cleanliness and comfort of a well-maintained collar.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do metal dog collars need to be cleaned? 

Yes, you should regularly clean metal dog collars to prevent your dog from experiencing irritation caused by accumulated dirt and oil

Can leather dog collars get wet?

A well-treated leather dog collar can withstand a small amount of water. But failure to remove it during your dog's bathing or swimming activities will result in the collar becoming wet and susceptible to damage from soaking.

Should my dog wear a collar all the time?

The dog collar is considered a precaution against unforeseen accidents and also serves as a means of identification. But it is advisable to remove the collar from your dog's neck, at the very least during nighttime. This is crucial because if your dog experiences any discomfort or irritation from the collar, you won't be able to address it immediately. Generally, dog collars are primarily intended for use in public settings and can be removed when they are indoors.

 

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