Many of our adopters use crates on a regular basis for their greyhounds. Many greyhounds love their crates and do not mind being in them when their adopters leave home. We recently experienced a problem with one of our foster greyhounds and we thought it would be a good idea to warn adopters of one particular hazard.
We always advise adopters to take martingale collars off their greyhound when they use the crate. This is to avoid the collar/tag from getting caught in the crate hardware. Greyhounds can choke to death if they get the loop on the collars stuck in the crate bars or other parts of the crate. This may never happen, but all too often it does with disasterous results. It is easy for forget this advice; one can become complacent over time. If nothing happens, it does not mean that nothing CAN happen.
At our house we are diligent in every way when we get in new greyhounds. All are crated when they first come in to our program because we want adopters who work and need to crate to get a greyhound that can stay in a crate while they are away at work. In addition, crates are recommended for greyhounds coming off the track because it is what they are used to in the track kennels and farms.
However, at track kennels and farms, martingale collars are never used. A plain plastic buckle kennel collar is used and only to leash the dog when it goes to race. New adopters are given a martingale collar to use because greyhounds have little-to-no stop to their head and it’s easier for them to back out of a traditional, non-choking collar. As useful as these collars are for greyhounds, they can also pose a hazard.
Our foster greyhounds wear tag collars (like the one in the photo), a form of slip collar that has no rings on it to attach to a leash and they lay flat on the dog’s neck; the ID tags attached directly on to the collar. However, when we walk our dogs, we use a martingale collar. Recently, we forgot to remove the martingale collar from one of our dogs after a walk and that dog got her collar stuck in the crate bar. Had we not seen this, that dog could have choked to death. Fortunately, the dog was frightened enough to stay still long enough for us to get her loose. However, her collar was pulled so tight that the only way we could release her was to use bolt cutters and cut the bar on the crate.
This was a stark reminder of how quickly a tragedy can happen. We were lucky this time. We now walk around the crates of each dog to make sure all martingale collars are removed.
If your dog wears a martingale collar with an identification tag, make sure the tag is not on the D-ring, the ring that you attach to the leash. In fact, if you do like having a collar on your dog in case it gets out, please consider using a tag collar – a collar that can hold an identification tag but not have any rings on it that can be attached to a leash. There are many varieties of tag collars available on line. And the cost is worth it if it keeps your hound safe.
Please take the time to inspect your dog’s collars. Remove any tags that you have on the D-ring and put them somewhere else on the hardward of the collar. Buy a tag collar. Or, better yet, remove martingale collars entirely when inside. You may also consider micr-chipping your greyhound. That way you can rest assured that if it gets away, you will have a way to get it back.
Better to be safe than sorry!