I don’t know about you but I find great relief in the simple act of taking off my bra and socks, or any restrictive clothing item, at the end of the day. Multiply this times 10 if moving hay was part of the day’s activities!
Maybe I am the odd one here but I have to believe that most animals would find a similar reprieve in having their own “garments” removed after a day of wear however it has been my observation that many people do not consider this with their animals.
Growing up with dogs on a farm, it never occurred to me that some dogs hardly ever have their collar taken off. For safety’s sake, our dogs did not even wear collars since there is a great risk of getting caught on fences or gates. If they did need to wear a collar for some reason, it was always loose enough to slide over their head should they get hung up on something.
Our horses had a similar lifestyle. Living out in big herds with natural shelter, our horses rarely wore blankets (or rugs for those in the UK or Oceania), and if they did, it was only for short periods of extremely inclement weather. They certainly did not wear halters when turned out, other than the odd brief (less than an hour) period, for safety’s sake.
In the past few years, it has become very clear to me that many dogs wear their collars 24/7, nearly every day of the year, often very tightly fitted. I first noticed this while dog-sitting a friend’s dog. This easy-going dog came into “faux farm” life with ease and enjoyed the low-stress, low-pressure all-day activity of trotting around while I did chores. At night, I instinctively removed the collar as a natural part of the “bedtime” routine. I noticed a deep indent in the dog’s neck where the collar sat and assumed it would disappear by morning. This dog seemed so happy to scratch and itch where the collar was, I wondered whether this was a “normal” part of the dog’s day.
I started to notice if any of our dogs had this “collar indent” – they did not, and I started to observe this more and more with other dogs that came to visit.
Now I understand that many dogs need to wear a collar on a daily basis for management and safety’s sake however I can’t wonder if it isn’t just a lack of awareness or, daresay, laziness, that prevents dog guardian’s from letting their dog’s “go naked” for bedtime? I have yet to meet a dog that does not LOVE the feeling of having the collar removed at the end of the day.
This idea of giving your animal the relief of being “undressed” is true for horses as well. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to watch horses be blanketed for weeks on end without the blanket being removed and cleaned, swapped, or at least given a thorough grooming.
If you have ever had a horse who had been rescued from a neglectful situation, you may have witnessed what can happen if halters are left on as a horse grows. While most horse guardians understand that leaving halters on is generally unsafe in that a horse can become caught on things, in extreme cases halters can actually grow into the horse’s head, leaving a permanent deformity across the nasal bone.
While leaving a collar on a dog all day every day, or letting crummy weather deter you from bringing a blanketed horse in for a curry for several days may seem pretty insignificant, the bigger issue is that we sometimes forget to put ourselves in a dog or horse’s “paws” or “hooves.
Does your dog have a collar dent? Is it a normal part of your dog’s bedtime routine to get undressed? If not, what are your reasons for leaving the collar on?