Dogs have worn dog collars for hundreds, even thousands of years. You can find paintings of dogs wearing collars on the walls of pharaoh’s tombs in Egypt. For most dogs wearing a collar is no hardship. They take to walking on a collar and leash, or training in a collar without any difficulty. However, for some dogs a collar can present a problem.
If you have a Toy or small breed, especially a dog that pulls against the collar a lot, then in some cases your dog can injure his throat. There is a condition called tracheal collapse that occurs in small dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians. It’s caused by a progressive weakening of the tracheal rings in the walls of the dog’s neck.
Classic symptoms of tracheal collapse include a goose honking cough, coughing that gets worse during hot weather or when the dog is excited or during exercise, fainting spells because the dog’s oxygen is cut off, and the dog’s inability to tolerate exercise.
Using a harness instead of a collar for these small dogs can keep your dog from putting extra pressure on his trachea. This can keep the trachea from collapsing or weakening any further.
Of course, some owners like to use a harness on medium and large dogs, too. If you are a small person and you have a large dog, then using a harness may allow you to have a little more control over your dog. But you won’t usually have to worry about tracheal collapse in larger dogs.
Again, most dogs will get along just fine in a normal dog collar and there’s no particular reason not to use a comfortable collar for your dog in most cases. But if you have a Toy or small dog then you may want to consider using a harness to prevent tracheal collapse.