What can I do for my dog that has his collar embedded in his neck?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I'm embarrassed to write this to you but my 18-year-old son got a puppy last year –a pit/lab cross. Anyway – he cares for him. He began working a few months back and has been gone a lot. I went out and checked on him and noticed that he stinks. He also has drainage round his neck and I noticed some flies. When I looked closer- I noticed that his collar is embedded in his skin and it is all raw, red and looks infected. I think he grew and the collar didn't get expanded to accommodate his new size. What can I do?


J.C. in Texas


Hi – thanks for your email. I'm sorry to hear about your dog (or your son's dog). Embedded collars occur occasionally – and the cause is just what you described. Most often it is a dog that is somewhat neglected and he grows out of his collar size – it is not adjusted and it embeds itself in the neck. This causes skin damage that is usually associated with a severe infection. On top of that, they often occur in outdoor dogs and these infected wounds attract flies and subsequently maggots can occur.

I'd recommend that you take him to your local veterinarian or emergency clinic for treatment. They will likely have to sedate him, as these wounds are very painful. They will probably clip and clean the area, remove the collar, treat the wound, and start antibiotics and pain control medications.

Every puppy that has a collar should be petted and collar size checked frequently. At least 2 fingers should easily slip under the collar.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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