Pressure Necrosis from E-collar Misuse

Pressure Necrosis from E-collar Misuse

Most people who understand how electronic training collars work will understand that these dog collars are not capable of burning your dog. The amount of energy created by the collar is just not enough to cause burns.

However, the sores that can appear due to improper use or malfunction can be misidentified as burns. The sores are actually called pressure necrosis, pressure ulcers, or sometimes blisters, depending on how they came about.

The number one reason for these sores is allowing your dog to wear the collar too long. These sores are like bed sores on humans and when the collar stays in one place for an extended amount of time it basically kills the skin tissue so therefore even without static stimulation the contact points can cause these sores. It can happen when a regular collar is on too tight and left on for a long time without allowing the skin tissue underneath to circulate.

How Long Is Too Long?

Most collars have a recommended wear time of 8 to 10 hours a day. Different dog collars have different purposes. For example, a bark collar, a training collar, and a containment collar each have different objectives and each collar has its own recommended time allowance. However, when it is possible you can completely prevent necrosis if you move the collar around a bit every 3 to 4 hours of use.

There are all sorts of variables that should be acknowledged such as moisture, hair length and overall skin sensitivity. Pay attention to your dog’s skin just like you would in any other situation, if your dog has sensitive skin then take note and take the appropriate measures as you would in any situation involving contact with his skin.

Proper Fit

The second most common reason your dog might acquire these sores is simply improper fitting of the collar. Each collar offers a very clear guide of proper fitting and should be followed in order to make sure the collar is tight enough or loose enough.

Avoid thinking that if the collar is loose it will be more comfortable on your dog. This thinking is actually completely backwards. When the collar is loose enough to slightly rub the dog’s skin this can cause sores. It would be like constantly rubbing your skin on the same spot, even though you aren’t pressing hard or applying any heat, the friction alone will cause a sore.

On the other hand, being too tight can also be a big problem. If the box is so tight that it can’t move at all, this will restrict blood flow causing the skin tissue to begin to break down just like in the situation where the collar is on too long. This can occur whether the collar is actually delivering a static shock or not. So, it is about the contact points themselves decreasing the blood flow to the area and not the stimulation.

Proper Care

One other reason your dog can get pressure necrosis is when the prongs are not cleaned properly. Hair and dirt can build up rather quickly and cause matting on the prongs therefore making the collar malfunction. Most bark collars come with a cleaning guide or maintenance guide that will prevent this from happening.

If you try to make a habit of simply wiping off the prongs when you take the collar off and make it a practice to wash the prongs with mild soap and water about once every two weeks, that should prevent any buildup on the prongs.

Most of the time once you notice one of these sores and catch it early enough they heal quickly and cause very little trouble. Using a training collar is just like using any other training equipment, it takes time and understanding to properly use it. No training collar should be put on and expected to just control the situation. Responsible ownership makes all the difference and arming yourself with knowledge is the number one training tool.

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Steve Carter June 15th, 2021

My dog came back from training with these sores. What is the best medication to heal the sores and care for the wound ? No collar will be worn for some time now ! How long should it take to heal these pressure sores ? Thanks

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