How Safe Are Breakaway Dog Collars?

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Collars & Harnesses By Kate Brunotts 6 min read January 4, 2023

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breakaway dog collars

Accidents happen to everyone, but they can be especially common for dog owners.

Spot may cause you to stumble while walking down the hall. Cocoa’s tail may knock your drink off the table. Rover may cause you to drop your phone while going for a walk.

Most owners can take these types of accidents in stride, but other accidents can be far more serious – potentially life-threatening. 

For example, dogs can occasionally get their collars stuck on things, which can unfortunately lead to serious injuries (or worse). 

Fortunately, one kind of particularly unique collar — called a breakaway collar — can help minimize the chances of these injuries from  happening

Below, we’ll discuss the safety of breakaway collars and explain how they work so that you can make the right decision for your doggo. 

How Safe Are Breakaway Collars: Key Takeaways

  • Breakaway collars feature special buckles that are designed to separate if the collar gets stuck on something. This can help reduce the chances of strangulation and keep your dog safer when unattended.
  • While the breakaway design provides additional safety against strangulation it also presents risks that conventional collars do not. For example, it is possible that the collar may open during a walk.
  • As an owner, you’ll need to weigh the relative risks and rewards of using a breakaway collar with your pet. If your pet is frequently left alone outside, it may make sense to use one; if your dog is rarely far from your side, the risks may outweigh the rewards.

What Is a Breakaway Collar and How Does One Work?

what is a breakaway collar

A breakaway collar is a canine-care tool that’s designed to automatically release if there’s enough pressure applied

In other words, if your dog’s collar gets hung up on a fence or tangled in some bushes, it will pop open and free your doggo. 

This helps reduce your dog’s chances of getting caught on something, as well as more serious risks like strangulation. 

Most breakaway collars look pretty normal – they just have an added release mechanism. This usually takes the form of a special buckle that’s designed to come apart when pulled hard enough. 

Note that breakaway collars are sometimes referred to as safety collars or quick-release collars. However, “quick release collars” might also refer to collars that are just easy to unbuckle, so make sure you’re evaluating product listings carefully.

Is a collar even the right choice for your canine?

Anytime you find yourself in the market for a collar, it is wise to consider whether a collar is actually the best option for your pooch or if a harness would make more sense.

We break down the pros and cons of each approach here:

From there, you can peruse some of our articles detailing various collars and harnesses that are all designed for specific purposes and situations. Check ’em out!

We even have some resources for making your own DIY dog collar or DIY dog harness if you’re the crafty type!

Which Dogs Should Use a Breakaway Collar? 

which dogs need a breakaway collar

Breakaway collars are best suited for scenarios in which your dog is in an enclosed space – that way, he will still remain securely confined if the collar releases.

For instance, if your dog is inside your home or in your fenced-in yard, it’s a great time to use a breakaway collar. You might also use a breakaway collar if your dog is hanging out on your screened porch or relaxing in his crate. 

In these scenarios, there’s little risk of your dog running away or becoming lost.  

Dog parks, kennels, and other shared play areas are other spaces in which breakaway collars make sense, as dogs occasionally tug on each other’s collars. This usually isn’t a huge problem, but it may lead to injuries in some cases, which a breakaway collar will help you avoid. 

Note that it is risky to use most breakaway collars for routine walks and outings. A strong tug could accidentally release your dog in a public place, so reserve these collars for secured settings. 

Make Sure Your Pet Is Microchipped!

It’s a good idea to make sure Fido is microchipped whenever using a breakaway collar. This will help ensure you are reunited with your pet if the collar releases, allowing your dog to run without his ID.

The Pros and Cons of Breakaway Dog Collars 

Breakaway collars provide extra safety for active dogs and reduce the risk of strangulation. However, they’re not designed for all scenarios, so it’s important to have a key understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these specialty collars before using one for your pooch.


  • Breakaway collars help reduce the risk of accidental strangulation 
  • They’re great for protecting your pooch from neck injuries while playing with other doggos
  • They help protect pups from becoming snagged when playing in fenced-in areas or outdoor spaces


  • In most cases, breakaway collars are not intended to be used in unsecured spaces (such as during walks)
  • It’s possible that the collar’s pressure release could be activated when it isn’t needed 

Which Breakaway Dog Collar Is the Best? 

Think a breakaway dog collar would be a good idea for your pooch? We’ve got you covered! 

About: There aren’t a ton of breakaway collars on the market. And honestly, we don’t like many of the ones that are available.

However we do really like this breakaway collar from Pet Safe

Best Breakaway Dog Collar

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Best Breakaway Dog Collar

Petsafe Break-Away Collar

A well-designed breakaway collar featuring a safety buckle, a conventional buckle, and two D-rings for leash attachment.

In addition to having a safety buckle that’ll separate if pulled, this is one of the few breakaway collars that has two D-rings, allowing you to safely use this collar on walks. By hooking your dog’s leash to both D-rings, you’ll still retain control of Spot should the safety buckles release.

This collar is made from nylon, comes in four colors, and is available in lengths ranging from 7 to 34 inches.   


  • Patented quick-release pressure buckle
  • Sturdy nylon design
  • Two metal D-rings for walk compatibility 
  • Adjustable straps to provide a good fit 
  • Solid red, purple, blue, and black color options 


  • The dual D-ring design allows these collars to be used on walks
  • Owners appreciated how easy it was to reconnect the buckles once separated 
  • Many owners noted that these collars worked exactly as intended when their dog became hung up on something
  • It’s still pretty affordable, despite having additional safety features


  • Some owners reported that it was difficult to use both D-rings during walks – especially owners using the small size
  • Some owners noted that it takes a large amount of force for the safety buckles to release 

Safe Breakaway Collars: FAQ

Breakaway collars can be helpful tools, but they’re not for every doggo. Consider these questions and answers to help you determine whether breakaway collars are a good fit for your fur baby. 

Are breakaway collars safe?

Breakaway collars are safe in secure settings. These collars are designed to prevent strangulation should your dog get his collar caught on something. This means they’re perfect for when your dog is spending time in his crate, in your backyard, or playing with other pups. 

Are breakaway collars the same thing as quick-release collars?

Quick-release collars aren’t necessarily the same thing as breakaway collars. Breakaway collars are specialized collars designed to release automatically to reduce the risk of strangulation. Quick-release collars may refer to these specialized collars or just refer to collars with a buckle that’s easy to clip on or off. 

Are quick-release collars safe?

Quick-release collars are generally safe when used in secure settings where there isn’t a risk of your dog running off. 

What is the benefit of a breakaway collar?

Breakaway collars help reduce the risk of strangulation by automatically releasing when enough pressure is applied to the collar. This can help keep your dog while playing with other pups, exploring your yard, or spending time in his crate. 


Breakaway collars can serve as valuable safety tools for your furry friends. While they aren’t suitable for all scenarios, they can help keep your dog safe while relaxing, playing, or exploring in a secured area. 

Have you used breakaway collars before? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.


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