Monday, May 5, 2014

Product Review: Premier KeepSafe Collar

The Premier KeepSafe Collar is a breakaway collar designed to release in an emergency to prevent the dog from strangling. It comes in five sizes to fit dogs with necks 7-34" around. The collar is nylon with a quick-release plastic buckle, a breakaway release, and two D-rings. It comes in four colors.
Photos by Erin Koski
When Brisbane was a puppy, he slept in a plastic airline crate every night. One morning I found him sitting forlornly against the side of his crate. One of his tags had slipped through a vent in the side and then rotated so that he was trapped. I was extremely fortunate that he was able to sit there and wait for me to rescue him, and I was acutely aware that he could have strangled to death within minutes if he had gotten hung up in a different spot.

At work we also occasionally see dogs get their faces caught in each other's collars. The policy is
The breakaway section separated.
that collars that tighten (martingales, chokes) and collars without buckles come off before the dog comes into the yard to play. If one dog is grabbing another dog's collar in play, we remove that collar until playtime is over. When a dog does get caught, it is usually because they grabbed a friend's collar and then spun around, twisting the collar around their lower jaw. Someone is always watching the dogs, and there are always several people around, so separating them is usually quick and efficient. The first dog to grab is the one wearing the collar on their neck and being strangled, this one needs to be held still so the collar can be unbuckled.

The Premier KeepSafe collar conveniently removes both of these dangers. I had seen this one at the store prior to Brisbane's incident, and I bought it the day he got caught in his crate. I wasn't comfortable leaving him without identification tags, so this was a perfect compromise.

Leash attachment feature.
The collar has a standard plastic quick-release buckle for taking it on and off. It also has a breakaway section that is slightly more difficult to put back together. It comes apart with a good tug, the grabby section is made from a slightly more flexible material to help it separate easily. There is a D-ring on either side of this section for attaching the leash. Clip it through both and the collar won't break open with pressure.

Pros: Breakaway feature literally saves lives. Collar strangulation is a serious hazard, but dogs also need to be wearing identification for safety. The KeepSafe collar is a happy compromise between the two issues. This is an extremely well-made collar, Premier makes great stuff. Brisbane's looks great years later.

Cons: The downside to the KeepSafe is that it does not make a convenient grab handle for your dog in emergencies. I once grabbed Brisbane's collar to keep him from greeting someone too enthusiastically, and he popped right out of it and went charging over to visit. When I worked at a pet store I saw a nervous Vizsla slip out of a Halti and then pop out of a KeepSafe collar as her owner attempted to capture her. If the collar breaks open while the dog is running off-leash the collar and attached tags can get lost. Tags are a pain in the butt to replace.

Bottom Line: My dogs don't normally wear collars around the house these days for a number of reasons, including safety and reducing skin irritation. Still, I have kept Brisbane's KeepSafe collar because it is so valuable in certain situations. For dogs that love to play and wrestle together, breakaway collars could save their lives.

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