By Friday, July 17, 2020 18 No tags Permalink

No more dog collars for Jaxson!! 

This is what Doodle Doc told me over the phone as I sat in my car while she examined Jaxson in her office. 

Early in this pandemic, our vet’s office switched to curb side service. You drive up, a vet tech comes out and takes your pet in, and you wait in your car for the call. 


Jaxson started coughing one afternoon – a dry “honking” type cough. It was as if he wanted to vomit, but nothing came out. This continued into the evening, but stopped once we went to bed. 

The next morning he was at it again. Lee and I were both paralyzed with fear. I didn’t want to think it, let alone say it. But finally he did – 

Cathy, he sounds like Leo did before he died.

For those of you who knew us when we had our “Gentle Giant” – you remember how shocked we all were to loose Leo in four days at the tender age of four. 

I called the vet and she told me to come right in. #lovethisplace


As fate would have it, Doodle Doc was at the window watching Jaxson drag the vet tech into the building. After his exam, she called. She asked me if Jaxson pulls all the time when I walk him. Embarrassed, yet honest, I told her most of the time. 

On any given day of the week – for no apparent reason – Harley and I can both (unwillingly) become part of his sled team whether we want to or not!

Jaxson has always pulled us wherever he wants to go. This is what led me to rely on the umbilical belt leash. I am certain it has prevented my arm from getting pulled out its socket…


In addition to watching Jaxson drag the vet tech, once inside, he started that honking cough which caused her to examine his throat. This confirmed her diagnosis.

Imagine my stunned expression when she told me Jaxson’s excessive pulling had resulted in an irritated and inflamed trachea. 

Being leashed by the neck, even with a simple buckle collar, can be painful to dogs who pull or lunge, especially if their guardian jerks on the leash. It can put pressure on the trachea, the spinal cord, the vertebral discs, the esophagus, etc., and should be avoided.


I’ve never been one to jerk on their leashes. I’m the one that gets jerked BY the leash. But if this was the cause, then I was in total agreement – no more dog collars. #gotit


Jaxson was returned to me with his leash looped around his upper chest and no collar. I was instructed to revert back to his harness which I use in the hospital…

Her voice was stern as she repeated that I was never to put a collar around his neck again!

Knowing I prefer a holistic approach to healing when possible, she thought it was best to put him on a low dose steroid for 5 days to reduce the inflammation as quickly as possible.

We went over the regimen and she explained the possible side affects – 

  • anxiousness
  • increased thirst
  • excessive urination

Jaxson experienced none of those. Instead he chose the rarest symptom of all….



Worrying about Jaxson both day and night had me delirious with fatigue. I spent most of the night watching him sleep and listening to him breathe.

Once the loose stool came into play, he was getting me up out of bed almost every two hours. By the second night, I couldn’t see straight. 

In a zombie like state, I rose on command around 3:30am. We came downstairs, I disarmed the alarm, grabbed his harness, snatched some poop bags and we left the house.

In the middle of the street – right on the yellow line, I froze mid step. I looked up at the sky and thought –

oh my God, did I put any pants on?

I stood like a statue in the middle of the street replaying every move I made.

Slowly I reached down and patted my thigh to then exhale out loud as I felt my spandex shorts. I knew then, that I was too tired to continue fighting this diarrhea battle with only the assistance of chicken and rice.


In the morning I called the vet, and picked up a holistic paste to mix with his food. We stopped after 4 rounds of steroids because the cough was gone before day 3. 

I’m ordering new harnesses and accepting the fact that his adorable colorful collars will never see the light of day around his neck again.

According to PetMd there are 5 ways collars can harm your dog –

  • Strangulation
  • Limb or Mouth Injuries
  • Skin Problems
  • Neck Damage
  • General Discomfort

A short and informative read when you have the time.

I still shudder at the thought of how blessed we are. His trachea was only irritated and inflamed. Thank the Doodle it didn’t collapse or even worse – cause trauma to the nerve, muscle or blow a disc.

Walks are easier – he doesn’t seem to be phased that we switched to the harness. As long as he’s a participant in each walking adventure he seems to be happy…

Anybody know of a website with blinged out harnesses for sale? 🙂

Be like a pineapple today; stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside ❤️

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    July 17, 2020

    Oh Cathy, you made me laugh out loud when you wondered if you had pants on! That was just too rich. Thanks for the smile and thank goodness you’ve figured out what was going on with Jaxson and his coughing.

    We use harnesses for walks so my ‘ballast’ keeps me from turning into a human kite at the first sighting of a squirrel. With Elsa’s epilepsy collars are not recommended either though she wears it strictly for identification purposes.

    Stay safe and sane and keep smiling. Ear rubs for the Doods.

  • Ducky's Mom
    July 17, 2020

    Like Monika, I got a big smile from your angst over not putting pants on, so forgive me. I’m glad you were able to get Jaxson to the vet so quickly and get him on the road to healing. Was it the steroids that gave him the diarrhea?

    Ducky has always been a puller as well – even in a harness at times – so I switched a L O N G time ago for Callie, Shadow, and Ducky. And Radar when we brought him home from the rescue. I’ve gotten harnesses for the girls from Amazon for the most part; but when I needed one in a hurry for Radar, I went up to our local Pet Supplies Plus. I still have both of his harnesses in case we rescue another male Golden when all this pandemic business is over with.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 26, 2021

      Hello friend – I do believe it was the steroids. His recovery period wasn’t too long and he’s never worn a collar since. Harley on the other hand has never liked the harness. He walks funny when I tried one, but Harley has also never, (I mean never) been a leash puller. He prances right along side of me as if he’s been taught in a former life to do so. Funny how different dogs can be living in the same household. Take care,

  • Mary Ann Massman
    July 17, 2020

    My vet says you cannot imagine the number of injuries they see from dog collars. She recommends a harness be used instead.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 26, 2021

      I certainly learned that myself Mary Ann – thank the Doodle I learned before it was too damaging…. Thanks for reading, come back again soon!

  • Madison
    July 17, 2020

    We know the dangers of collars, and that is why we are walked with a harness because Mom lets us pull. Poor Jaxson. Sometimes Mom walks us with just our collars, only when we are the only dog as we rarely pull them. Mom would be terrified to have us naked all the time because she wants us to have our tags on just in case we get outside by accident. Hope Jaxson will be alright.

    • Richmond Henriques
      July 17, 2020

      Dear Cathy,
      Both our Doodles are not pullers and since we’ve moved to Spotsylvania, Virginia, both got a have about a half acre, 7 foot fence, to run around in.
      My wife is dying slowly, no pain, and the dogs are a great comfort, for her.
      Teddy, GoldenDoodle, sleeps on her bed!!!

      Glad to hear you’re back to harnesses!
      May the Good Lord bless and keep you!

      Once a Captain in the 7th Cavalry

      • Cathy Bennett
        July 18, 2020

        Hey Rich – you were on my mind the other day, I think about you, your lovely wife and your Doods – I would love to connect with you – here’s my email address – reach out if you feel like talking: Didn’t know you were in the 7th Cav. My husband was in the Infantry. Teddy sounds like your wife’s favorite! Do they have a special bond?

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 25, 2020

      I need to have a collar sale – that’s fur-sure! Doubt seriously if I will ever go back to collars again with Jaxson. I don’t worry about them wearing collars in the house. They aren’t runners so I don’t fear them getting away from us, bolting out the door, etc…. Have a fabulous weekend girls…

  • Cheryl
    July 17, 2020

    I’m so glad Jaxson will be okay! Now I know I need to go buy a harness for our granddoodle to wear at our house when we go shopping and for walks. Most of the time when he’s with us he doesn’t wear anything, he goes naked!
    Stay safe, stay well!

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 18, 2020

      That’s another thing Cheryl, my Boys are both micro-chipped so I never kept a collar on them inside. We treat collars like outer wear. Once we come home they go in the closet with their leashes.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 25, 2020

      My boys are micro chipped and “naked” (I like that term) whenever we are home. Jaxson has never objected to a collar but he always pulls unless he’s in the harness. I would certainly encourage you to use the harness if your grand doodle is a puller. Thanks for reading…

  • Jan K
    July 17, 2020

    Our beagles were such pullers and I couldn’t stand the hacking cough that sometimes caused (we were lucky it was always only temporary), so I started using harnesses only for walks after that.
    It’s so great you have such a helpful vet so you got your answers quickly without too much more worry!
    I like ComfortFlex harnesses because they are so easy to put on, and seem more secure than others. I’m not sure how blingy they are but they do have pretty colors and I love Luke’s patriotic one.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 18, 2020

      I can work with colors (that’s considered bling in my book!) Thanks for the tip – I will certainly check them out. Harley’s never been a puller neither was Leo so I had no idea the amount of damage they could cause….

  • NormanWilkes
    July 22, 2020

    Oh, poor Jaxson! thank Godness he is fine now.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 25, 2020

      Hey Norman – I was terrified!!! Had no idea a collar could do that much damage. I promise you – I don’t tug or yank him, but he would pull all the time. Grateful that I went to the vet when I did and didn’t blow it off. How are you doing?

  • Sally
    November 14, 2020

    Cathy, What is your feeling on Gentle Leaders? I walk my Son’s Doodle often and he pulls. With the gentle leader, he stopped pulling instantly. Doesn’t feel like any tension on the leash any more. So, we’re both happy.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 26, 2021

      Hi there Sally – so sorry for this delayed response, please forgive me. I don’t use the gentle leads – I personally prefer the harnesses. I like the ones that have a clasp in front of his chest (with the same turn around effect if he gets too far in front of me) and the additional clasp on the back. The gentle lead around the mouth tends to send the wrong message (in my opinion) at the hospital when he is doing therapy work. Many have had great success with them, I just think the optics aren’t the best entering a patients room. Let me know what you decided on and how it’s working out. Thanks for reading.

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