Today’s topic is one that comes up frequently at my practice: To collar or not to collar, and, if so, what kind and when? I’ll discuss collars in this and December’s column.

I believe that every one of our dogs and cats, with a few exceptions, should be collared and tagged at all times. The rabies tag and City registration tag are important, but the most useful tag is the one with your name and your pet’s, and your phone number.

This tag provides a helpful stranger with the only way he may have to return your pet should you become separated for whatever reason.

Because of an outdoor cat’s propensity for climbing and wriggling into small spaces, the danger of a collar catching and hanging its owner is great. Prevent this with break-away collars, which unfasten or pull over the cat’s head if it becomes caught.

Also, just use the home ID tag to minimize what can become caught. Sure, if the collar breaks away, all ID is lost, but as long as it doesn’t…

Never leave a choke collar on a dog; these collars can catch and strangle your dog. Many of us have heard of large dogs jumping against a chain link fence and hanging themselves on their choke collar. Chain collars are to be used exclusively for leashing your dog. More next month!