Dog collar and leash on puppy
As I was checking my dogs’ collars recently, I noticed that much of the printing on the tags had rubbed off, making them illegible. That would not be much help in the event that someone needed to read the tag. Clearly, it’s time to replace those.

That got me thinking about other pet-related R&R (repair and replacement) tasks that we probably do less often than we should. When was the last time you took a good, hard look at the condition of your pet’s tags, carrier or grooming tools?

As you start your spring-cleaning, include your pet and all his gear. Take a look at the following list of maintenance tasks and see if any of your pet paraphernalia needs to be repaired or replaced.

Gear Check

Carrier or crate: Give your plastic, wire or fabric carrier a good going-over. Check for dangers such as sharp edges, chipped corners, latches that don’t catch well, broken zippers or tears in fabric. A shoe repair shop may be able to refurbish a fabric carrier, but damage to a wire or plastic crate may simply mean it’s time for a new one.

Beds and toys: Examine your pet’s bed and favorite toys for holes where stuffing might be coming out. Sew up tears so your pet doesn’t eat the filling. If it’s beyond repair, toss the item and buy a new one.

Collars and leashes: One of the scariest moments of my life was when my dog’s collar broke as she was pulling to go see another dog. We’d had an extra D-ring added to it, and apparently the work weakened the collar. It’s a good idea to take a close look at your dog’s collar at least quarterly to assess fit and condition — especially with a growing puppy. Some dogs, even little ones, have oddly shaped heads or necks that can make it difficult to get a collar’s fit right. Keep looking until you find the perfect one. The collar shouldn’t be too tight or too loose; you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between neck and collar. Check for fraying or weakness in material or hardware, especially if your dog likes to fuss with the collar or frequently gets it wet. Replace a collar as necessary, before it breaks and your pet makes a run for it.
Tags: Can you still read the name and phone number on your pet’s tag? These seem to rub off sooner than you might expect. If your pet’s tag is illegible, order a new one ASAP. Have it engraved with your last name and your home or cell phone number and your veterinarian’s phone number. And of course, if you haven’t already, get your pet microchipped — just in case his collar or tag goes missing and he needs to find his way home. If your pet is already microchipped, now’s a good time to check with the supplier to make sure they have your most current contact information on file.

Grooming tools: Whether your dog requires only minimal grooming or you have a full-on dog salon in your home, grooming tools require regular upkeep and replacement. Dull, bent or missing pieces can injure your pet, painfully quick the nails or damage the coat. Dirty tools can spread bacteria, fungal spores and more. Go through your grooming kit and see if you need to do any of the following:
  • Disinfect and oil scissors. Sharpen as needed.
  • Oil or replace nail trimmer blades. You can order them online or purchase at pet supply stores.
  • Replace the grinding bands of your Dremel.
  • Replace spray bottles if nozzles stick.
  • Replace pin brushes with bent pins.
  • Clean brushes and combs.
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