I was told when Riki was a baby not to put a collar on him as toy breeds have a challenge with collapsing tracheas. I found a good article that explains what it is.
Collapsed Trachea: The Health Problem Every Owner of a Small Dog Should Understand
Have you ever heard a dog cough, take shallow, quick breaths,
and honk like a goose?
Those are symptoms of a collapsed trachea, a health problem
found almost exclusively in Toy and other miniature dog breeds.
Not every Toy breed will develop this but enough do
(estimates range from 20% to 40%) that owners should
learn more about this condition.
Highest risk breeds are Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhounds, Maltese, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers.
The trachea or windpipe is held open by rings of cartilage.
When the cartilage weakens, the trachea begins to collapse
and the amount of air that can get through is severely restricted.
This condition usually appears between the ages of 4 to
14 years. The restricted airflow puts excess stress on
the heart and lungs.
Heat, humidity and excitement exacerbate the problem. A
dog will have trouble breathing and may try to vomit
to clear his airway.
A dog with a collapsed trachea usually can't exercise without
having problems and in some severe cases, may even pass
out from lack of air. Any exercise is likely to fatigue him.
If your dog does develop symptoms, the condition
usually can be managed with medication and restricted activity.
Sometimes children's flavored cough suppressants can
help or your veterinarian may want you to use a prescription
brand to treat coughs.
In more severe cases, steroids may be used for a time
to reduce inflammation in the trachea. Because of their
side effects, including weight gain, they are seldom
used for long.
In worst cases, the dog's tongue and gums turn blue and
acute attacks require hospitalization. About 1% of dogs
with this condition do die from complications.
A surgical procedure that uses stents to widen the trachea
is available, but this is a risky and expensive surgery that
should only be done as a last resort and only
by a veterinary specialist.
Although the condition is congenital or inherited, there
are things that an owner can do to lessen the onset
or severity of the condition:
1. Feed your dog a high quality dog food
Proper nutrition helps formation of cartilage especially in
the puppy years.
2. Don't overfeed, however, as overweight dogs are
affected more than others
3. Use a harness rather than a collar when walking your dog
He can wear a collar with his tags but don't attach a leash
that adds pressure and pulling around his neck.
4. Don't smoke around your dog
You wouldn't smoke around a human baby, would you?
Remember that it doesn't take much smoke to damage
the airway of a 5-pound dog.
5. Keep vaccinations up to date
This helps prevent respiratory infections.
Watch your dog for symptoms and ensure that he gets
treatment if any symptoms do develop. Most affected dogs
can lead normal, although somewhat restricted, lives.
Note: This article may be reprinted and used by other publishers
and webmasters provided credit is given to Louise Louis and www.ToyBreeds.com