Flea collars are one of the most popular ways to protect our pets from external parasites. They’re a great choice for many pet parents because they’re easy to use and super convenient, but they aren’t always the perfect fit for every household. Here are some key things to consider when deciding if a flea collar makes sense for your dog or cat.
How flea collars work
We all know the basics. Your pet will wear a flea collar around his neck for anywhere from one to eight months at a time. The collars are made of a special type of plastic designed to release the active ingredients for the lifetime of the collar.
It’s important to remember that, as with any flea preventative, flea collars contain pesticides, and some pets may show sensitivities to them. The most common active ingredients in flea collars are
- Deltamethrin (del-ta-meth-ran), is one of the safest insecticides available. Deltamethrin is classified as a synthetic Pyrethroid, which means it’s a synthetic derivative of a naturally occurring insecticide Pyrethrin, an extract found in Chrysanthemum flowers.
- Flumethrin (flu-meth-rin), is a popular pesticide that primarily works by breaking down the nervous systems of ticks and biting flies. Flumethrin works best when in combination with other ingredients.
- Pyriproxyfen (pie-rih-prox-uh-fen), breaks the flea life cycle by targeting flea eggs and larvae. This is a must-have ingredient in any flea collar!
- Propoxur (pro-pox-ur), an extremely powerful ingredient that breaks down the nervous systems of fleas and ticks. Pests living on your pet will die within twenty-four hours of application! Propoxur can be highly toxic to humans, so be careful when putting a collar with this ingredient on your dog. Wash your hands carefully after applying, and don’t touch your eyes and face.
Do all flea collars kill fleas?
While some flea collars kill fleas and ticks, others only repel them. When looking for a high-quality collar, check the label. It should specifically say something like “Kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks.” Flea collars that merely repel insects do offer some protection, but they won’t be ideal in areas with high concentrations of fleas and ticks. The ideal flea collar should also kill fleas on contact, before they can bite your pet.
Benefits of flea collars
- Flea collars may actually be even better for fighting off ticks. This is because the collars rest around the dog’s neck, making the insecticides more concentrated around your pet’s neck and face, where ticks prefer to hang out. If you’re especially concerned about ticks this year, a flea collar might be a great option.
- They last much longer than any other type of flea protection. For instance, our flea collars will protect your dog for up to six months.
- They tend to cost less over time than most spot-ons, although the ultra-cheap kinds may not be as effective. Until recently, the best flea collars needed to come from your vet’s office, but that’s no longer the case. It’s much easier to find vet-quality flea collars online or at your favorite pet supply shop.
Two great ways to use flea collars.
- If you’re planning an activity with your pet that could cause him to bring home extra unwanted pests, like hiking through tall grasses where ticks thrive, put the collar on just for that activity. This may be a great source of added protection if you’re already using a different type of flea treatment, like an oral tablet or topical. Be sure to remove the collar as soon as the special activity is over, so as not to double dose for very long. Put the collar in a sealed container or Ziplock bag for the next time.
- If you are recovering from a home flea infestation, place a collar inside your vacuum bag or canister. This way, when you vacuum up any lingering eggs or bugs, the collar will make extra sure they all die!
Flea collars may not be ideal for you if you’re dealing with a current flea infestation because it takes time for the ingredients to spread throughout your pet’s skin and coat. Also, remember that collars, as with any flea treatment product, only kill fleas currently living on your pet. They also may not be ideal in areas where fleas live year-round.
If your pet comes into regular contact with other animals or children, the medication in flea collars may not be safe. Children could easily play with your pet’s collar and touch their eyes or face. Other pets who play with the collar could accidentally lick the collar and ingest the pesticides. Flea collars are also not ideal for dogs with known flea allergies.
Final quick flea collar tips
- If you have a cat, use flea collars especially designed for cats. If you have dogs, use collars designed just for dogs.
- When putting on your pet’s new flea collar, adjust it so that you can fit two fingers between your dog’s fur and the collar itself.
- Always read labels carefully and follow the instructions provided.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, convenient way to protect your pet, a flea collar might be just the right solution. We’ll be sure to cover the pros and cons of topical flea treatments in another post.