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Flea Collars: Yay or Nay?

You just got your new furry friend. You’ve got her basics covered – food and water bowl, a bag of dog food, grooming essentials and even a collar with a name tag. You remember how your neighbour’s dog got infested with fleas and wondered if you need to purchase a flea collar. So, what do you really need to know about flea collars?

Flea collars are secondary collars worn by dogs and cats to get rid of tick or flea infestation. They are considered as effective prevention against external parasite. However, its effectiveness in terms of dis-infestation is arguable.

How do flea collars work?

Before purchasing a flea collar for your pet, you must first understand how flea collars work. These collars are infused with chemicals or essential oils/herbs that can repel or kill external parasites such as ticks and fleas. You must check what the flea collar says in order to know its function. There are two basic functions of flea collars in the market. Flea collars can either repel or treat pest infestation. Some collars can do both. Flea collars repel pests by emitting gas. You can check the box to check the exact function of the flea collar you are purchasing. If the box states “repels ticks and fleas” then it is mainly for repelling and will not solve your current infestation. Best to stick to flea collars that say “kills fleas and ticks”.

Flea collars that treat infestation have two types also. A flea collar can have a medication that seeps into the pet’s skin. This requires the pest to bite into the skin to be eliminated. The second type of treatment emits the pesticide to kill the pests upon contact and before they bite.

Where to buy flea collars?

Flea collars are available in most pet stores and your neighbourhood supermarkets. You can also purchase them online through websites such as Amazon, Target and Walmart. Just check the animal section and you can choose from the variety of flea collars. Remember that there are different sizes so make sure to buy the one that will not choke your pet.

How much are flea collars and how long they last?

Some flea collars can cost as cheap as US$3 and others can go as high as US$50.00. Their effectiveness and cost varies by brand. For example, there are different types of flea collars for dogs. You can purchase a flea collar for a large dog for US$5.00 and it can last for 5 months. Another brand can offer 8 months of protection for the price of US$48.00. There are also now herbal flea collars selling for $15.00 and lasts around 3 months by dropping oil on the cloth collar. It is best to check the type of flea collar and length of effectiveness to ensure you are having your money’s worth.

Are flea collars dangerous?

Flea collars should not be used for kittens and puppies. Some brands are now offering puppy and kitten flea collars but best to check with your veterinarian the best approach. Flea collars may also be a threat to senior and pregnant pets. If your dog or cat is nursing, best not to place flea collars as it can also directly affect their young.

As flea collars are primarily composed of pesticides, check their ingredients. One component to watch out is for Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP). It may be an effective pest killer but this neurotoxin can cause more harm than treatment to humans and pets. Even flea collars that claim to be natural can be harmful to your pets.

There is also the constant warning on all flea collars that children should not play with flea collars. Any contact with the collars may cause poisoning if not handled properly. Make sure your children understand that they cannot play with your pet’s flea collar. Avoid getting the flea collar wet as the chemicals may leak to unwanted areas.

In the end, most flea collars are not recommended as a lone treatment against fleas. They are primarily focused in the neck area and are more effective against ticks that breed in the said area. It is best to consult your veterinarian regarding the best way to cure or even prevent pest infestation.