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7 FAQs about flea and tick collars for dogs

There is a range of different flea collars for dogs available of variable effectiveness. The older types of collar contain organophosphates, which can cause toxic reactions in dogs, cats, and possibly people if exposure is prolonged. Permethrin collars are also popular and cheap, but can be very harmful to cats. Newer collars tend to be more effective and safer, however, most are only available with a prescription from the vet. Any flea collar can also be problematic if there are other dogs in the household and they lick or chew each other’s collars.

Are flea collars the most effective way of preventing fleas?

Dog flea collars can be a useful as a preventative tool in the fight against fleas and ticks. However, they're not appropriate for every pet in every situation. There are times when flea and tick collars for dogs can be a very valuable tool, especially for pets spending most of their time outdoors. They are not the best form of protection alone but can be beneficial when used in conjunction with a topical flea control product, especially in areas of high parasite challenge. As with any insecticide products, sensitivities, adverse drug interaction and side effects can occur.  

Can flea collars be worn by all dogs?

Many flea collars are not suitable for senior, pregnant or nursing dogs and most collars are not suitable for pets three months and under. It is essential to read the datasheet before use to ensure the product you have is appropriate for the animal you intend to treat.

Is it dangerous to have the chemical exposed to my home and family?

Essentially the poison product is located directly on the dog flea collar and therefore can rub off on anything it comes into contact with including small children, other animals and your home environment. It is important to always wash your hands after touching the dog on every occasion. If you have animals or children that are always in close contact with each other, a different form of flea treatment may be more appropriate.

How do the collars work?

The cheaper, older style collars usually work by emitting the toxin as a gas, so they will only kill fleas in close proximity to the collar. The newer collars contain flea and tick repellent chemicals that are continuously released from the flea collar and spread over the pet in the natural oils of the hair, coat and skin. These flea killing chemicals then adhere to the hair and skin and provide continuous protection.

Can I leave my dog's flea and tick collar on when I take him swimming?

Many flea and tick collars are water resistant, however, they are seldom actually water proof and should be removed for bathing and may not last as long on dogs frequently in the water as it may decrease the integrity of the product. Some collars should not be worn in waterways as they are toxic to the fish and wildlife – check the datasheet.

How should the collar be worn?

It is always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific product you are using. The flea collar should fit snugly around the dog's neck in order to make skin contact and to ensure that your dog cannot remove it. Generally, you should be able to place two fingers under the collar. Any additional length should be cut off and disposed of. Do not allow dogs or children to play with cut-off pieces. Re-check the fit of the collar frequently, especially in growing puppies, to make sure the collar has not become too tight. Collars don't last forever, and the effectiveness will be reduced if the collar gets wet. Remove and replace flea collars as necessary, and monitor your pet for irritation or hair loss around the neck.

When should I change the collar?


Always change the flea collar according to the manufacturer's directions, to ensure consistent protection.

Nowadays there are many flea treatment options available to suit any dog, from tablets to spot-ons, sprays and collars. However the quality and effectiveness can differ, especially with the cheaper products. It is advisable to seek advice from your vet or SQP in regards to your situation to determine the best option for your pet.

It is essential to remember that in all cases prevention is better than cure, so treatment should be carried out regularly all year round.

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