Flea collars have come a long way. They have improved efficacy, convenience, and comfortability in the last few years. Manufacturers claim flea collars offer extended protection for your dog, but do they work? And if so, how do flea collars work?

Seresto Flea Collar- Dog

Do Flea Collars Work?

In short, the answer is yes; flea collars work to deal with fleas on pets like cats and dogs. However, not all flea collars are made the same. Some repel fleas, while others will kill fleas. Still, others will kill only baby fleas or only adult fleas. 

How Do Flea Collars Work?

Now that we’ve established that most flea collars work to some degree let’s discuss how they work. Hint: not all flea collars work the same. These collars offer 24/7 protection against fleas for your pets, provided they wear them all the time. There are three main types of flea collars.

brown flea illustration

High-Frequency Flea Collars

These types of collars work by emitting ultra-sonic soundwaves to drive off bugs. The benefit of this type of collar is the lack of gases or chemicals involved that might harm your pet or a child if mishandled. This collar can only repel fleas; however, it cannot kill them.

Gas Flea Collars

Gas flea collars emit a gas that can repel or kill fleas. The slow-release collar is often infused with toxins that can destroy both fleas and flea eggs on contact when they come into contact with the collar. Unfortunately, these collars are limited in that they only repel and kill fleas on your dog’s neck. Since they emit gas and do not absorb into your animal’s skin, this type of flea collar is considered less toxic than the third kind of flea collar, which is absorption-based.

Absorption Flea Collars

Absorption flea collars contain a substance that dissolves under your pet’s skin into their fatty layers. While some might consider this type of collar the most impactful on your pet, it’s also the most effective, killing fleas all over your pet’s body. The insecticides in the collars dissolve into your pets and are distributed all over their bodies. Seresto flea collars and Bayer animal health collars are two absorption flea collars. 

Common Active Ingredients 

Amitraz: this chemical appears mainly in preventative flea collars, killing ticks and fleas. This chemical is used for dogs and cats and is usually effective for about 3 months.

Propoxur: this chemical kills fleas by attacking their nervous systems. It starts killing fleas after 24 hours. Due to the toxic nature of this chemical, you need to wash your hands after handling the collar and make sure to keep it away from children. 

Deltamethrin: this chemical is the synthetic version of pyrethroid. This insecticide is considered a safer option than others and is similar in composition to pyrethrin. 

Dog, Flea, Scratch, Young, Flea, Flea

Benefits of Flea Collars

Unlike a pill or topical option that might have to be administered every month or every few months, flea collars can last much longer. The average flea collars kill fleas for upwards of 8 to even 12 months, depending on the type and brand. This means fewer reminders for flea prevention on your calendar and an increased likelihood of your pet having flea protection at all times. Collars are also a much cheaper option than other flea prevention methods. 

Lastly, flea collars are arguably the most convenient option when it comes to killing fleas on your pets. You do not need a prescription from your vet, and the collars are adjustable to fit almost any pet. 

How Long Do Flea Collars Take To Work?

Most chemical flea collars take about 24 hours to begin killing fleas. How long the flea collar lasts depends on various factors, including the type, brand, and active ingredient, as well as the pet’s habits and hygiene and the stage of the flea infestation. 

Using a Flea Collar? | ThriftyFun

Alternatives to Flea Collars

Flea collars aren’t the only flea preventative out there – far from it! Here are other flea preventive methods to consider.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are placed directly onto your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, where they are least likely to be able to lick it off. These products generally contain ingredients that repel and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. These “spot-on” chemicals deposit into the sweat glands of the skin and spread over your pet’s entire body, slowly releasing the active ingredient over a few weeks. Most topical medications have to be applied every month but are waterproof.

Oral Medications

If you want to avoid the hassle of applying flea medicine to your pet topically every month, oral medication is an ideal alternative. Some products kill fleas and ticks and prevent heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm. Bravecto is one example of oral medication and lasts for 12 weeks.

Flea Shampoo

Flea and tick shampoo wash away adult fleas and their eggs for a short period. This shampoo is not a preventative measure but more of a way to get an infestation under control once it has already occurred. Allow the shampoo to sit on the coat and skin for at least 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly, and avoid getting the product in your dog’s eyes, ears, or mouth. 

happy-dog-on-grass1920 - Baldivis Vet Hospital

Preventing Fleas With Flea Collars For A Happy Pooch

No matter how you choose to protect your pup, utilizing a flea preventative is a must on your to-do list. Fleas not only cause immense itching and discomfort for your pet, but they can also bug you too! Preventing your pet from getting fleas is the best way to keep your house flea-free, too: flea collars are an inexpensive and convenient option for keeping creepy crawlies off your canine companion.

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