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Flea collars: Do they really work on dogs?

 by yunus on 20 Apr 2016 |
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If your dog spends any time outdoors or socializing with other animals, he has the potential to attract fleas and ticks. These biting pests are more than just major nuisances for your pet, however. They also raise serious concerns from flea infestations that spread quickly to an entire household to allergic reactions and diseases, such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When looking for answers to their flea and tick problems, owners encounter a dizzying array of topical liquids, chewable pills, dips, sprays and more. One age-old option, the flea collar, has fallen slightly out of fashion, but these cheap and simple products might be worth revisiting for some pet owners.
Flea and tick collars serve two basic functions: Older collars were designed to repel pests by emitting a gas, while many newer designs actually treat existing infestations with a medication that seeps into a dog’s skin or spreads with the skin’s natural oils, similar to how most topical treatments work. Some collars serve only one purpose, while others both prevent and treat infestations, so it’s important to read the product description carefully before buying a collar. Traditional collars have evolved over time and still hold some advantages over spot-on treatments. Collars can last up to eight months, for example, while spot-ons are generally effective for 30 days. Flea collars tend to cost less than other flea and tick treatments— though buyers beware, the cheapest collars often sacrifice effectiveness for price.
The collar-versus-topical (or chewable) debate often comes down to specific circumstances. If your dogs swims several times a week in the summer or gets frequent baths, choosing a waterproof product is important to ensuring he is protected from fleas and ticks. You should remove his flea collar ahead of time to ensure the medication remains effective, while you cannot “remove” a topical liquid before it has had time to absorb. Some instances when flea and tick collars can prove especially useful include times when pest concerns are higher than normal. If you know your dog will be taking a romp through tall grass, for example, you can double up on tick protection by putting a medicated collar on during the walk and removing it afterward, even if your dog is already being treated with a topical medicine. Always consult your veterinarian before choosing a flea and tick treatment and monitor your pet for any irritation or other side effects when switching to a new product.


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