The 7 Best Flea Collars For Dogs
We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. It's hard not to pity the poor pooches suffering from biting insects. If yours are, then put one of these flea collars on them to deter the pesky pests. We've included models that are all natural, along with some capable of repelling ticks, mosquitoes, and lice. Any four-legged friend who roams outdoors or keeps you company on hikes and camping trips should be suited up in one. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flea collar for dogs on Amazon.
October 18, 2018:
We removed several collars that reviewers complained lost their potency after just a couple of months. We also eliminated the Hartz Ultra Plus due to several reports of it causing rashes and allergic reactions. We wanted to include more natural options that rely on essential oils to repel insects, like the Arava Enhanced and the Vet Pet Ward.
How Do Flea Collars Work?
Repelling collars are meant to be a preventative measure and will be of no use if your dog already has fleas.
When it comes to your dog's health, one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to protect them is a flea collar. It takes just a few seconds to put on, and even the most expensive collars are far cheaper than a visit to the vet for complications from a flea infestation. Plus, unlike topical treatments, they won't leave your pet's coat greasy. But how can such a simple device prevent fleas from making a meal of your four-legged friend?
There are two types of ingredients used in flea collars: repelling and treating. Repelling collars, as the name suggests, keep fleas away from your dog. Some emit a gas that repels pests and others use high-pitched ultrasonic waves to drive them away. Repelling collars are meant to be a preventative measure and will be of no use if your dog already has fleas.
Treating collars, on the other hand, contain active ingredients that actually kill fleas. The older style released the insecticide as a gas, so they could only kill pests that came within close proximity. Many newer models, however, release small amounts over time, and some can last as long as eight months. Depending on which insecticide is used, it is either absorbed into your dog's skin so that fleas are killed when they bite, or spread into the natural oils in the hair and skin to kill fleas on contact before they have a chance to bite.
Some collars use a combination of repelling and treating ingredients, so they can both keep fleas away and kill those that have already chosen your dog as a host. Be sure to read the label carefully and choose one that best fits your needs.
Why Are Fleas So Bad, Anyway?
Fleas are extremely irritating to deal with, both for you and your dog. But they're far more than just that — a flea infestation can cause serious health complications for pets, and can even be fatal in some cases. For such small creatures, they can certainly cause a lot of damage.
Tapeworms do not pose any serious health risks for dogs and can easily be treated by a veterinarian, but they can cause weight loss and an itchy rear end.
The most common problem associated with fleas is severe itching. In addition to causing your dog a lot of discomfort, it typically leads to constant scratching, which can break the skin. This opens the door for all kinds of nasty infections. Some dogs may develop a disease called flea allergy dermatitis, which makes them much more sensitive to the chemicals in fleas' saliva. This causes bites to become red and swollen and take longer to heal. In serious cases, it can lead to hair loss.
Fleas can also pass along tapeworms to your dog. Tapeworms are parasites that often use fleas as hosts. If your dog swallows a flea that is infected, the tapeworm will continue to grow in his or her intestines. Tapeworms do not pose any serious health risks for dogs and can easily be treated by a veterinarian, but they can cause weight loss and an itchy rear end.
Puppies are at much greater risk from a flea infestation than adult dogs due to their smaller size. A fully grown flea can devour up to 15 times its body weight in blood in a single day. This can lead to a significant amount of blood loss and also puts your puppy at risk for becoming anemic. Anemia is a reduced number of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. If diagnosed early, anemia is manageable, but if left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Symptoms include pale gums and decreased energy, so be sure to take your dog to the vet if you notice either of these.
What To Do If Your Dog Already Has Fleas
Typically, it's not hard to tell when a dog has fleas — the incessant scratching, biting, and head shaking are pretty big red flags. But the little pests are tiny and hard to see, and it's best to be sure before giving your pet any medication. One of the easiest ways to check is with a flea comb, which has super fine teeth to catch fleas and eggs hiding in your dog's fur. You can also try the white towel test. Have your dog lie down on a white towel and run a brush through his or her fur. Any fleas that fall out onto the towel will be easy to spot, but you may also notice a bunch of little black specks, which could be "flea dirt," a mixture of dried blood and flea feces. If they turn a reddish-brown color when dampened, then you know your dog has fleas.
And, if all else fails, you can hire a professional exterminator to handle a particularly stubborn infestation.
Now that you're aware of the problem, what next? The first step is to treat your poor, itchy dog. There are a variety of treatments available, including pills, sprays, topical ointments, powders, and, of course, collars, but be sure to read the label carefully to confirm yours is a treating collar rather than repelling. If your dog has a severe infestation, you may need to consult your veterinarian about a prescription medication.
Unfortunately, unless you manage to catch it very early, completely eradicating fleas from your home probably won't be a simple process. The adult fleas on your dog are just the tip of the iceberg. You'll also need to deal with the eggs, larvae, and pupae they've left behind.
Vacuuming is one of the most important steps towards getting rid of fleas and their offspring that may be hanging around in your carpet. Focus in particular on the areas where your dog spends the most time and be sure to empty or dispose of the bags immediately. Eggs can take several days to hatch, so it's a good idea to vacuum daily for at least a few days, or even weeks, to be on the safe side.
Next, wash and dry your dog's bed and any blankets he or she likes to sleep on using the hottest settings they can tolerate. If you use furniture covers, wash those, as well. A dehumidifier can also help since fleas prefer a humid environment. Try to keep the humidity under 50 percent for a few days if possible. And, if all else fails, you can hire a professional exterminator to handle a particularly stubborn infestation.
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