One of my readers asked if I would publish a blog about choosing the best flea collar for dogs. While we don’t use a flea collar for Beatrix,. I use essential oils, which work very well, and Revolution for heart worms, which also has a flea and tick repellent.
The Best Flea Collar For Dogs
Fleas and ticks can cause a number of serious illnesses in dogs. Mild diseases can make the dog nauseous or slow it down considerably. However, more severe cases can place the animal in excruciating pain or even cause its death. Therefore, flea and tick prevention is one of the most important elements to assure optimum health for your pet. Flea collars are an excellent solution for this problem. However, selecting the best flea collars for dogs can be a daunting task.
Therefore, we have written this guide to help you make the right decision for your pet.
What are flea collars?
Flea collars are chemically-treated dog collars that are designed to repel and kill fleas and ticks on your pet. They are worn in conjunction with the dog’s regular collar, and provide safe, comfortable pest control. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes and styles.
What do they do?
The best flea collars for dogs work to both repel and kill fleas. Some collars do both, and others are designed to do one job only, depending on what is needed for the individual pet.
How do they work?
Flea collars work by killing fleas and ticks, and by breaking their reproductive cycles. Three basic types of collars work in three different ways. The absorption based collar contains a type of insecticide that is absorbed into the dog’s skin. Fleas that then feed on the dog are poisoned and killed. The high frequency flea collar works by emitting ultra-sonic sound waves that repel the fleas. Gas based collars create a toxin that repels ticks and fleas from the dog, and kills the bugs when they come into direct contact with the collar.
How effective are Flea Collars?
Flea collars can be quite effective for combatting fleas and ticks. Their effectiveness varies from brand-to-brand, and should be clearly stated on the collar’s packaging. Some types can last as many as 8 months. Spot on flea treatments only last for up to 30 days.
When shouldn’t you use a flea collar?
It is a good idea to check with one’s vet prior to using a flea collar. Some types of flea collars are not compatible with older dogs. It is also unadvisable to use a flea collar in conjunction with other types of flea treatments and remedies. Use of a flea collar should be discontinued if the pet develops inflamed, red and itchy skin around the neck where the collar rests.
Fleas are tiny insects that form the Siphonaptera order. Their mouths are adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Their hind legs are adapted for jumping. Fleas are external parasites of birds and mammals. They survive by the consumption of blood of their hosts. Adult fleas are up to about 3 mm long and usually brown.
Known as holometabolous insects, fleas go through four different stages of their life cycle. Their eggs produce larva, which require a varied diet, and feed on any organic substances that are available, including feces, vegetable matter and dead insects. They are blind and keep to dark, humid places, such as soil, under carpets and in bedding. Once they pupate, they weave cocoons and molt, where they undergo metamorphosis into their adult forms. This usually takes about four days, but can take longer under adverse weather conditions. Mature fleas can live for up to 3 months without food, if they do not emerge from their puparia.
Once fleas achieve adulthood, they begin to seek blood, feed and reproduce. Females can lay as many as 5000 or more eggs over their 2-3 month life cycle. If no blood bearing host is found, their lifespan can be shortened to a few days. When ideal conditions of humidity, temperature and food supply exist, adult fleas have the life capacity of up to 1.5 years.
Ticks are classified as small arachnids rather than insects and belong to two major families, the hard variety, or Ixodidae, and the soft type, or Argasidae. Adult ticks are noted for their ovoid bodies, which become engorged with blood and expand when they feed. They have firm shields on their dorsal surfaces. The Ixodidae variety have a beak-like structure at the from of the mouth. The Argasidae have mouths on their undersides. There approximately 850 specific tick species, and are known for transmitting such diseases as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease and Ehrlichia. They are also implicated in a number of serious infections that are caused by protozoa, viruses and bacteria.
Both varieties locate a blood host by odor or from certain changes in the environment. Both types progress through four distinct life cycle stages, including the egg, larva, nymph and finally, the adult ticks. Different species of ticks go through various numbers of developmental stages. For instance, the soft variety ticks may go through up to seven different nymphal stages.
Dangers of Fleas and Ticks
Signs of anemia in dogs, characterized by a low white blood cell count, includes lethargy, exercise intolerance, decrease in appetite, and pale gums. Dogs with mild cases of anemia may not have any signs at all.
- Lyme Disease
The most frequently noted symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs consist of a fever of between 103 and 105°, swollen joints, lameness, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
- Rockettsiae Infection
Symptoms of Rockettsiae Infection in dogs includes difficulty breathing, general weakness, loss of appetite, lethargy and enlarged lymph nodes.
Two illnesses merge to create Meningoencephaltis in dogs, encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain, and Meningitis, the inflammation of the meninges, or spinal cord and outer layer of the brain. It has a mortality rate of between 60-100%.
Dermatitis in dogs is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease associated with allergies, and can be associated with fleas and ticks. It effects their ears, muzzle, underarms, groin, the areas around the eyes and between their foot pads.
One of the more commonly known intestinal parasites, tapeworms are segmented, and can be found in most mammals. While usually not fatal, tapeworms can cause extreme weight loss, fatigue and discomfort.
A parasitic genus, Yersinia pestis causes the bacterial disease known as Plague. Dogs infected with the disease will experience inflammation, high fever and excessive pain.
Haembartonellosis is transmitted by ticks, and is characterized in dogs by an infection of the red blood cells by a parasite. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, white to purple gums, and high fever.
The severity of the symptoms of Erlichiosism a type of bacteria, depends on the species involved and the individual immune response of the kanine. Symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, abnormal bleeding, enlarged lymph nodes, coughing, enlarged spleen, discharge from the nose and or eyes, pain and stiffness, diarrhea, vomiting and certain neurological symptoms.
Considerations before buying the best flea collar for dogs
Read product reviews in reputable pet magazines and other publications
Weigh the options between insecticidal, biological or ultrasonic collars
When choosing ultrasonic collars, consider battery life
Consider environmentally friendly collars
Choose collars from among well known manufacturers.
Read product labels to determine manufacturer’s age recommendations for dogs
Find out the concentration of the collar’s active ingredient
Determine which collars work best for specific sizes, breeds and ages
Read all precautions and warnings regarding health and safety hazards for pets and humans
Take note of how long the product is effective,
Find out the specific pests the collar kills.
Ensure the collar is the right size and made of a material the dog can tolerate
Consider collars with reflective strips that glow in the dark
Compare materials such as rubber, fabric, plastic, jute, et al
Decide on color
Consider ease of use for each type of collar under consideration
Find out if collar works alone or with additional products
Consider the magnitude of any existing flea or tick infestations
And there you have it! I hope this has answered your questions about flea collars. If you have any further inquiries, please let me know.