Flea collars are a great way to protect you and your pet from the blood-sucking pests that are fleas and ticks. But, are flea collars safe for puppies?
If you have a puppy or a dog and have never experienced the horrors that is a flea infestation, consider yourself lucky. The itching, licking, and scratching at all hours of the day and night is horrible for your puppy. It is also horrible for you because you are losing sleep and worrying about your dog. You are willing to try anything to stop the madness.
One of the best ways to stop a flea infestation in your home is to take preventative measures so it doesn’t start in the first place. One of the best flea and tick prevention methods is a flea collar.
Why Would You Choose a Flea Collar?
With so many new flea and tick treatment options on the market today and more coming out every day, why would you choose a flea collar over, say a spot-on product, spray, or oral treatment? Aren’t flea and tick collars a little old-fashioned?
Some reasons a person would choose a flea collar for their puppy include:
- No Mess
- Does not require a prescription
- Easy to use
- No drying time
How Do Flea Collars Work?
So, you go out and buy a flea collar for your puppy. You put it around their neck and it does the job. Well, that depends. You need to have the end result in mind before you pick a tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a backhoe to plant a marigold. and you wouldn’t use a garden trowel to dig a foundation for your home.
There are two types of flea collar. The one you choose and its effectiveness is going to be based on what you need the end result to be.
Types of Flea and Tick Collars
The two types of flea collars are:
- Collars that repel fleas and ticks
- Collars that kill fleas and ticks
Flea Repelling Collars
The chemicals in a repelling flea and tick collar are specially designed to keep fleas and ticks off of your puppy, to begin with. You would not use this type of flea collar if you have a current infestation. It would do nothing to stop the life cycle of the fleas and ticks. It would just keep them away from your dog.
Repelling flea and tick collars tend to be best used for tick prevention. Because it is attached around your dog’s neck, it is most effective in the neck and head area of the dog. This is the area where ticks gravitate. It doesn’t do much for the hindquarters where fleas are most likely frequent.
Many times Repelling collars will have a strong odor associated with them. You can tell a repelling collar by looking at the box. It will use the wording “Repels” or “Wards off”. There will be no mention of killing the fleas and ticks on the box.
Flea and Tick Killing
A flea and tick killing collar works kind of like a reservoir in a town that delivers water. In a water system, a local dam holds the water that comes out of our taps when we turn on the tap. It gets to our sinks, tubs, hoses, and washing machines through a series of pipes and tubes above the ground, under the ground, and in our house.
Just like that system, chemicals stored in the flea collar at the neck and head release chemicals into the dog’s coat and skin. The chemicals then eventually spread over the dog’s entire body through the skin, hair, and natural oils.
Killing flea collars actually interrupt the flea life cycle by killing adult fleas, larvae, and/or the eggs. If you are currently in the midst of an infestation, this is the collar you want.
Common Chemicals in Flea and Tick Collars
Pyriproxifen (pie-rih-PROX-uh-fen) This chemical attacks the eggs and larvae of the fleas. It essentially renders the insect sterile. Sterile fleas cannot reproduce, breaking the lifecycle and allowing you to get a handle on the infestation.
Deltamethrin (delta-METH-rin) Deltamethrin is a synthetic pesticide. It is considered one of the safest pesticides on the market. It mimics the effects of the naturally occurring pesticide, Pyrethrin, which is a derivative of the Chrysanthemum flower. Pyrethrin has been used against insects for over one hundred years. It is considered safe for all mammals and people, but not fish. Why your fish would have fleas…?
Amitraz (AH-mih–traz) This active ingredient is used to treat mange. The actual method of control Amitraz uses is unclear. It is thought to attack the nervous system of the parasites.
Propoxur (pro-POX-ur) Propoxur kills insects within 24 hours of application. Be careful with this one, though as it is toxic to humans. Be careful when trimming up the ends of the collar and wash your hands thoroughly after touching the collar.
Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) If you see this ingredient in a flea collar, it is probably best to leave it on the shelf. Yes, it is effective at killing fleas and ticks, but it contains a neurotoxin that may be hazardous to humans and domestic pests.
If you have a question about which flea collar is right for your particular situation or questions about active ingredients, contact your veterinarian. They will be happy to help.
How Long Do Flea Collars Last?
Spot-on treatments like Frontline need to be applied every thirty days. The oral Capstar tablets work for 24 hours. What about flea collars? Well, that’s a little harder to answer.
It really depends on the brand of collar you use. Most brands say they will last 3 months. In most cases that is enough to last through an entire flea season. Your mileage may vary on this one. Factors such as the environment and activity level of the puppy might affect this.
If you are looking for a long lasting flea collar. Take a look at the Seresto flea collars. They last for 8 months. Tests have shown that they are as effective at killing fleas on the last day of month eight as they are on the first day you pull the collar from the package.
How Old Should My Puppy Be Before I Use a Flea Collar?
You should read the packaging on the flea collar you choose before using it on your puppy. Some flea collars will give the age of the puppy ie., 12 weeks. Others will give you the weight of the dog it is safe to use the flea collar on. Most collars are safe for pups 12 weeks, 3 months, and older. you can protect your puppy from fleas by protecting the mother. There are many safe flea treatments on the market for lactating and nursing dogs.
Flea Collars vs. Drops
Should you choose a flea collar for your puppy or are drops a better option? Aside from the different chemical composition of the two products, there are some other differences you should take into consideration.
Flea collars are a good option for puppies because there is no messy medicine to apply. While it may not affect the puppy when the directions are followed, Think about the mother. Pups of a certain age are groomed by their mother. If there is a greasy medicine on the puppy’s back, mom is going to want it gone. Not good. Longevity is another factor. Do you really want to pin a puppy down with all of its sharp little puppy teeth and claws once a month to apply drops? Especially when you can use a collar and get up to 8 months of protection. I know what I’d choose.
Are you worried about the puppy getting stuck? Many collars on the market have breakaway features that will allow the puppy to free itself if it gets hung up on something.
Flea Collar Side Effects
When trying to answer the question: Are flea collars safe for puppies, you need to think about the side effects of flea collars. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of side effects when it comes to flea collars. Some dogs may have an allergy to the medication that will cause excessive itchiness. Like any new medicine, you need to watch your dog and monitor the behavior. If you notice an increase in itchiness or anxiety in your pup, you may want to remove the collar and see if it helps at all.
Symptoms of Flea Collar Poisoning
I listed Flea collar poisoning separate from flea collar side effects for a reason. Flea collar poisoning usually occurs due to ingestion of the flea collar or ingestion of the chemicals on the flea collar. Depending on the active ingredient in flea collars, there could be different symptoms.
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of bodily movement control
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of bodily movement control
- High or low body temperature
- Urinary incontinence
- Low blood pressure
- Obstruction of the intestines due to paralysis of intestines
- Dilation of pupils
- Gastric dilatation
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythm and rapid heart rate
- Excess salivation
- Loss of appetite Seizures
In a nutshell, If your dog eats its flea collar, the chemicals in the collar will go to work on your dog in much the same way the chemical works on the pests it is trying to eradicate.
Make sure the collar you choose fits well. Trim any excess and throw it away.
Are Flea Collars Safe for Puppies?
Sure there are some scary stories out there. Are flea collars safe for puppies? I definitely think so. Like so many other products, if you follow the instructions and take the safety precautions seriously, you are going to have a good experience 99.98% of the time. These flea collars wouldn’t be on the market if they were not safe when used as directed.
I feel you can safely use a flea collar on your puppy. What do you think? Are flea collars safe for puppies? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by.