How Do Flea Collars Work?

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Discover how the newest innovations in flea collars can help protect your pet from fleas.

Owner giving brindle boxer a head scratch while both are lying on couch

Just like cell phones, cars and even vacuums, flea collar technology has come a long way. While older versions can still get the job done, improvements found in many modern flea collars can help kill and prevent fleas more effectively.

Today’s pet owners have choices that provide effective, long-lasting flea prevention — and it’s as simple as attaching a collar. Newer technology can include flexible designs, non-greasy applications and adjustability for a comfortable fit. Applying a collar takes only moments, and protection can last up to eight months.

How Do Flea Collars Work?

Flea collars provide an easy way to deliver the active ingredients needed to kill or repel fleas. Some collars spread the active ingredients over your pet’s body.

Older collar designs relied on releasing ingredients with a strong odor to repel or kill fleas. Newer innovations allow collars to work like a dam releasing a controlled amount of water into a stream: The active ingredients flow from an area of high concentration and storage (the flea collar) to low concentration (your pet’s hair, coat and skin). The collar slowly releases active ingredients over your pet’s body, and fleas are killed when they come into contact with those active ingredients. This continues until the collar needs to be replaced.

Do Flea Collars Really Work?

Yes! Flea collars are designed to kill fleas. Some collars target only adult fleas, while others may kill some of the younger stages of fleas, too. Some collars kill and repel fleas. This distinction matters because if a flea is repelled, it can’t bite and pass on diseases.

If you wonder if a certain flea collar really works, visit the manufacturer’s website to learn about the product and its label claims. Ask your veterinarian for their opinion or see what other pet owners are saying in online purchase reviews.

How Do I Ensure a Proper Fit?

The convenience of flea collars makes it easier for you to help protect your pet. Custom-fit collars allow dogs, cats and owners to get back to their lives with minimal stress and hassle. Proper fit is key to getting the most out of a collar. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but keep these overall tips in mind:

  • Collars need to be applied and fit properly. Check product label for specifics.
  • Discourage chewing and biting by removing any leftover length.
  • Regularly check the collar’s fit, especially on growing pets.
  • Remove and replace the collar according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Are Flea Collars Right for Your Pet?

Pet owners who choose collars may do so for a number of reasons, including:

  1. Easy to apply
  2. No drying period
  3. Economical
  4. Convenient
  5. No prescription required

Long-lasting flea collars are ideal for owners who often forget their pet’s monthly flea treatments and/or who have busy, active households and pets that are outdoor adventurers.

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Date of review March 2022

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