Flea Collar – Do They Work or Endanger Your Pet?

Summary: While a flea collar can kill fleas, they are potentially dangerous for your pet and don’t usually protect all areas of their skin. Its recommended that you seek alternative treatments such as a spot on treatment, flea shampoo, natural remedies or rather just seek professional assistance.

If you pet has fleas, chances are that you have heard about using flea collars and may have wondered if they really work. In short, they have been proven to to kill fleas. However, what many people do not consider is their safety and presume that since they are commercially available, there is no chance that they are dangerous for your dog or cat. I am going to cover all the facts in this article so that you can learn the truth about these collars before making your decision on how to treat the fleas that are bothering your pets. Once your pet is free of fleas, remember that you can make a flea trap to kill them in your carpets and other places around your home.

How Does a Flea Collar Work?

Before making a purchase, remember that there are two different types to choose from. I am not talking about specific brands but rather about how the collars actually work to get rid of fleas on your pets. If you decide to purchase one of them, please be sure to get them from a certified pet store as I have seen a number of them popping up on shelves at supermarkets and they are often very low quality. As a side note, these collars are always attached around the neck of your pet so keep that in mind during this guide. Lets have a quick look at both variations.

  1. High frequency collar – These work by sending out an ultra-sonic sound wave that “scares” fleas away. Despite a number of positive reports, I remain slightly doubtful and haven’t had much success with these electronic collars myself. However, I must admit that I haven’t use them for very long so if you have had any good (or bad) experience with them, please let me know so I can share it with others.
  2. Gas based collar – These create a gas based toxin that repels fleas from your dog or cat. It kills fleas on contact, provided they actually come near the collar. In other words, its not going to affect any fleas if they are not exposed to the limited area around your pets neck. However, the good news is that fleas are not that intelligent and won’t know about the gas (they cannot smell it or anything) so they may be exposed to it and “expire” on the spot!
  3. Absorption based collar – These also contain insecticide but instead of “floating around” your pets fur to keep the fleas away, it actually gets absorbed into their skin. When its fleas dinner time and they start nibbling on your pet, they are killed by the poison. However, exposure to this poison has left many wondering about their pets safety. Is it really something to be concerned about?

Is There A Natural Pet Collar That You Can Use?

Yes there are and these are the only ones that I would recommend for your cat or dog, especially if you have noticed a couple flea bite scars or marks on your pet recently. These types of free from insecticides and rather make sure of flea repellents such as rosemary oil. However, remember that you can always apply these repellents onto a collar yourself and save some money in the long run. Just don’t use a large amount, just a few drops is sufficient and always remember that if you are unsure, simply drop me a message in the comment section below or contact your closest vet. However, for the rest of this article, we are going to explore the facts about insecticide based collars so keep that in mind.

Are These Collars Safe or Can They Be Dangerous for Your Pets?

Disclaimer: This information has been collected based on reviews, customer feedback, research and personal experiences using a these products. I have nothing against those that sell them but I refuse to hide the truth.

To start this discussion off, I just want to outline some of the points made by a reputable flea treatment company about their flea collar products. Feel free to express what you think about these facts with your friends. :)

  1. Dangerous for pets and humans. (this should be enough but read on)
  2. Keep away from skin as it can be very harmful to you (if absorbed).
  3. Use soap to completely wash away toxins after touching the product.

Flea Collar on catAs you can see, there is no need to use your imagination to understand the potential consequences when using one of these collars. While those points are mainly aimed at protecting humans (except the first point), are pets somehow immune to the negative effects of insecticide? Absolutely not! In fact, it makes me angry that a number of chemicals have been identified as dangerous (for pets and their owners) by the Natural Resources Defense Council and yet they are still found in shops throughout the world. And to make matters worse, most people don’t even know about the dangers! I spent some time looking for people that have used flea collars in the past and here are a few startling statements I found while searching on the net:

Disclaimer: This information has been collected from other peoples experiences. I have no way of proving the truth in their words but there are not many reasons why they would take the time to lie about something like this. Also, it is not known if their pets had any preconditions. I am sure that there have been a number of positive treatments but the vast majority of people seem to report negative results. This is not meant to be a morbid discussion but rather is needed to outline the dangers. I am not suggesting that you will have the same experience as those mentioned below but it’s a good idea to keep them in mind. Lastly, I am keeping this information free of brand names, its up to you to research your product of choice.

  1. “My family used a flea collar from **** to treat my dog’s fleas problem and it passed away a few weeks later.”
  2. “After using a one of these collars, my cat literally vomited all night and I had to take it to an emergency vet to treat him”
  3. “My cats pancreas started to shut down because of a build up of poison from a flea and tick collars”
  4. “My pet suffered a high temperature after wearing a collar for fleas for a couple weeks.”
  5. “This collar poisoned my cat!!”
  6. “The collar made the flea problem worse!”
  7. “My cat lost hair around his neck from these collars”

Are Flea Collars Actually Effective for Flea Control?

Many have argued that unless you use them on your pet for an extremely long time or fail to fit it correctly (so that your pet licks it or something to that effect), there is no real danger. While this is partly true, I personally wouldn’t take the risk but again, that is completely your choice. I must admit that even the best flea collars are very cheap and thus are a fairly popular option for flea control. Do they kill fleas? As previously mentioned, if the fleas come into contact with the poison, they will die. However, is the potential health risk to your pet worth it?

A Few Warnings Before You Use A Flea Collar For Cats

If you are still interested in purchasing an cat flea collar, here are a few important things to take note of:

  1. For treating cats with fleas, make sure it doesn’t contain a chemical called “Permethrin” as this synthetic material is very dangerous to cats. The sad thing is that these chemical is still included in a few brands so make sure that you check this out before making any purchases.
  2. While this one may be fairly obvious, DON’T use the same product that you use for dogs on your cat! The collars for dogs have a higher level of chemicals to fight fleas and this can be very dangerous! Likewise, if you have a kitten, make sure that you purchase one that is correct for its size. However, I highly recommend using natural flea control for kittens as they are very sensitive to insecticide.
  3. Be sure to purchase one that has some elasticity so that it can stretch. Why is this important? Well, cats are usually explorers and often find themselves trying to fit through small places or perhaps taking some time to climb a tree. If the collar you purchased for your cat is not flexible, you run the real risk of your cat strangling itself if it gets stuck on a branch or something like that. This is actually why many cat owners purchase elasticated collars (not only the flea ones) to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
  4. Although you want the collar to be a bit “stretchy”, please make sure that it fits well otherwise it may fall off or even allow your cat to bite it, which can obviously have negative consequences. Its also good to check for flea dirt on your cat before using any flea products.

Flea Collars for Dogs – Warnings for Your Doggy Friend!

Here are a few important facts you need to keep in mind when trying to kill fleas on dogs.

Flea Control For Your Dogs

Flea Control For Your Dogs

  1. Ensure that it doesn’t have a chemical called Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP). It has nerve damaging properties and can be very dangerous.
  2. Make sure that the flea collar is free of Propoxur as this has cancer properties, something you definitely want to avoid!
  3. Don’t use flea collars on your puppy. Much like kittens, when pets are small they are fairly susceptible to harmful insecticide and thus you are better off looking at a few natural ways to get rid of fleas on them.

In conclusion, its unlikely that a single collar is going to have disastrous consequences. However, the vast majority of them, with the exception of these natural ones I mentioned in the beginning of this article, have rather dangerous insecticides that are not good for your cat or dog. Even if it doesn’t cause any fatalities, most of them are damaging to their health and based on my experience, I feel that other flea treatment alternatives should be used. Dr. Solomon made an good point when he said “We really want people to reduce exposures because they’re not necessary” so while the choice is still yours to make, I highly recommend taking some time to consider these facts before making a decision on what you feel will be best. As a final note, one good use for a flea collar is to place one in your vacuum machine bag (if it is not water based). When you are cleaning your home (especially if you have pets) and a few fleas get sucked up, they will die and not get a chance to escape. I hope you have enjoyed this article and I encourage you to share this with your friends. Thanks :)

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator immediately.


  1. Brian :) says:

    Very informative article you have here sir. I’ve showed this article to my parents when they considered to buy a flea collar. They were surprised. Now we’ve been treating fleas with naturally home made methods :) Also may I know if you guys have a facebook account? thanks :)

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Brian! Thanks for the kind words, its appreciated! I am glad to hear that you are trying natural methods, they are very effective and while its not for everybody, I always recommend giving them a chance :) Yes we do, you may follow our FB by liking this page.

  2. Sese :) says:

    Hello Natasha, my dog has been wearing this advantix flea collar for almost 3 months now and I don’t see any physiological changes on my dog. I’m worried because…well I don’t see any changes so there might be a chance that something is happening on the inside. Behavior of my dog’s still the same as the day I have put the collar on him. Care to enlighten me Natasha? Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Sese! Thanks for visiting my blog again, I have answered your previous query on the other post a couple days ago, just incase you didn’t notice ;) Flea collars, while being rather toxic, doesn’t always have adverse results on all animals. However, its still not worse the risk and its definitely not good for their help, especially in the long term. I recommend giving flea collars a break and either using a skin flea treatment product or a few of the natural methods discussed on this blog. Thanks :)

  3. Alice says:

    Natasha you mentioned there are natural flea collars. Does that mean they are safe for pets? What are the vital elements on it that makes it natural? Are they effective against fleas? Is it also available on spray? Do you know any companies that sell one? Is it more expensive than the toxic one? Sorry for bombarding you with questions, it’s just the result of hearing this term for the very first time. Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Alice! Yes, but they cannot be used on all your pets. For example, some natural herb oils are very dangerous to cats so you just need to make sure you get the correct one. I must admit, they are not that effective because they don’t have a far enough “reach” for your pet but they are good for keeping fleas off the neck region. I just checked and there are a few good ones on amazon, if you are able to order online. Good luck!

  4. Gina says:

    Hi Natasha, A friend of mine suggested using Listerine in a spray bottle to combat fleas & other insects – after walking my dog or when my dog has been around other dogs. Any truth to this remedy?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Gina! While I havn’t personally used that remedy, I have read about it and it apparently does work pretty well. Just mix listerine and water (about half half) and apply it to your dog. Let me know how it works for you, I am sure that it will also benefit the community! :)

  5. Gabriella says:

    Natasha please help. !!! I put flea collar on my cat 5 days ago. She was fine and alert. Today she woke up not eating she looks sick. What can I give her until I take her to vet .

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Gab! Sorry this is a little late. If she is still lethargic, I recommend taking her to the vet immediately, especially if she is not eating. Keep in mind however, that its not a guarantee that the flea collar caused these symptoms but definitely mention it to the vet. Good luck!

  6. Terri says:

    Nice writ up. Although I must state something I feel very important. I use all natural remedies in my home, on my family and pets . I have studied herbs and natural remedies for years. It is important to keep in mind that if you get an ivestation of flees on your pets and or in your home sometimes other measures are needed. Here is why. In certain areas of the USA we get more fleas due to weather as well as some do become amused to some treatments. If you find you have been battling fleas for more than a few weeks and your pets are still showing live fleas it’s time to take other measures. The fleas can cause problems in your pet if not treated in a timely matter. As well as they will only multiply. Where I happen to live this is the case. This particular year we had them bad. Nothing would work. We actually had called to exterminators one natural one not. We also had all our pets treated professionaly for fleas. We still could not get them to leave. The only thing the vet had to offer was to wait till winter and hit them hard. So we did. To are surprise after thousands of dollars spent. In the end flea collars on are pets with household treatment as well was what had finally worked for us. Why because the vet stated that is something no one seems to use anymore and it is more effective on the fleas. I am not happy I had touse them. My vet did state it was better to use them and get rid of the fleas or continue to pay vet bills for the fleas causing skin problems on my cats. I will not use them everyday. Although if I need to use them to stop a flea fest I sure will. I am back to all natural treatments as of now. You never do know what is in the future..

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Terri! I completely agree with your points, there are times that you have to use chemicals (even if its potentially dangerous) if you have tried everything else and have a major problem that is severely affecting quality of life. Glad to hear you are back to natural treatments though, they are just the best and leave me worry free as there are usually no potential side effects.

  7. Theresa says:

    My dog has been fighting for his life for 3 days because the collar fell off and he ate it. He can’t walk he’s incontinent, his heart rate can’t get above 60 should be 130. I had no idea this could happen and I’m loosing my best friend all because of a stupid collar and because I didn’t research first .

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey! Please take him to the vet as soon as possible. I know its expensive but you need to with urgency!

  8. Lee says:

    My daughter says I should purchase Advantage !! for our three month old kitten. Do you know anything about this product? She says it works perfectly on her two mature cats; and she applies it during flea season, whenever that is. What do you think?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Lee! Yes, its a decent brand and I recommend it, provided you get the correct one (its usually based on the weight of your cat). Please also make sure that you double check its for cats and not for dogs!

Speak Your Mind