Your dogs are constantly exposed to the threat of fleas and ticks. Not only do these pests cause annoying itching, they can cause serious health problems for your pet as well as you. Fortunately there are methods of protecting your dogs, with one of the most common being the flea and tick collar. But these collars can be dangerous, especially to young puppies, if you don’t choose or use them properly.
Flea and tick collars are plastic or nylon collars that are infused with chemicals. Some emit a gas that repels fleas and ticks or kills them if the insects come in direct contact with the collar. Others produce a chemical that is absorbed into the dogs skin around the collar and when fleas or ticks bite that area they ingest the poison and die. However, since puppies are much smaller, the dose of chemicals in the collar may be toxic, causing illness or severe itching. If puppies are roughhousing with each other, they may bite the collar, getting a mouthful of harmful chemicals. Most animal health specialists recommend not using a flea collar on puppies younger than 8 weeks old.
Some flea and tick collars claim to be safe for dogs of all ages. If it is an over-the-counter product, you should check with your veterinarian before using it. Also, you should use only FDA- or EPA-approved products as they have been tested thoroughly. Follow the directions on the label, and make sure your pup falls within the weight range for which the product is intended.
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images