An educator, freelance writer, and mother of two children and three dogs.
Do Flea Collars Do More Harm Than Good?
Some commercial flea collars are intended to deter fleas and others are meant to kill adult fleas. However, many flea collars that are sold at the store are filled with chemicals and can even be deadly if your dog would get it off and chew it up. Most commercial collars also have warnings about not using on puppies or using near children due to the dangerous chemicals. In addition to being loaded with chemicals, they are quite expensive for something that usually only lasts for 30 days. By making a homemade flea collar for your dog, you can deter fleas and keep your dog free of chemicals. If your dog already has fleas, you will need to take other steps to get rid of those fleas and then use the homemade collar to deter fleas from getting back on your dog.
Although commercial flea collars can deter or even kill fleas, even those collars alone are not enough during peak flea season. Fleas peak in the spring and summer when the weather is warm and the grass is high. Once your dog gets a few fleas on their fur, fleas will lay eggs on your dog, in their bedding, and even in your carpet and baseboard trim. Eggs can lay dormant and even when you get past peak flea season, eggs can hatch in your home at anytime and cause problems.
By having your dog wear a homemade flea collar during the spring and summer months you can deter fleas. You should also follow the tips below to naturally keep fleas off your dog and out of your house.
How to Make a Natural Homemade Flea Collar
- Juice two lemons using a hand or electric juicer.
- Soak your dog's cloth collar in the lemon juice for five minutes OR soak a cotton bandana in the lemon juice. (See link to the right for how to make your own collar bandana).
- After five minutes, take the collar or bandana out of the lemon juice and place on a paper towel for a few minutes to soak out the extra juice.
- Place the collar or bandanna around your dog's neck and check the area after an hour to make sure your dog does not have a reaction.
- Depending on the size of your dog's collar and the amount of time your dog spends outside will determine how often you will need to repeat this process.
- If you follow the other steps to keeping fleas off your dog, you will likely only need to soak the collar or bandana twice a week.
Use Lemon Juice to Deter Fleas
How to Keep Fleas Off Your Dog
- use a flea comb on your dog's fur at least every other day to remove adult fleas
- bathe your dog several times a week using very warm water and mild soap to kill live fleas and eggs
- wash your dog's bedding in hot soapy water at least once a week to kill adults fleas, larvae and eggs
- vacuum your carpets every day
- spray your baseboards and dog's fur with lemon juice several times a week
- add some Brewer's yeast, garlic, and/or apple cider vinegar to your dog's diet
Dog Collar Bandana
Dog collar bandanas are fashionable cotton triangles that your dog's collar slides through. Crafty Critique has step by step directions on how to make your own. If you soak them in lemon juice it will help deter fleas while being adorable at the same time. I do not use dog bandanas because I have two dogs that love to wrestle and when I put them on their collars they use them to pull on each other's necks. I stick to either soaking their regular cloth collar or sometimes I take old cotton t-shirts and rip them into strips to soak and tie around their neck. If you only have one dog, soaking the bandana would be an excellent way to deter fleas!
How Safe Are Commercial Flea Collars?
Some people may choose to make a homemade flea collar to save money and others may want to reduce using chemicals in their home or on their pets. Over the last few years I have tried to eliminate dangerous chemicals from my home by making homemade cleaners and pet products. It helps me live a greener lifestyle and save money. If you are debating on whether or not to use commercial fleas collars, I highly recommend doing some research. By United States law, flea collar packaging must be clearly labeled and the ingredients used in flea collars and other flea products must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Tetrachlorvinphos is a main ingredient in flea collars and it is registered with the EPA. According to the label on a Hartz brand flea collar, it can be a very dangerous product for puppies and children. The label states, "Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. Causes moderate eye irritation. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, or clothing. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet." The EPA requires this warning on the label because Tetrachlorvinphos according to the EPA is "practically non-toxic to slightly toxic in all acute toxicity studies but causes reduced weight gain and increased organ weights in certain studies. Tetrachlorvinphos has been classified as a group C (possible human) carcinogen by the Carcinogenicity Peer Review Committee of the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. Both chronic systemic and carcinogenic dietary risks were calculated. These risks appear to be minimal when only uses supported for reregistration are included in the assessment."
If you chose to use commercial flea collars, you should also do research to find out how to properly dispose of the collar since some environmental risks can occur if not disposed of properly. It is possible to avoid commercial, chemical-filled flea products if you are willing to put in the time and effort to use other methods and homemade materials to fight dog fleas. By avoiding commercial products you can avoid risking your dog's health, your family's health and avoid additional damage to the environment.
How Much Do You Know About Dog Fleas?
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Warm soapy water only kills flea eggs and not adult fleas
- Lemon juice deters fleas
- A homemade flea collar kills fleas
- Flea collars alone are an effective way to deal with dog fleas.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Sharon on June 25, 2019:
Very helpful articles.
Rachel on February 05, 2018:
Garlic is toxic to dogs
Linda Lee on December 10, 2017:
Can you use this on cats
Claudia on July 25, 2016:
Found a natural flea guard that I love by purebodyscent - it lasted 7 weeks and the collars are super cute and lightweight. ;)
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on March 20, 2013:
Thanks for this very useful hub. I would give it a try for Angus. Thanks for sharing.
chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on March 20, 2013:
Pouring apple cider vinegar over the dog's fur after bathing also helps prevent fleas for a day or two. It smells weird at first but allows your kids to pet the dogs. I like the smell of lemon juice much better.
Claudia Mitchell on March 20, 2013:
With spring eventually coming (hopefully) this is really useful. I always worry when I put a new flea product on my dog. I tell my daughter we can't pet him for a couple of days which never goes over well. I can imagine those chemicals are horrible. I'm going to have to give this a try.
chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on March 12, 2013:
Actually the bathing could have caused dry skin. I have a hub on homemade oatmeal dog shampoo that may help. Every dog is different so it takes some time to figure out how often your dog can withstand bathing. If the constant bathing is still too much you may have to go outside and just comb out fleas but once you get rid of them deterring them with the flea collar will make the process better...best wishes!
torrilynn on March 11, 2013:
thanks for this hub on making a flea collar for your dog
my dog has been scratching a lot lately despite being given a bath
i think that the collar may come in handy thanks again
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