How to Make a Homemade Flea Collar for a Dog
Homemade Flea Collars Are Safe for Puppies and Children
The Purpose of a Flea Collar
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.
Steps 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!
Directions for 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.
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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.