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Why You Need To Stop Using Flea Collars Today

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, Why You Need o Stop Using Flea Collars Today

Flea collars are one of the the most popular options for treating and preventing fleas in both dogs and cats. Typically, flea collars work by either transferring pesticides to your pet’s skin or by giving off a harmful gas that’s toxic to fleas. Unfortunately, the same features that make flea collars effective also make them dangerous to both pets and humans—serious, even life threatening, side-effects have been linked with exposure to the chemicals within flea collars. The following is a list of reasons why it’s important you stop using flea collars on your pets as soon as possible.

Your Family

A study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concluded that flea collars, even when used as directed, can have “serious health consequences to humans.” The NRDC found that unsafe levels of pesticides from flea collars can remain on a dog or cat’s fur for weeks after initial use. These pesticide levels exceed acceptable EPA exposure limits, posing a serious risk to both adults and children when playing with pets wearing flea collars.

"It was also discovered that flea collar toxins are readily transferrable, moving easily from a pet to furniture, children’s toys, even directly to humans."

One of the most common (and dangerous) chemicals found in flea collars is Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), an organophosphate insecticide that works by interrupting a flea’s central nervous system. Unfortunately TCVP—which the EPA lists as a carcinogen—also wreaks havoc on the human central nervous system. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that organophosphates are a central ingredient in several biological weapons, including nerve gas.

Worst of all, children and pregnant women are especially at risk—learning disabilities, motor development, hyperactivity and behavioural issues have all been tied with exposure to flea collar pesticides. Public Health Scientist Miriam Rotkin Ellman—a key scientist in NRDC’s studies—has said,

“with a pesticide it doesn’t take very much to cause effects that will stay with kid[s] for the rest of their lives”


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Your Pets

While residual toxins from flea collars can be hazardous to humans, they can be outright lethal for your pets. Ranging from skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress, to organ failure and even death, flea collars have a long history of harmful effects in both cats and dogs. When used as directed, flea collars are still known to cause severe chemical burns and seizures in pets. A quick look at product review sites like Consumer Affairs or outlets like Amazon is enough to get a sense of the suffering flea collars commonly inflict on pet owners. In cases of ingestion or misuse (placing a dog-specific flea collar on a cat, for instance), flea collars are regularly fatal, with smaller and older pets being especially vulnerable. Flea collars are also notorious for interfering with pet medications—sometimes counteracting them, sometimes rendering them deadly. Even under ideal conditions, flea collars can be fatal to dogs and cats, as sensitivities to chemicals or allergies usually remain unknown in pets until it’s too late.

They’re Not As Effective As You Think

In contrast to received opinion, flea collars are not exactly highly effective. In most cases, flea collars can be useful at preventing flea infestations (if toxic treatments can be considered useful) but not at treating them. In fact, many flea collars are not even strong enough to kill adult fleas. Even when used properly, flea collars only serve to protect the area on or around your pet’s neck. Considering fleas tend to feed and hide primarily in pets’ armpits, groins, bellies and backsides, it’s not hard to see why flea collars are only so effective at controlling flea infestation.

There Are Non-Toxic Alternatives

At Cedarcide, we only recommend using naturally sourced, non-toxic alternatives when treating your pets for fleas. Thankfully, there are many pet-safe, family-safe options when managing and preventing flea infestation. Here are some of our favorites:

Consult a vet before use on older, pregnant or nursing animals

  • Naturally Sourced Flea Spray 
    • Apply as needed, especially before walking pets outdoors or at pet parks. Tip: For dogs, moisten a bandana with a naturally sourced insect repellent for a non-toxic flea collar alternative.
  • Bathe Your Pet Regularly 
    • Regular bathing helps keep fleas off your pets. No need for toxic flea & tick shampoos—soapy, warm water is sufficient to kill adult fleas and flea eggs.
  • A Non-Toxic Flea & Tick Brush
    • A flea and tick brush that dispenses non-toxic insect repellent is among the most efficient and effective methods for treating your medium to large-sized dog for fleas
  • Wash Pet Bedding Weekly
    • Regularly washing your pet’s bedding is essential to preventing flea infestation. Using a natural pet+bedding spray also helps.
  • Care For Your Lawn
    • Keeping your yard clutter-free and trimmed (grass, shrubbery, etc) will help prevent fleas from making a home in your yard.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!


  1. yolanda brancato on September 19, 2019 at 3:24 PM

    instead of using toxic insecticides . bathe your pets with Dawn dish soap and watch the the fleas fall off dead..I volunteer at the county shelter and that is what we use.

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on September 20, 2019 at 9:50 AM

      Toxic chemicals are the worse! Thanks for sharing Yolanda! But did you know Dawn actually contains chemicals, too? Chemicals the Environmental Working Group considers both toxic and groundwater pollutants? Surprising, right!?

  2. SLA on August 30, 2019 at 9:47 AM

    Pat – try coconut oil for the itchy spots!

  3. shirley miller on May 22, 2019 at 11:42 PM

    You have someone (Pat) ask you about Seresto but I hope you might have some info for me. I have used Seresto for three years recommended by my Vet. It did work very well in killing ticks and fleas within two days. The one problem I am concerned about is Robbie had three small black spots with very pink skin under them and he scratched constantly there. He did not scratch anywhere else after apply the collar. I asked the Vet if he was reacting to the collar around his neck but she said no. So I kept on using them until this year and the spots got more irritated so I took the collar off but he still scratches his neck where the collar had been and the spots look worse. It’s getting to be tick time and I have no protection for him at all. I don’t know how to treat the irritation. I have bought your spray and one other liquid but I have not bought the flea/tick brush yet. He is afraid of the spray. Would this be safe for him?

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 23, 2019 at 10:25 AM

      Hi, Shirley.

      We’re very sorry to hear about your pup’s irritation, that can’t be comfortable. Unfortunately, Seresto has been linked with multiple health complications, including skin irritation, which is another reason we only feel comfortable suggesting non-toxic solutions to our customers. Because we’re not vets, we don’t feel confident making suggestions about the health issue your pup is currently facing, although finding a way to keep him from scratching (have you tried a cone?) is one idea. Cedarcide Original can certainly help with the flea & tick protection. However, we would recommend avoiding spraying any of the sores or any other open skin directly. The brush would be an option for applying if he’s afraid of the spray, but also simply spraying your hands and applying to him that way works also.

  4. Pat on May 19, 2019 at 7:19 PM

    Do u have any information on Soresto collars? Thank you, pat

    • Jonathan At Cedarcide on May 20, 2019 at 2:01 PM

      Hi, Pat!

      We do not have any info on those collars specifically, but we have heard some pet parents share negative experiences with their toxicity. As a rule, we only suggest natural alternatives to our customers because of the many horrible stories we’ve heard regarding toxic flea & tick products. Thanks for the comment!

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