Are dog flea collars safe?
We wouldn’t recommend using a flea collar as the first port of call to tackle any issue with fleas, but they can be fine used in conjunction with topical treatments and home flea treatments. The brand you choose is vital.
We have picked Seresto as our top choice of flea collar for both dogs and cats. Vet-approved and safe, it works by safely spreading the flea treatment through the dog’s fur without releasing toxic gasses.
Flea collars, other than Seresto, are generally not recommended by a lot of vets and professionals. They work by emitting a toxic gas to the immediate area, so only kill fleas close to the collar and don’t actually combat the issue. Your dog’s face may be free of fleas but their body would not be.
There was also thought to be issues with how the collars worked, with reports of reactions on the skin, and the possibility that they could ingest the chemicals when cleaning themselves. They were also relatively short-lived, but a Seresto model can work for up to eight months.
Are shock collars for dogs legal?
Electric shock collars are worn around a dog’s neck and provide the dog with a shock either via a remote or an automatic trigger (such as the sound of barking).
This means that they train dogs through fear and pain as opposed to a natural willingness to learn and obey. In studies by DEFRA, this was seen to have long-lasting negative effects on the behaviour of dogs, even when used under professional guidance.
Dogs also can’t tell why they have been shocked in a lot of cases so could learn negative traits. For example, they may think they have been shocked because there is a dog nearby or because there are other humans around, as opposed to because they have done something they shouldn’t have, which could cause dangerous behaviour towards these factors.
Many groups, such as the Kennel Club, RSPCA, Animal Behaviour and Training Council and the British Veterinary Association are heavily against the use of shock collars. The government has introduced plans to ban them, but they are still on sale through sites such as Amazon and eBay and are still recommended by some dubious trainers. This is despite other retailers banning them.
We do not support the use of shock collars and would advise owners to use other methods of training. Your vet will be able to point you in the direction of behaviourists or trainers who do not use these.
There are slightly more ethical barking solutions out there, such as citronella collars, but they are still not perfect and not great for every single dog so always ask for professional recommendations and do plenty of research.
Which collar is best for a puppy?
A puppy will need something smaller than an adult collar, and usually softer as well to help protect their throat and trachea.
There are dedicated puppy collars out there, as well as small breed collars which could be best for larger puppies. Many come with a matching lead that is just the right length.
How do I measure for a dog collar?
Take the circumference of your dog’s neck using a soft tape measure or some string, and add around two inches onto this. So a dog with a 20-inch neck should wear a collar that is 22 inches.
Obviously, you can be restricted with sizes available, so pick the one which best matches the measurements. Collars can always be tightened, so if your dog falls into the middle of two sizings, opt to go up.
You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar comfortably, but it also needs to be snug so it doesn’t easily come off.
Always monitor your dog’s collar size, too. Changes such as getting their winter coat, having been to the groomers, weight loss and grain or going through adolescence could mean you need to slacken or tighten it regularly, or maybe even have two collars to hand.