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How effective are flea and tick collars?

Collars may actually be the best way to control ticks. There are a couple of new collars on the market that last 6 or 8 months. They don’t have the terrible odor and greasiness associated with the old-style models, and we’re getting really good feedback from clients. They control both ticks and fleas.

What about dips, powders, sprays, and shampoos?

Those products are not as effective as the longer-acting ones because you have to use them so often and it’s hard to keep up.

Why do fleas keep coming back?

Fleas only spend about 25% of their lives on your pet. Dogs and cats are like little salt shakers. When the female flea lays eggs, they just roll off onto your carpet or sofa. All that nastiness builds up in the cushions with your change and your popcorn. Those eggs can continue to hatch and develop for up to 90 days. Vacuum thoroughly, wash pet bedding, and use flea control sprays or powders in areas where your pet hangs out. And if you don’t treat all of your pets, the fleas will just find a new host.

What about natural flea treatments?

Be careful with botanical oils, which can irritate the skin. Most of those just repel pests but don’t reliably keep them away. Garlic can actually cause changes in blood cells or anemia in your pet. It may be good for vampires, but that’s about it.