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Fighting Fleas - Seresto Collar Danger

Kelsey MacDonald (kmac989) [Flickr]

Keeping your pet comfortable and healthy means helping it stay free from pesky things like fleas.  But keeping it safe also means using products that will not harm your furry friend.  


With warmer temperatures, sunny days, mixed with some showers, the trees leaf out and flowers bud and bloom – oh, and certain insects begin to annoy us and our pets, especially fleas. We can usually tell when our pet has a flea problem because we see them scratching a lot.

Fleas are more than just annoying. They can cause some very real problems for our pets because they can transmit parasites, and in severe infestations they may cause life-threatening anemia. Even the constant scratching alone can lead to skin problems.

The best way to deal with fleas is prevention, and many pet owners choose to use a flea collar on their pets. Flea collars are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and supposedly last for months. However, one of the most popular flea collars, Seresto, has been linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths.

There is no question that the collars are effective – they deposit small amounts of pesticide on a pet’s fur to kill fleas, ticks and other pests. But - thousands of reports made to the EPA indicate the collars are making many pets sick, and even killing them. Some pet owners are calling for the EPA to issue a recall for all Seresto flea collar products.

At our house, we stopped using flea collars several years ago. Instead, we use a topical treatment that is applied at the base of the back of the animal’s neck, once a month. If you choose a topical treatment, take care to select one for the type of pet you have (dog? cat?) and its age and size. Your veterinarian can advise you if you are unsure. The great thing about these spot-on products, when used properly, is that they are usually safe, effective and do not require a prescription.

As we head into Spring and Summer, getting rid of those pesky fleas, and keeping them away, will help your best friend stay healthier and happier, as long as you do it safely, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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