The Furry Critter Network

Flea Collars

These tiny insects are not only a nuisance for dogs but also for dog owners. These blood suckers will bite poor Fido causing extreme itching and if the dog happens to be allergic to the insect’s saliva, the incessant chewing and scratching of the bitten body parts would result in loss of fur and inflammation of the skin that could result in infection. These blood feeders grow at a very fast rate. Fleas can cause health issues not only to the dog but to the dog's owner as well. A dog that is allergic to flea bites can suffer from flea allergic dermatitis. Severely infested dogs can lose extensive amounts of blood. This condition can result in anemia. Adult fleas can be carriers of tapeworm eggs. Tapeworm infection occurs if an infected flea is accidentally ingested by dogs and humans. Once a dog is infected, there is a good chance that other pets will be infected as well. Fleas can make a dog’s (and your) life miserable. To fight the infestation, a dog owner has to find the number one enemy of fleas. There are several methods by which these blood thirsty pests can be killed and one of these is the use of flea collars. Are flea collars safe for Fido to wear? The answer is YES and NO.

An owner choosing a flea fighting method should always consider the safety of the pet. A flea collar is a thin plastic strip made from the mixture of plastic resin and insecticide. Only adult fleas and fleas in the larval stage can be killed by the application of pesticide. The flea egg would just wait for the time to hatch and to feed on the dog’s blood. The flea collar is a time release treatment designed to continually deliver pesticide for a number of months to totally kill the fleas. The objective is to kill both the adult fleas and the fleas that will be hatched from the larvae. Flea collars are less effective as compared to sprays, powders and dips because of its less direct contact with the pest. But the long lasting performance and the easy and manageable application are considered to be the edge of a flea collar over the other flea-fighting methods. Flea collars are not recommended for heavy flea infestation as the chemicals that will be released for a period of time are less harsh and not designed to eliminate the infestation at once.

When is a flea collar unsafe for the dog? A flea collar would be harmful to the pet if used incorrectly. A collar that is fastened tightly will cause skin irritation, hair discoloration and chemical burns. The dog can develop an allergy on some of the active ingredients of the collar resulting in dermatitis. Consider the fact that flea collars contain chemicals, chemicals that when accumulated beyond the acceptable level can pose a danger to the health of the dog. What poisons the fleas can poison the dog too and weaken the pet’s immune system leaving the dog vulnerable to a number of diseases. Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, refusal to eat and drink, seesawing body temperatures, tremors and seizures are signs of poisoning. Some flea collars contain the tetrachlorvinphos and propoxur chemicals which are noted to cause nerve damage. Some dogs would manifest adverse reactions at once, others take several days. An owner has to be especially observant as usage of the collar must be discontinued immediately once these reactions are shown.

A flea collar must be carefully selected. It would be wise to consult a veterinarian given that the flea collar has to be chosen to fit the body weight of the dog. The prime consideration in choosing the collar is that it should efficiently kill the fleas but should not have toxic effects on the dog.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

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If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

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Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.