bandana-collar-1.3One of the best ways to protect your dog from fleas is by giving her a collar that has been treated with flea repellent. Once there is a flea infestation, it is possible that the fleas will then hop onto your furniture, including your bed and your dog’s bed, or anywhere she is allowed to sit or lay down, so some protection is needed.  Collars are a great preventative but come with some serious warnings. These collars have been available for many years and are easily available in pet supply stores, hardware stores, and even supermarkets.

Here’s the glitch. Pesticides used on collars are toxic and can be a risk to your dog’s health. There are two kinds of commercially produced flea collars. One of them releases a gas that is repellent to fleas. The other kind actually has “medications” that seep into the fat layer on your dog or has active ingredients that use your dog’s natural oils to spread the substance.  One thing to be aware of with these collars is that the substance they are treated with can easily be transferred to hands. When your kids, and the adults also, have skin contact with the collar, make sure that there is a good handwashing afterwards. Kids are great eye-rubbers and you surely do not want this substance near their eyes or mouths.  These flea collars should not be used on puppies, nursing moms, or some older dogs.

Are these flea collars effective?  By and large, yes they are. But taking care of one problem, while creating another health problem for your dog is not the result you want.  Creating your own organic, natural flea collar at home is not that difficult.  You will want to buy a simple woven collar for your dog.  If she likes being dressed up, a bandana that is large enough not to be tied too tightly.  You will also need a shallow bowl that can hold the collar and the mixture so it soaks in nicely. Gather the following ingredients: 1 tablespoon of Witch Hazel and 2 drops each of the following essential oils: lavender, cedarwood, thyme, melaleuca (tree oil), and 1 teaspoon of garlic oil. Mix the ingredients in the bowl and soak the collar all the way through until it is fully saturated. Then let the collar dry completely before putting it on your dog. You can repeat this monthly with the same collar without any damage to the collar itself.

A simpler method is to take the same kind of cloth collar or bandana and soak it in the juice of two lemons diluted with water. Let it dry completely before putting it on your dog. Before doing this, however, check your dog’s skin to make sure that there are no irritations, rashes, or sore skin spots on her, so as not to burn or make the skin condition worse.

Here is another one using essential oils that can be used with the same type of cloth or woven collar or a bandana. Take 2 tablespoons of almond oil and 2 drops (total if you are using more than one type) of essential oils such as cinnamon, rosemary, clove, peppermint, or cedar wood and mix them together.  Apply the mixture to the collar and let it dry thoroughly before putting it on your dog.   When you can no longer smell the ingredients (usually 2 weeks to a month), it is time to apply the oils again.

If you are choosing to use a bandana, here’s a recipe for a flea repellent using essential oils that would work well with your dog’s latest fashion.  Flatten the fabric out and measure out 2 drops of cedar oil and 2 or 3 drops of lavender oil and dilute with water. Put the oils directly onto the fabric, distributing it evenly for the best result. Roll it around with your hands and let it dry before putting it on your dog. If your dog is a larger dog with a larger bandana, use a little more oil to make sure that the effect will cover her whole body.  The side benefit of this is that lavender is a calming essence, so not only are your protecting your dog from fleas, you are helping her to stay relaxed and mellow.

Here is another one that includes citronella, which is acidic, so again check your dog for any skin problems around her neck.  This can also be used with a fabric collar or bandana.  Mix 2 tablespoons of peppermint essential oil, ½ cup of rosemary essential oil, 2 tablespoons of cedar essential oil, 2 tablespoons of eucalyptus essential oil, and ¼ of a cup of citronella essential oil. Soak the collar or bandana thoroughly and then let it dry for several hours before putting it on your dog.

Throughout this list of suggested do it yourself flea collars, you see many common ingredients. Before using essential oils, it is good to let your dog have a whiff so that you are not including one that she might not like. Just rub a tiny bit into your palm and let her smell it while you watch her reaction. Our dogs tell us what they like and what they don’t like, so listen to her advice on scents!

It is important to remember that there are no foolproof methods of deterring fleas, no matter what the producers of chemically treated products say in their advertising. What you can be assured of with these home-made collars is that you will not be exposing your dog or children to toxic materials.  It is recommended that you check your dog for fleas regularly and to check the collar every few days to see when it needs to be treated again for maximum protection. Your dog deserves to be flea free and to not be exposed to toxins. These options for natural and safe flea collars should make that possible.

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