IS TICKLESS Pet really single use?

10 minutes

No, it’s not. Yes, you can apply Betteridge’s law here.

We have a large dog, a mix of a Belgian and German shepherd, and we take him on a lot of walks in forests and fields. My fiancee bought for him an ultrasonic ticks and fleas repellent called TICKLESS Pet. It’s 30EUR / 140PLN, so not the cheapest device. The promotional materials said that you turn it on by pulling the plastic tab, and then it works for six months continuously. At the time I did not pay much attention to that claim.

Last week Alicja came to me and said that our dog took a bath in a stream, and the device stopped working. The thingy has a single button, you can click and then a green LED blinks to confirm that it’s still working. That’s the only interaction with the device that you can have, you cannot turn it on or off. Now the LED did not blink. “Can you do something with it?“. And I said I’ll try.

Getting inside and bringing it back to life

First let’s consult the FAQ on TICKLESS’s page:

Screenshot from TICKLESS’s FAQ available at

TICKLESS is a closed system.

It’s really hard to agree with that statement when the device is in a plastic case with massive holes to let the ultrasounds out. Opening it takes a few seconds, the case needs to be delicately pried open at the seam, any wedge or screwdriver will work.

The device in
it's glory. It's a bright orange tear-shaped plastic device with large holes.
You can see the logic board through the holes in the caseThe device in it’s glory. You can see the logic board through the holes in the case

Opening it reveals the main part: a simple logic board with a few SMD components, some chip, an ultrasound speaker… and a CR2032 holder with a totally standard button cell.

The case opened
and the logic board inside. The front and back of the case lying on a desk, with
the logic board between them.The case opened and the logic board inside

Front side of the
logic board with the ultrasonic speakerFront side of the logic board with the ultrasonic speaker

Back side of the
logic board with the battery holderBack side of the logic board with the battery holder

Again, to quote the FAQ:

Can I change the battery? No!

Why would you not be able to change the battery? It’s not soldered in, it’s just press fitted into a typical cell holder that can be found in any other device, like a TV remote control.

I removed the battery, carefully cleaned the whole board with a q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol. There was some surface rust from the water getting into the “closed” device, but no connection looked to be damaged. I put the battery back again, and the device came back to life, the LED blinked, and blinked again when I clicked the button. The case also had no problems being assembled again, it’s also press fitted.

Now the device is back on the dog’s collar, and once the battery discharges, I will just put another CR2032 in. And barring any physical damage, it should work for another six months.

Bottom Text

I feel that this is a prime example of planned obsolescence. I know this is not something large and expensive as a washing machine, but still, it’s a piece of electronics that can work for a long period of time, but is designed in a way to not last long, unless one is willing to go an extra mile. It would not be a manufacturing problem to add an easy way to open the case to simplify changing the battery. Of course, TICKLESS offers a rechargeable version, but it’s almost twice the price.

I hate single-use electronic devices, and the problem is growing. I’ve seen single use vapes (the EU will be doing something about them soon), even single use powerbanks, and that waste of resources is just unacceptable.

So yeah, just wanted to share my disdain for such practices, and maybe someone will save some money from my findings, and a small electronic device will not go to landfill that soon.

Thanks for reading!

BTW, I’m thinking of finding a way to listen to the sounds it’s making, I just need to find a microphone that will hear ultrasounds. Any recommendations?

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