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Best Dog Flea Collars: Fighting Fleas for Fido

Flea & Tick By Kate Brunotts 13 min read May 24, 2021

flea collars for dogs
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Fleas are some of the most common (and irritating) pooch parasites. But these tiny insects aren’t just annoying for your pet — they can also cause a number of serious health problems

There are several different ways to combat fleas, but many owners find that flea collars are the best option for their four-footers. We’ll identify a few of our favorites and explain how to pick the best one for your pet below. 

Best Dog Flea Collars: Quick Picks

  • #1 Seresto Flea and Tick Collar [Best Overall Flea Collar for Dogs] One of the few flea collars that kills and repels fleas and ticks, this collar starts working within 24 hours and continues keeping your pet protected for up to 8 months.  
  • #2 Adams Flea and Tick Collar [Most Affordable Flea Collar for Dogs]Designed to kill all three life stages of fleas and ticks, this reflective collar is not only very affordable, but it also provides 7 months of protection, making it a great value. 
  • #3 SOBAKEN Flea and Tick Collar [Best Natural Flea Collar] This completely waterproof collar relies on spearmint oil, clove oil, and citronella oil rather than pesticides to repel fleas and ticks. 

Flea Collars for Dogs: The Pros & the Cons 

good and bad things about flea collars

Flea collars can be an effective and affordable way to treat and prevent fleas for long periods of time. And for many owners, they’re an ideal choice for flea and tick prevention.

For example, while topical and oral treatments usually only last a month, many flea collars remain effective for 7 months or more. They’re also convenient and easy to use — just place one around your dog’s neck, ensure a secure fit, and then trim away any excess material.  

However, flea collars are not always the best choice. For example, not all flea collars are waterproof, so you’ll need to be careful letting Spot play in the rain, swim, or take a bath while wearing a collar. 

Also, some dogs react badly to the pesticides used in some flea collars, so it’s possible you’ll need to select another type of flea treatment for your four-footer. This is especially true of doggos with sensitive skin. 

Just be sure to work with your veterinarian to find the best flea preventative and treatment for your pup’s lifestyle and needs. Some other dog flea treatment options worth exploring include oral flea-killing medications like Bracvecto, topical medications like Frontline Plus, flea sprays, and flea shampoos for dogs

How to Pick the Best Flea Collar: Factors To Consider

things to think about when picking flea collar

While flea collars are a great option for many dogs, some of those on the market are better than others. So, you’ll want to be sure to make your choice carefully and only after considering all of the relevant factors. 

Here are a couple of things you’ll want to take into consideration while figuring out the best flea collar for your furry friend. 

  • Waterproof — Exposure to water can reduce the efficacy or shorten the coverage of some waterproof collars. So, if your dog loves to swim or you live in a rainy area, you’ll want to go with a waterproof flea collar. 
  • Protection Against Other Bugs — Many flea collars protect against ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects as well. This feature is certainly worth considering especially if you live in a wooded area or if you and your dog are constantly going on adventures. 
  • Durability — Many flea collars are designed to stay effective for months on end, so you’ll want to make sure the collar is sturdy enough to last. 
  • Lifespan — Flea collars vary greatly in how long they’re designed to be effective, and this influences the value they provide. Generally speaking, flea collars last anywhere from one to eight months, so take this into consideration when comparing prices.
  • Active Ingredients — You’ll want to pay close attention to the active ingredients of your dog’s flea collar to determine whether it is designed to kill fleas, repel fleas, or both. This is also a key consideration if your dog is sensitive to any common flea-controlling chemicals. 
  • Your Dog’s Age — Most flea and tick treatments aren’t safe to use on puppies until they’re at least 8 to 12 weeks old. Just be sure to check the manufacturer’s age recommendation before picking a product. Also, keep in mind that your pup will be growing rapidly, so you may need to switch to one designed for a larger size before the collar has completed its recommended lifespan.
  • Your Dog’s Size — Flea collars come in a variety of sizes, so be sure to have your dog’s neck measurements and weight available to find the perfect fit. 
  • Ability To Take Collar On and Off — Some flea collars are designed to stay on your pet until it’s ready for disposal — you’ll need to cut them off. If you plan on using a flea collar as more of a preventative tool to protect your dog when exploring high-risk areas, you’ll want to make sure the collar can easily be taken on or off. 
  • Odor — Some flea collars have a scent that’s designed to repel fleas and other insects. Or, the collar’s chemicals could give off a certain smell. If you or your dog are sensitive to odors, you’ll want to consider the scents and fragrances used in a given collar. 

The 4 Best Dog Flea Collars

Now that you understand what to look for when picking a flea collar for your pooch, we can move on to some of the best options around. Here are some of our favorite dog flea collars available to keep your pooch protected. 

1. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar  

Best Overall Flea Collar

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Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

A quick-working flea collar that repels and kills fleas and ticks for 8 months

About: This flea and tick collar by Seresto provides 8 months of continuous flea protection. The collar kills fleas on contact and begins repelling them within 24 hours of the initial application. 

Features:

  • Protects against adult ticks and may help manage sarcoptic mange
  • Odorless, non-greasy collar suitable for dogs over 18 pounds 
  • Active ingredients imidacloprid and flumethrin repel and kill fleas on contact
  • Safe for dogs over 8 weeks of age  
  • Collar is water-resistant 

Pros

  • A 2012 study found this product reduced tick and flea counts by 90% or more for 7 to 8 months
  • Lasts longer than most flea collars
  • Kills fleas and ticks on contact for quick relief
  • Repels fleas and ticks to prevent new infestations
  • Water-resistant design will remain effective in the rain

Cons

  • Some owners noted that tick protection wasn’t always effective
  • Collar cannot be taken off until time of disposal (keep in mind that this may be a problem if your puppy is growing, as you’ll need to loosen it periodically)

2. Adams Flea and Tick Collar  

Most Affordable Flea Collar

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Adams Flea and Tick Collar

Affordable, water-resistant collar that kills fleas and ticks for up to 7 months

About: The flea and ticks collar by Adams is super affordable and designed to last for seven months at a time. This collar uses active ingredients tetrachlorvinphos and S-methoprene to kill adult fleas and prevent flea eggs from hatching. 

Features: 

  • Water-resistant collar is great for active dogs
  • Adjustable collar is designed for dogs of all sizes
  • Safe for dogs over 12 weeks old 
  • Kills adult fleas and ticks 

Pros

  • Water resistant collar won’t be ruined by rain
  • Adjustable collar works well for dogs of many sizes
  • Effective against flea eggs, flea larvae, and adult fleas
  • Affordable, long-lasting collar provides great value

Cons

  • Some customers reported a strong smell to the collar
  • A few owners found that this collar was better for prevention rather than treating an existing infestation

3. SOBAKEN Flea and Tick Collar 

Best Natural Flea Collar

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

SOBAKEN Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs, Natural and Hypoallergenic Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs, One Size Fits All, 25 inch, 8 Month Protection, Charity

SOBAKEN Flea and Tick Collar

Waterproof flea collar that lasts for 8 months and utilizes plant-based extracts

About: This flea and tick collar by SOBAKEN is a great pick for active dogs, as it features a fully waterproof design. This flea and tick collar uses natural, plant-based oils to provide up to 8 months of protection against adult fleas and ticks. 

Features: 

  • Collar utilizes natural oils to repel fleas and ticks
  • Collar is fully waterproof and safe for dogs 12 weeks and older
  • Fits all dog necks up to 25 inches long
  • Pesticide-free formula may be a good pick for dogs with sensitive skin 

Pros

  • This collar’s plant-based formula appeals to owners looking for a more natural flea treatment option
  • Waterproof collar can be worn anywhere without reducing efficacy 
  • Provides long-lasting flea prevention

Cons

  • Not designed to treat fleas, only prevent future infestations
  • Some owners may not like the collar’s strong scent

4. Hartz UltraGuard Flea & Tick Collar 

Best Reflective Flea Collar

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Hartz UltraGuard Flea & Tick Collar

Hartz UltraGuard Flea & Tick Collar

Bright orange, water-resistant, dual-action flea and tick collar with a reflective strip

About: This flea and tick collar by Hartz is affordable, highly visible, and safe for puppies 12 weeks of age or older. The flea collar not only kills adult fleas and ticks, but it also prevents flea eggs from developing. 

Features:

  • Bright orange flea collar features a reflective strip for nighttime visibility
  • Effective for up to 7 months 
  • Fits dogs with necks up to 22 inches long
  • Kills fleas on contact and disrupts flea egg growth with active ingredients tetrachlorvinphos and S-methoprene
  • Provides full body protection
  • Water-resistant design can be used in the rain

Pros

  • Very easy to see at distances of up to 300 feet
  • Flea collar can be taken on or off for flexible usage
  • Affordable flea treatment provides great value
  • Protects against fleas and adult ticks

Cons

  • A few dogs experienced neck irritation after wearing these collars
  • Some owners did not like the smell of the collar

How Do Flea Collars Work?

How do flea collars work

Flea collars work in one of two ways: They can emit fumes that repel or kill fleas near the site of the collar, or they can also work by slowly releasing chemicals from the collar that spread via the oils in your dog’s skin and hair. This effectively protects your dog’s entire body. 

Flea collars can be used to prevent fleas, treat fleas, or both. They contain one or more of the following chemicals in order to treat fleas. 

  • Imidacloprid — This insecticide is a nicotine-mimicking flea neurotoxin that has been around since 1994. In addition to being highly effective against adult fleas, this pesticide is used in other applications to kill termites and other soil-dwelling invertebrates. 
  • Flumethrin —  Flumethrin is an insecticide that kills adult fleas and ticks and prevents infestations. Though flumethrin is effective on its own, it is often used in conjunction with imidacloprid (such as in the Seresto Collar, discussed above) to improve its efficacy. 
  • Amitraz — Amitraz was initially used to treat mange, but it is also used to kill adult fleas and ticks. It is available in several forms, including dips, topical agents, and relevant to our discussion here, flea collars. Note that amitraz is only safe for use in puppies who’re at least 4 months old
  • Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) — This pesticide is used topically and as a perimeter barrier to kill adult fleas and ticks. First developed way back in 1966, this product is not only used on dogs but many livestock animals too. 
  • S-Methoprene — An insect growth regulator that targets flea eggs and larvae by interfering with their growth, S-methoprene is currently used in at least 500 different pesticide products. It is most effective when combined with an insecticide that kills adult fleas.   
  • Pyriproxyfen — This is another insect growth regulator that prevents flea eggs from hatching. It is also used in a number of products (at least 300), and — like S-methoprene — it should be combined with a chemical that treats adult fleas if your dog is currently experiencing an outbreak. 
  • D-limonene — D-limonene is a citrus extract that is used in a variety of products, ranging from fruit juices to human medications to flea collars. Though often used in natural flea collars, it is often described as being only mildly to moderately effective, and it must be properly diluted to remain safe.  

The Importance of Flea Control

flea control is imperative

While fleas might not seem like a big deal, they can be difficult to eradicate and lead to more serious issues for your dog. Here are a few reasons why flea control is an important part of protecting your pooch:

  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) — FAD is a fairly common skin disease in dogs that occurs when a four-footer has an allergic reaction to flea saliva. This can cause itchiness, scabs, irritation, hair loss, and open the door to secondary skin infections. 
  • Tapeworms — Your dog may ingest fleas when grooming or biting an itchy spot on his fur. And unfortunately, some fleas are infected with tapeworms, which can be passed on to your dog when he swallows them. While tapeworms are usually easy to treat and usually don’t cause any serious health issues, you’ll want to address these grody parasites as soon as possible. 
  • Preventing Other Infections — Unfortunately, fleas can spread harmful bacteria or diseases (such as murine typhus) to their hosts. Your dog’s excessive itching from flea irritation might result in an open wound which can make it easier for Fido to get infected.
  • Keeping Your Canine Comfortable — Fleas can be incredibly irritating and painful for your dog. These nasty little buggers can take a while to eliminate from your pooch and your home, so you’ll want to protect your pup to keep his tail wagging. 

Dog Flea Collar FAQs

Are you still unsure of whether or not a flea collar is the right parasite-prevention tool for your four-footer? Here are a couple of common questions and answers to expand your understanding. 

Are flea collars safe for dogs?

Generally speaking, flea collars are safe for dogs. However, there is a possibility that your dog may be sensitive to the active ingredients in a given collar.

Be sure to discuss your decision with your veterinarian to ensure that your selected flea collar is a good pick for Spot. In addition, keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s habits or behavior after applying a flea collar. 

Do flea collars work?

High-quality models usually work pretty well. Flea collars can either kill fleas, repel fleas, or do both. The use case of each flea collar depends on the active ingredients, which is why it’s important to find the right pick based on the individual needs of your pet. 

Will flea collars kill fleas quickly?

This largely depends on the flea collar itself, but most active ingredients designed to kill fleas in flea collars should be able to kill fleas within a day or so.

That being said, be sure to check whether your flea collar is designed to target just the neck and face area, or your dog’s entire coat to thoroughly target the infestation. Also, note that some flea collars are only designed to repel fleas, rather than killing those already present.  

Can flea collars get wet?

Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid getting flea collars wet unless they are listed as water-resistant or waterproof. Water-resistant collars may not remain effective if submerged or allowed to get really wet, so it may be helpful to look for a flea collar that is either waterproof or can easily be taken on or off if your dog is a super swimmer.

Can puppies wear flea collars?

Some flea collars are safe for dogs as young as 8 weeks old, but others are only safe for use on dogs over 4 months of age. Accordingly, you’ll always want to read the manufacturer’s recommended age range to ensure that your dog is safe. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian to determine if your flea collar of choice is a sound solution for your puppy. 

***

Flea collars can be an excellent, affordable way to protect your pooch from the perils of fleas. While they may not be the perfect solution for every pup, flea collars serve as effective flea treatment and repellent for many dogs. 

Have you had any success with flea collars? How do you protect your dog from fleas? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

flea treatment for dogs
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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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