The best flea collars for dogs
Keeping fleas away from your dog won't just mean that they're itch-free -- it can protect them from a variety of serious health issues, too. A flea collar is an easy, affordable way to keep fleas away from your dog no matter where they play because they contain insecticides that kill existing fleas and discourage new pests from feasting on your pet.
If you're not sure how to choose the right flea collar for your dog, check our handy buying guide for all the tips you need. Our top pick is from Seresto, a trusted name in the flea deterrent game that can ward off fleas, ticks, and lice for up to eight months.
Considerations when choosing flea collars for dogs
Flea collar type
While all flea collars work to keep the pests away from your dog, you can choose from a few different methods to prevent a flea infestation.
Pesticide flea collars kill existing fleas that might be on your dog and repel any new pests from taking up residence in their fur. They either deposit a pesticide in your dog's fatty tissue through contact with their fur and skin (which fleas ingest when they bite), or they allow the pesticide to blend with oils in the fur and skin to kill fleas on contact.
Repellent flea collars emit a pesticide gas that kills fleas in the vicinity of your dog to keep them away, so they never get the chance to bite your pooch. They're usually most effective for keeping fleas away from your dog's chest and neck, but they can also combine with hair and skin oils to repel fleas from the rest of the body.
Ultrasonic flea collars use high-frequency sound waves to keep fleas and other pests away from your dog. They are chemical-free, so they're ideal if you prefer a natural approach to flea prevention.
Non-toxic active ingredients
While many flea collars use pesticides to kill or repel fleas, it's important to choose a collar that uses chemicals that are safe for your dog. Some pesticides used in cheaper flea prevention products can actually pose a threat to your dog's health, so avoid any options that use carbaryl, tetrachlorvinphos, propoxur, or amitraz as their active ingredients.
Always consult the sizing guidelines for any flea collar you're considering to be sure it will fit your dog properly. It should be tight enough to rest against your dog's fur and skin but not so snug that it becomes a choking hazard. A flea collar fits properly if you can place two fingers between it and your dog's neck while they're wearing it.
Most flea collars are adjustable and can be trimmed if they're too long so your dog doesn't try to gnaw on it.
Most flea collars for dogs are made of plastic since it holds up well to a dog's active lifestyle and is useful for containing and dispensing pesticide ingredients. However, you can also find flea collars that are made of leather or fabric, which may be more comfortable for some dogs because they're not as rigid.
Regardless of material, always choose a flea collar with rounded edges to prevent any irritation around your dog's neck.
Other pest protection
While all flea collars can kill fleas on your dog, some models prevent infestations of other pests. You can find plenty of collars that also repel and/or kill ticks, while others also protect against mosquitos and lice.
A flea collar doesn't provide protection against fleas indefinitely. Each collar has a certain period when it's able to protect your dog from infestations. Some collars can only ward off fleas for 30 days, while others can keep your dog flea-free for up to nine months.
Collars that provide protection for shorter periods are cheaper, but you'll have to replace them more often so they may not save you much money in the long run.
Resistance to water
Some flea collars are water-resistant, so they're able to protect your dog from fleas even if they get wet. If your dog swims, a water-resistant flea collar is a must. You may also want a water-resistant collar so you don't have to worry about walking your dog in the rain or taking the collar off when they have a bath.
Most flea collars for dogs cost between $5 and $60. Inexpensive collars that provide three months or less of protection and may contain potentially harmful active ingredients range from $5 to $10. Those that can protect your dog for three to six months and don't contain any toxic ingredients usually cost between $15 and $35. For a flea collar that provides six months or more of protection and doesn't contain any harmful ingredients, you'll pay between $35 and $60.
Q. Can my puppy use a flea collar?
A. A flea collar isn't recommended for use on a puppy younger than 8 to 12 weeks old. The pesticide dosage may be too much for them, which can cause illness. Puppies are also more likely to chew on a flea collar and ingest the pesticide. Consult your vet if you're not sure whether your dog is old enough to use a flea collar.
Q. When should I change my dog's flea collar?
A. Make a note of the day you place the flea collar on your dog, and replace it according to the manufacturer's instructions to make sure it's always functional. However, you should replace the collar before the recommended date if you notice your dog has chewed on it or it's otherwise become damaged.
Flea collars for dogs we recommend
Best of the best: Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
Our take: One of the more expensive flea collar options, but it's highly effective in providing flea and tick protection for your dog.
What we like: Protects your dog against flea and tick bites for eight months. Can also prevent lice infestations. Is odorless and non-greasy. Doesn't contain any potentially toxic active ingredients. Adjustable design fits most dogs and doesn't lose potency if it gets wet.
What we dislike: Pricier than many other flea collars. Can cause sensitivity in some dogs.
Best bang for your buck: Adams Flea and Tick Collar, Pack of Two
Our take: Extremely budget-friendly option -- each pack contains two flea collars.
What we like: Offers an adjustable, one-size-fits-all, water resistant design that works for most dogs. Each collar provides six months of flea protection. Also provides tick and mosquito protection.
What we dislike: Doesn't always last six months. Some dogs are sensitive to the collar.
Choice 3: Hartz Ultraguard Flea and Tick Collar
Our take: An affordable flea collar with many of the same features as higher-end options, but it doesn't work as well for sensitive dogs.
What we like: Offers up to seven months of flea and tick protection. Has a bright orange collar and reflective strip so your dog can be spotted at a distance even in the dark. Can be used on dogs that are 12 weeks and older. Still works when wet.
What we dislike: Doesn't work for all dogs. Can irritate dogs with sensitive skin.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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