Best flea collars for dogs to prevent infestations from those pesky parasites

Keep your pooch itch-free with a flea collar.

Best flea collars for dogs

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

The best flea collars for dogs are an effective and convenient way of getting rid of those pesky parasites that like to take residence among your pup’s fur. As a pet owner, ensuring you keep on top of flea protection is just as important as making sure you’re feeding your hound a good quality dog food at every meal time, but it can be difficult to keep track of when your pup has had their last treatment which is why you may find dog flea collars an easier option.

Catching fleas is a common problem for dogs, especially if they like to take their walks through long grass and woodland areas where fleas like to lurk. For this reason, regularly applying a flea treatment to your pooch is important for keeping your hound happy and comfortable. If a flea has infected them, you’ll soon know about it as your pup will become increasingly more itchy and they’ll be almost constantly scratching to try and relieve the discomfort of the fleas biting at their skin. If you take a closer look, you’ll probably see the fleas jumping about their fur and you’ll also spot the sores and bite marks left behind in their skin. If you don’t keep in control of a flea infestation on your pooch, they can then become a problem for you too as they can then start to infect your home and hide in carpets, upholstery and other household furnishings.

Best flea collars for dogs at a glance:

• Best overall for small dogs: Seresto Flea Collar for Dogs Under 8kg – Buy now on Viovet
• Best overall for large dogs: Seresto Flea Collar For Dogs Over 8kg – Buy now on Viovet
• Best for multiple bug protection: Beaphar Canishield Flea & Tick Dog Collar – Buy now on Pets at Home
• Best water-resistant flea collar for dogs: Johnsons Flea & Tick Collar For Dogs – Buy now on Pets at Home

Normally with flea treatments, like spot-on treatments, they require you to apply them frequently to keep up the protection and as we all lead such busy lives, it can sometimes be hard to stay on top of them and remember when you last gave your pup a treatment. That’s why many pet owners choose to use a flea collar for dogs as they work by slowly releasing the treatments over the course of several weeks or months without needing any additional intervention from you, except when the treatment has run out and needs changing, of course. As your pooch constantly wears them, you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s always working its magic to keep the fleas away, and many also have protection from ticks and other parasites.

If you’re unsure whether to opt for a flea collar, we’ve got some advice from tails.com Head Vet, Sean McCormack at the bottom of this article, where he also answers some frequently asked questions all to do with flea collars and other flea treatments available. In the meantime, here are our top picks of the best flea collars for dogs that will offer convenient, long-lasting protection against those pesky parasites that are a pain to both humans and our four-legged friends.

The best flea collars for dogs

Best overall for small dogs

Seresto Flea Collar for Dogs Under 8kgSeresto/Viovet

One of the most popular brands, Seresto Flea and Tick Control Collar - Under 8kg protects your small dog for up to eight months in a single application, without the need for a prescription. 

It works by slowly releasing the collar's active ingredients in low doses onto your pooch's coat and skin over the course of eight months to kill any fleas while also repelling and killing ticks. You may think that due to the collar applying the treatment for you, it might leave behind a residue but that's not the case with Seresto as it protects your pup without leaving behind any mess or grease in your hound's hair.

Customers rave about how this product actually works for up to eight months, reporting it actually kept the ticks and fleas away throughout the spring and summer when their pooch wore the collar. It's worth noting that the dose of the ingredients is designed for dogs under 8kg, so this specific collar won't be very effective on larger dogs but as you'll see below, Seresto also offers a collar for larger dogs.

Pros

  • Kills fleas while also repelling and killing ticks over the course of eight months
  • Non-greasy formulation so shouldn't leave behind any mess in your pup's fur

Cons

  • As this collar is designed for dogs under 8kg, this won't be as effective on larger dogs

Best overall for large dogs

Seresto Flea Collar For Dogs Over 8kgSeresto/Viovet

Dogs over 8kg aren't forgotten about either with Seresto as this collar has a higher dosage of the active ingredients, Imidacloprid and Flumethrin, to protect your big boy or girl.

The collar gradually releases its active ingredients in low doses onto your dog's coat and skin over eight months, effectively killing fleas and ticks. Despite providing continuous treatment, the Seresto collar is designed to avoid leaving any residue, ensuring your hound stays protected without leaving any mess or grease behind on their fur.

Over 94 per cent of customers on Viovet would recommend the Seresto Flea Collar, with many reviewers saying they've never seen another flea or tick on their pooch since they started wearing it. Some customers thought it was a little on the pricey side, especially if you've got multiple dogs to protect, but found it was worth it for the level of protection it offers. You make sure you're buying the right dosage for your pup as if your pooch is smaller than 8kg, they could end up overdosing on the treatment.

Pros

  • Recommended up over 94 per cent of customers on Viovet
  • Provides continuous, long-lasting protection up to eight months

Cons

  • Some reviewers felt it was a little on the pricey side, especially if you need to buy multiple collar to protect more than one dog

Best for multiple bug protection

Beaphar Canishield Flea & Tick Dog CollarBeaphar/Pets at Home

After protection from more than just fleas? The Beaphar Canishield Collar will fight off ticks and sandflies too, making it a great option for pups that live near to the beach or if you're planning on taking your pooch on a staycation this year.

A small dose of the insecticide deltamethrin is gradually emitted from this collar to offer protection from pesky parasites for up to six months. We also rate that it's suitable to be used on dogs over seven weeks of age so it's a great option for protecting younger pups too.

To make sure your pooch is adequately protected and to ensure the best results, it does rely on you putting the collar on your dog before flea season starts, which is typically mid-to-end April in the UK, and although the collar offers six months of protection, the brand recommends you change it every four months. We like that it's available in two neck sizes, 48cm and 65cm, to offer the right size and dosage of ingredients depending on the size of your dog, and you can also cut the excess off to ensure the perfect fit.

Pros

  • Protects from ticks and sandflies as well as fleas
  • Suitable to be used on dogs over seven weeks of age

Cons

  • Although it offers up to six months of protection, the brand recommends changing the collar every four months for the best results

Best water-resistant flea collar for dogs

Johnsons Flea & Tick Collar For DogsJohnsons/EBay

For dogs that love to make a splash and just can't keep themselves out of puddles, ponds, rivers, lakes and more on their walks, you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that the Johnsons Flea & Tick Collar For Dogs is a water-resistant flea protection collar.

Once worn by your pooch, the killing of fleas will begin almost immediately but it may take a couple of days for the active ingredient to spread entirely through their coat to get rid of the full infestation. That being said, it should prevent a further re-infestation of fleas and ticks up for up to four months after that.

Unlike other collars on our list so far, the Johnsons Flea & Tick Collar is only available in one size so it might not be suitable for larger breeds with a bigger neck circumference.

Pros

  • Water resistant so will still provide protection even if your pooch loves to swim
  • Starts to work almost immediately

Cons

  • Only available in one size, so might not be suitable for larger breeds or dogs with big necks

Best affordable flea collar for dogs

Bob Martin Clear Flea Collar for DogsBob Martin/Viovet

Containing Margosa extract, which is a natural ingredient known for its flea and tick-repellent properties and retailing for under £5, this Bob Martin Clear Flea Collar for Dogs is an effective yet affordable option for protecting your pooch against parasites.

It’s very easy to use as all you need to do is simply place the collar around your dog’s neck and it will then provide ongoing protection for up to six weeks without the need of frequent reapplication like you would need to if you were using a spot-on treatment.

There aren’t many reviews readily available for this product online, but one we spotted on Viovet mentioned the collar was too big for their pooch so this could mean it’s not suitable for dogs with smaller necks, such as small/mini breeds and puppies. If the collar is too big, it could mean the collar isn’t as effective as it should be, and it could also cause your pooch some discomfort so you should make sure it fits snugly but not too tight.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Contains Margosa extract, a natural ingredient known for repelling fleas and ticks

Cons

  • One reviewer mentions the collar was too big for their pup, so might not be the best option for small breeds and puppies with smaller necks

Best budget flea collar for dogs

Wilko Vinyl Pet Flea and Tick CollarWilko

Although, as pet owners, we can’t put a price on keeping our dogs happy and healthy, at under £2.50, the Wilko Vinyl Pet Flea and Tick Collar is an absolute steal!

While offering its continuous protection for up to four months, it won’t give off any harmful odours, leak or stain your pup’s coat so you’ll barely even notice it’s there. Like some others on our list, it’s also designed to be water-resistant so it’ll be able to work its magic against fleas and ticks even if your pup likes to frequently practise their doggy paddle.

Customers have mixed opinions on the effectiveness of this collar, with some reporting good results in keeping fleas and ticks at bay, while others find it less effective. We like that the collar can be loosened and tightened as needed to provide the perfect fit for your pooch so it’s ideal if you’re using it on a dog that is still growing as you can regularly adjust the fit to ensure the collar stays comfortable and effective.

Pros

  • Great price at under £2.50
  • Water-resistant so it'll still be effective after coming into contact with water

Cons

  • Opinions are mixed on the overall effectiveness

What to look for in a flea collar:

When selecting a flea collar for your pooch, there are a couple of things to think about to make sure you're choosing the right option for you and your dog.

Effectiveness:

The most important thing is whether they're going to actually work or not. Look for collars that contain active ingredients such as imidacloprid, flumethrin, or deltamethrin as these are chemicals that are known for killing fleas and ticks. However, be aware that collars with some of these active ingredients will need to be issued by a vet or other pet healthcare professional rather than bought online.

You'll also want to look at how long the collar will offer your pooch protection. Some of the collars on our list offer months of protection whereas others are effective for several weeks so you'll need to change those more frequently. It may also be a good idea to look for a collar that offers more than just protection from fleas, as many protect against other pets such as ticks, mites and sandflies.

Safety:

Always ensure the collar you're choosing is suitable for the age stage and size of your pooch. Some collars aren't suitable for puppies and others are tailored to specific weights of dogs, this is to ensure that your dog gets the right level of treatment. Collars designed for smaller dogs have less of the active ingredients included compared to collars for larger dogs as they don't need as much due to their size.

If your pooch has skin conditions or allergies, you should take extra care when selecting a flea collar for your dog as some of the active ingredients could cause their allergies to flare up and make their skin itchy.

Comfort:

Just like when you're selecting the right dog collar for walkies, a flea collar shouldn't be too tight or too loose. Too loose and the ingredients in it might not be able to attack the flea properly and your pooch could also slip the collar completely. If the collar is too tight, it will be uncomfortable for your pooch to wear and they'll probably keep trying to gnaw and scratch at it to get it off.

FAQs

Thinking of buying a flea collar for your dog? We spoke to Sean McCormack, Head Vet at tails.com to get the lowdown on everything you need to know.

How does a flea collar work for dogs?

"Flea collars definitely divide opinion in the vet and pet world, because there are many on the market that really don’t work very well. They’re usually plastic or fabric collars, which are impregnated with an insecticide chemical to kill or repel adult fleas. Some also claim to control the larval or egg stages of the flea’s life cycle with a chemical called an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR)," says Sean.

"The theory is that evaporation of the chemical around your pet’s head and neck prevents fleas hopping on for a tasty blood lunch, or with some, the chemical gets slowly absorbed by your pet’s skin and kills fleas when they bite anywhere on the body."

Are flea collars effective?

"Well, here’s the thing. The most effective are prescription strength collars you can buy from your vet, such as Seresto which also repels ticks," explains Sean. "Many over-the-counter collars you can buy off the supermarket shelf, for example, simply do not work. Don’t waste your money. I’ve seen them fail a thousand times or more."

"Depending on what type of collar you buy, you may still see adult fleas on your dog. If it’s a cheap gas-emitting collar then fleas will merely avoid the head and neck region and hot-tail it down to your pet’s back end to feast to their heart’s content. If you’ve suddenly had a flea infestation, it may take a long time for all of the fleas in the environment to hatch and eventually be killed by the collar alone. In the meantime, your pet can develop flea bite allergy symptoms, or at the very least remain quite itchy and irritated by flea bites."

"I’d say they’re not the most effective option for treating an infestation. As a preventative measure, some are just OK. One clever use of flea collars I’ve seen is to chop them up and put them into your vacuum cleaner canister or bag. That way all the adult fleas, larvae and eggs in the environment will be killed when you clean, preventing them from re-infesting your home. Provided of course that they contain an IGR for killing all life stages and not just adult fleas."

Are flea collars safe for dogs?

"Most are safe if used correctly. They’re sold according to size with an appropriate dosage of the active ingredient for your pet’s body weight. Be very careful not to overdose with a collar for a larger pet. You’re more likely to get side effects or skin irritation around the collar due to excessive levels of the chemical being absorbed by the skin."

"As with all medications, individual animals may have a reaction to the chemical in your collar of choice, so monitor the neck area for the first few days to make sure it’s not causing irritation. And of course, make sure your dog can’t get the collar off and eat it (I’m looking at you Labradors!)."

"Finally, never put a dog flea collar on your cat. This can be lethal!" warns Sean.

Can flea collars be worn by all dogs?

"Unless your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to the ingredient contained in the collar, most dogs can wear them just fine."

How long do flea collars last for dogs?

"Most collars on the market, especially over-the-counter ones, are designed to be replaced every month or two," says Sean. "Many of the vet prescription collars can last up to 8 months, eliminating the need for monthly spot-on treatments, for example."

What other flea treatment options are available?

"There are now many safer, more effective and more convenient ways to prevent or treat flea infestations than collars in both dogs and cats. Liquid spot-on treatments applied to the skin on the back of the neck absorb quickly and can last from 4-8 weeks depending on the product."

"There are also tablets and tasty treats that not only treat fleas but worms and other parasites too," recommends Sean. "But again beware wasting money on cheap over-the-counter products, many of which simply don’t work or fleas have become resistant to."

Every pet is different, and their parasite control needs are too. So the best advice is to speak with your vet team about the best option for you and your pet.

Why trust Yours.co.uk?

This article contains expert advice from Dr Sean McCormack. Sean has years of veterinary experience, having worked for over six years in a clinical practice and is also the head vet at tails.com. He has a breadth of knowledge of all things canine and although he primarily treats dogs and cats, he also has an interest in exotic animals.

Features & Reviews Editor Emily Gilberthas been a journalist since 2015 and has worked across a variety of specialist and lifestyle brands both in print and online. Specialising in travel content and product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases, her favourite being gadgets for the home.

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