The best flea collars for dogs

Keep your pooch itch-free with a flea collar.

Adorable dog with anti mite and flea collar

by Emily Gilbert |

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 a plastic or fabric collar which is 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.'

Consider a dog walking bag to also look after your pet as best as possible

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 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.'

So 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 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 bodyweight. 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.

Related: How to remove a tick from a dog

The best flea collars for dogs

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections. Find out more.

Seresto Dog Flea Collar with Tick Control

Seresto Flea and Tick Control Large Dog Collar
Amazon

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One of the most popular brands, Seresto flea and tick control collar protects your dog for up to eight months in a single application, without the need for a prescription. Review: "We were told about this tick collar and how good it was, so thought weu2019d get one as our dog was getting a lot of ticks. I must say since heu2019s had it on he hasnu2019t had one tick . It wasnu2019t cheap , but in my eyes worth every penny."

HARKY Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs

HARKY Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs
Amazon

Offering 12 months of protection, natural essential oils are stored in this collar and will be released slowly in low concentrations on your dog's fur, protecting them from fleas and ticks. It will also remain effective even if your dog goes swimming or bathing. Review: "I've always liked this brand and have been using it for 8 years. This is the only one I'm going to buy. It's quite effective. It's great for keeping my pets safe."

Bob Martin Clear Flea and Tick Repellent Protection Collar for Dogs and Puppies

Bob Martin Clear Dog Flea Collar
Amazon

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This clear collar controls fleas and ticks for up to 6 weeks on dogs and puppies from 12 weeks of age. Remove the collar from the sachet and fasten it around the dog's neck, adjusting until a comfortable fit is achieved. Review: "I started using these collars because the pipettes that you squeeze on the back of the neck have a horrible (I have tried my brands of pipettes) chemical smell to me. As my dogs lay on the sofa and sleep on the bed with us at night the smell was everywhere. The collars have only a slight smell when you open the packet but soon goes away. My dogs are happy wearing them and I have had no problem to date with fleas or ticks."

Scruffs Insect Shield Slip-On Doggy Bandana

Scruffs Insect Shield Slip-On Doggy Bandana

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Constructed using a light-weight, ideal for use during summer months, this adorable bandana offers odourless and invisible built-in insect protection for up to 25 washes. The slip-on design simply attaches to your dogsu2019 collar

KATIX Flea Collar for Dogs

KATIX Flea Collar for Dogs
Amazon

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This long-lasting dog flea collar will keep your pup safe from fleas and ticks for 12 months. It's waterproof too so even if your dog gets wet, they'll still be protected. Review: "I have been using many anti-flea products like shampoo, spray, etc but nothing seemed to work with my dog. My friend who is a vet recommended this flea collar to me so I got it for my dog and waited for the result. I was so surprised! After one month of wearing it, NO FLEAS. I highly recommend it for everyone who has a dog or cat."

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Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us