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If you’re looking for a way to keep fleas off your dog, flea collars are a popular choice, as they're extremely convenient to use. These collars are treated with medication that releases slowly over the course of several months, meaning you only have to replace them a few times a year, and they’re also less messy to apply than topical flea and tick treatments.
Most flea collars for dogs contain insecticides, which can pose risks to your family and other pets, so it’s important to carefully research the ingredients of these products before buying. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or need advice on managing fleas.
Here, the best flea collars for dogs.
Best Overall: Hartz UltraGuard Pro Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs and Puppies
One of the best all-around flea collars is the Hartz UltraGuard Pro, which provides full-body protection against both fleas and ticks. It uses a combination of tetrachlorvinphos and methoprene to kill and repel fleas in all life stages, including adults, larvae, and eggs, and it also helps to kill ticks and prevent flea eggs from hatching.
Each Hartz UltraGuard Pro collar provides full-body protection for up to seven months, and they can be used on dogs 12 weeks and older. The collar fits dogs with necks up to 26 inches, so it can be used on both large and small breeds, and it even has a reflective strip for increased visibility and safety at night. The product is water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting wet, and the collar’s affordable price-point is an added bonus to an all-around solid flea-prevention product.
Best for Prevention: Sentry Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs
Another worthwhile option to consider is the Sentry Flea and Tick Collar, which uses the insecticide deltamethrin to keep unwanted bugs off your dog. This collar can be used for up to six months on dogs 12 weeks and older, and it’s designed to kill adult fleas before they can lay eggs, helping to prevent an infestation in your home.
This flea and tick collar fits necks up to 24.5 inches, and it’s waterproof, so you don’t even have to take it off when giving your dog a bath. The product is made in the USA, and it provides full-body protection for dogs of all sizes.
Best for Small Dogs: Zodiac Flea and Tick Collar for Small Dogs
The Zodiac Flea and Tick Collar is a top choice for small dogs, as it has a slim design that won’t weigh them down. The active ingredient in this collar is tetrachlorvinphos, which kills and repels adult fleas and ticks, and it starts working on contact, providing full-body protection to your small pooch.
The Zodiac Collar can be used on puppies as young as 6 weeks old, and it's a mere 15 inches long, making it an appropriate size for smaller necks. Each collar is effective for up to seven months, and the water-resistant design can withstand getting wet occasionally. (For best results, you should take it off your dog before bathing or swimming.)
Best for Large Dogs: Adams Flea and Tick Collar For Dogs
For larger dogs, the Adams Flea and Tick Collar is a popular choice, as it offers whole-body protection for even the largest breeds, fitting necks up to 26 inches. This collar uses tetrachlorvinphos and methoprene as its active ingredients, which allow it to kill more flea life stages—it’s effective against adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, and it also kills adult ticks, tick larvae, and tick nymphs.
This flea and tick collar starts working on contact, and it provides protection for up to seven months. It’s water-resistant with a reflective outer coating for safety, and it has a notched design that ensures the collar stays in place, even on active dogs.
Best Natural: Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Repellent Dog Collar
If your dog is sensitive to traditional insecticides, the Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Repellent Collar uses all-natural ingredients to repel pesky insects. The collar uses cedarwood and peppermint oils to deter fleas and ticks, and as an added bonus, the collar itself doesn’t contain any phthalates or PVC.
Each Vet’s Best Collar can be worn for up to four months on dogs 12 weeks and older, and it has a 20-inch length that will fit most small and medium-sized dogs. The collars are made in the USA and have a durable water-resistant design, and they’re a safer option if, for instance, you have children who often touch your dog’s collar.
Best Waterproof: TevraPet ProAct Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs
Does your dog love to go swimming during the summer? You can save yourself the hassle of taking their flea collar off before every dip when you get the TevraPet ProAct Flea and Tick Collar. It has a waterproof design that uses deltamethrin to kill both fleas and ticks for up to six months, and you actually get two collars per container, providing a whole year of protection against pests.
These collars are 26 inches long, making them ideal for dogs of all sizes, and they have a unique buckle-style closure that helps them stay in place. It offers whole-body protection for your pooch, and it kills through contact with insects, meaning they don’t have to bite your dog for the product to be effective.
Best Tick Collar: Virbac Preventic Tick Collar for Dogs
Concerned about ticks biting your dog? These insects can carry Lyme disease and other harmful illnesses, but the Virbac Preventic Tick Collar helps to kill any ticks that attach to your pooch. It uses an insecticide called amitraz to kill and detach ticks for up to 90 days, and it’s effective against many common types of the insect, including deer ticks, dog ticks, and Lone Star Ticks.
These collars come in two different sizes, depending on whether your pooch is over or under 60 pounds, and it starts working within 48 hours of application. It’s safe to use on dogs 12 weeks or older, but it’s not waterproof—you should take the collar off your dog before they get wet and only reapply once they’re dry.
To kill and repel fleas in all their life stages, the Hartz UltraGuard Pro (view at Amazon) is one of your best options, and as an added bonus, it's incredibly affordable. For an all-natural option that doesn't use insecticides, consider the Vet's Best Flea and Tick Repellent Collar (view at Amazon), which uses cedarwood and peppermint oils to deter bugs.
What to Look for in a Flea Collar
To repel and kill pests, flea collars contain some type of insecticide, which is slowly released over your dog’s coat and skin. There are several insecticides commonly used for this purpose, including tetrachlorvinphos, methoprene, deltamethrin, and more. You may want to talk to your vet or do research into the various chemicals used on flea collars, as some ingredients may be harmful to cats or other pets in your home. If you have young children or a dog who is sensitive to chemicals, natural flea collars, which contain essential oils instead of insecticides, may be a good alternative.
It’s important to note that any insecticide may cause an adverse reaction in your pet, with the most common being skin irritation. If this happens, you’ll want to remove the collar, flush the area with lots of water, and contact your vet for further guidance.
Most flea collars are designed to slowly release their active chemicals over a long period of time—typically between three and eight months. Naturally, the longer the collar lasts, the less frequently you’ll need to change it. However, it’s also important to consider whether the collar is water-resistant or -proof. If it’s not, the chemicals may be washed off if your dog goes swimming or gets caught in the rain, lessening the effectiveness of the collar.
Life stage targeted
Some flea collars are only effective against adult fleas, which is typically fine if you’re just using them to prevent future infestations. However, if you currently have a flea problem, you may want to look for a product that kills the bugs in more life stages, such as larvae and eggs—otherwise, you may have trouble breaking the life cycle of the insects.
How do flea collars work?
Flea collars contain some type of insecticide that’s designed to be slowly released over a period of several months. As it’s released, the chemicals are spread over your dog’s body via the oils on their skin and fur. The insecticide lingers on your pet's skin and coat, repelling and/or killing fleas and other insects that are crawling on or biting your dog.
Can all dogs wear flea collars?
Flea collars are not suitable for all dogs. They’re typically only recommended for puppies 12 weeks and older, and they shouldn’t be used on senior, pregnant, or nursing dogs, either.
Further, some insecticides can interact with other medications your dog may be taking, so you’ll want to consult with your dog’s veterinarian before using a new flea collar on them.
How long does it take for a flea collar to work?
Flea collars typically begin releasing chemicals as soon as they’re placed on your dog, and, in general, adult fleas should be killed within a few days. (This can vary depending on the product, so read the product packaging for more precise timelines.) However, it can take up to 30 days for a flea infestation to be eradicated, as flea eggs and larvae may still be lingering on your pet or in your home.
When should you change the collar?
You should always change your dog’s flea collar after the time period recommended by the manufacturer. You may also want to put a new collar on your dog if you notice its effectiveness is decreasing.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Camryn Rabideau, who is a freelance writer and lifelong dog owner. Because she lives in the country where there are lots of pests, she’s tried numerous flea and tick products on her Golden Retriever, Addy, and has found collars to be the most effective and convenient option for deterring pesky bugs.