Updated July 04, 2020 by Jeff Newburgh

The 6 Best Flea Collars For Dogs

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This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you're looking for an alternative to topical solutions and pills to help eliminate biting insects from your dogs, consider fitting them with one of these flea collars. Our list includes options infused with ingredients that slowly release into a dog's coat, providing it with several months of protection in many cases. Some can also defend against ticks, lice, and mosquitoes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.

1. Bayer Seresto

2. Arava Botanical

3. Primova Enhanced

Editor's Notes

July 01, 2020:

Despite my respect for most animals, there are a few creatures that just irk me. Fleas are one of them. These little vermin are nasty. They suck your pet's blood, lay eggs, carry diseases, leave ugly "dirt" behind, and multiply like crazy. That said, ridding your furry friend of the little pests is often no easy task, especially if you live in a climate where they tend to thrive. Although my family and I live on the west coast, we definitely have flea seasons around here. It starts around June in my neighborhood and usually continues on through most of September and into October. But because our weather tends to be a little drier than other places, the problems usually aren't totally out of control and they eventually subside by Halloween. That said, I would never want to risk enduring a flea season without giving my furbabies some degree of protection from these insects. There are all kinds of flea treatments that you can use that range from topicals and tablets/pills, to sprays and professional extermination services if the problem gets really out of hand. But if you prefer to use an eco-friendly option to repel pests, one of our flea collars is a worthy investment. Like most flea products on the market, it's important to be realistic about what these collars can do, how they do it, and how long they remain effective.

While we've done our best to include models with natural ingredients (e.g. essential oils) and slow release action to provide full-body coverage for Fido whenever he goes outside, be aware that some also make use of the same medicinal ingredients common to other topical treatments. Make note of which products are safe for use on puppies younger than 12 weeks. Although some of our collars are environmentally friendly and relatively harmless to children, the kids should still understand that these things are not toys to be played with, nor should they ever be chewed on or ingested. That goes for your pup too.

We removed several items due to availability concerns, including the Scalibor Protector Band, Vet Pet Ward, Goraul Prolonged, and Lycrew Adjustable.

Both the Bayer Seresto and Arava Botanical utilize a slow-release method of formula administration into a pet's coat, the former of which is odorless and remains effective for up to eight months while the latter has 11 essential oils for fighting off biting insects.

For highly active canines, the Primova Enhanced is great choice, thanks to its waterproof design and reinforced buckle that keeps it securely fastened to all neck sizes, ensuring it won't fall off when your dog goes swimming.

In addition to fleas, the versatile Umran Waterproof defends against ticks, biting flies, and chewing lice as well as eliminating both flea eggs and larvae.

Finally, we've included the Direct Protect Plus for its insect growth regulator as a means of breaking the flea life cycle by preventing eggs from hatching.

October 18, 2018:

We removed several collars that reviewers complained lost their potency after just a couple of months. We also eliminated the Hartz Ultra Plus due to several reports of it causing rashes and allergic reactions. We wanted to include more natural options that rely on essential oils to repel insects, like the Arava Enhanced and the Vet Pet Ward.

Special Honors

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation has nearly 20 years of experience and dedication to advancing the health of all dogs through scientific research in order to treat and cure canine diseases. The organization awards grants to scientists and professionals who address the origins of canine illness, diagnosis of canine diseases, development of effective treatments, and the identification of disease. The foundation's website offers a lot of educational resources, including access to podcasts, webinars, and information for breeders and veterinary professionals. akcchf.org

Humane Society of the United States The Humane Society of the United States has a primary mission of ending suffering for all animals. Taking on the fight against puppy mills, factory farms, the fur trade, and animal cosmetics testing, the organization is dedicated to rescuing and caring for thousands of animals each year. The organization is comprised of animal welfare experts, experienced rescuers and caregivers, state directors who advocate for policy changes, and animal sanctuaries providing direct care and medical help for animals in need. Its global affiliate, Humane Society International, has a presence in more than 50 countries. humanesociety.org

4. Umran Waterproof

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

5. Direct Protect Plus

6. Natural Care Repellent

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

How Do Flea Collars Work?

Plus, unlike topical treatments, they won't leave your pet's coat greasy.

When it comes to your dog's health, one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to protect them is a flea collar. It takes just a few seconds to put on, and even the most expensive collars are far cheaper than a visit to the vet for complications from a flea infestation. Plus, unlike topical treatments, they won't leave your pet's coat greasy. But how can such a simple device prevent fleas from making a meal of your four-legged friend?

There are two types of ingredients used in flea collars: repelling and treating. Repelling collars, as the name suggests, keep fleas away from your dog. Some emit a gas that repels pests and others use high-pitched ultrasonic waves to drive them away. Repelling collars are meant to be a preventative measure and will be of no use if your dog already has fleas.

Treating collars, on the other hand, contain active ingredients that actually kill fleas. The older style released the insecticide as a gas, so they could only kill pests that came within close proximity. Many newer models, however, release small amounts over time, and some can last as long as eight months. Depending on which insecticide is used, it is either absorbed into your dog's skin so that fleas are killed when they bite, or spread into the natural oils in the hair and skin to kill fleas on contact before they have a chance to bite.

Some collars use a combination of repelling and treating ingredients, so they can both keep fleas away and kill those that have already chosen your dog as a host. Be sure to read the label carefully and choose one that best fits your needs.

Why Are Fleas So Bad, Anyway?

Fleas are extremely irritating to deal with, both for you and your dog. But they're far more than just that — a flea infestation can cause serious health complications for pets, and can even be fatal in some cases. For such small creatures, they can certainly cause a lot of damage.

If your dog swallows an infected flea, the tapeworm will continue to grow in his or her intestines.

The most common problem associated with fleas is severe itching. In addition to causing your dog a lot of discomfort, it typically leads to constant scratching, which can break the skin. This opens the door for all kinds of nasty infections. Some dogs may develop a disease called flea allergy dermatitis, which makes them much more sensitive to the chemicals in fleas' saliva. This causes bites to become red and swollen and take longer to heal. In serious cases, it can lead to hair loss.

Fleas can also pass along tapeworm to your dog. Tapeworms are parasites that often use fleas as hosts. If your dog swallows an infected flea, the tapeworm will continue to grow in his or her intestines. Tapeworms do not pose any serious health risks for dogs and can easily be treated by a veterinarian, but they can cause weight loss and an itchy rear end.

Puppies are at much greater risk from a flea infestation than adult dogs due to their smaller size. A fully grown flea can devour up to 15 times its body weight in blood in a single day. This can lead to a significant amount of blood loss and also puts your puppy at risk for becoming anemic. Anemia is a reduced number of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. If diagnosed early, anemia is manageable, but if left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Symptoms include pale gums and decreased energy, so be sure to take your dog to the vet if you notice either of these.

What To Do If Your Dog Already Has Fleas

Typically, it's not hard to tell when a dog has fleas — the incessant scratching, biting, and head shaking are pretty big red flags. But the little pests are tiny and hard to see, and it's best to be sure before giving your pet any medication. One of the easiest ways to check is with a flea comb, which has super fine teeth to catch fleas and eggs hiding in your dog's fur. You can also try the white towel test. Have your dog lie down on a white towel and run a brush through his or her fur. Any fleas that fall out onto the towel will be easy to spot, but you may also notice a bunch of little black specks, which could be "flea dirt," a mixture of dried blood and flea feces. If they turn a reddish-brown color when dampened, then you know your dog has fleas.

But the little pests are tiny and hard to see, and it's best to be sure before giving your pet any medication.

Now that you're aware of the problem, what next? The first step is to treat your poor, itchy dog. There are a variety of treatments available, including pills, sprays, topical ointments, powders, and, of course, collars, but be sure to read the label carefully to confirm yours is a treating collar rather than repelling. If your dog has a severe infestation, you may need to consult your veterinarian about a prescription medication.

Unfortunately, unless you manage to catch it very early, completely eradicating fleas from your home won't be a simple process. The adult fleas on your dog are just the tip of the iceberg. You'll also need to deal with the eggs, larvae, and pupae they've left behind.

Vacuuming is one of the most important steps towards getting rid of fleas and their offspring that may be hanging around in your carpet. Focus in particular on the areas where your dog spends the most time and be sure to empty or dispose of the bags immediately. Eggs can take several days to hatch, so it's a good idea to vacuum daily for at least a few days, or even weeks, to be on the safe side.

Next, wash and dry your dog's bed and any blankets he or she likes to sleep on using the hottest settings they can tolerate. If you use furniture covers, wash those, as well. A dehumidifier can also help since fleas prefer a humid environment. Try to keep the humidity under 50 percent for a few days if possible. And, if all else fails, you can hire a professional exterminator to handle a particularly stubborn infestation.

Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on July 04, 2020 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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