Looking for the best flea collars for dogs in 2018?
Then you're in the right place!
In this pet guide you'll learn:
- The differences between cat fleas and dog fleas
- How dog flea collars are different from cat flea collars
- How effective dog flea collars usually are
- And our top 5 recommendations when it comes to dog flea collars
When you decided to bring your dog or puppy home, you made a huge commitment to keep them happy and healthy.
I know many friends and family members who refer to their dogs as their “fur babies” and take care of them like children.
Over 63% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members and about 35% consider them to be companions.
With all of this puppy love, watching fleas terrorize your pet by running through their fur and biting their skin can be disheartening.
Fleas are one of the most common pet and pest issues that pet owners face. Consumers spend millions of dollars in the United States on pest control products, but misuse of the products and lack of understanding about the flea life cycle make getting rid of fleas challenging.
Dog flea collars can be a good tool for both repelling and eliminating fleas when used in a dog flea treatment plan. The first step toward success is understanding everything you can about fleas and how they invade our space.
Our top picks for dog flea collars
Differences between cat fleas and dog fleas
Ctenocephalides canis, otherwise known as the dog flea, is an ectoparasite, or a pest that lives on the outside of their host, and feeds primarily on mammals.
We can find dog fleas on both domestic dogs and cats and a host of other mammals. However, the dog flea is not the most common flea we find on dogs.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your flea problem?
The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common flea on both dogs and cats. The two species of fleas are similar, but there are some differences.
The cat flea has a longer head and its hind legs have six notches versus the dog flea which has eight. Dog and cat fleas both have the capability to transmit other parasites and diseases to your pet. One of the primary concerns is tapeworm. When a dog or cat ingests an infected flea, the tapeworm can develop in your pet’s intestines.
Are dog and cat flea collars the same?
Dog and cat flea collars are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Using a dog collar on a cat can be deadly. One thing that determines the toxicity from insecticides is the weight of the animal.
Dogs and humans have the ability absorb a certain level of chemicals and their bodies can break them down effectively. Because cats are smaller, they are not capable of breaking down some of the chemicals fast enough, which could cause a fatal reaction. Always read the label of your collar completely to make sure it is designed for your specific pet and their weight. Follow all instructions including washing your hands after touching the collar.
Do I have dog fleas in my home?
If you have determined that your dog has fleas, the chances that you have them in your home is extremely high. By the time you notice your dog scratching and biting excessively or you see a flea in their fur, there could already be thousands of eggs and larvae in your home. These would be found in areas your dog frequents such as the bed, couch, carpeting or rugs, favorite sleeping spots, and feeding areas.
Adult female fleas lay up to 50 eggs each day. These eggs don’t stay on your pet. They fall behind your dog in areas called source spots. These are the few spots where you dog spends his time the most. Up to 95% of the flea eggs and larvae in your home can be found in these source spots.
How did my dog get fleas and bring them into my home?
The fact that your dog and home has fleas does not reflect poorly on your ability to keep your home clean. People from all walks of life get flea infestations because fleas are relatively easy to transmit.
When young fleas are in their cocoons, vibrations, sounds, and heat trigger them to hatch and look for a host. Their ideal host is a dog, cat, or other mammal, but sometimes they will jump on humans and feed if necessary. Fleas also have the amazing ability to jump up to 2 feet. This means you, and your pets, can pick up fleas from anywhere and bring them into your home.
Some of the common areas where you might involuntarily pick up these annoying hitchhikers are dog parks, in your yard, hotels, and other people’s homes. There are some ways you can limit your exposure to fleas and prevent an infestation.
Dog parks, yards, and other people’s homes
When you go to dog parks or other outdoor areas, make sure your dog is wearing a flea collar that repels fleas. There are also sprays and spot treatments, which will help to keep fleas from jumping on your dog. Also make sure you spray your shoes, socks, and bottom of your pants with a bug spray that repels fleas as well. Some of the natural repellant sprays for dogs can also be used on humans.
Hotels and vacation homes
When you take your dog with you to a hotel or shared vacation home, you can do two simple tests to check for fleas. Take a white washcloth and dampen it with some water. Wipe the cloth on carpeting, the bottom of the drapes, and furniture. Look for red or rust-colored streaks, which could be “flea dirt” or digested blood.
For the other test, take a pie pan or plate, and fill it with water and a few drops of dish detergent. Place the pan under a light source, like a nightlight, and wait for about an hour. If there are fleas in the area, they will be attracted to the light, fall into the pan, and drown.
Another preventive measure you can take is to treat your yard. In many communities, neighbors will walk their dogs in the grass along the sidewalk. Use an insecticide and repellent for your yard to prevent other dog’s fleas from becoming your problem.
How effective is a dog flea collar?
The effectiveness of dog flea collars varies by the type of insecticides used. There are ingredients designed to manage fleas during different stages of their life cycle. This is important to understand so that you purchase products which fit your current needs.
Repellent flea collars are typically made with natural ingredients such as essential oils to ward off fleas. They are not recommended for current infestations as they are not effective in killing fleas.
Kill adult fleas
Collars with strong insecticides such as Permethrin and Tetrachlorvinphos are designed to kill adult fleas. These products tend to provide the most immediate relief for your pet, but are not effective in eradicating the rest of the flea population.
When you consider that adult fleas only make up 5% of the fleas in your home, you need to follow an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to completely take care of the problem. A good IPM may include activities such as daily vacuuming, laundering sheets and bedding, and using a flea comb to check for fleas.
Sterilize eggs and larvae
Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, effectively sterilize eggs and young fleas. This prevents the life cycle from continuing though it can take several weeks to work.
One factor that can reduce the efficacy of flea collars is whether or not they are waterproof. Waterproof collars allow for monthly bathing and the occasional exposure to rain without reducing their ability to work. Water resistant collars are not as effective if they are routinely submerged in water.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your flea problem?
Dog Flea Collar Reviews
You might think that all flea collars are the same, but the protections and capabilities they offer are quite different from brand to brand. Here are some of the top flea collars on the market today.
When it comes to name brand, you don't get more premium than Seresto.
We're a fan of the Seresto line of flea collars because they are the first flea collar to rival topical “spot-on” treatments in their effectiveness.
They target adult fleas and have an IGR to halt the life cycle eggs and larvae.
The collar is solid with the insecticide mixed with the resin. This allows the active ingredients, Flumethrin and Imidacloprid, to release slowly over time.
- Kills adult fleas, eggs, and larvae
- Last 8 months
- Collar has a safety release mechanism
- Non-greasy and no strong fragrance
- Easy application with no messy drops
- Some dogs may have a reaction around the neck area
- More costly than other collars, but comparable to monthly drop treatments
This flea collar also features an adulticide to kill adult fleas and IGR, however the main insecticide, Tetrachlorvinphos, may cause reactions in some dogs. You will want to watch your dog for any signs of discomfort such as trouble breathing, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea when using this product. Wear gloves when applying and wash hands after use. I would not use this product if I had children in my home.
- Comprehensive flea control with an IGR
- Lasts for 7 months
- No safety release mechanism
- Potentially harsh insecticide
The Top Guard collar is a relatively new one-size-fits-all collar on the market. It fits large dogs to small dogs, which is great and could save you a bit of money if you want to use one collar for multiple dog sizes.
It is also "natural" using various essential oils, which include: cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, lemon Eucalyptus, lavender oil, linaloe, polyethylen (base material).
The one size fits all feature works by shipping you a really long collar. You then cut it to the desired length for your dogs neck size.
It's pretty easy to get going and definitely our top pick for budget conscious pet owners.
- One Size Fits All
- Protects for 8 months
- Made In Germany
- Strap tends to be a little bit weaker than competing brands (occasionally breaks)
This is the only all-natural collar to make this list. Clove is one of the ingredients that gives off a strong scent.
You may want to open the packaging and let the collar air out for a day before putting it on your dog.
I would give this collar a try once my dog was rid of fleas just to give him a break from insecticides.
- No harsh chemicals
- Repels up to 4 months
- Diffusing collar offers no-mess application
- Fragrant scent
- Will need to use with a flea killing insecticide for comprehensive treatment
- Even natural ingredients can cause allergic reactions in some dogs
- Kills fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae
- Can be used for puppies 6 weeks and older
- No harsh odor
- Need to your dog closely for any reaction to the active ingredient
- Might not be effective in areas where fleas may have become resistant
Our Top Pick: Bayer Seresto
Flea collars that are used properly can be safe and effective for getting rid of and/or preventing new fleas on your dog.
In our opinion, the Bayer Seresto flea collar offers the most potent formulation for tackling fleas, and their eggs and larvae.
This collar along with treatment for your home and yard could help you remove a flea problem long-term if you continue with preventive measures.
One caution with this product would be to be careful with not overdosing your pet on insecticides. If your dog wears this collar, and you use additional products, such as flea shampoo and spray, the toxicity level could be too high. If you need to combine products, check with your veterinarian for the proper amounts to use to keep your dog safe.
Worried about your budget?
Check out the Top Guard Collar. It's made with essential oils, which make for a great "natural" option and is much more affordable providing similar results. Worth a look!
We also recommend consulting with an exterminator before using any flea removal products.
Other Dog Product Reviews
Curious about other dogrelated products? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.