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Best flea collar for dogs in 2020: Banish fleas and ticks

flea collar for dogs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finding the best flea collar for dogs can be a hassle, whether you are a new dog owner or a longtime pet parent. With so many options on the market and with little information on how to choose the best one for you and your pet, you’ll come across some hits and some misses. 

The best flea collars stop pesky fleas, ticks, and other pests from biting your pup, preventing you from potentially spilling hundreds or even thousands of dollars into vet visits, as these pests can cause harmful, potentially life-threatening diseases and illnesses like Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease. 

The best flea collars for dogs are recommended for all dogs, big and small, and even puppies as young as 12 weeks old, and are especially recommended if you like to spend time with your dog in wooded areas. The beauty about flea collars is that they are a relatively low-maintenance option to help you safeguard the health of your pet: for the best options, all you need to do is adjust the collar to fit your dog. If avoiding chemicals is a priority, there are some fantastic all-natural options, too. 

We’ve rounded up the best flea collar for dog options so you don’t have to, researching user reviews, expert advice, and more so you can buy one that you’ll love and purchase again and again.

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Seresto)

1. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs: Best overall flea collar for dogs

For the best protection for your pup, this option by Bayer is a go-to.

Duration of protection: 8 months | Waterproof: Yes | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, lice, larvae | Treatment or prevention: Both

Odorless and non-greasy formula
Kills fleas within 24 hours
Suitable for puppies as young as 7 weeks old
Side effects may include nausea
Vomiting, and lack of appetite
Dogs’ skin may become irritated

The Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs isn’t just a top choice among the best flea collars for dogs on the market in our book, it’s also the best you can buy according to vets and users alike. This popular collar is an all-in-one package for under $50: it’s waterproof, fast-acting (within 24 hours), kills and repels the peskiest pests, and lasts up to 8 months. 

Dog owners will be delighted to know that the formula is non-greasy and odorless, so Seresto’s formula works discreetly in the background without you having to apply messy monthly treatments. The main active ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, are stored within the collar and released in low concentrations over your dog's hair and skin surface during the life of the collar, so your dog can have steady, reliable protection against fleas, ticks, lice, and more. 

The collar itself is adjustable, and any excess can be cut off for a more comfortable fit. Finally, the collar comes with handy reflector clips that can be attached to the collar to help keep your dog visible at night.  

While many users sing the praises of the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs, lauding its value and effectiveness, a word of caution: because the formula uses chemicals, dogs may experience side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Dogs’ skin can also become irritated in response to the collar and experience itching. 

Pet parents are urged to watch their dog’s reaction to the collar closely to check for any abnormal or concerning symptoms. That being said, these reactions generally aren’t life-threatening and don’t occur in the majority of use cases. 

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Arava)

2. Arava Flea & Tick Prevention Collar: Best natural flea collar for dogs

For dog owners concerned about chemicals, this flea collar is a top buy.

Duration of protection: 6 months | Waterproof: Yes | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, larvae, and more | Treatment or prevention: Both

All-natural, contains no harmful chemicals
Repels 500 species of insects
Safe around kids and other pets
Not as long-lasting
Strongly scented

If you’re a pet owner who is concerned about chemicals potentially making your pet, or even you and your kids, sick, the best natural flea collar for dogs is the Arava Flea & Tick Prevention Collar. It only lasts six months, which isn’t as long as our top pick, but is slightly reduced in price. Waterproof and effective in both treatment and prevention, it can target up to 500 species of insects – more than we’ve seen with any other full collar. 

So how does it work? Instead of using strong chemicals and irritants in its formula, Arava has developed a 100% natural response to flea and tick treatment using herbal ingredients and essential oils. Like other collars on the market, the formula is released slowly over time through pores in the plastic collar. The scent of the oils – cinnamon, citronella, and peppermint, among many others – is what repels the pests. Because the formula is non-toxic, it’s also safe to use around kids and other pets. However, if you’re particularly sensitive to strong smells, this may not be the right choice for you. Many pet owners cautioned that, while they were not particularly sensitive, they felt overwhelmed by the odor coming off the collar (albeit not particularly unpleasant). 

If you opt for this collar, you’ll find that it is pleasantly adjustable and can fit most dogs. Clip off the extra length of the collar if you won’t need to adjust it in the future, as it would be the case for a puppy. Thrifty users will also be happy to find out that the collar is quite versatile, too: Place the clipped-off length of the collar in your closet, where it can act as a mothball.

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Rolf Club)

3. Rolf Club 3D Flea Collar for Dogs: Best fast-acting flea collar for dogs

For a fast-acting option at a relatively low price, this flea collar is a top choice.

Duration of protection: 6 months | Waterproof: Yes | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, larvae | Treatment or prevention: Both

Relatively low cost
Effective within 24-48 hours
Available in 3 sizes
Does not include protection against lice
Reports of ineffectiveness
Not as long-lasting

A close contender for one of the best flea collars for dogs on the market is the Rolf Club 3D FLEA Collar for Dogs. While it’s not as long-lasting as our top choice and isn’t as highly recommended by vets and users alike, it’s still a solid option if you don’t want to spend a ton of money to test-drive the effectiveness of the collar – it’s not as expensive as the Seresto flea collar, and is, in short, a great middle-of-the-road option. Where it shines is in how fast it acts for the price you pay: it starts killing fleas and ticks within the first 24 to 48 hours of wear. Plus, the collar comes in three sizes, so no matter the size of your dog, the collar you buy can comfortably fit your pet. 

If lice and pests other than fleas and ticks are a concern, you’ll want to look elsewhere as this collar doesn’t treat and prevent as many species of insects as other collars on this list. Users also report that this product is somewhat hit-or-miss. In some cases, it works marvelously, but in others, pets saw a recurrence in flea and tick bites within a few days. That being said, most users are quite content with the effectiveness of the collar, though we suggest that pet owners regularly check their dogs for pests just to make sure. All-in-all, it’s a worthy buy for the price, and certainly worth trying out, especially if you’re new to buying flea collars for dogs. 

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Hartz)

4. Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea and Tick Collar: Best affordable flea collar for dogs

For those on a tight budget, this flea collar works in a pinch.

Duration of protection: 7 months | Waterproof: Yes | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, larvae | Treatment or prevention: Both

Very low cost
Not as much protection against common pests
More effective as a preventative
Contains tetrachlorvinphos

As far as the best flea collars for dogs go, it doesn’t get much cheaper than the Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea and Tick Collar. Not only is it great for pet owners on a tight budget, it also is a wonderful option for those who are looking for alternative flea and tick prevention measures without spending too much cash. While it’s long-lasting and allegedly both treats and prevents fleas and ticks, the price is somewhat reflective of the lower quality of the product compared to other best flea collars on the market. 

The formula used in this flea collar only targets fleas ticks and larvae – while this is the standard, you can get increased protection against other species of insects if you opt for a different flea collar. Additionally, users report that this collar is best used as a preventative measure, and that it is much less effective as a treatment for a pet’s current conditions. That means that it’s best used in conjunction with another product, like a flea shampoo. This collar is also scented, so if you are averse to odors (even if your dog doesn’t mind), this may not be the best product to use. 

While this collar is a great option in a pinch, it’s difficult to recommend long-term use of this collar, as the formula’s main active ingredient is a harmful and potentially toxic chemical called tetrachlorvinphos. Overexposure to tetrachlorvinphos is known to cause side effects like nausea and confusion, which can ultimately lead to conditions like cancer, or even death. For this reason, this collar is best not used around other pets and children. 

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Only Natural)

5. Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick & Mosquito Dog & Cat Collar: Best flea collar tag for dogs

An easy attachment to your dog’s existing collar, this tag uses holistic technology to repel pests.

Duration of protection: 12 months | Waterproof: Yes, but avoid using in water for the first 4 weeks | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, mosquitos | Treatment or prevention: Prevention only

Easy to use 
Safe around kids and other pets
Very expensive
Prevention only
Effective only after a few weeks
Unsuitable for pets restrained by an invisible fence or a shock collar

Folks looking for another chemical-free alternative to flea collars will find this option interesting and worth exploring. Not only is it a tag that you can easily attach to your dog’s existing collar (no adjustments needed), it’s safe to use around other pets and kids. It’s non-toxic simply because the tag doesn’t use an actual formula: It relies on holistic technology to prevent pests from harming your pet. The tag harnesses your pet’s natural energy to create a natural barrier against these pests. 

If it seems too good to be true, you’ll find that some users would agree with you – and with the somewhat hefty price tag (this tag is the most expensive option on this list), you’ll want to carefully consider whether or not it’s worth trying out. If you do decide to test out this holistic preventative treatment, be aware that it only becomes effective after a few weeks, and that it’s strongly recommended that you take the tag off your dog while it’s in the water during the first 4 weeks of use. 

If your pet has an existing pest problem, you’ll also want to treat that before using the tag, as it is a preventative measure only, to be used in conjunction with other methods like flea shampoos. Finally, a word of caution: If you use an invisible fence or a shock collar to restrain your dog at home, it’s best not to use this flea collar tag, as this can lead to compromised immune health.

flea collar for dogs

(Image credit: Seresto)

6. Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Small Dogs: Best flea collar tag for small dogs

Our best overall pick, but tailored to small dogs up to 18lbs.

Duration of protection: 8 months | Waterproof: Yes | Pests targeted: Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, lice, larvae | Treatment or prevention: Both

Long-lasting; odorless and non-greasy formula
Kills fleas within 24 hours; suitable for puppies as young as 7 weeks old
Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite
Dogs’ skin may become irritated

Pet owners with small dogs generally find it quite difficult to find a good flea collar that will fit their dogs comfortably while remaining effective. Thankfully, Seresto’s collar, our best overall pick, has an option for small dogs up to 18lbs. In addition to the reflector clips included in the packaging, Seresto’s small dog flea collar also includes a predetermined breaking point. 

The formula for this collar is the same as the regular-sized version, meaning that it’s odorless, non-greasy, and is slowly released over 8 months of continued use. At about 15 inches, the collar is mighty for such a small package. The two main ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, work wonders against flea and ticks, but can cause some skin irritation and other symptoms like nausea – if you observe any adverse reaction to the collar in your pet, it’s best to consult a vet regarding possible solutions or alternatives to flea collars. 

These same ingredients also render the formula waterproof, so your pooch is free to play in the water while wearing the collar, and you won’t have to worry about remembering to take it off before bath time. However, be advised that if your pet swims once a month or more, the control duration is reduced to five months for fleas and seven months for ticks. Just remember that the formula isn’t safe around kids, so if you have young children at home, it’s best to opt for a collar that uses a non-toxic formula or another flea and tick prevention or treatment method.

How to choose the best flea collar for dogs

If you’re in the market for one of the best flea collars for dogs, you may be wondering how to pick one that’s right for you and your pet. To make the best choice, there are a few factors to consider before purchasing. While all our top choices are truly the best on the market, you can narrow down your pick by looking at the following:

Chemical vs all-natural: If you are particularly concerned about chemicals around your pet or your children, opting for a 100% natural flea collar for dogs may be in your best interest. 

Odor vs odorless: While many people think a fresh smell is rather pleasant, if you are averse to strong odors, opt for an odorless flea collar. 

Price: If you’re new to flea collars for dogs and aren’t sure whether or not it’s the best treatment and prevention option for your pet, you may want to choose a less costly flea collar before investing in a high-cost one. 

These are just some of the factors that can help you make the best choice among the best flea collars for dogs. However, when in doubt, we encourage pet owners to talk to their vets for more personalized advice. 

If you’d like to see how collars measure up against flea medication, take a look at Flea Medicine vs Collars for a full summary.