Dogs can be mostly free of pests like fleas and ticks if they stay indoors, but most dogs spend at least an hour a day outside for exercise (and quite possibly far more). That means they’re exposed to plenty of parasites, and so flea and tick collars can help limit the effects of that and ensure your pup can enjoy a healthier, happier life.
What are Flea Collars?
Flea collars are anti-flea devices that use one of several methods to either kill fleas or drive them away. There are three main types of flea collars.
- High-Frequency collars use an ultrasonic sound wave to scare fleas away from the collar, and by extension, from your pet. Reports on their effectiveness are mixed, but these are generally safer than other types of collars because they don’t contain toxins.
- Gas-based collars slowly emit a toxin that kills fleas on contact if they get anywhere near the poison. It’s essentially odorless, so fleas won’t smell it coming and avoid the dangerous areas.
- Absorption-based collars are similar to gas-based collars. Instead of emitting gas into the fur, they allow a pet’s body to absorb the insecticide directly, and pests die when they try to suck blood.
What are Tick Collars?
Tick collars are fundamentally similar to flea collars but contain chemicals that target ticks instead of just fleas. They have the same emission mechanisms.
How many collars do both?
Many companies sell flea and tick collars that repel both pests. This is usually more effective than just treating one pest because you never know what sorts of things your dog may be exposed to each time they go outside.
Here Are Our Top 5 Flea And Tick Collars For Dogs
These are our favorite choices in the order we recommend them.
Sold by famous manufacturer Bayer, this 2-pack of collars for large dogs (>18 pounds) is relatively expensive but quite effective for repelling pests. Each collar lasts for eight months, so this kit offers well over a year of continuous protection fleas and ticks.
Veterinarians often recommend Bayer’s Seresto collars, and that’s the deciding factor that makes them worth considering over other options. As a bonus, these collars help treat sarcoptic mange and kill lice, too, mainly through its active ingredients of imidacloprid and flumethrin.
Both of these ingredients are generally safe and effective, which makes Seresto a top choice if you’re worried about your pet’s health. (And you probably are.)
Smaller versions of this product are available for dogs under 18 pounds. You can also get a single-collar pack, but that’s more expensive over time.
- Highly effective
- It lasts for a long time
- Uses safer chemicals than many competitors
- Reputable manufacturer
- Relatively expensive
- Not appropriate for puppies, despite the marketing
Craveit isn’t nearly as well-known as Bayer, but its collar stands out by using essential oils in a carrier. Now, I know some people don’t have a high opinion of essential oils because they’re sometimes touted as a cure-all. Still, they do have demonstrated effectiveness in areas like repelling insects.
“Repel” is the keyword for this product, by the way. It aims to scare pests off rather than kill them, which means it doesn’t need to include toxic chemicals. That makes this one of the safest flea and tick collars on the market, and it’s incredibly affordable as well. I recommend this above Bayer’s Seresto if you’re content to repel pests instead of killing them.
- Highly competitive pricing
- No toxic chemicals
- Includes emergency breaking points for safety
- Smells better than most flea collars
- Not helpful on all dogs
- Better at repelling incoming pests than removing pests already on your dog
If you’re looking for a budget choice, it’s hard to get better than the Hartz Ultraguard, which is only a fraction of the price of some of the other collars on this list. It’s only rated for seven months rather than the more-common eight months, but you still end up saving money in the long run.
Unfortunately, you get what you pay for here. This uses harsher chemicals than some other dog collars, so your pet is more likely to have a negative reaction to it. This is especially true if they wear this collar for a long time, so keep that in mind before you go shopping.
- More affordable than most other flea and tick collars
- Available in many sizes
- Not as safe as the Seresto or Craveit collars
- It doesn’t last as long as other options
This is a competitor for the Craveit collar and features a similar style. Like the Craveit above, this collar uses essential oils to repel fleas and ticks rather than trying to murder them on contact. The difference between the two is their choice of ingredients.
Craveit uses garlic oil as its main repellent, which is the same chemical that’s used in some flea-repellent sprays. Basically, they hate the smell and that’s why Craveit’s collar works.
Shengkou uses citronella, which other retailers point out is also useful for repelling fleas and ticks. Craveit’s collar uses citronella, too, so this isn’t really a discussion of which oil is better. Either works, but I like the oil proportions in Craveit more, so this is essentially a backup option.
- Non-toxic collar
- Similar ingredients to my favorite repellent-focused collar
- Highly affordable
- The lesser-known manufacturer is harder to trust
- Ships some extras randomly, rather than reliably
Pet Action’s collar is a six-month option that uses a slow-release formula to avoid shocking your pet’s system. It takes 2-3 weeks to reach full effect, which is awkward if you’re already in pest season.
However, while this works well enough, it’s only available in a few sizes, and it’s relatively easy for dogs to get it off. That defeats the purpose of a flea collar, so I don’t recommend this as your first choice.
- Generally affordable
- Effective on most dogs
- Limited sizing options
- Too easy to remove
Keeping Your Dogs Safer
Fleas and ticks can cause disease, so preventing them is essential to keeping your pet happy and healthy. If you need a flea or tick collar, I recommend that you start with Bayer’s Seresto line to kill any existing pests, then switch over to an essential oil-based collar to repel pests. This minimizes exposure to toxins and can help keep your dog healthier.