Fleas are some of the most annoying pests in existence, for both your pet and you.
They leave your pet constantly itching and scratching, and the little buggers get in everything.
There are a lot of flea control options out there, but few are as "set it and forget it" as a flea collar. We recommend flea collars as one of the top options for killing fleas and keeping them at bay.
They're less invasive than other options, and they work passively.
In this article, we're going to review six flea collars we think are the best on the market. We'll also tell you how they work, why fleas are bad for your dog, how to choose the right collar, and more.
Let's get started:
How Do Flea Collars Work?
There's nothing fancy about a flea collar, and that's the point. They've been around for decades, but a few recent advancements have made them even more effective.
The collars themselves are typically made of plastic, and they usually work in two ways: Repelling fleas and treating (or killing) them. Some collars provide one or the other, and some offer both types of treatment.
In either case, an insecticide is deployed. Repelling collars produce a gas that keeps fleas at bay. Treating collars seep insecticide into the fat layer of the dog's skin and kills fleas when the dog is bitten. Or, the collar emits insecticide on top of the skin where it is spread around the body using the dog's natural oils. In this case, the fleas are killed immediately once they are exposed to the insecticide.
These days, you can buy collars that last up to eight months. This is usually more than enough time to last through the flea season, whereas spot on treatments typically last only 30 days.
Why Are Fleas Bad for My Dog?
We all know fleas are annoying, but are there any dangers associated with them? Anything owners should be worried about?
The answer is: Yes, there are few.
1. Excessive itching from flea bites can lead to open sores. These sores can make your pet vulnerable to infection.
2. Flea bite dermatitis is an allergic reaction to fleas. The fleas' saliva can cause red skin, scabs, and hair loss in the affected area(s) if your dog happens to be allergic. Common areas of flea bite dermatitis are the face, head, neck, and base of the tail.
3. Blood loss occurs whenever fleas bite your dog, as they drink a little bit of blood each time. Usually, the amount is negligible, but a flea infestation can cause anemia, as your pet starts losing blood faster than he or she can produce it. This condition is potentially fatal if not treated as soon as possible, especially in puppies and smaller dogs with a lower amount of total blood in their body.
4. Tapeworms can also become an issue. Fleas carry tapeworms. When pets groom, they tend to eat the fleas on their body and thus consume the tapeworms as well. They can live in your pet's intestines and cause nutrient absorption issues. (This dewormer by Bayer is an excellent solution if your dog has tapeworms.)
Luckily, flea collars are not very expensive. But it is still recommended that you go for higher-end ones rather than the cheapos you see in convenience stores. They will last longer, be much more effective, and aren't very expensive for how long they work.
When choosing a flea collar, it's important to pay attention to two main aspects: Size and how long it lasts.
First off, you need the right size to fit around your dog's neck. Typically, they come in collars for large or small dogs. 'Large' are usually dogs over 18 pounds, and 'small' are usually dogs 18 pounds or lighter.
The collar is usually adjustable to fit your dog's specific neck size.
Next, you want to pay attention to how long it lasts. Some collars last six months but come in packs of two for year-round protection. Others last for eight months, but are typically stronger and more effective on a per-collar basis.
You should also go for collars that treat both fleas and ticks (many do). This helps kill two birds with one stone.
When You Should NOT Buy a Flea Collar
While flea collars can be effective treatments and very convenient, there are certain situations when it is not the right option.
The insecticide in flea collars can be harmful if ingested by humans. Adults and older children should not have to worry about this, but young children are prone to putting their fingers in their mouth. If they touch the collar and get insecticide on their hands, this could be a hazard.
Also, if your dog hates wearing collars, you might have a tough time getting him or her to keep it on for an extended period of time.
In these cases, a topical treatment like K9 Advantix II or an oral treatment like Capstar might be better options for you.
The Best Flea Collars for Dogs in 2018
Let's break down our favorite collars to prevent or kill fleas:
1. Seresto Flea and Tick Collar - Best Overall
Seresto is the best flea collar on the market. Made by the trusted Bayer brand, this collar consistently rates near the top in effectiveness and ease-of-use.
The strap is adjustable and easy to put on, it's odorless and non-greasy, and it comes with three visibility reflectors for safety on nighttime walks.
The collar works on fleas, ticks, and lice for 8 months of prevention and treatment (killing) of pests. And it comes in options for large dogs, small dogs, and cats.
If you're looking for a well-rounded collar that's proven to be effective, you can't go wrong with Seresto.
2. Salvo Flea and Tick Collar - Best Year-Round Protection
Salvo is an odorless collar that emits insecticide that works with your dog's natural oils to distribute it across their body. This kills fleas on contact.
The collar is also highly effective against ticks, including the Brown dog tick, American dog tick, and deer ticks (which may carry lyme disease).
This package comes with two collars that each last six months, providing year-round protection against fleas and ticks. The collar is also water resistant, allowing for bathing and swimming with no loss of protection.
Here is an interesting flea solution, the Flea and Tick Medallion by Spectra Shield.
Unlike topical treatments and shampoos, the medallion is easy to use and leaves no residue or mess. Once attached to your dog's collar, the medallion provides up to four months of protection from adult fleas and every blood-feeding stage of tick.
It's a cheaper option and a nice starter if you don't have experience using flea collars.