The Best Dog Flea & Tick Collars in 2020
Fleas and ticks aren’t just annoyances; ticks carry several potentially dangerous diseases like Lyme and Ehrlichiosis, and fleas can transmit Bartonella and tapeworms. In addition, some dogs develop severe allergies to fleas and will scratch themselves raw after exposure to even a single flea. Thus, as a pet owner, it is important to take proactive steps to prevent your dog from getting ticks and fleas.
There are many different products for flea and tick control available today, including topical products, pills, and injections, but flea and tick control collars are rapidly becoming the most popular approach among dog owners. Here we review and discuss the top 6 best dog flea and tick collars available on the market today.
Our Top 6 List
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1. Bayer Seresto Collar
The Seresto collar is a very popular product. You just put it on your dog and it provides protection against fleas and ticks for eight months. Unlike some products that only kill fleas and ticks if they bite your dog, this product repels them from getting on your dog in the first place and if they do come in contact with your dog’s skin, they die instantly.
In addition to being effective against fleas and ticks, the Seresto collar works against the mites that cause mange and ear infections and is also effective against lice. It comes in two sizes and there is also a version intended for cats.
- Repels and kills ticks, fleas, mites, and lice
- Recommended by veterinarians
- Works for 8 months
- Active ingredients: imidacloprid and flumethrin
- Odorless, non-greasy
2. Rolf Club 3D Collar
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The Rolf collar provides protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry heartworm, so if you live in an area with endemic heartworm, repelling mosquitoes is important. The collar repels these organisms and kills them on contact so they can’t bite your pet. It works for six months.
- Protects against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
- Works for 6 months
- Active ingredients: fipronil, D-cifenotrin, and pyriproxyfen
- Odorless and non-greasy
3. Petsmont Collar
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This brand of collar is infused with the following essential oils: peppermint oil, citronella oil, cedarwood oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, and geranium oil. the manufacturer claims these oils will repel (but not kill) fleas and ticks for six months; the collars come in two-packs for an entire year of use.
I have some serious doubts these collars are either effective or safe. Some users claim they work, but others report their dogs became infested with fleas or kept picking up ticks while wearing them. In addition, most users say the collars have a really strong, unpleasant smell; we can only wonder what the dogs, with their super-sensitive noses, feel about being constantly exposed to the strong odor. In addition, peppermint oil is listed as “toxic to dogs when ingested or placed on the skin”. Eucalyptus oil is toxic to cats, so if you a cat in the home it will be exposed to this oil from your dog’s collar.
- No insecticides or pesticides
- One package is intended to provide protection for an entire year
- The collars are made of recyclable plastic
4. Arava Botanical Collar
This brand of collar is similar to the Petsmont collar. It slowly releases the following ingredients: citronella oil, cymbopogon flexuosus oil, rosemary leaf oil, cedarwood oil, thyme flower/leaf oil, cinnamonum cassia leaf oil, peppermint oil, soybean oil, geranium oil, and clove oil. The manufacturer says each collar is effective in repelling, but not killing, ticks and fleas for six months.
I have the same concerns in regards to the effectiveness and safety of the Arava collar as I do for the Petsmont collar. Peppermint, clove, thyme, and cinnamon oils are all well-known to be toxic to dogs. This collar also has a strong, unpleasant smell and a number of users reported that their dogs became infested with fleas and ticks while wearing them.
- No insecticides or pesticides
- Manufacturer says each collar provides protection for 6 months
- Collar is waterproof
5. Rolf Club 3D Flea & Worm Collar
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This collar provides protection against internal parasites like roundworms, heartworms, and hookworms as well as repelling and killing on contact fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. The collars are also odorless and waterproof and provide protection for four months.
Be warned that these collars contain ivermectin. Although ivermectin is safe for most dogs, it is a deadly poison for dogs carrying mutations in the MDR gene. Many herding breed dogs and some other breeds like whippets carry MDR gene mutations; unless your dog is a purebred from a breed known to not carry MDR mutations, I suggest not using these collars unless your dog has been tested for and cleared of MDR mutations.
- Repels and kills external parasites
- Kills internal parasites
- Waterproof, odorless, and effective for 4 months
- Active ingredients: fipronil, ivermectin, pyriporoxyfen
6. Virbac Preventic Collar
This collar only works against ticks. It is unclear from the descriptions if it repels ticks, but it definitely kills ticks. It says it detaches them, suggesting they have to bite your dog before they die. It is not effective against fleas. It provides protection for three months.
- Kills ticks
- Works for 3 months
- Active ingredient: amitraz
Our hands-down recommendation is the Seresto collar. Each collar provides effective protection against fleas, ticks, lice, and mites for eight months. These collars are also waterproof and can be left on during swimming, bathing, and romping in heavy rain. The active ingredients in the Seresto collars are imidacloprid and flumethrin, which have been extensively studied in regards to safety for both dogs and cats. In fact, the Seresto collars themselves were evaluated in a well-designed long-term safety test and found to be completely non-toxic to dogs and cats.
Before considering which collar to get, you first need to determine what your pet needs protection against. Some areas are practically devoid of fleas but heavily infested with ticks and mites, while other areas are infested with fleas but generally not with ticks. The organisms your dog needs protection against varies by geographical location. If in doubt, ask a local veterinarian about what critters are lurking out there in the grass and bushes.
Collar or other?
Next, you need to decide if you want to use a collar or instead use one of the many other types of products available, such as topicals, sprays, pills, and injections. Collars have many advantages over other products; they are really easy to use and most provide protection for months so you don’t have to remember to apply a greasy substance to your dog’s back once a month or get a prescription from your veterinarian.
In addition, many of the favorite products used in the past don’t seem to be very effective anymore because fleas and ticks have developed resistance against them. For example, Frontline used to be the most popular product on the market, and then it slowly started to lose efficacy. Many people then turned to K9 Advantix, which worked great for a long time, and then it also slowly started to lose efficacy. As far as I know, the collars containing newer insecticides are still working really well.
Natural ingredients or chemicals?
I strongly recommend staying away from any collar that claims it uses all-natural ingredients, essential oils, or botanicals to control fleas and ticks. Most of these products simply don’t seem to work. Tick-borne diseases can kill your dog. A dear friend of mine took her perfectly healthy dog camping without tick protection and the dog was dead four months later from kidney failure caused by a tick-borne disease.
In addition, while many people automatically assume “natural” means “safe”, this is completely untrue. If you go look up the ingredients in a “natural” flea and tick product, it is very common to discover that at least one of the ingredients is well-known to be toxic to dogs.
Since the consequences of choosing a sub-optimal or even completely ineffective product can be severe, and the consequences of choosing a toxic product are even more severe, I suggest choosing a collar that contains well-tested insecticides. I do suggest looking carefully at the active ingredients and looking them up to confirm they are safe, effective, and have been extensively studied on dogs. If the only safety information came from studies on rodents, it’s best to avoid that product.
In addition, while a well-studied insecticide may be safe for 99.9% of dogs out there, there are always the oddball dogs that have a slightly different metabolism than the rest of the canine population, or those that develop allergies against a specific ingredient. If your dog has a history of having a reaction to a particular ingredient, obviously you need to avoid that ingredient in products you use in the future on that particular dog.
I also suggest checking carefully to be sure the collar is waterproof. Some of the collars out there are not and need to be removed before the dog goes swimming or gets a bath. This sounds doable, but in actual practice, it’s really hard to keep your dog dry all the time. My dogs tend to fling themselves into any puddle, pond, or stream they come across. In addition, if your dog gets skunked or rolls in something gross, you are going to have to wash the dog’s collars to get rid of the smell. Ergo, for dogs, always check that everything that goes on them is waterproof before purchasing.
Tips and tricks for using dog flea and tick collars
- Carefully check the size before buying. Measure your dog’s actual neck and don’t assume anything.
- Most of these collars have excessively long straps. For safety, you should trim off the excess collar flapping around after you make sure the collar is properly adjusted.
- The collar should be adjusted such that you can fit two fingers under it. Not too tight, not too loose.
- Never try to attach a leash or an ID to a flea and tick collar. You’ll need a second collar for that.
- Make a note on your calendar as to when the collar needs to be changed. It’s really easy to forget and a year later, your dog will still be wearing the collar but it won’t be working anymore.
- If your house is already infested with fleas, you should get it professionally treated before expecting a flea and tick collar to work optimally.
- Many people think ticks only lurk out in the wilderness, but they are commonly found in backyards and urban parks.
We are the Pet Dog Pals, a group of avid pet owners, bloggers, product testers, and writers for all your canine needs! We own a collective 16 dogs and 21 cats to help us test and review pet products. Our top lists and tips come from experience to help you be the best dog owner you can be!