Last Updated: January 01, 2021

Best Flea Collar for Dogs

Best Flea Collar for Dogs

When considering the benefits versus risks of flea collars for dogs, we strongly recommend considering the use of other products such as flea drops and oral flea medications instead of collars. The only product we, in good conscience, feel we can recommend is Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick & Mosquito Dog & Cat Collar Tag.

Best Products Best Flea Collar for Dogs

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Best Overall
Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick & Mosquito Tag
Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick & Mosquito Tag Best Overall
$0
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
5/10
  • What we Like
  • Repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
  • Product 100% guaranteed
  • Pesticide- and essential oil-free
  • Formulated by holistic veterinarians
  • What we Dislike
  • Does not kill existing fleas or ticks; repels only
  • Not to be used with shock collars or electric fences
Product Details
Speed Begins working in 3 to 4 weeks
Efficacy Up to 12 months
Safety Safe for puppies of any size and age
Availability Sold without a prescription
Ingredients Silicon dioxide particles
Our Review

Based in Austria, the company is committed to environmental sustainability, and every product they sell meets human-grade standards. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with this product, meaning that if you or your dog doesn’t like the tag, you will receive a full refund. According to the manufacturer, “The metal tag contains silicon dioxide particles that are encoded with frequencies that the tag then emits over time. These frequencies are annoying to pests, so they stay away from the pet wearing the tag. The tag is also encoded with frequencies that will synchronize with your pet’s own unique biological frequency, which helps to support their immune system.” The company clarifies that this product will not kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes but only repels them. NOTE: This collar will not interfere with your pet’s microchip but will interfere with shock collars or electric and invisible fence barriers.

Collars Containing Tetrachlorvinphos
Collars Containing Tetrachlorvinphos
$5
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
$7
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
$7
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
1/10
  • What we Like
  • Kills and repels adult fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, and ticks
  • Water-resistant
  • What we Dislike
  • Hazardous to Humans
  • Especially hazardous to children
  • Toxic to animals
  • Toxic to the environment
Product Details
Speed Begins eliminating fleas
eggs
larvae
and ticks immediately
Efficacy 7 months
Safety For dogs at least 12 weeks of age
Availability Sold without a prescription
Ingredients Tetrachlorvinphos (14.55%)
Our Review

DO NOT BUY! These products contain Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), which is part of the organophosphate family of parasiticides. Studies show that human life is at risk when using TCVP products, not only because it is a toxic chemical but also because it is a known carcinogenic (cancer-causing agent). Toddlers who frequently touch animals and then touch or put their fingers in their mouths are at an increased risk for neurological health issues. Pets exposed to TCVP can experience diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, tremors, collapse, and even death.

Collars Containing Permethrin
Collars Containing Permethrin
$31
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
$60
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
1/10
  • What we Like
  • Kills adult fleas and ticks
  • Long-lasting, time-released solution
  • What we Dislike
  • Hazardous to humans, especially toddlers
  • Possible human carcinogenic
  • Acutely toxic to cats and bees
  • Possible flea resistance to chemical
Product Details
Speed Kills existing fleas within 24 hours
kills ticks within 48 hours
Efficacy 8 months
Safety Safe for pups at least 7 weeks of age
Availability Sold without a prescription
Ingredients
Our Review

We chose not to review all collars using permethrin-based chemicals as we don’t recommend you purchase them for your dog. We used the Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Dogs as an example of the risks these collars can pose to you and your family members.

This collar (and similar permethrin-based chemical collars) consists of a patented polymer that releases its ingredients slowly over eight months over the fur’s surface. And, touching your dog puts you, especially children, at risk of exposure to the chemicals. The collar rids your pet of its existing fleas within the first 24 hours and kills new fleas within 2 hours. Fleas do not have to bite your pet to die, and flea larvae are also affected by the chemicals. It kills existing ticks within 48 hours and new ticks within 6 hours. However, some ticks may not die or remain attached to your dog and may need manual removal. This collar is flexible, so it has some “give” and will break free if pulled hard. We rate this product as a DO NOT BUY due to concerns regarding its ingredient Flumethrin, a permethrin-based product. Please see more information regarding ingredients below.

Best Products Best Flea Collar for Dogs
Product Name Best for Rate
Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick & Mosquito Tag Best Overall 5

How to Choose

Flea collars for pets have been available in the United States since the 1960s. Sales for the product grew over time but have since declined as flea drops, and oral flea medications have risen in popularity. While researching these products, we determined that the decline in flea collars’ sales is likely due to the dangers associated with their use. 

While many of the available flea collars last longer than flea drops–up to 8 months–the chemicals contained in the collars are not absorbed into your dog systemically. The collars release chemicals or natural oils over the surface of the dog’s fur to control fleas, ticks, and in some cases, mites and mosquitos. This treatment mechanism makes your dogs, you, and your family susceptible to exposure to poisons. Some of these compounds are known to cause cancer. If you also own cats, they can kill your feline companions. 

 

Ingredients in Flea Collars:

Hazardous and possibly toxic chemicals and oils are why we’ve included “Ingredients” as one of the five common attributes we explore in the various flea collars. 

Tetrachlorvinphos:

(14.55%) is part of the organophosphate family of parasiticides. It was used beginning in 1966 as a crop treatment and canceled as such in 1987. “Tetrachlorvinphos was revoked for use in the European Union as of 2003 under Directive 91/414/EEC (European Commission, 1991)” according to the NCBI. In 2009, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) contacted the EPA and subsequently filed suit against the EPA to remove all pet products containing Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) from the market. The EPA denied the request to take all products off the market (see EPA’s report). However, they did conclude that both powders and collars containing this TCVP level hazardous to humans. Unfortunately, according to the EPA’s document, the overall study to evaluate human exposure to organophosphates won’t recur until 2022. In the meantime, the EPA conducted an abbreviated evaluation and combined those results with an NRDC submitted a study. Both studies concluded that human life is at risk when using dusting products and flea collar products containing TCVP. Toddlers who frequently touch animals and then touch or put their fingers in their mouths are at an increased risk. Exposing children to TCVP at such a young age could negatively impact their neurological systems. TCVP is also a known carcinogenic. 

The EPA also made assumptions that, frankly, disgusted this reviewer: “Further, it is possible that adults or children may be exposed from sleeping with a treated pet; however, they are not actively engaged in a high level of contact, or the repeated mouthing behaviors exhibited by children during waking hours, which are inherently assumed in the assessment conducted.”

One of the EPA’s primary excuses in declining to take all products off the market and encouraging Hartz to voluntarily take their products off the market before 2021 is the negative impact on people of lower financial means who count on these flea products during flea season. Yes, these products are cheap. However, your life and your family’s health is worth more than the savings between these products and other flea drop products or oral flea medications . 

Finally, for those who care about their pets as members of the family, we have to wonder, what are the potential risks to “Man’s Best Friend” who licks its fur?  A study completed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found a significant risk of developing multiple cancer types when testing this chemical on mice. According to MedVet, “Common signs of toxicity from flea products containing organophosphates are diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, small pupils, muscle tremor, weakness or falling over, and drooling. Organophosphate toxicity can be rapidly fatal, depending on the ingredients and dose the pet is exposed to.” We cannot say with certainty that harm will come to you, your family, and your pets by using these flea collars. However, given all the data we’ve gathered, we would recommend not purchasing these products.

To make treatment more affordable yet safe, we suggest using flea drops or oral flea medications for at least the first three months of treatment. You could then try an all-natural repellent solution such as the Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick and Mosquito Dog & Cat Collar Tag, which lasts up to 12 months. It takes up to three months of multiple types of treatments (for your pets, your home, and the environment) to eradicate a flea infestation. 

Imidacloprid:

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, this chemical is similar to nicotine. “Imidacloprid disrupts the nerve’s ability to send a normal signal, and the nervous system stops working the way it should. Imidacloprid is much more toxic to insects and other invertebrates than it is to mammals and birds because it binds better to the receptors of insect nerve cells.” Pet parents who touch the collar during application may have skin irritation. Research shows that animals may vomit or drool if they orally ingest imidacloprid, and if they consume larger quantities, they may show neurological symptoms. And, children may be more susceptible to ingesting chemicals because, according to the  National Pesticide Information Center, “they spend more time in contact with the ground, their bodies break down chemicals differently, and their skin is thinner. However, there is no specific information on whether young people or animals are more at risk from exposure to imidacloprid than adults.”

Flumethrin and Deltamethrin:

Both Flumethrin and Deltamethrin are members of the permethrin family of products. According to the Pesticide Research Institute, permethrin chemicals are “highly toxic to cats, and toxic to the nervous systems of pets and people. Many of these compounds, including permethrin, are classified by the EPA as Likely or Possible carcinogens. People can become sensitized to pyrethroids, triggering asthma or allergic reactions. Some pyrethroids are suspected endocrine disruptors. Pyrethroids are highly toxic to bees. Flea resistance is also an issue for effectiveness.” The use of permethrins in collars present a higher risk to humans and animals alike in that the residue from the collar rests on your dog’s hair or fur. Every time you pet your animal, every time your animal licks itself, toxic exposure could be occurring. According to the University of Nebraska, “some studies have shown that pesticide residues from flea and tick collars can remain in the pet’s fur [for long periods], exposing the pet, other household pets, and the owners to pesticides.”

Essential Oils:

We also reviewed several available essential-oil based flea collars. While these products may be beneficial in repelling fleas, ticks, and in some cases, mosquitos or dust mites, none of them will kill fleas and ticks. They are preventative measures only. 

Concerning the effectiveness of using essential oils as a flea treatment for pets, we refer to a June 2008 Parasitology Research study. “Our research points to the importance of plant biodiversity—cedar trees were planted in home environments of respondents, and fresh lavender, citrus, lemon balm, and mugwort were used in order to control fleas and flies on pets.” The methods used to determine if these products are effective on pets included dipping cats entirely into mixtures of herbal ingredients and then testing the presence of live insects, larvae, and eggs. The overall effectiveness of essential oils as a method of controlling fleas is in question. And dipping your cat or dog in essential oils is neither a safe nor a practical approach for controlling fleas.

We would like to remind anyone considering these products that, “Because these [essential oils] are derived from plants and touted as natural or organic alternatives to chemical insecticides, many pet owners assume they are very safe. However, both dogs and cats can have serious adverse reactions to some of these ingredients, even when using the product according to label directions. Side effects can include skin irritation, agitation or lethargy, vomiting, tremors, and seizures.” says the Pet Poison Hotline. If you consider using one of the essential oil collars, we suggest that you consult a veterinarian or the pet poison hotline to determine its safety.

Other Attributes of Flea Collars:

The other four attributes we consistently displayed in each review include speed, efficacy, safety, and availability. 

  • Speed: When we say “speed,” we refer to the speed at which the collar becomes effective at killing or repelling insects. For example, the Seresto collar kills existing fleas within 24 hours and new fleas within 2 hours. It kills ticks already on your pet within 48 hours and new ticks within 6 hours. The manufacturers of the all-natural, essential oil dog collars do not provide the speed at which the collar becomes effective. The Only Natural collar tag begins to work after 3 – 4 weeks.
  • Efficacy refers to the longevity of the product’s effectiveness. For the brands containing the dangerous chemical, Tetrachlorvinphos, the efficacy is up to 7 months. Collars containing permethrin ingredients are effective for up to 8 months. All-natural collars may be effective for up to 4 months, and the Only Natural collar tag may be effective for up to 12 months.
  • Safety, for the sake of consistency, refers to the minimum age and weight requirements for applying the product to dogs. We’ve already discussed safety relative to the chemicals each collar contains in-depth here and within each review.
  • All of these products are available without a prescription.

I’ve used flea products in the past, but none seem to work. Why?

The most common reason flea products do not work is that pet parents inconsistently administer them. For a flea infestation, it takes a minimum of 90 days to effectively eradicate fleas using not only flea treatments for your pet but also flea treatments for the environment. It is simpler, more affordable, and less stressful to be consistent and apply either topical or administer oral flea treatment throughout the year. Your dog is counting on you to keep him or her comfortable and free of parasites.