How Do Flea Collars Work?

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Discover how the newest innovations in flea collars can help protect your pet from fleas.

Just like smartphones, cars and even vacuums, flea collar technology has come a long way. While older versions can still get the job done, improvements found in many modern flea collars, such as Seresto® Flea and Tick Collar for dogs and cats, can help kill and prevent fleas more effectively.

Today’s pet owners have a variety of choices that provide effective, long-lasting flea prevention — and it’s as simple as attaching a collar. The innovative technology found in Seresto® includes an adjustable design, non-greasy and odorless application, and adjustability for a comfortable fit. Applying a collar takes only moments, and Seresto® protection lasts for eight continuous months. 

How Do Flea Collars Work?

In the past, flea collars have provided an easy way to deliver the active ingredients needed to kill or repel fleas. However, older collar designs relied on releasing ingredients with a strong odor to repel or kill these parasites.

In comparison, modern flea collars like Seresto® are odorless and mess-free. Seresto® works like a dam releasing a controlled amount of water into a stream. The active ingredients flow from an area of high concentration and storage (the Seresto® collar) to low concentration (your pet’s hair, coat and skin). The collar slowly releases active ingredients over your pet’s body, providing topical protection so that fleas don’t have to bite your pet to die. This distribution of ingredients continues until the collar needs to be replaced.

How Long Do Flea Collars Last?

The amount of continuous protection a flea collar provides depends on the manufacturer and type of collar. Many brands provide four to six months of protection.

The Seresto® collar provides eight months of continuous protection from fleas and ticks.

How Quickly Do Flea Collars Work?

Many modern flea collars start working within 24 to 48 hours of application, but this, again, depends on the manufacturer and type of collar. 

Seresto® kills existing fleas on your dog or cat within 24 hours of applying the collar, and new adult fleas are killed within two hours. Seresto® provides eight continuous months of protection against further flea infestation.

How Do I Ensure a Proper Fit?

The convenience of flea collars makes it easier for you to help protect your pet. Custom-fit collars allow dogs, cats and owners to get back to their lives with minimal stress and hassle. Proper fit is key to getting the most out of a collar. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but keep these overall tips in mind:

  • Collars need to be applied and fit properly. Check the product label for specifics.
  • Discourage chewing and biting by removing any leftover length.
  • Regularly check the collar’s fit, especially on growing pets.
  • Remove and replace the collar according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Do Flea Collars Really  Work on Dogs and Cats?

Yes!  All flea collars are designed to kill fleas. However, some flea collars may be more effective than others:  

  • Some collars target only adult fleas, while others may kill some of the younger stages of fleas, too.  
  • Some collars kill and repel fleas.This distinction matters because if a flea is repelled, it can’t bite and pass on diseases. 

If you’re wondering whether a certain flea collar really works, visit the manufacturer’s website to learn about the product and its label claims. Ask your vet and consult online reviews, too! And keep in mind that Seresto® is the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended flea and tick collar and has been trusted by dog and cat owners to repel and kill fleas and ticks on contact for nearly a decade. 

What Sets Seresto® Flea and Tick Collars Apart?

Why should you choose a Seresto® Flea and Tick Collar for your pet? These benefits make it clear that Seresto® is a flea and tick treatment that’s different from the rest:*  

  • Kills and repels fleas and ticks through contact, so they don’t have to bite your dog or cat to die 
  • Aids in the control of flea larvae, not just adult fleas 
  • Provides eight continuous months of protection from fleas and ticks 
  • Easy to apply — just fit the collar to your dog or cat 
  • Odorless, non-greasy and water-resistant. No need to give a pill or deal with messy topicals 

Here’s how Seresto® stacks up against other flea preventives:* 

Protects Dogs?
Protects Cats?
Kills Fleas & Ticks
Repels Fleas & Ticks
8 Months of Protection in 1 Application

Are Flea Collars Right for Your Pet?

Pet owners who choose collars may do so for several reasons, including:

  1. Easy to apply
  2. No drying period
  3. Economical
  4. Convenient
  5. No prescription required

Long-lasting flea collars are ideal for owners who tend to forget their pet’s monthly flea treatments and/or who have busy, active households and outdoor-loving pets.

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*Based on label claims.

Seresto® is water-resistant and remains effective following a shampoo treatment, swimming or after exposure to rain. Under normal conditions, effectiveness lasts for 8 months. In order to maintain an eight-month duration, dogs must not be bathed more than once per month. For dogs that swim once a month or more, the control duration is reduced to 5 months for flea control and reduced to 7 months for tick control.

Seresto® is protected by U.S. Patent No. 7,910,122.

Seresto, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. All other product and company names are trademarks of their respective owners.