Does a tick collar for dogs really work?

It’s heeeeerrreee! ☀️ The sun is out, the fresh breeze is blowing through your hair (and your dog’s fur) and your dog is running around snout in the wind, picking up all these new smells. Yes, I’m talking about spring! What’s not to love about spring, right? Nothing! Except maybe for ticks … . So, the million dollar question: Does a tick collar for dogs really work?

Yes, we’ve all seen these little bastards running around your dogs’ fur, and no doubt you’ve already removed a couple off of your dog. It doesn’t get any easier, right? Or is that just me? (Yes, I might be a chicken shit when it comes to these creatures 🐓 #sorrynotsorry). But what to do about them? That’s the million dollar (euro in this case, lol) question!

In the first episode of the Dogs of Antwerpen podcast, we’ve talked about this. @marcelandthecity asked us if a tick collar for dogs really work. And if not, what are the alternatives? Charlotte, vet at De Vroente and owner of LÈS ANTWERP cleared this up! 

Tick collars for dogs: yay or nay?

Yay, if you know which one to choose! Some brands really work well, and others just don’t. Be careful with tick collars for dogs which are for sale in pet stores. Look at it how you want, but tick collars for dogs are still big business in the dog world. So keep your wallet closed until you’ve found the right tick repellent that works for your dog!  To name two really good tick collars for dogs advised by veterinarian Charlotte:

These two tick collars for dogs are the best there is in the ‘tick collar world’ (Yes, I just made that up). These collars work so well that the ticks don’t even jump or fall on your dog’s fur, let alone bite them. They really don’t want anything to do with your dog thanks to the chemical Imidacloprid (Seresto) and Deltamethrin (Scalibor). Yep, they hate it and that is exactly what we want! Because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like laying on my coach with my dog and I see a tick running around her back. You can imagine I checked myself that night for a full hour just to make sure I didn’t had any. Anyway, Seresto and Scalibor are the way to go if you’re looking for a good tick collar. 

How do tick collars work?
The Seresto collar contains the active chemical ‘Imidacloprid’ which will kill ticks (and fleas and flea larvae) in your and your pets environment. This chemical is being gradually released (over the course of 24 hours) and spreads across the fatty layer of your dog’s skin and fur. This layer will protect your dog from ticks and fleas trying to latch on to your dog. It’s also important to know that no chemicals are entering your dogs’ bloodstream when using a tick collar (in contrast to pills like Bravecto). When the first 24 hours have passed, your dog is safe against ticks for up to a year! And Seresto really isn’t that expensive, so it’s a good option if you don’t want to struggle with pills every 3 months which are more expensive too. 

The other option, Scalibor works almost in the same way but uses another chemical which is Deltamethrin. Both chemicals are really safe for your dog!

What are the alternatives?

Okay so, Seresto and Scalibor work really well! But they are not very fashionable … . They are (or look like) a rubber-ish light grey collar and for short coated dogs, they’re really visible. If you don’t mind, these tick collars are really the best! But if you like your fashion (yes, I’m looking at a few of the Dogs of Antwerpen community 😉) there are a few alternatives such as pipettes or pills. 


What is important to know about pills is these chemicals do enter your dogs bloodstream. If you rather not have this, choose for a collar. If you don’t mind, Bravecto and Nexgard are good options. These pills have been made very tasty (ofcourse) but if your dog doesn’t like them, wrap them in bacon.  😎 This works like a charm! Keep in mind, with pills, ticks will still get on your dogs fur and latch on to them. From that moment the ticks will experience the chemicals of the pill and fall off. Again, if you don’t like to see a tick anywhere near you or your dog, a collar is still the best option!

Anyway, these pills work great:

  • Bravecto: Bravecto is a pil you can give your dog every 3 months to make sure he/she stays tick-less. You cannot buy this in a regular store. You need to have a prescription by your vet or order it at your vet.
  • Nexgard: In contrary to Bravecto, Nexgard is a pill which you’ll have to give your dog every month. Same as Bravecto, you can only order this at your verterinarian.

Natural products

No doubt you’ve already done some research before and found collars created with natural products which are labeled ‘tick repellent’ such as this natural tick collar. Although these might work, there has not been any official research done and thus no results on how well these products work (or don’t work). So don’t hesitate to try them out, but prepare yourself  for some jolly ol’ tick-removing time!

Ticks evolve and get resilient to chemicals
Yes, this is actually true! Such as any animal, ticks also evolve which results in chemicals which just don’t work anymore. We all know the brand Frontline. It’s a good brand and has been around for a very long time. But this is exactly the problem. It has been around too long and ticks just got used to the chemicals being used in the Frontline tick collars. Yes, ticks are smart little suckers (no pun intended, still funny though). It would be a shame that you’re using (and paying) for a product every month which just doesn’t work anymore.

Wait? All seasons are tick seasons now?

Yes, you’ve read that right! All seasons are tick seasons now! We used to have a lot of ticks only in the warm months, starting from March until October. Like that wasn’t enough, we now have ticks all year round thanks to global warming. If you’re a non-believer, the ticks clearly show global warming is not a hoax. So tick repellents are even more important now! Not only for your dog, but also for you. 

Oh and by the way, don’t forget the fleas in this equation. Fleas also stay alive all year round. Thankfully these tick repellents also work for fleas. By the way, if your dog has a cat-friend at home which doesn’t leave the house, that cat is not safe from fleas. Without knowing it, you can take fleas or flea eggs into your house and onto everything and everyone, including the indoor house cat. So keep that in mind next time you’re buying a tick repellent for your dog. Don’t forget the cat! 

So, to conclude:
Lots has been said, but these are the main takeaways:

  • Tick-collars work the best! The ticks don’t even get near your dog and the chemicals don’t enter the bloodstream of your pup.
  • Seresto (small and medium/large dogs) and Scalibor (for small/medium dogs and large dogs) are really good tick-collar options and cheap options.
  • Tick collars work year round. 
  • Pills and pipettes are good alternatives but keep in mind the ticks will still bite, they just can’t hold on. With pills the chemicals do enter the bloodstream of your dog.
  • Pills and pipettes only work 1 month, or up to 3 months (depending on the product) so don’t forget to buy these in time!
  • There has not been any conclusive research done into natural tick repelling collars so we can’t say they work. 
  • Ticks evolve and become resilient to chemicals, such as the substance Frontline uses. 
  • Be mindful of your choice. Tick collars is still big business.
  • All seasons are tick seasons (yep, that sucks!)

And most importantly, try some stuff out. See what works for you. And if you want to hear more about what veterinarian Charlotte had to say about your dogs’ health, check out the podcast. It’s only in Dutch (sorry!). Check out the other blogs too, I’ve written all the information gathered in the podcast in different blog articles.

Jowkes, Ciaokes, (b)aaikes! 

Jill Cools
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