Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best flea combs

Fleas aren’t just a nuisance for your pets. They can quickly take over your home, so your entire family feels the effects. That’s why you want to get rid of fleas as quickly as possible if your dog or cat picks some up. While there are plenty of flea treatments you can use, a flea comb is often the quickest and easiest way to get rid of them.

A flea comb is similar to other grooming combs for your pet, but it’s designed with a key difference — the teeth are spaced more closely together, so any fleas or flea eggs in your dog or cat’s coat are caught between them. You run the comb through your pet’s dry coat and rinse the comb off after each pass to remove any fleas, eggs, or other flea-related debris that you pick up.

If you want to be sure to get rid of all your pet’s fleas, though, you have to choose the right flea comb. That means deciding between metal and plastic options, figuring out the right width between the teeth, and determining other features that will make the comb as easy and effective for your four-legged friend as possible.

With our convenient shopping guide, you’ll have all the facts you need to choose the ideal flea comb for your pet. If you’re still having trouble deciding, our top recommendations are the perfect place to start.

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Not only can fleas make your pet uncomfortable and itchy, but they can also cause tapeworms, anemia, and other internal issues for your cat or dog.

Key considerations

Metal vs. plastic teeth

When it comes to the material that a flea comb’s teeth are made of, it’s important to pay close attention. Combs are available with both plastic and metal teeth, but plastic options don’t tend to be all that durable. Plastic teeth can snap when pulled through tangles in your pet’s coat, particularly if you have a cat or dog with thick fur.

Flea combs with metal teeth, on the other hand, tend to be stronger, so they can get through your pet’s fur without breaking. It’s important to select a comb with high-quality metal teeth, though, so choose an option that uses stainless steel. The metal teeth shouldn’t be sharp on the end either, or they may hurt your pet’s skin when you’re trying to remove fleas.

Width between teeth

For a flea comb to be effective, the width between its teeth is the most important feature to consider. If the teeth are spaced too far apart, the comb won’t be able to catch fleas that are medium or larger in size, which makes it impossible to effectively deal with your pet’s infestation.

Choose a fine-toothed option, so you can be certain that the comb will trap fleas of any size to effectively remove all of the pests from your cat or dog. You can even find some models that have a double row of fine teeth, which can help make sure that no fleas or eggs are left behind.

Type of pet

Many flea combs are designed for use on both cats and dogs. However, some combs are geared specifically toward one type of pet or the other. That’s because dogs tend to have thicker coats than cats, so you may need longer teeth to get through all the fur. If you use a comb with longer teeth on a cat, though, it may irritate flea bites on their skin and make them even more resistant to combing.



A flea comb’s handle is an important feature to consider because you should have a good grip on the tool as you’re combing your pet. If the comb slips or falls from your hand, you run the risk of the fleas jumping right back onto your cat or dog.

Choose a comb with an ergonomically designed handle, so it’s comfortable to hold even for the long periods that it often requires to fully remove fleas from your pet. Some combs even have grooves that allow you to get the best grip possible. Rubberized handles are often the easiest to hold on to.

Flea combs typically feature handles made of wood or plastic. Neither option really affects the performance of the comb, but a wooden handle tends to be more durable because plastic can crack over time (you’ll usually pay less for a comb with a plastic handle though).


Pay attention to the weight of any flea comb that you’re considering. It can take a considerable amount of time to comb your pet from head to tail and remove all the fleas, so you don’t want a comb that’s too heavy or it may leave your hand and arm tired. Combs that weigh approximately 1.5 to 3 ounces are usually the most comfortable to hold.


Some flea combs feature two different sets of teeth on either side of the handle. One side usually features a greater number of fine teeth that are extremely close together, so they can effectively trap fleas and eggs. The other side usually features more widely spaced teeth, which work well for detangling your pet’s fur and removing a dead undercoat. Because of its versatility, you don’t have to have two separate combs for grooming your cat or dog.

Electric charge

Some flea combs are electrified, which means an electric charge passes between its teeth. When fleas are caught between the teeth, the charge zaps the pests and kills them so you don’t have to worry about the fleas getting free and jumping back onto your pet. These combs usually run on AA or AAA batteries.

"Fleas usually target a dog’s hindquarters. "

Flea comb prices

Inexpensive: Flea combs are usually extremely affordable. The cheapest are basic models with metal teeth and plastic handles. They usually range from $1 to $6.

Mid-range: For $6 to $12, you can find flea combs that usually have metal teeth and plastic handles, but they will typically also have some special features, like a molded grip or double-sided teeth.

Expensive: The most expensive flea combs are electrified models that kill fleas between their teeth. They usually range from $12 to $20.


  • Only use a flea comb on your pet when their coat is dry.
  • You may have trouble getting a flea comb through your pet’s coat if their fur is particularly thick or long. It helps to go over their coat with a wide-tooth grooming comb first to remove any tangles before using the flea comb.
  • Have a bucket or container full of hot water and dish detergent beside you before you start using a flea comb. That allows you to rinse the comb in the water after each pass over your pet. Use a deep container, though, so the fleas can’t jump out.
  • Lay out some newspaper or a tarp beneath the area where you’re combing your pet to catch any fleas that might jump free.
  • Start using a flea comb at your pet’s head and make your way down to their tail, working in the same direction as the hair growth.
  • Don’t forget to comb over your pet’s chin, chest, stomach, sides, paws, and tail. Fleas can hide anywhere in their fur.
  • After you’ve gone over your pet’s coat completely, wait a few minutes and then go over it a second time to make sure that you get any fleas you missed on the first pass.
  • When you’ve finished combing your pet, allow the bucket of water that you rinsed your flea comb in to sit for about 20 minutes to make sure that all of the fleas have drowned in the water. You can then dispose of the water by pouring it down the toilet.
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Did you know?
Fleas usually target a cat’s head and neck.
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It’s usually best to use a flea comb outdoors, so you don’t have to worry about the fleas jumping off your cat or dog onto your furniture, carpeting, or other surfaces around your home.


Q. How effective are flea combs in controlling a flea infestation?
A flea comb can effectively trap fleas so you can remove them from your pet. However, unless your dog or cat has only a small infestation, chances are you won’t be able to remove all of the pests with a comb alone. Instead, you’ll likely want to supplement your flea treatment with a topical treatment, oral medication, shampoo, powder, spray, or fogger to fully remove all of the fleas from your pet and home.

Q. Should I only use a flea comb when I suspect my pet has fleas?
It’s actually a good idea to get in the habit of using a flea comb on your pet on a regular basis — even when you don’t have any reason to suspect that he has fleas. If you comb your pet regularly, you’ll be able to catch a flea infestation in the early stages when it’s usually easier to control. Aim to comb your pet as often as he’ll allow to make sure you don’t have a problem on your hands.

Q. What’s the best way to use a flea comb on a reluctant pet?
Many pets, especially cats, aren’t fans of getting brushed or combed. If you have a reluctant pet on your hands, try to use the comb when he’s in a relaxed mood. Your furry friend is more likely to resist combing if he’s already in an anxious mood. Praise your pet throughout the process and offer him some type of reward at the end, such as a treat, to make him more receptive to the process.

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