With summer on the way, the bugs are coming back out in full force. We need to keep our dogs safe from mosquitoes, fleas, other insects, and the nasty diseases they can carry. That’s why it’s a great time to observe Insect Repellent Awareness Day on June 3rd!
The best way to keep your dog safe from potentially dangerous insects is to have a talk with your vet. Always talk to your vet before you try any methods for your dog’s pest prevention, even those you find in this article.
It’s important not to let your dog go without any insect protection. Fleas can cause dermatitis, itching, and infections, while mosquitoes can transmit heartworm, West Nile virus, and other possibly deadly diseases.
With that in mind, here are a few solutions you can talk to your vet about in honor of Insect Repellent Awareness Day!
Flea medications often repel ticks and mosquitoes, as well, and they can come in a variety of forms. They can be medicated topicals, sprays, powders, shampoos, or collars.
Each have their pros and cons, but many pet parents rely on topical treatments, which are usually effective for about a month. Frontline and Advantix are popular brands.
Some dogs experience serious side effects with these treatments, and many dog parents fear that these medications are toxic and will harm their dogs. If you have these fears, talk to your veterinarian about alternatives that have fewer side effects.
Homemade Flea Repellents
You can make a natural flea repellent spray by mixing 8 oz. of apple cider vinegar, 4 oz. of water, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix them over the sink because there will be a reaction. Find full instructions here.
You can spray the mixture directly onto your dog’s bedding, usual hangout spots, or on their fur. Be sure to avoid their eyes and any open wounds, of course. The spray will not kill fleas, but it should make them jump off your dog and stay off.
Aloe vera and cayenne pepper can also be mixed to create a topical solution that fleas hate. Make sure to avoid the eyes and open wounds, and if your dog is going to lick it off, it may be best to skip this treatment or use an Elizabethan collar.
Citric acid is a natural flea killer, and you can create a mixture by boiling a lemon and letting it soak overnight. You can use this in a spray bottle or to wash your dog’s bedding to get rid of fleas hidden inside. Again, avoid the eyes and wounds.
Lavender is another solution, as fleas hate it. You can let it soak overnight in water to create a spray that will repel fleas.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
There are plenty of natural bug sprays that pet parents make using essential oils. The most common you will see is lemon eucalyptus oil, which is the only natural oil recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Other plant-based oils have insect repellant properties, such as lavender, rosemary, basil, and peppermint. Be sure to dilute any oils you use, as they are very powerful for dogs.
There are several plants that act as natural mosquito repellents, and planting a few on your property may reduce your dog’s chances of getting bitten.
Some plants that are known to repel mosquitoes include lavender, catnip, basil, lemon balm, peppermint, and rosemary.
There are other plants that can repel mosquitoes, but they may be toxic to dogs. Always do your research before gardening in your yard if you have a dog.
Another simple way to prevent bug bites and infestations on your dog is to simply use good judgment. For example, keep your dog inside during the peak hours when mosquitoes come out. Most species in the US are active at dusk.
Also, check your dog when they come inside. Pay attention to their face, ears, armpits, and the base of the tail, as these are areas where bugs like to attach. You may also find ticks that you need to remove.
Wash your dog’s bedding or sleeping areas regularly. This can disrupt the lifecycle of fleas by destroying their eggs.
Remove standing water from your property. Puddles, bird baths, and anywhere water sits can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
And as a reminder, the best way to keep your dog safe is to have a talk with your vet. They can give you the best guidance for your unique pooch!
How do you keep bugs away from your dog? Do you have any tips for other pet parents on Insect Repellent Awareness Day? Let us know in the comments below!