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Natural ways to keep flies off dogs

Flies are top problems for dog owners, especially during warmer months. It is in fact the second issues I face with my pug, after flea infestation on him in 2015. For that reason, I believe there are dog owner out there who may face similar problem as I did back then and thus this post is for you.

What are fly bites?

Flies are those winged insects that can transmit different diseases and cause problems in animals. They belong to a complex order of insects called Diptera. Flies usually feed on blood, mucus and saliva. They can also spread bacteria, parasites and viruses in the body of animals. Biting flies can feed on animal blood. The bites can be very painful and cause allergic reactions.

Flies usually prey dog’s ears and nose because dogs are unable to protect these areas. The buttocks area is also affected by flies. The flies lay their eggs in open wounds in the dog’s body. In such cases, the dog has to be anesthetized and the veterinarian can clean the wound and remove the dead skin. Due to fly bites, dogs can also develop secondary infections. Normally, flies bite those dogs that live outside the house or work in the farms. Dogs that live inside the home are less likely to be affected by flies. Dogs with upright ears such as German Shepherds and Collies are commonly affected by it.

The group of biting flies include:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Black flies
  • Horse fly
  • Stable fly
  • Biting midges

Common symptoms

If you see flies near your dog, it is quite possible that fly bites are happening. The common symptoms of fly bites are:

  • Itching
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Redness
  • Bite wounds
  • Bite that may bleed
  • Fly presence on the fur
Flies loves to warm wound. So watch out for any open wound on your dog, get a fly repellent spray to keep these nasty flies away from your pet.

Why do flies bite the dog?

Flies can be present on the dog’s coat, and if it is unclean then it causes skin problems and diarrhea (if you need help to stop diarrhea fast, click here). When flies bite the perineum of a dog, they lay eggs there and cause diarrhea. This condition is preventable if you keep your dog clean and take him inside the home. 

Horse flies can target your dog’s belly, ears and backside area. It can hurt your dog and causes infections. Moreover, these flies are irritating to the dogs. Mosquitoes are dangerous because they can cause heartworm disease. It can be fatal for your dog.

Flies are usually parasites and can feed on the blood of mammals. The matted fecal which is present in the dog’s coat also attracts the flies. So, the fly bites these dogs and gets fresh blood.

Natural ways to keep flies off the dogs

Here are 10 natural ways that can help your dog by keeping the flies off the dog.

Apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar is a natural fly repellent that will keep flies away from the dog. You can topically apply it to your dog or add it in his or her food. The presence of trace minerals and nutrients in the apple cider vinegar are beneficial for your dog’s health. You can use 1 teaspoon for small dog and 1 tablespoon for medium size dogs.  

White vinegar is best for this purpose but most of the dogs do not like the odor of the vinegar. So, it is best to add dilute apple cider vinegar and water into the spray bottle. You can apply it on your dog’s body to help repel flies. Do not spray it on your dog’s face.

You should also apply a small amount of vinegar to your dog’s ears with cotton. Avoid wiping deep into the ear canal. You should not feed apple cider vinegar to those dogs that are allergic or may be sensitive to yeast products. Otherwise, it can cause problems, so you should consult the veterinarian if your dog is allergic or has skin problems.

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Essential oils:

The nontoxic fly repellent you can use to keep flies away from your dog is essential oils. Generally, commercial fly repellents are toxic for flies but they can also harm your dog. Some essential oils contain natural fly repellent properties that can be very effective.

Most effective fly repellent essential oils are:

  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Idaho tansy
  • Sandalwood
  • Rosemary
  • Geranium

To make a spray of essential oils, you should add 5 to 10 drops of oil into 32 ounces of purified water into the bottle. Always shake the mixture before applying.

Grooming your dog:

Flies attract bad and unpleasant odors. If you brushed and bathed your dog once or twice a month. It will keep flies away. You should add the bathe and brush in your dog’s grooming session when you notice flies biting your dogs.  

It is also important to clean the fur around the anus and genital areas. You should also trim the fur around the anus, so it does not get dirty or matted.

Keep the dog’s environment clean:

If you want to keep the flies away from your dog, the first line of protection is to provide the flies an unpleasant environment. You can keep your dog inside the home during the hottest time of the day. Flies are more active in the daytime, so you should reduce the outdoor trips of your dog.

You should also keep your dog’s place fresh and clean. Leftover food or waste can attract the flies. Therefore, you should remove the waste from the yard. Also, cleaning your dog’s bowl after each feeding and cleaning up the pop can help to make an environment which is less attractive to flies.

Clean the dog’s bedding:

Wash the dog’s bedding at least once a week that can help to remove the dirt from it. Cleaning the dog’s bedding prevents the unpleasant smell and gets rid of the fly eggs that may be hidden in the fabric. You should wash your dog bedding with pet friendly soap and hot water. It is an effective way to keep the bedding free from dirt, bad smell and fly eggs.

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Baking soda:

If your dog’s bedding still smells bad after washing, you can use baking soda. Baking soda may have some effective properties that can help to get rid of unpleasant smell. For this purpose, you should sprinkle some baking soda on the bedding, then leave it for 15 minutes. After that you should vacuum it up.

You should reapply the baking soda when you wash your dog’s bedding to keep the bedding smell good.  

Petroleum jelly:

If flies often bite your dog’s ear, it is beneficial to apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly on the dog’s ears. Take a small amount of petroleum jelly into your hand and rub it on your dog’s ears. Petroleum jelly can help to repel flies and enhance the wound healing process. Flies are more prone to affect the open wounds, so you should try to apply petroleum jelly to those areas to prevent irritation and itching.

Citronella candles:

Citronella is the scent that is fly repellent and also safe for your dog. You can buy citronella candles and use them in your dog’s room. Citronella based fragrances are also available in the market that can be used as fly repellent. But the citronella candles that create smoke are more effective to repel the flies from your dog’s living area.

Healthy diet:

Giving your dog healthy and good quality food can help to prevent them from fly bites. Healthy and strong dogs are less attractive than poor and sick dogs. If you make sure that your dog is getting the necessary ingredients then he will be protected from the danger of fly bites.  

Fly repellent plants:

If you have some space, you can grow some plants that are very effective fly repellent. Some of them are very delicious, so it can be used for dual purposes.

  • Bay trees: Bay trees are a very useful herb and also keep the flies away from your backyard. They can also be used in cooking that makes food delicious. You should grow them into pots, otherwise they can grow huge. You can also keep them in the small size by regular trimming.
  • Lavender: Lavender can tolerate a hot Mediterranean climate. The flowers can give off a strong smell that can keep the flies away.
  • Sweet basils: These plants can grow faster in the summer. They have a strong odor that helps to get rid of the pesky flies.

Final words:

Fly bites are so annoying for your dog and they can also cause many diseases. Flies such as deer flies can affect both you as well as your dog. So, it is important to do everything to keep flies away from your dog. If you keep your dog clean, it can help to get rid of flies. You should also use different ways to keep them away, otherwise they can cause harm to your dog.

Prevention is the best treatment from fly biting. Flies are mostly attracted towards urine, fecal and standing water. So, you should clean your dog’s nearby area. It is also necessary to keep the dog inside the home during the peak fly times. If any infection is caused due to fly bites and it is not severe, you should use home remedies to treat them. You should clean the affected area. Try to keep your dog inside the home until the wound heals. 

flies off dogs

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Last update on 2021-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Mariana Perez

My name is Mariana, and I'm a huge Terrier lover, I like to contribute to pet blogs to share my own experience and knowledge on caring for dogs as man's best friends. I hope you enjoy my article and if you do, Like and Share to FB or Pinterest is always appreciated.

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