There's nothing worse than having flies nearby, buzzing and getting in your face. These irritating bugs aren't just annoying, however. They carry diseases that can make you and your dog sick. Taking steps to deter flies from your home and pets can keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. From using dog-safe household items as a repellent to growing fly-deterring plants outside, there are many steps you can take to keep flies off dogs and away from your space.
Causes of flies on dogs
Flies tend to be attracted to messes, so to keep flies off dogs, keep your pets and spaces clean. Providing your dog with regular grooming and good hygiene is important to help him stay healthy, but it also keeps flies and other bugs away. Regular bathing can reduce bacteria on the fur. Flies are also drawn to unclean spaces, and they specifically seek garbage and feces as they search for a spot to lay eggs. So, if your dog, home, or yard are not kept clean, the pests will come around more often.
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Make sure your yard is kept dry and well-maintained by cutting the grass and picking up dog poop. Fence off any areas with standing water to keep your dog away from them. Keep your dog's bedding and areas of play clean and free of waste. Make sure garbage is regularly emptied and that indoor cans are covered to prevent flies from breeding. In warmer climates, flies are more common, but growing plants like basil, catnip, or lavender outside can help (but since some plants are toxic, place them in planters out of your dog's reach).
Effects of fly bites on dogs
Not only are flies annoying to your dog but some types can bite and cause discomfort. When a bite happens and blood is shed, more of the bothersome bugs will be drawn to your pet. The bites and large amounts of flies can upset your dog.
They may scratch excessively to try to get them away, which can cause skin irritation. If left untreated, the bites themselves, which appear red and blotchy, can become inflamed and infected. If your dog is bit by a fly, make sure you thoroughly but gently clean the area with warm water and soap. If the wound does not heal, visit your veterinarian.
Remedies to keep flies off dogs
While essential oils are sometimes touted as a natural home remedy to keep flies off your dog, use caution when applying them or diffusing them around your dog. When diluted properly, essential oils can have many benefits, but for our pets, they can also be toxic. If you want to use them safely, ask your veterinarian. Also, bug repellent sprays made for humans — whether commercially produced or homemade — are not safe for dogs and should never be used.
Applying apple cider vinegar in areas where flies hang out can be an effective deterrent. Dilute an equal amount of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and lightly mist it on your pet's coat. This household item can also soothe skin issues and is good for your dog's coat. You can also use it to make a fly trap to catch bugs that are drawn to its sweet aroma.
If the issue persists, your veterinarian may recommend a dog-safe topical cream to keep flies away. There are also dog-safe sprays you can use on your dog's collar or bedding (but make sure they dry completely before letting your dog be near them), and there are pretreated vests designed to repel flies from your pet. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations and before trying anything new with your dog.
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