Safe Mosquito and Fly Repellent for Dogs

Mosquitoes and other insects are not only annoying, but they can also transmit deadly diseases to your dog through a simple bite. Fortunately, there are several products that can help repel these insects, reducing the likelihood of disease transmission. However, not all products that work in the environment or on humans are safe for a dog, so it’s important to both protect your dog from mosquitoes and other insects and make sure you don’t hurt your dog in the process.

What Diseases Do Mosquitoes and Other Insects Transmit to Dogs?

Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are all insects that can easily transmit diseases to dogs through a simple bite. Mosquitoes can transmit the deadly heartworm disease, fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella, and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia, Babesia, Bartonella, tularemia, and anaplasmosis. Ticks can also cause paralysis in dogs due to the venom they secrete and can cause hepatozoonosis if the dog eats. Only certain species of ticks can transmit certain diseases, so not every dog ​​will be susceptible to all of these diseases if only one or two species of ticks are present in their habitat. Regardless, all dogs are susceptible to insect-borne diseases, even if they live exclusively indoors. Insects can easily enter a home, so no dog is completely without risk.

Dangerous Insect Repellents for Dogs

While people use various insect repellent sprays, lotions, and even plants to repel mosquitoes and other insects, many of these can be dangerous to a dog, so they are best avoided.

DEET – Products containing DEET should always be avoided as they can cause seizures and death in dogs. Many mosquito repellents for humans contain this ingredient.

Safe Mosquito and Fly Repellent for Dogs

Citronella plants and products – The smell of citronella is irritating to dogs and if large amounts of the plant are consumed or citronella essential oil is used, it can also be toxic. Many products designed for safety around pets contain citronella, but dogs don’t like it.

Geranium plants – When eaten, geranium plants can cause vomiting, rashes, lethargy, and loss of appetite in dogs.

Marigold plants – Most marigold plants (Calendula officinalis) are considered nontoxic to dogs, but can cause mild gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea if consumed in large amounts.

Garlic plants – Ingesting garlic can cause severe problems such as anemia and collapse, and can occur several days after ingestion. Occasionally, people give their dogs very small amounts of garlic to try to repel fleas, but it’s not worth the risk and it’s not effective against fleas.

Essential Oils – Many essential oils can be harmful to dogs, especially if not properly diluted and applied with a carrier oil that is also safe for dogs. They are best avoided as they can cause skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset if licked, and severe lung damage if in spray form or inhaled from a diffuser. Even more serious symptoms can occur depending on the type and concentration of oil. Harmful essential oils for dogs include camphor, cinnamon, citrus (D-limonene), pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, ylang-ylang, anise, clove, thyme, juniper, yarrow, and garlic and should always be avoided.

Safe Insect Repellents for Dogs

Many products and plants are usually safe and readily available to use as insect repellents and management options for dogs.

Basil plants – These can be planted in the ground or in pots to repel mosquitoes.

Catnip plants – They may attract some cats, but mosquitoes don’t like catnip plants.

Safe Mosquito and Fly Repellent for Dogs

Lemon balm plants – Lemon balm plants may attract bees and butterflies, but mosquitoes don’t want anything to do with them.

Rosemary plants – These plants are usually safe unless a very large amount is consumed. However, if you aren’t afraid of your dog eating the plant, they can be helpful in repelling mosquitoes.

Peppermint plants – In large quantities, peppermint can cause vomiting and diarrhea. However, if the plant is out of your dog’s reach, a peppermint plant (not the essential oil) can help repel mosquitoes.

K9 Advantix – This is a monthly topical ointment that contains ingredients that repel ticks and mosquitoes. However, it should never be used on cats or dogs that live with cats, as it is highly toxic to cats, even when in contact with a dog it has just been applied to.

Vectra 3D – Like K9 Advantix, this is a monthly topical that repels mosquitoes, but is also toxic to cats.

Diatomaceous Earth – As long as you are not using chemically treated products intended for industrial use or pool cleaning, diatomaceous earth is safe once the dust settles on the ground. Avoid inhaling it if you use it in the garden or house, but otherwise it is considered non-toxic. It destroys flea eggs in the environment so they cannot hatch, and it also dries out and kills adult insects. While it is not technically a repellent, it can help prevent fleas on your dog.