We can all agree that mosquitoes are annoying at best. At worst, they can even be deadly, sometimes carrying diseases like malaria to people, and heartworms to dogs.
But do mosquitoes actually bite dogs?
Yes, mosquitoes can (and will) bite your dog. Let’s explore this topic, find out how to keep these buggers away, and discuss which products are best, and worst, for your furry friend when trying to protect them.
Bug bites on dogs and how they are affected
Dogs have an advantage over humans when it comes to avoiding bug bites: Their fur. However, it’s not enough to keep the biting mosquitoes away. Even the thickest coated dogs are vulnerable. Why? Because biting mosquitoes are small and can find exposed skin anywhere: the nose, under the belly, ear flaps, etc. As for thin-haired pups, they’re even more susceptible to these pesky creatures and their bites.
Like humans, our furry companions can develop skin irritations and allergies from various bug bites. It’s important to inspect your dog daily for bumps, lumps, and raised patches of fur. The most common side effect from a bug bite is usually itchiness. If you see your pooch scratching, look for welts, redness, and inflammation.
Mosquitoes and dogs
Depending on where you live, the mosquito activity can vary. Warmer months may seem like we’ve entered into mosquito season. However, it’s actually not a particular time of year that these nuisances are most active; rather it’s temperature levels that affect the activity of mosquitoes. Surprisingly, only the females suck blood, but that still leaves our fur babies vulnerable to their bites.
Mosquitoes, in particular, can carry a number of diseases, with heartworm disease being one of the many. For our four legged companions, it’s important to know that heartworm disease isn’t something to ignore.
Mosquitoes aren’t the only insect that can “bug” your dog
Did you know that ticks, gnats, ants, and flies can also bite your pup? Let’s look at a few of these creatures and how they can “bug” your dog.
From small and medium, to large, these insects can vary in size depending on where you live. Most ants are relatively harmless. However, there are ants that can bite, even sting, your dog at random. Fire ants in particular are pretty aggressive. For a dog, the venom from a fire ant can be anywhere from painful to potentially life threatening.
Though bites and stings can appear anywhere on your pup’s body, the most vulnerable areas are their nose and paws. If you see your dog limping, look for redness, swelling, or bumps. If bitten on the nose, your dog may be in serious danger — as swelling on the snout can lead to breathing problems and panic.
Dr. Howard J. Small, a veterinarian, says, “Allergic reactions to (an ant’s) venom can cause swelling and pain, or more serious anaphylactic reactions leading to death.”
If you see your dog itching after a fire ant bite, “Over-the-counter Benadryl (diphenhydramine) should be administered. This is an antihistamine and will decrease the adverse effects of the venom,” Dr. Howard J. Small suggests. Not every ant bite or sting is cause for a vet visit, but it is important to keep a close eye on your pup and its surroundings.
Fleas are external parasites that feed on the blood of warm blooded mammals. They have the ability to jump 7-8 inches in height and 13-19 inches in length. They burrow down into the fur of their host, usually around the neck, base of the tail, the head, groin, etc. Flea bites are very irritating, causing extreme discomfort for your pup.
Common signs your dog may have fleas:
● Excessive scratching
More severe allergic reactions may occur in pets due to the saliva of the flea – hair loss, redness, open sores, and crusting. It can be challenging to get rid of fleas, but not impossible.
These annoying insects are everywhere. Like ants, flies are relatively harmless. However, there are a few type of flies that do bite, causing pain and potential infections.
The most common biting flies are:
● Deer Fly
● Horse Fly
● Stable Fly
● Black Fly
● Sand Flies
Each of these flies feed on the blood of mammals. Some diseases can be transmitted from these flies; however the stable fly can be most harmful to pets. Biting flies are more attracted to the ears and legs of a dog. If bitten, these flies will feed on the blood, then lay their eggs in the open wound. This may lead to secondary infection, pain and swelling. Dogs that live outside or work on a farm are most affected by these flies.
It’s safe to say that all gnats are annoying, but only two types of gnats actually bite: sand gnats and buffalo gnats. These tiny insects, also referred to as flies, are no bigger than 1/8 to 1/10 of an inch. When these gnats bite, it’s very painful, leaving the skin irritated and itchy. Incidentally, only female gnats feed on the blood of mammals, so they can reproduce. Gnat bites on dogs are typically found on the ears, top of the head, back, and base of the tail.
These small, creepy ectoparasites belong to the arachnid family. They are usually found camping out on leaves and blades of grass in meadows and wooded areas. A tick survives by feeding on the blood of mammals. It usually takes a couple of hours for a tick to find a suitable spot on the skin to start feeding. Though they may be small and slow, these creepy creatures can transmit a number of diseases.
Here are a few common areas that a tick may show up on your pup:
● Sides of the body
If you find a tick on your pup, don’t panic. Grab a pair of tweezers and slowly pull the tick off. Do your best to get the whole head and mouth out from the skin. Save the tick in case you need to show your vet if you see any signs of discomfort from your pooch.
Don’t be too alarmed if you see redness or swelling after a tick bite. Often times, you’ll also see scab in the area of the bite.
Other than in freezing temperatures, ticks can survive, but they’re most active in warmer months. Be sure to examine your pooch daily for any ticks, especially after a hike, camping, or spending time outside.
How to keep insects away from your dogs
Now that we know a few of the creatures that can bite our fur babies, let’s look at some various ways to keep the insects from bugging your pooch.
Manicure your yard regularly.
Keep your grass mowed, pull up any weeds you see in your yard or garden, keep flower pots clean of standing water, and clean up any loose dirt around entrances of the house.
Clean up around the house.
Get rid of any stagnant water –– pool covers, kiddy pools, water bowls, and buckets –– anything the rain may have settled into. Keep the outdoor faucet clean, make sure the sprinkles are free of dirt and buildup, and store the watering hose in a clean dry area.
Keep a clean house.
Wash sheets, covers, blankets, pillows and dog beds regularly. Take shoes off before entering into the home. Keep the inside of your home dry. Vacuum as often as you can. If you have indoor plants or flowers, keep them free of stagnant water, and clean up any dirt surrounding those areas. Throw away any old or rotting fruit. Take out the trash often, and make sure the trash can is tightly shut. Fix any holes you may have in screen doors, fix broken windows, and keep doors closed at all times.
Keep your pets clean.
If you own a dog with long fur, groom them as often as you can. Bathe them every 6 weeks, and clean their paws after a walk. Check daily for fleas, ticks and any signs of bites. Use a fine toothed comb to check for fleas, and use tweezers to remove a tick. Observe your dog daily,
and monitor their behavior. Excessive scratching, licking, chewing, rubbing against furniture, all may be a sign of an unwanted intruder. Keep any wounds clean and bandaged.
Avoid walking at sunset.
As mentioned before, the temperature affects the activity of mosquitoes. While this is true, mosquitoes do prefer the shade over direct sunlight. If your pup is a little more sensitive to bug bites, avoid heading out for a walk during this time.
One of the best ways to keep these pesky critters away is to use a dog mosquito repellent, which leads to our next topic…
Not all products are safe for dogs
As pet owners, we want the best for our dogs. So, when we see them in discomfort from bug bites or fleas, or find another tick on their ear, we immediately want to take action and protect them. With concern on our minds and money in our pockets, we head to nearest outdoor / pet store and purchase what we think will end all pests from ever approaching our beloved fur babies. After all, if the product is out on the market, it’s safe, right? Sadly, that’s not always the case.
The conventional pest repellents we see on the market today are filled with pesticides. These include products like sprays, collars, and topical treatments. They’re regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
*The conventional “best dog repellent” products we see on the market *
It may seem like these products are good for your dog, but the pesticides in these products have been linked to digestive disorders, skin inflammation, organ failure, and even neurological problems.
It wasn’t until 1996 that the EPA started reviewing the safety of pet products. Even more interesting, the Center For Public Integrity’s website states: “The EPA cannot make its own assessment (on products) because unlike the regulations directing the FDA’s approval of human products, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act does not require pet products to undergo field trialsprior to approval. So the agency can only require less extensive testing, often only on one breed of dog or cat. This makes it difficult to predict the effects on the broader population of users.” (Emphasis added.)
However, in a 2008 study, 1,600 animal deaths were reported due to the use of products containing pyrethroids, a type of pesticide. Seizures and digestive disorders have been reported
as well. At the time, Steve Owens, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said, “We found that a number of the current labels have insufficient warning statements on them; sometimes the labels were hard to read and the warnings were buried in the text.”
The founder of BioSpotVictims.org, James Terbush, believes that the EPA should do more. “They’re going to have to do more than change the labels. These products are really too dangerous to be on supermarket shelves.”
For example, the insecticides in flea collars – carbaryl, propoxur, and tetrachlorvinphos – have been noted as some of the most dangerous chemicalsto put on your dog. Though some of these collars are being discontinued, it’s wise to always read the label before purchasing a collar. Certain shampoos may also contain harmful ingredients.
Why you should use a natural repellent
We’ve already learned that certain pesticides and insecticides are toxic, causing a number of health issues in our pets, some even having caused death. However, our pets are not the only ones being affected.
Studies have shown a number of health related issues in humans as well. Spot-on treatments, shampoos, and sprays are also absorbing into our skin when we apply them to our dogs.
Bug repellents that contain DEET are even worse; they’ve contributed to a climbing rate of kidney and liver disease, neurological disorders, and severe skin sensitivities. DEET is a solvent, and it can potentially melt plastic, even manufactured fabrics. And this chemical is still being used in repellents today.
Furthermore, these chemicals are wreaking havoc to our environment. They’re getting into our groundwater and even into the bodies of fish. Yes, the whole purpose of a repellent is to repel, but the use of synthetic chemicals are killing more than just bugs. And they’re throwing our environment off balance.
So let’s discuss some natural, safe mosquito repellents, and what ingredients to look for.
What ingredients should be included in a natural repellent?
Today we’re seeing more and more benefits of essential oils like coconut oil and organic ingredients like beeswax. But people are also seeing the effect essential oils and other organic ingredients have in keeping those pesky bugs away. Natural repellents are made using natural ingredients . And, as it turns out, there are quite a few of these ingredients that bugs don’t like. In fact, studies have reported just how effective essential oils can be in repelling bugs.
Let’s take a look at a few of these natural ingredients.
Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil
This oil is considered a carrier oil. When you’re dealing with more potent oils that are too strong for direct contact, they are often combined with a carrier like olive oil. However, olive oil on its own has several benefits. As an ingredient in a dog safe mosquito repellent, it can help soothe the skin under the fur, carry some of the stronger oils, and keep the skin hydrated.
Like olive oil, organic beeswax can be a carrier for the stronger oils. Since dogs are more sensitive than humans to certain ingredients, it’s important to have a good balance when using essential oils. Beeswax contains anti-inflammatory properties, and helps prevent allergies. So when combining this ingredient with other essential oils, you can create an amazing shampoo and a mosquito repellent for dogs.
Organic Shea Butter
In a 2014 study conducted through the American Journal of Life Sciences, researchers found shea butter to be an effective insect repellent. This is fantastic news, because shea butter not only prevents mosquito bites on dogs, but it’s soothing for dogs with sensitive skin. Combining essential oils with shea butter can be a great essential oil mosquito repellent, and it will leave your dog’s coat feeling soft and healthy.
Trying to avoid insect bites on your dog? Lavender can help. This purple flower is often recognized by its smell and/or appearance. When converted to an essential oil, it can help relieve itchy skin and allergies. The combination of lavender and citronella can effectively repel flies, mosquitoes, and fleas. The scent alone is strong enough to ward off those pesky little creatures.
When turned into an oil, cedarwood is an incredibly potent essential oil. Cedarwood has been registered as a pesticide since the 1960s. However, researchers decided to revisit the efficacy of this oil in repelling insects. As it turns out, this oil is a highly effective all natural mosquito repellent, and found in a number of other repellents as well. Even better, cedarwood is safe to use for both humans and pets, making it one of the best ingredients for mosquito protection for dogs.
Keep in mind that the strength of this oil may effect your dog, so if you plan on making your own natural dog repellent, be sure to start with a small amount. First, see how your dog reacts to it and then move forward to incrementally larger amounts. There are also some natural repellents on the market that contain cedarwood that may work perfectly for your pet. Just keep in mind that all dogs are different and may react differently to certain ingredients.
Like the cedarwood, when rosewood is turned into an oil, it can effectively repel ticks, flies, and mosquitoes. Rosewood also has healing properties for dogs with allergies, skin irritations, and infections. Combining this oil with other essential oils can be a perfect pet friendly insect repellent.
The smell from this essential oil repels ants, fleas, flies, and even bed bugs. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to keep flies away from your dog, patchouli can help. Not to mention, it can keep your pet calm, while promoting a healthy coat of fur. To make this oil even more effective, combine it with other bug repelling oils.
Other oils to consider for a dog safe insect repellent:
Remember, when using a natural repellent, balance is key. A little can go a long way. Make sure the repellent has a carrier oil and use a small amount when testing out your all natural mosquito repellent. Keep a record of all the ingredients you use, and always keep your vet in the loop when trying a new product.
The best all natural mosquito repellent for dogs
Want to naturally repel pests from your pup, without having to be a chemist or mix your own formulas?
Fortunately, more and more natural repellents are coming to market; but with so many choices, what is the best mosquito repellent?
Curealia’s Natural Insect Repellent Balm is a blend of 100% natural oils and beeswax. Rub a pea-sized amount on your pup and say goodbye to mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, ants, even lice.
If you’re searching for the best natural bug repellent, click here to check out Curealia Natural Insect Repellent Balm(also available in spray).
Repel pests, while being gentle on your dog and the environment.
With Curealia Natural Insect Repellent, you’ll never have to wonder if the ingredients are harming your pup. There is absolutely no DEET, pesticides, chemicals, alcohol, fragrance, or anything artificial.
It only contains 100% pure ingredients: Extra virgin organic olive oil, organic beeswax, organic shea butter, and essential oils of lavender, cedarwood, rosewood, and patchouli.
It’s specifically formulated to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
The balm not only helps in keeping pesky creatures away; it also helps with insect bites and fungus. It’s safe around children, too.
Here’s what a few dog owners say about Curealia Natural Insect Repellent:
“This stuff is fantastic not only for repelling fleas, but for mosquitoes and ants, too! No more chemical flea repellants. Yay! Will use this from now on. Love the scent and my dog doesn’t mind me putting it on her.”
“Very pleasant odor and the mosquitoes stayed away.”
“OMG this stuff is amazing!! I put this stuff through the ultimate test, a flea-infested dog in a flea-infested house! Worked like a charm. YAAAAYYYYYY no more poisonous neurotoxins like Advantage, Frontline, etc. :)”
“We live in South Florida and the fleas and ticks are out of control. Curealia Insect Repellent Balm for dogs is everything they promised. Pure, natural, no deet and fleas and ticks are GONE! a little goes a long ways.”
Many customers say this is the best natural mosquito repellent they’ve tried. Now you can try it for yourself.
If you’re ready to try a safe, natural alternative that keeps away pests while protecting your dog, yourself, and the environment from harmful chemicals, give Curealia Natural Insect Repellent a try.