Home Remedy to Keep Flies Off Dogs

by Kristina de la Cal, Demand Media
    Fly strikes can lead to irritation and infection on your dog's skin.

    Fly strikes can lead to irritation and infection on your dog's skin.

    Don’t let your precious pooch become a victim of fly strikes. Exposure to fly-infested areas can leave your furry friend vulnerable to fly attacks that often break the skin and lead to infection. Keeping flies off your dog is a crucial part of helping him stay happy and healthy.

    Health Hazards of Fly Strikes

    Flies are more than just annoying little critters; they can pose a genuine health risk to your canine companion. Most flies will attack your dog’s ears or face where he is less able to defend himself against the painful bites. The broken and damaged skin attracts even more flies that come to feed on blood meal and cause additional irritation. Even if your precious pooch is not allergic to fly bites, some flies may use the damaged skin to lay eggs that later hatch into maggots and generate a breeding ground for infection.

    Environmental Fly Control

    Making the environment as unappealing as possible is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping flies away from your dog. Flies are most active during daylight hours and especially in high heat, so keep Fido inside the house during the hottest times of the day. If allowing your dog indoors is not possible, the next best thing is to keep your yard fresh and clean at all times. Any food scraps or waste products left unattended in your yard will sound the dinner bell for flies and leave your pooch vulnerable to an inevitable fly frenzy. Washing out your dog’s dish after each feeding and picking up dog feces several times a day will help you maintain a more sanitary outdoor space that is less appealing to flies.
    Another dog-friendly method of environmental fly control is less conventional than traditional cleanliness, but has a reputation for effectiveness and involves nothing more than a zip-top bag of water and some pennies. Despite lack of scientific explanation for its effectiveness, flies can be successfully repelled by hanging a clear bag of water with one or more copper pennies in it around areas that are fly-infested. As silly as it may sound, give it a try to see if it can help you protect your precious pooch from the perils of fly strikes.

    Healthy Nutrition

    Pamper your pooch with a high quality diet of nutritionally balanced meals. Strong and healthy animals are far less appealing to flies than those who are weak and ailing. If you make sure that your faithful friend is getting all of the necessary nutrients to keep him strong and healthy, he will be better protected from the dangers of fly strikes.

    Essential Oils

    Protect your pooch from fly strikes by making your own non-toxic fly repellent from essential oils. Since the chemicals in most commercial fly repellents can be as harmful to your dog as they are to the flies, using essential oils to protect your faithful friend might be the solution you've been looking for.
    Certain essential oils have natural fly repelling properties. Idaho tansy, geranium, sandalwood, lavender, rosemary, and lemon essential oils are all known to repel flies naturally. To make your own essential oils spray, dilute five to 10 drops of your preferred essential oil into a 32-ounce spray bottle of distilled water and shake the bottle well before applying.
    Avoid getting spray into your dog's eyes, nose or mouth by using a cloth or cotton swab to apply remedies to his skin. Never apply essential oils directly to your dog's fur or skin without first diluting them with water since pure oils can irritate the skin.

    Apple Cider Vinegar

    Enlist the help of apple cider vinegar in your battle against flies. Apple cider vinegar is a natural fly repellent that you can apply topically to your dog or add to his food and water. Since most dogs don’t appreciate the taste, though, your best bet is to dilute apple cider vinegar with water 1:1 in a spray bottle and apply it to your dog’s ears and face.

    About the Author

    Kristina de la Cal is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, “Breaking up without Breaking Down," in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images