Mosquitoes spread all kinds of nasty diseases to people and dogs. A mosquito bite can give your pup West Nile virus, canine heartworm and other serious illnesses. Keep your dog safe without using harsh pesticides that deter mosquitoes but can cause long-term harm to your dog and the environment.
Topical Veterinary Repellents
Ask your veterinarian about topical pesticides developed for dogs. Many of these products, marketed primarily to repel fleas and ticks, also work on mosquitoes. Some, available only by prescription from your vet, do additional duty for heartworm prevention. One such product is selamectin, sold under the brand name Revolution. Other products are available over-the-counter. Don't mix the use of pesticides on your dog. If one type isn't working, ask your vet when it's safe to start using a different repellent. The over-the-counter product Bio Spot contains etofenprox and S-methoprene. Bayer Animal Health's Advantix contains imidacloprid and permethrin. Formerly sold only through veterinarians, it's now available over-the-counter.
Various herbs contain mosquito-repelling properties and are safe to use topically. Citronella, often used for mosquito-repellent candles, can be applied topically to ward off the bugs. One commercial herbal repellent consists primarily of geranium and soybean oils, a combination you can put together yourself. Mother Earth News recommends a mix of 2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary. Shake well and daub small amounts on your dog (and yourself). All these ingredients are available at health food stores.
To repel both mosquitoes and fleas, consider the herbal repellent neem oil. This oil, derived from Azadirachta indica, a type of mahogany tree, serves double duty as a moisturizer. You can apply it topically to your dog on the back of his head, behind his ear, on the neck or other places he can't reach to lick. Neem oil gives off a garlic odor, so if you can't stand the smell you can give capsules to your dog in his food for the same mosquito-repelling effect.
Just because a mosquito repellent is safe for you, don't assume it's OK to put it on your dog. Read labels carefully and make sure the product states it is safe to use on pets. People often use Deet, N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, but it can cause neurological reactions in canines.
Keep your dog and yourself safe from mosquitoes by taking a few simple precautions. Since these pests are most active at dusk and dawn, avoid talking Fido for walks during these periods. Remove any standing water in your yard and make sure your window screens are in good repair.
- Dogster: Neem Oil: A Miracle Herb for Dogs -- and for You, Too!
- Mother Earth News: Outsmarting Mosquitoes
- Dogs Naturally Magazine: Natural Mosquito Repellents
- Weather Channel: Controlling Mosquitoes
- ASPCA: Mosquito Repellent
- Omaha Vaccine: Bio Spot Defense
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Advantage and Advantix Now Available Over-the-Counter (OTC)
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.