Flies often seem like very unnoticeable creatures to us, but to our dog they can cause discomfort or even put them in danger. The difference is that we can successfully defend ourselves from them, while our canine companion often cannot be that effective in this regard. In order to understand how to protect our dog, we need to discuss why the fly attacks on dogs occur and what we should do once we recognize them.
Do Flies Bite?
People who live in cities, often come across a common house fly, and this fly won’t bite us, but just bore us. However, many other types of flies which can be found outdoors, in nature, rural areas or farms, do bite.
Some of the biting types are stable flies, horse flies or black flies. So, never underestimate these creatures and be on the lookout for the bite marks on your dog.
Why Do Flies Bite?
Flies are parasitic and attracted by mammals. The most logical explanation for their bites is simply feeding off blood and torn skin, but they would also be attracted by other types of food or feces particles.
Because dogs have warm body temperature and a thick layer of coat, it is also a great spot for creating a nest where flies can lay eggs. Bear in mind that from their eggs, maggots can appear which exacerbate the bite wound on your dog.
Even if you clean your dog regularly, he still can catch some dirt, and in combination with heat emitted by our dog, he makes for a perfect target.
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Who is the Most Likely Target?
There are dogs which are more likely to be attacked by flies. Smaller breeds of dogs are usually safer from this nuisance. Dogs which have an upright type of ears are enlisted as the most affected breeds.
Also, dogs that spent a lot of time outside are more at danger than those we keep inside of our house or a flat. If your dog is used to being indoors, put screens on your doors and windows to create even safer conditions.
Are Fly Bites Dangerous to Dogs?
Fly bites can be dangerous to dogs and not just because of the pain the dog feels after being bitten, or the disgust we feel when we think about fly nest on our dog.
Flies are attracted by sore places on the skin, like already created bite marks, open wounds and scratches. To make things even worse, since flies go to dirty places, they transmit that dirt to our dog’s wounds. This can lead to infection and cause various health problems.
Keep in mind that even if the wound is very small, it can be infected and worsened, which can lead to the deterioration of your dog’s immune system and make more difficult for him to beat other diseases.
How to Recognize a Fly Bite?
If you see redness, especially on your dog’s ears or nose, you can assume it’s a fly bite. Also, you will probably see him scratching the sore places on his body. Sometimes there is a visible bite wound which looks like a red dot or bump, similar to the mosquito bite which you would see on yourself.
In more serious cases, you can even see blood coming out of the wound or find a small nest of flies.
How to Prevent Fly Bites?
The best prevention is keeping your dog’s surroundings clean. It will be more difficult for you if your dog is used to being outside in the hot seasons. When there is a swarm of flies around, think about letting him inside the house until the evening. Also, always remember to put away food leftovers and clean his kennel and food bowl more often during summers.
It is not enough to clean your house and yard. Give your dog a bath more often than in other seasons. There are soaps and shampoos with strong smells which can chase away insects from your dog.
Plants with strong smells, flowers such as lavender and rosemary are your friends in this battle. While protecting you and your dog from buzzing creatures, they will also look nice in your house.
Additionally, your vet will also have several suggestions about some commercial or home-made sprays you can use against flies. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
How to Treat Fly Bites?
As in most cases, prevention is the best cure. However, if your dog gets bitten anyways, there are some tips and tricks on what to do next.
If there is a rash or redness, treating it with water and soap. In case his ears are the affected parts, you might need to cover them with a cloth to prevent the wound from getting infected or your dog from scratching it and making it worse.
If the bite marks are still there, contact your local vet to be on the safe side. In some cases, fly bites can lead to more serious infections when the vet has to remove the dead skin from the wound and prescribe the medicine.
Often, the wound will heal on its own since fly bites are usually not too serious. The important thing is that you protect your dog from future fly attacks, especially if his skin is already sore. Take your dog inside, at least until his wounds heal.
Fly bites are definitely not the worst thing which can happen to your dog. Still, work on prevention by thoroughly cleaning your house and yard to spare your dog the unnecessary pain. Be extra careful if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors.
However, if you notice a bite, don’t panic, because in most cases they cause only temporary discomfort to your dog. If the redness lasts for more than a few days, check this with the vet and follow his instructions on what to do next.
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