How to Keep Flies Off Dogs

We all know how irritating flies may be, especially during late spring and summer period. They keep going around and buzzing around our ears. To make it even more frustrating, they are quite quick so it is not easy to let them out or kill them.

However, being boring is not their most dangerous trait, especially for our dogs. Flies can create a fruitful soil for the break of an infection on dogs. This is why owners must consider the reasons why flies attack our beloved pet and the ways to prevent fly bites on dogs.

Why Are Flies Dangerous for Dogs

First, it's because their bite hurts. Flies can bite dogs, creating sore or irritated skin. Not all types of flies bite; for example, a common house fly cannot bite, so if your dog is indoors, this is one of the risks you can cross off your list. However, other types of flies which are found in nature like stable flies, horse flies or black flies do bite, and they can create bite marks on your dog’s skin.

Why flies are dangerous to dogsAdditionally, flies which can bite usually target the most vulnerable places on your dog. They will attack your pet's face, because it is more difficult for them to defend it, or the dog's ears because they are the least hairy so it is easier to reach the skin.

When bite marks are created, there is usually a little bit of blood, which makes it an even greater target for the other flies. This is dangerous because any kind of wound has the potential for becoming a nest of other flies and maggots.

Whether they can or cannot bite, the greatest hazard is that flies can cause an infection. Flies are known to go to places which are dirty, covered in rotting food or feces. Flies pick particles of these and transmit them onto your dog. Be aware of this threat if your pooch has some sore part of the skin, scratch, or open wound. Infections can lead to very serious diseases like staph or tetanus, and/or drop of the dog's immune system.

How to Keep Flies Off Dogs

horsefly that bites dogs

1. Cleanliness as the Cure

It's important to keep your house and yard clean. None of the other rules matter if this requirement is not met. If your dog is used to being indoors, it is a bit easier of an task.

Take out your garbage regularly and clean all the bins after they have been emptied. Do not let your dog rummage through garbage (use dog-proof trash cans if you have to). Make it a habit to put your meal leftovers in the fridge or cupboard immediately after you are done eating. If you spill anything around the house, like sweet juices, coffee, or leave a stain from a fruit, wipe it immediately.

Make sure that your pooch is bathed regularly, especially in the hot periods of the year. The remains of food in his coat will make him a prominent target for the flies buzzing around. Be extra careful if your pet has unclean parts of the body as a result of a skin disease or other type of illness resulting in diarrhea. In these situations, your canine will be even more appealing to flies, which can cause infection and further worsening of his health condition.

2. Guard the Yard

If you usually like to keep your dog outside for as long as possible, let him inside if you see a swarm of flies around the pup. It is easier to maintain a clean environment inside of a house or an apartment, especially if you have screens over your doors and windows. In the yard, the situation is a little more unpredictable.

If you want long summer days in the garden with your pet, try to keep it as neat as possible. Throw away all the garbage and food leftovers. Cut the bushes and collect the leaves, because they are a perfect hiding spot for the dirt which will attract the flies.

After you feed your dog, remember to clean his bowl, and if he cannot eat the whole portion don’t leave it out for later – take it inside or throw it away. It can be a big project, but try to check all the corners, old sheds and dumpsters outside to put a stop to a fly attacks.

3. Liquid Deterrents

If none of the above helps, turn to your vet or go shopping. There are plenty of over-the-counter fly repellents for dogs you can find online, or stronger prescription sprays. They can be used either directly on your dog, or in his immediate surroundings. Read the instructions before using these sprays and never use it more than it is prescribed.

If you prefer home-made repellents, you can use an apple cider vinegar. Spread it all over your dog’s body and face, and while it will be perfectly harmless for him, it will take him off the flies’ radar. You can even put a little in their meals as an additional protective layer. However, since the dogs are not very likely to eat food with it willingly, it can be mixed with water in the 50-50% ratio.

4. Helpful Herbs

Whether your dog is inside or outside, plants can be used as deterrents against flies. In particular, you can plant flowers such as lavender and rosemary. While their smell is very nice to us, it will work as a repellent for the flies. Another advantage is that these can make a pretty beautiful garden.

Additionally, bay trees and sweet basil have the smells which chase the flies away. The best part is that they are decorative, and also edible, so we can add these fly repellents to our meals.

5. Use a Little Bit of Magic

The online community has one additional advice which is circling the Internet like a wild tale. The tale says that if we put coins or other shiny particles into a plastic bag with water and hook it somewhere around us, the flies won’t come near that place.

There hasn’t been a scientific proof that this works, but Farm Bureau suggests that this is caused by the refracted light coming through the bag with water. Since the flies don’t have the ability to focus their sight to something else, and the light gets quite bright, they simply change the flying direction and avoid us and our dog altogether.

You need to take this method with a grain of salt, but it doesn’t hurt to test it.

In SummaryTips on How to Keep Flies Off Dogs

Apart from being particularly boring insects, the flies can inflict wounds and fly bites on dogs, which can then lead to more serious infections in pets.

The greatest fly repellent of all is clean house and yard. After this condition is fulfilled, try other aides such as over-the-counter sprays or those prescribed by vets, home-made deterrents or planting different herbs and flowers with strong smells.

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Rachael is a writer living in Los Angeles and an alum of UNC Chapel Hill. She has been a pet owner since the age of three and began dog-walking in 2015. Her nine-year-old Pug and best pal, Ellie, is the queen of sassy faces, marathon naps, and begging.