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Can I Put Bug Spray on My Dog?

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Protecting your dog from bugs is important, but can you put bug spray on dogs?
Person applying bug spray on his/her arm outside.

During summer, bugs not only cause your dog discomfort, but they can put your pet at risk for disease. So can you use bug spray to protect them?

Many human bug sprays contain DEET, a pesticide that can cause your dog to vomit, itch, drool excessively and even go into a full-blown seizure. Try these other methods instead to help protect your dog from biting bugs.

1. Protect Their Surroundings

Dogs want to be outside having fun, so make sure they are able to do so in the summer months. Remember to:

  • Be vigilant about removing standing water, which attracts insects.
  • Keep your grass short, bushes trimmed and remove leaf litter so that your yard is clean and tidy.
  • Avoid walking your dog during peak bug hours. For example, mosquitoes are often more prevalent at dawn and dusk.
  • Keep your home free of mosquitoes by making sure that bugs cannot sneak in through holes in window screens.
A husky puppy scratching his head in an open grass field.

2. Use Flea and Tick Preventives for Dogs

Fleas and ticks are two bugs that especially seek out dogs during the warmer months. There is a wide variety of flea and tick prevention products available for dogs, typically in a pill, liquid topical or collar form. Additionally, some of the topicals and collars not only kill flea and ticks but repel them too. This is important because if a pest is repelled, it cannot bite and transmit diseases.

Unfortunately, most flea and tick products offer no protection for flying insects like mosquitoes and biting flies. But there are some topical products to consider that offer more-broad spectrum protection by targeting fleas and ticks as well as mosquitoes and flies.

Make sure to keep giving your dog their heartworm preventive as well, since mosquitoes can transmit this deadly illness to dogs.

3. Try Natural Repellents

Many oils — such as lemongrass and peppermint — have shown the ability to repel bugs naturally and are now appearing in various products. It's a good idea to check with your veterinarian first before trying anything new, but natural repellents may be another good way to keep bugs away from your dog.

Dogs are happier when they aren't being bothered by bugs. By following these few steps, you can help keep your pet protected from mosquitoes, biting flies and other pests.

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