How to Keep Flies Off My Dog: 8 Methods To Shoo Them Away

Is your Bulldog becoming a literal “lord of the flies”? Flies buzzing around are annoying for canines, but it’s not surprising that they seem to be a fly magnet. After all, dogs’ bodies emit various odors and discharge that flies find appealing. With this, a horde of flies will make your dog look like walking filth. So to help you out, I’ll share here the methods I used on how to keep flies off my dog in this post.

Why are flies attracted to my dog?

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can dogs sense when something is wrong with their owner

Flies are often drawn to unkempt and poorly groomed dogs. So if you see your canine flocked with hordes of flies, it’s a sign that the pooch is due for grooming. Specifically, flies will get into your dog for these reasons:

🐶Matted and unclean coat

how to keep flies off my dog

The most common reason why flies flock dogs are their matted and unclean coat. It’s no secret that flies like filthy things, so a dog that wasn’t groomed well is an attractive choice.

Moreover, matted fur traps dirt and moisture, which will make your dog stinky in no time. This smell and filth are strong attractants of flies. As long as you’re not fixing this problem, more and more insects will get into your pet’s coat.

🐶Dirty anal sacs

Anal sacs are two pocket-like structures located on each side of the dog’s anus. As your pet defecates, these sacs get filled with feces and other dirt. And obviously, it would be extremely foul-smelling and dirty – a reason why flies infest your dog.

If the flies are targeting your canine’s bum, this might be the reason why. However, there’s another possible cause if you have an unspayed female doggo.

🐶Vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge during a heat cycle is also a culprit as to why flies seem to follow your dog around. This is common among unspayed females who experience bleeding as it enters the estrus cycle.

However, you should also know that female dogs produce various discharges. Most of the time, these fluids vary in color and will have a strong smell. It can be due to disrupted vaginal pH levels, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections. All of which require immediate treatment to save the dog from discomfort.

🐶Traces of feces left on fur

Another reason for the flies is that your dog probably got feces stuck on its rear. This can happen if your pooch touches its feces or if it suffers from diarrhea. You have to clean up your dog to avoid the flies and prevent the gross excrement from getting into your home.

🐶Skin infections

how to keep flies off my dog

Skin infections like dermatitis and yeast infection will cause irritations that will make your dog’s coat smell bad. Also, the bites from fleas and ticks can get infected, which will attract flies to your pet’s body. Basically, any skin problem predisposes your dog to be infested with flies. 

🐶Ear infections

Canine ear infections involve smelly discharge, which can attract flies. And since ear infections get worse when not treated, the fly infestation may also increase. If flies are concentrated on your dog’s face or ear area, you should get it checked for this potential infection.

🐶Hot weather

Flies are more active during the day and whenever the weather is hot. This increases the risk of the flies bothering your dog if the pooch is staying outdoors. Besides, an extremely high temperature will expose a Bulldog to the risk of overheating.

🐶Puppy’s umbilical cord

When it comes to newborn puppies, the stub of the umbilical cord is a major fly attractant. You have to keep the healing stub clean and away from the flies so your pup won’t suffer from an infection.

Are flies hazardous for dogs?

how to keep flies off my dog

Flies don’t usually pose a serious threat to canines. However, it’s a different story if you’re dealing with biting flies. These bloodsuckers can transmit disease and cause severe discomfort to canines if they infest in large numbers.

However, you shouldn’t dismiss non-biting flies yet. While they don’t suck blood from your dog, they still feed on the host’s body secretions. And since canines don’t sweat, these secretions can be skin discharge due to an ongoing infection or vaginal discharge of a dog in heat. Non-biting flies can still transmit diseases, especially if they infest an open skin.

Aside from that, some dogs love playing a game of catch with flies. Some will ingest the insects in the process. Most household flies like drain flies, fruit flies, or gnats aren’t usually a cause of concern. Still, you shouldn’t encourage your dog to consume flies on a regular basis as those with sensitive tummies may experience irritations.

How to keep flies off my dog

One or two flies may not seem a problem, but once the insects are congregating on your dog, you have to do the following: 

1. Observe proper grooming

how to keep flies off my dog

A dirty dog is a fly magnet. It’s important to groom your dog regularly to avoid dirt from accumulating on its coat. Here’s a quick rundown of the grooming tasks you need to do:

  • Brushing. Daily brushing is necessary to remove superficial dirt stuck on your dog’s coat. It will also prevent tangles and matting.
  • Bathing. Most dogs need to be bathed once or twice a month. This is crucial to avoid flies from targeting your dog’s coat. In addition, always use a deep-cleansing dog shampoo that will neutralize bad odors and remove deep-seated dirt.
  • Ear cleaning. This is often overlooked by many pet owners. Ear infections are common among dogs, and they will get worse if not treated. Cleaning your dog’s ears after each bath is important to remove dirt and moisture trapped inside.
  • Expressing the anal sac. This is the grossest part of grooming a dog, but someone has to do it. Removing the dirt trapped on your dog’s anal sac will stop it from being a fly attractant.

Take note that these are just basic grooming tasks. If you’re too busy to perform them, it’s best to trust a professional groomer for the best results.

2. Assess your surroundings

Next, you should assess your surroundings for potential attractants. For example, an open trash can, unkempt mulch, overripe fruits, and the likes will send flies into your home. You must remove this, so your dog won’t get in the middle of the ‘crossfire’.

Keeping your home and yard clean is also crucial to stop flies from finding your dog. Besides, no one wants a fly-infested property.

3. Use essential oils that are safe for dogs.

how to keep flies off my dog

To repel flies away from your dog, you can diffuse essential oils to mask the smell of your dog. But before you fill up your diffuser, let me stop you there.

Some essential oils are POISONOUS to canines. The likes of pennyroyal, tea tree, cinnamon, sweet-birch ylang-ylang, and pine oils are toxic and can cause health problems among dogs. While it requires a high dose to harm a dog, it’s still best to avoid using these oils as fly repellents.

Instead, you can diffuse lemongrass oil. It’s usually safe for dogs unless your pet has a severe case of sensitivity and breathing problems. In this case, you can try diluting the lemongrass oil in a carrier oil like lavender or coconut oil.

You should also consult the vet in case you’re worried about your dog’s safety. As much as you want to get rid of the flies, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your pet’s safety.

4. Clean up your dog’s belongings

It’s important to clean your dog’s bed, toys, bowl, and other items where its saliva and body fluids may have gotten in contact. Over time, these items will start to smell and accumulate dirt, which will be the target of flies. You can schedule a monthly cleanup for these items in time for your pet’s bath.

5. Treat skin infections right away.

You should treat your pet’s skin infections the moment you discover them. If not, the infection will cause discharge to which many flies feed on. Over time, it will become a full-blown skin problem as the flies make the infection worse.

6. Set up a fly trap

Fly traps are very helpful in eliminating the pests and stopping them from annoying your dog. You can use classic sticky traps or container traps to lure more insects. Just make sure that you place it on a spot your dog can’t reach.

7. Make a homemade fly spray.

Another method you can use is a fly spray that you can apply directly to your dog’s coat. This is a guaranteed method to stop the flies from getting near your pet.

The easy solution is equal parts of water and white vinegar or lemon juice. Mix it in a spray bottle and apply it around your dog’s body.

Vinegar has antiseptic properties that will neutralize the smell and reduce infections. The best thing is that vinegar is 100% safe on dogs, but avoid spraying it directly into broken or irritated skin.

Another option you can try is mixing a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a gallon of water. This level of dilution makes the essential oil safe to apply on your dog’s skin. Aside from repelling the flies, it will also leave a fresh scent on your pet’s coat.

8. Spread some catnip around

Lastly, it will help to spread catnip around. Unlike cats, dogs aren’t crazy about catnip, but this herb is said to be effective in driving away flies. It’s also safe for your dog to consume catnip in small amounts. In fact, this herb can help your dog to doze off.

While it’s rare, I still recommend consulting your dog’s vet for potential irritations with catnip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can flies lay eggs on dogs?

A: Any fly can lay eggs on your dog’s skin, especially wounded ones. This is where infections occur and must be treated before the larvae proliferate on your pet’s wounds. Take note that the flies’ eggs can trigger severe infection if not addressed right away.

Q: Do flies cause worms in dogs?

A: Many pet owners mistake maggots with worms. These worm-like creatures proliferate on dog feces and other filthy items where the flies have laid eggs. Take note that fly maggots won’t infest your canine’s intestines the way intestinal worms do. The maggots you see on your dog’s stool only got there after your dog eliminated and not inside the pet’s tummy.

Q: Does dog poop attracts flies?

A: Dog poop is a strong fly attractant. This is why you’ll see hordes of flies latching on your canine’s potty spot. To prevent this from happening, you should scoop after your dog and put the feces inside a sealed bag before tossing it to the trash. Aside from preventing flies, it will also prevent your yard from smelling like poop.

Q: Why are flies attracted to dog food?

A: Dog food is organic matter, after all, so it’s not surprising for flies to be attracted to it. Aside from that, many dog food products have a strong smell and ingredients made of real meat. The saliva of your dog that got into the food bowl also makes the fly infestation worse. To prevent this, you must keep dog food bags sealed, and you should wash your pet’s bowl after every meal.

Q: Do flies go away on their own?

A: Flies infest a place if there’s food for them. So unless you remove the food source or attractant, your place will remain infested with flies. Fly traps will work, but the permanent solution is to remove what’s sending the flies to your home in the first place.

Final words

Knowing how to keep flies off my dog wasn’t a difficult task. With a few household items and proper grooming, I was able to drive the insects away.

Whatever method you choose, make sure that it’s safe for your dog. You can also consult the vet in case the fly infestation is related to an infection.

Do you have personal tips to add here? Let us know in the comment section!

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