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7 Effective Mosquito Repellents That Are Safe For Your Dog

More than just a nuisance to your favorite canine, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm to your dog, causing illness and, in some cases, heart failure. And while veterinarian-prescribed solutions are a first line of defense, the best mosquito repellents for dogs can give them an extra layer of protection when you're spending time outdoors. These repellents come in a number of forms to suit your dog's needs. Here's what you need to know:

Types Of Protection

First, you'll want to determine what type of protection works best for you and your dog. This decision essentially boils down to what your dog will tolerate as well as what's most convenient for you. You can opt for a traditional spray made with essential oils, or you can try a more physical protectant that's infused with mosquito-repelling ingredients, like a collar, T-shirt, or bandana.

Types Of Ingredients

Second, you'll want to determine what types of ingredients you're comfortable with. Here are some pros and cons — and what to avoid.

  • Essential oils: These are great if you're looking to go a natural route, but you'll still need to take precautions. While safe to use topically, essential oils can be poisonous to dogs when ingested. (For more information, consult this PetMD list of essential oils that are harmful to dogs.) They can also be quite fragrant, so they're not ideal if you're concerned about odor.
  • Pyrethrin: This is a derivative chrysanthemums, and according to the VCA, it's a safe mosquito repellents for dogs. Unlike essential oils, they have the benefit of being odor-free, but they're toxic to cats and fish, so you'll want to be wary of that.
  • DEET (the one to avoid): Commonly found in human mosquito repellents, DEET can lead to irritation in the eyes, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and airways of dogs.

To help protect your pup, here are your best options for mosquito repellents for dogs.

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1

The Best Overall

Vet's Best Mosquito Repellent uses plant-based ingredients like lemongrass oil and geraniol to fend off bites with just a few spritzes. The most affordable option on this list, it's safe to use on dogs 12 weeks of age and older and can be reapplied every two hours as needed. Focus on areas vulnerable to bites, like the belly, but avoid sensitive ares like the face, eyes, and genitals. And as with all essential oils, monitor your pet to ensure it isn't ingested. Bonus: this spray is also safe to use on cats.

What fans say: "Although it's fairly early in the mosquito season, I wanted to get something to keep my puppy safe from the bugs. Each time I've used it he has played outside with (so far) no bugs! [...] Also, this spray smells great! It's a nice lemon grass scent and avoids that harsh smell of chemicals."

2

Also Great For Your Dog And Home

You can spritz this essential oil mosquito repellent directly on your dog, but you can also mist it on your pet's bed, the floor, furniture, or any other place he or she makes frequent contact. The formula also eliminates fleas and ticks, and it's available in four scents — cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint. (But keep in mind that the lemongrass can cause slight yellowing on surfaces.) Like the above pick, this versatile option is safe for cats, but you will want to test-spray a small patch before a full treatment.

What fans say: "Here in Maine, the black flies, mosquitoes, and ticks are horrible. This topical spray (which is safe for them) is needed to keep the biting bloodsuckers at bay. [...] I never see any bites or anything attached to him when he comes back inside. He roams into the areas full of standing water, mud puddles in the thick woods behind the house. It smells good!"

3

The Best Mosquito Repelling Collar

While this mosquito repelling collar was originally designed to fend off ticks and fleas, it happens to be formulated with the same essential oils that also fend off mosquitos. It's a mess-free way to get protection, and may reduce the likelihood that your dog will ingest any essential oils.

Each order comes with two comfortable and flexible collars that fit dogs of all sizes, and each collar offers up to six months' of protection.

What fans say: "We live out in the country and are always battling fleas, ticks and mosquitos. Since [I] put the flea collars on both of my dogs, I have not seen any black little critters on them whatsoever. Since it is all natural I do not feel bad putting this around my dog's neck and the fact that it is natural makes me feel better because we always have kids touch and pet our dogs."

4

The Best Mosquito Repellent Bandana

For stylish and odor-free protection, this mosquito repellent bandana does the trick. The bandana features mosquito-fighting permethrin, which is tightly bound to the polyester and cotton fibers. It's machine-washable and will maintain effectiveness for up to 70 washes, so you don't have to worry if your pooch gets into a bit of mud or dirt. Measuring 19x19 inches, it's ideal for smaller dogs and can be trimmed to fit. Choose from orange and green color options.

What fans say: "Perfect for any size dog. Seemed to keep flying bugs away from our boy."

5

The Best Mosquito Repellent Dog T-Shirt

Another odorless (and adorable) option, this mosquito repellent dog T-shirt also uses permethrin to fight off mosquitos and other pests. It offers a bit more protection than the bandana, so it's an ideal option for larger dogs. Made with lightweight cotton and polyester, the shirt is machine-washable and maintains effectiveness for up to 25 washes. Choose from two colors: orange and green.

  • Available sizes: X-small - XX-large

What fans say: "Even though I've used a topical repellent I still put this on my dog for the extra protection from fleas and ticks, especially near the end of a month after I've used the topical. It seems to also repel mosquitoes too, which is great. I go for walks in the evening and the mosquitoes have snuck in the house on the dog before, but I haven't see one since I've been putting this on the dog."

6

The Best Mosquito Repellent Blanket

Great for crates and the outdoors, this mosquito repellent bed can help your pup steer clear of bites while it sleeps. Like the T-shirt and bandana, it's infused with mosquito-blocking permethrin and is odor-free. The 23x16-inch bed is sized for most crates, and the removable and machine-washable cover maintains effectiveness through 25 washes.

What fans say: "We go camping in the summer and I bought this Insect Shield pad to sit on my pets outdoor cot. It is one more thing I could do to help protect my pet from insect bites."

7

A Yard And Garden Spray That Repels Mosquitos

While not intended for direct use on your dog, this insect repellent spray is a great preventative measure to keep your yard and garden mosquito-free. The active ingredient is cedar oil, which also deters ants, fleas, flies, roaches, gnats, and more. It's safe for dogs, cats, plants, lawns, and people of all ages. This option is a concentrated, and when properly diluted, can treat up to 10,000 square feet of surface area.

What fans say: "No mosquitos, flies or anything else bothering humans or animals! I made and applied two gallons from concentrate and still have plenty to treat again when needed. Highly recommend this product!"

8

Also Great: A Skin Tonic That Soothes Bites

If your dog is already dealing with bites, you can use this skin soother for dogs to help relieve itching and irritation. The tonic is made with anti-inflammatory neem oil, as well as mosquito-repelling cedar and lemongrass oils. The first aid formula is also effective for soothing hot spots, rashes, burns and dry, itchy skin. It's gentle enough to use several times a day and is safe for cats too.

What fans say: "I bought Wondercide Organic Skin Tonic for hot spots on my dog. Sprayed her 3x/day. Hot spots gone in four days. It is not greasy & smells good. I also use it on mosquito bites - itching stops immediately!"

Studies referenced:

National Pesticide Information Center (2008, July). DEET General Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/DEETgen.html

National Research Council (US) Panel on Neem. (1992). Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234637/