Warmer weather is perfect for outdoor activities with your pet, like hiking, camping, and swimming. But do you know that the warmer months also increase your dog’s risk of heartworm?
Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites. After an infected mosquito bites a dog, the larvae develop into adult heartworms in about seven months. Some of the most common symptoms of heartworm disease are reluctance to exercise, weight loss, decreased appetite, and a persistent cough. It’s a serious disease that causes heart failure, severe lung disease, and death.
Fortunately, there are many natural insect repellants you can give to your dogs. These insect repellants are guaranteed to be safe and effective!
Consider these tips before you head out with your pet on your first or next hiking adventure:
Homemade Bug Spray
Do you have a knack for making your own products at home? If so, try this natural insect repellant ASAP. You’ll only need to prepare a few things:
- 1 glass spray bottle
- 15 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
- 2 oz witch hazel or other carrier oil like almond oil
Once you have everything prepared, mix the ingredients in your glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray your dog all over. Make sure to avoid getting the spray into your dog’s eyes.
Essential oils aren’t a must-have for your aromatherapy session at home — some also have insect-repellant properties. For instance, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, and pine keep insects away, as well as ants and spiders.
But remember that essential oils are powerful to dogs. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (like grapeseed, olive, or sunflower) before using them on your dog.
Mix one drop of essential oil with 1 ml carrier oil, and then spray the mixture on your dog’s body. You can use more than one type of oil but remember to increase the amount of carrier for every drop of essential oil you use.
Neem oil is an all-natural and effective insect repellant. It’s extracted from the tropical neem tree and is known for its insecticidal compound. Research shows that neem affects more than 200 species of insects, including ticks, sand fleas, biting flies, internal parasites, and mosquitoes.
Neem oil for dogs can help reduce itchiness with allergies, treat skin infections, fight fungal infections, and has even been shown to treat mange and ringworm.
Put a drop of neem oil on different areas in your dog every day during the mosquito season. Start by putting neem oil on top of your dog’s head, behind their ears, on their shoulder blades, along their back and flanks, and at the base of their tails.
Another dog-safe insect repellant is cedar oil. It repels mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. In fact, it’s said that ancient Egyptians used cedar oil for embalming to keep the bugs away.
Most people and dogs don’t seem to mind the smell of cedar oil, but insects don’t like it. If insects come into contact with cedar oil, they can die, as well as their eggs and larvae. This happens because cedar oil pulls the water out of their bodies, interferes with their respiratory system, and inhibits their pheromone receptors.
Pet-friendly cedar oil is commercially available. Look for products formulated with 10% to 20% cedar oil and spray all over your dog’s body before they go outside.
Mosquitoes hate citrus. Use that to your dog’s advantage by using citrus juice to repel mosquitos. To do this, cut some tart fruits and rub them on your pet’s coat. Make sure to avoid any open cuts and their eyes.
You can also make lemon spray juice simply by combining freshly squeezed juice from six lemons and a quart of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, let it steep for an hour, pour it on a spray bottle, and spray it all over your dog’s body.
Keep Your Pets Mosquito-Free
Pet owners exhaust time and effort to keep their pets happy and healthy, so knowing that they have heartworm disease is heartbreaking. Being in that situation can take a toll on your own and your dog’s mental and physical health. We want our fur babies to live as long as possible, right? Ensure that your pet stays in tip-top condition all summer long by protecting them from mosquitos. With the natural insect repellants we’ve presented here, you’ll surely find one that’s easy to use and suits your lifestyle!