(This article has been updated.)
Warm temperatures call for dips in the kiddie pool, backyard lounges, and pupsicles for your dog. Sounds like all fun and games … that is until those pesky, bloodsucking mosquitoes turn your summer motto from, “sun’s out, buns out” to “sun’s out, bugs out.”
While mosquito bites are typically more of an expected inconvenience than anything for us, they pose a greater threat to our furry friends. Mosquito bites can cause allergic reactions, heartworm disease and West Nile virus in dogs. Although rare, mosquito bites can also cause Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
While there are plenty of commercial mosquito repellents on the market, some contain chemicals that aren’t safe for your dog. (And don’t even think of trying to use human mosquito spray on your four-legged friend, as the two most common ingredients, DEET and Picaridin, are toxic to pups.)
We’ve come up with a list of six natural ways you can keep mosquitoes away and your pup safe this summer.
1. Spray Your Backyard with a Natural Pest Spray
Typical pesticide sprays contain harsh chemicals that can be toxic to dogs. A great alternative is a natural product that is animal-friendly and gets the job done, like Wondercide Natural Flea and Tick Yard Garden Spray.
Wondercide’s backyard spray contains plant-based ingredients proven to be safe for dogs, cats, and humans! The ingredient that really packs a punch is cedar oil, which kills and repels pests, acting as both a preventative and treatment.
It can be applied to outdoor areas like gardens, flowers, lawns and patios. All you need to do is use it twice within 2-10 days to maintain a pest-free backyard.
Price: Starting at $39.99
2. Turn on a Zone Repellent
Keep mosquitos at bay with this rechargeable spatial repellent from Thermacell. The E90 provides protection for a 20-foot zone, without harsh chemicals, flames, or smoke.
Using heat-activated technology, you just set down the mobile device, push a button, and in about 15 minutes you and your dog are completely protected from mosquitos with its scent-free repellent. It comes with a 12-hour repellent cartridge, but you can buy one that lasts for 40 hours. For those who want a more durable repellent for outdoor adventures, like camping with your dog, check out the more rugged Thermacell EX90.
3. Light Dog-Friendly Candles Outside
Candles can be a great way to keep mosquitos away and add a bit of a nice touch to your backyard.
This mosquito-repellent soy candle from Murphy’s contains zero toxins, preservatives or chemical additives. It’s made entirely of natural, organic ingredients. This candle contains essential oils with mosquito repelling properties.
To ensure the utmost safety for your pup, only burn candles in an outside area that that is within your sight and in a location safe for you and your dog. And never leave a candle unattended.
Price: Starting at $9.45
4. Add a Natural Bug Repellent Tag to Your Dog’s Collar
Equip your furry with a small but useful accessory that will keep mosquitoes away.
The Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea, Tick and Mosquito Dog Collar Tag contains no pesticides or chemicals but helps repel mosquitoes and other pests.
This metal tag uses frequencies to create a natural barrier that will annoy insects. Once attached to your dog’s collar, it becomes fully effective within three weeks and lasts for a year. Your dog can enjoy living bite-free as long as she’s wearing her collar or has it close by if removed.
Price: Starting at $54.99
5. Find Your Green Thumb and Grow Some Plants
If you’ve ever wanted a reason to begin gardening, now’s your chance!
Plants like peppermint, lavender, rosemary basil, catnip, citrosum and lemon balm naturally repel mosquitoes. These are safe for dogs, so you won’t have to worry about what might happen if your dog ends up chewing on them.
Do not grow plants such as citronella, varieties of marigolds, geraniums and garlic plants since they are toxic to dogs.
6. Clean or Cover Any Standing Water
A female mosquito can lay anywhere between 100-400 eggs on water, and it only takes two days for those eggs to become larvae. Yikes!
Eliminate the chance of mosquitoes breeding and invading your backyard by cleaning or covering standing water, as it’s what they need to survive.
Areas to cover include untended pools, clogged rain gutters, bird baths, kiddie pools, buckets and dog bowls.