When it comes to diseases spread by mosquitoes, the best solution is prevention. There are many ways to reduce the chances of your dog being bitten by mosquitoes, even during the summer when you and your pup want to spend more time outside, and there are steps you can take to prevent diseases from infecting your dog if they do happen to get bitten. Here are some tips to protect your dog from mosquito bites.
1. Update Heartworm Treatment
Whatever course of heartworm treatment you and your veterinarian have decided to provide to your dog, make sure it is up-to-date and your dog is protected. Some dog owners choose medication, while others rely on natural solutions, but whatever you prefer, make sure your dog is treated. Heartworm can kill dogs, so it is very important that you take preventative measures. There is no perfect way to prevent all mosquito bites, and heartworm prevention treatment may be your dog’s last line of defense.
2. Stay Indoors When Possible, Especially During Peak Hours
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so it may be best to walk your dog at other times of day when the mosquitoes aren’t so aggressive. Keep your dog inside as much as you can, and make sure that the doors and windows are closed. If you have any screens, make sure that they are in good shape and repair or block any holes that mosquitoes may be able to get through.
3. Use Dog-Safe Insect Repellent
Do not use human insect repellent on your dog. There are several insect repellents on the market that are specifically designed for dogs, and your veterinarian can recommend some that will be appropriate for your pooch. There are also some natural solutions that may work for your dog, too, and you should discuss these with your vet. Some natural insect repellents for dogs include lemon eucalyptus oil, geranium oil and soybean oil, thyme, clove oil, and neem oil. Again, you should NOT use any of these products without first consulting your veterinarian.
4. Get Rid Of Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which includes puddles, ponds, outdoor dog bowls, and bird baths. Anywhere that rain water or irrigation water can pool and collect can be a mosquito haven. If you have any of these on your property, be aware that they are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and your dog is at much greater risk for bites. You may want to consider reducing the number of places where water can pool on your property.
5. Grow Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
There are several plants that act as natural mosquito repellents, and planting a few on your property may reduce your dog’s chances of getting bitten. Some plants that are known to repel mosquitoes include lavender, catnip, basil, lemon balm, peppermint, and rosemary. There are other plants that can repel mosquitoes, but they may be toxic to dogs. Always do your research before gardening in your yard if you have a dog.