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Mosquitoes are a nuisance for us humans, but did you know our beloved four-legged buddies can also fall victim to the tiny biting creatures? Not only are mosquitoes a bother, but they are also disease vectors for our canine friends. But worry not –– in this article, we’ll give you tips on how to protect your dog from mosquitoes.  

Why Protecting Your Dog is Important

Do mosquitoes bite dogs? Yes, and protecting your furry friend from skeeters is a matter of keeping them stress-free and disease-free. Mosquito bites can cause red, itchy bumps on your dog. But beyond that, a significant concern is the transmission of heartworm disease, which is potentially fatal.

According to the American Heartworm Society, you should suspect heartworm disease in your dog if you notice:

Mild, but persistent cough
Your dog that once loved exercises is now reluctant to go for a walk or play
Even after moderate activity, your doggo presents signs of fatigue
He or she isn’t as excited about dinner time and shows a decreased appetite, eating less than usual
Weight loss, even if he’s not on a diet or exercising more than what he is used to

If you notice any of these signs, run to your trusted vet. Other mosquito-borne diseases that can also occur in pets (like dogs and cats) are West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Although less common than heartworm disease, these can also cause severe symptoms.

How to Protect Your Dog From Mosquitoes

Now that you know how dangerous mosquito bites can be to your doggo, let’s talk about how to prevent them.

Remove Standing Water Sources

One of the key aspects of mosquito control is preventing mosquitoes from establishing themselves near your home area. Since mosquitoes are not the best at long-distance running (or flying), they prefer to stay close to their breeding grounds.

So if you find a skeeter buzzing around your home, that might be a sign of nearby sources of standing water in your yard. Here are some maintenance tips to prevent that:

Clean your gutters so water can flow easily
Change the water in birdbaths weekly
Fill plant saucers with sand
Keep trash bins and rain barrels tightly closed
Refresh the water in your pet’s bowl daily

Environmental Improvements

Even if you have successfully taken care of any standing water sources in your yard, pesky mosquitoes from neighboring areas can still find a way around your home. For such cases, there are practical ways to safeguard your pet’s living area against mosquitoes:

Install mosquito nets and screens around your backyard dog house.
Routinely clean your dog’s living area to prevent moisture and dirt. Mosquitoes love warm and damp environments, so make sure your pup’s area is dry and clean.
Call in professional pest control to spray your yard with repellents so your pup can enjoy the outdoors safely. Don’t forget to ask the professional how long your pet should stay off the treated area.
Place mosquito traps strategically where your dog hangs around.

There are also essential oils and sprays –– like citronella products, for example –– that are effective at warding off mosquitoes. But when opting for those, keep in mind they should not be used close to your dog’s area or directly on your dog, as they can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal reactions.

Shield Your Dog Against Mosquitoes

Maybe you’re planning a hike or a trip to the park –– mosquitoes will most likely be there as well. In such cases, the environment is not under your control. But not all is lost. Here’s how you can protect the furry members of your family even when you’re away from home:

Avoid peak hours: Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn. Actively avoiding the outdoors during these times can help prevent mosquito bites.
Opt for dog-safe mosquito repellents: Yes, there are mosquito repellents specially designed for dogs. Among sprays, collars, and drops, the options are plentiful to protect against pesky mosquitoes.

An important note: Regular insect repellents that contain DEET may be safe for us but are very dangerous to our pets. They can cause serious harm and, in some cases, even neurological problems can occur.

Keep Your Friend Safe

Dogs are undoubtedly a man’s best friend, and safeguarding them from pesky mosquitoes is a great way to express our appreciation for their loyalty. Now you know how to do it, and surely your pet will thank you with unconditional love and by just being his joyful self. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted veterinarian.

photo credit:

Graduated from the University of Brasília, Teresa Joaquim is a creative writer with a background in psychological science research. When not writing, she is either singing, reading poetry, or cuddling her little one-eyed black cat. Teresa Joaquim

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