How to keep flies off dogs?

Flies buzzing around can be quite irritating, but for dogs, it can cause them to become anxious and stressed. If you’re searching for ways to protect yourself and your dog from flies without resorting to harmful chemicals, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of effective tips that can help keep those annoying insects away. Plus, most of these ideas are safe and easy to implement. So keep reading to learn how you can provide your dog with some much-needed relief from flies.

deer fly

Table of Contents

How to keep flies off dogs?

To combat flies that are bothering your pet, it’s important to understand why they are attracted to your pet in the first place. Gaining this knowledge will help you take more effective steps to get rid of them.

Why is your dog attracting flies?

Here are several reasons flies like dogs:

  • Dogs with unclean or matted coats caused by skin conditions or illnesses are prime targets for attracting flies.
  • The perineal area of your dog can be a breeding ground for flies if it has fecal matter, as the insects are known to lay their eggs in that region. When the eggs hatch, they can turn into maggots and infect your pet’s body.
  • Some types of flies, such as horseflies will bite, especially around their ears.

Although flies can be irritating to your pet, they typically don’t pose serious health risks like other biting insects such as mosquitoes. Nonetheless, taking steps to keep these bothersome flies away from your furry friend can certainly make their day better.

deter flies from dogs

Safe and proven methods to keep flies off your dog

Now that we’ve learned why flies are attracted to dogs, let’s learn some safe and proven methods to keep them away from your favorite pet.

Keep your pet clean and healthy

Keeping your dog clean and healthy is the first step in preventing flies from bothering them. Although it may not be easy, there are some things you can do to help achieve this.

Regularly grooming your pet is crucial as flies are attracted to bad smells and dirt. Be sure to keep the area surrounding your dog’s genitals clean and well-trimmed to minimize the risk of it becoming dirty or matted. You can also give your pet regular baths to help them stay clean and prevent flies from lingering around.

Feeding your dog high-quality food is important to maintain their health and prevent skin conditions and other internal illnesses that can attract flies. Weak and sick animals are more likely to be targeted by flies, so it’s important you give them the right fuel.

A nutritionally balanced, high-quality diet helps your dog feel its best. 

Choose a dog food that has a good share of proteins. Carbohydrates, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, electrolytes, and essential fatty acids are all significant ingredients to look for on the label.

dog's ears

Keep your pet’s environment clean

Keeping your dog’s environment clean is important when it comes to keeping flies away. You can do that by following several steps:

Wash your dog’s bedding

To prevent stains and odors from accumulating, it’s important to wash your pet’s bedding at least once a week. This will also help eliminate any fly eggs that may be hiding in the fabric. Use hot water and pet-friendly soap to wash your dog’s beds, and sprinkle baking soda on them afterward to get rid of any remaining odors. Allow the baking soda to soak in for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up.

Clean up the trash around your home

Keeping your home free of garbage is essential as it attracts biting flies that feed on the waste. Additionally, garbage emits a bad odor, which can attract more flies.

Pick up leftover dog food

Once your dog has finished eating, pick up the food bowl and clean it right away. Make sure you feed your dog at a particular time every day and clean up the food bowls right after they eat.

Clean up dog poop

Flies are attracted to dog poop because it’s an ideal spot for them to lay their eggs, which later hatch into maggots. These larvae feed on the decaying matter found in the feces, making it a prime breeding ground for flies. Keeping your yard clean and free of dog poop is important to prevent the presence of bothersome flies in the area.

Vacuum the carpet

If you have carpets in your house, vacuuming them a few times a week will be helpful to prevent fly infestations.

vacuuming for flies

Use natural fly repellents

There are many pet-safe products that you can use as a natural fly repellent. An added benefit is that they also repel other insects such as gnats and mosquitoes. Some of the natural fly repellents include:

  • Lemongrass oil – You can dilute lemongrass oil with water and apply it to your dog or sprinkle it in the area to get rid of flies.
  • Coconut oil – It is a safe and proven natural fly repellent to apply to your pet.
  • Peppermint oil – You can spray this oil in areas where pests may enter your home. It’s effective in repelling various insects and small animals, including caterpillars, aphids, beetles, flies, fleas, mice, and moths. However, it’s important to avoid applying this oil to your pet’s skin.

Plant fly-repelling plants

Although planting fly-repelling plants alone may not be sufficient to keep flies away, certain plants emit scents that many pests find unpleasant. Consider planting tansies, marigolds, lavender, mint, basil, woodruff, and rosemary as they are known for their ability to repel flies.

Furthermore, you can try eucalyptus, catnip, rue, sage, lemon thyme, lemon balm, bay, and pennyroyal. The best thing about most of these plants is that, besides keeping flies away, they smell amazing and make fantastic cooking essentials.

Use petroleum jelly

Using petroleum jelly to create a barrier around target spots is a great way to repel flies. Even if you keep your dog, house, and yard clean, flies may still be a nuisance, especially if you live in a swampy area. Applying petroleum jelly to target areas can help protect your dog from pesky insect bites. Most often, flies like to bite the ears and other thin skin on your dog. Applying petroleum jelly around these areas acts as a deterrent.

Use flycatchers

You can kill flies with flycatchers. Place the catchers around areas where flies come looking for food sources. For example, you can place them around a sink, a trash can, or other areas you suspect they frequently visit. You can also place them near doors and other entry points to your home.

Use safe bug sprays to repel flies

When you’ve tried all kinds of natural home remedies but still cannot shoo away flies from your pet and house, it’s natural to think of store-bought fly repellents.

Well, while it’s not a bad idea, when buying fly repellents from stores, there are a few things you should consider, as an unsafe product could mess up the health of your loved pet.

When buying fly repellents, make sure you look for natural ones. Fly repellents that are extremely safe to use contain peppermint, neem, cedarwood oil, and lemongrass oil. These products are safe, effective, and pet-friendly.

Also, remember that all that is natural isn’t necessarily safe for dogs. Perhaps, most are not. Not only chemical sprays, but many essential oils are toxic as well!

In fact, the Animal Humane Society has issued a warning against using tea tree oil or citric oils, as they are extremely toxic to dogs, so make sure you don’t put these kinds of oils anywhere on your dog.

Eugenol is a common insecticide that is often believed to be safe for animals, but even that can cause allergies, irritate the skin, and be poisonous if swallowed. So, be extra cautious before using any natural or chemical-based remedy to keep flies off your dog. 

Apple cider vinegar is another common remedy used by many people to ward off flies. However, ACV, especially when diluted, is not effective against flies. In fact, studies show that it attracts fruit flies. So, using it may worsen the problem rather than fix it.

Remember that not all fly species are repelled by the same odors. So, when it comes to using natural remedies, finding what is effective, safe, and works for your pest can be a trial-and-error process. Also, make sure you read the label of any product you buy from a store for your dog.

fly bites prevented by Petroleum Jelly


Flies can pose a serious health risk to your pet, not just a nuisance. Fortunately, the methods outlined in this article can help keep flies out of your dog’s environment. To summarize the key points:

  • Keeping your dog and his environment clean and tidy will go a long way toward deterring flies.
  • Use safe and natural fly repellents, place a flycatcher, plant fly-repelling plants, and feed healthy food to your dog.
  • Before buying a fly repellent from stores, make sure you read the instructions and ingredients on the label carefully and confirm that the ingredients are safe and effective to use on your pet.
  • Don’t forget that all things natural aren’t necessarily safe!
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

I hope you enjoy reading some of the content and ideas from this site, I tend to share articles and product reviews on a daily basis, so be rest assured… you won’t run out of things to read!

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