|Lucy’s ears are hairless and missing the ends from fly strike. We thank AkitaRescue.org for use of their photo.|
Got flies or other biting insects like mosquitoes on your dog or ponies? You can buy effective non-chemical products made from essential oils or make your own concoction. Once again, Mother Nature’s garden comes to our aid — the cedar tree and various plants and herbs contain natural oils that repeal buzzing, flying pests. No need for toxic chemical warfare!
Here is a recipe to keep flies from nesting on your dog’s ears, causing the ear margins to scab and bleed — referred to as “fly strike.”
Mix citronella oil with Bag Balm— this ointment is an all purpose remedy good to keep on hand for skin irritations and abrasions. You may need to soften the ointment to evenly mix in the oil. You can also add these essential oils*: cedar and neem oil. Use 2 to 4 parts oil to 8 parts ointment. Experiment and see what works best for whatever is bugging your dog. Generously coat the ears. Vaseline can be used as a substitute for Bag Balm (available at feed stores or on-line retailers).
OR purchase a cedar-oil based gel (made for horses but safe for dogs). A popular product made in Germany — “Fliegenschutz” (meaning fly protection) is sold here under the name Pharmaka Deo Gel Fly Repellent — same famous CLAC formula containing: citronella oil, clove oil, thyme oil, cedar oil, geranium oil. You can find several online retailers with the help of Google. Another cedar based product — made for horses but safe for dogs — is POCO fly gel. Commonly found in feed stores.
If the ears are severely affected, apply liquid bandage (available at drug stores), to the affected edges and tip of the ear flap beforehand, and then one of the above remedies.
*To find top quality essential oils online, I recommend the NOW products available at iherb.com. [use code Ter129 for first time discount]. You can’t beat their selection of name brands at discount prices. Free shipping available when you spend only $60 and Californians get their orders in just 2 days! Might apply for other states as well — let me know.
To make your own general all purpose insect repellent spray for body use — here is an inexpensive brew used by a thrifty rancher friend of mine who grew up in Germany. I think he may own stock in the Dollar Store.
Jim James Fly Away Spray:
- Buy a bottle of citronella-based fly spray from any farm supply store. I like to use Bronco. Also available from online suppliers like KV Vet Supply and Valley Vet Supply.
- Divide that equally into two other spray bottles (available from the Dollar Store), for a total of three bottles.
- Then fill one-third of each bottle with apple cider vinegar and the remaining one-third of the bottle with fake Listerine (amber mouthwash from the Dollar Store) or splurge and use good old Listerine.
- Add one ounce baby oil to each bottle. If you can get Avon Skin-so-Soft, use that instead of baby oil.
Shake the mixture well before application and spray away!
Newer and more potent bug repellent products are using Geraniol, a powerful ingredient extracted from geranium oil through a unique refining process. Another reason to plant geraniums — beautiful flowers that emit an anti-insect scent!
Geraniol is proving to be a natural and extremely effective insect repellent.
Used in these products:
Bug Band has a product line for people and pets: http://www.bugband.net/.
Defy the Fly makes collars for dogs and horses that can be worn for around the clock protection: http://www.defythefly.com/.
If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, try this safe and effective herbal spray online at Only Natural Pet Store. You will also find a good selection of pet supplements, top quality pet foods, and pet supplies. Nurture nature!
You can keep flies, gnats and mosquitoes off your dog (and you!) without resorting to an arsenal of chemicals. Keep your pet and the planet safe, too.