Although they may not pose a major health risk to your pet, flies on dogs can be irritating. They will make your dog uncomfortable. The bites are also frustrating and if severe could cause infections on the broken skin. We explore various options on how to get rid of flies on dogs, how to repel them as well as avoid fly infestations. We also venture into black flies on dog’s belly, botflies in dogs and flies eating dog ears.
Flies on Dogs
The most common fly causing discomfort in your dog is the stable fly. However, houseflies, black flies, and deer flies could also bite. Frequent fly bites cause a condition referred to as a fly strike. It is common in dogs living in farms that host other animals. The condition occurs when flies bite the top surface and tips of the ears of a dog. This could also be extended to the nose bridge. The aim of the bite is usually for the fly to obtain blood and the bites can be quite painful for your dog.
Botflies in Dogs
Botflies also referred to as cuterebra, are larvae that form in the host animals’ tissues. Cuterebra reproduce by laying eggs which then hatch into maggots. These maggots are what crawl onto the skin of a passing host when they are in the area of hatching.
Botflies in dogs attack when dogs go into the hatching areas from where the maggots crawl onto their skin. These will then move from the outer skin and enter the host’s body through the orifice. From there they will migrate through various body tissues and make their way onto the skin surface. Here they will establish themselves and can be seen as small lumps on the skin.
If they reach maturity while still in the skin, the botfly maggots will drop off and pupate in the soil. The most certain symptom of a botfly infection is having a warble under the skin. At times, the flies can be seen moving through the skin tissue.
Your dog is likely to pick bot flies in areas that favor their breeding. These include grassy areas with high populations of rodents and rabbits. Dogs that hunt rabbits could also pick them from them. Take your pet to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and removal as well in case you notice botflies on your dog. Removal is easy once the maggot reaches the end of its migratory stage.
According to Pet MD, there is no prolonged immunity to botflies in dogs infestation. They, however, recommend administration of heartworm preventive medication and flea and tick treatments. These will prevent maggots from developing in a dog as well as kill them before they get to an orifice thus prevent their entry into the body.
Flies on Dogs Ears – Flies Eating Dogs Ears
A dog’s ears are most vulnerable to fly bites. Due to the thin skin and hair surrounding them, it is easy to get flies on dogs ears. Additionally, the inability of the dog to protect his ears makes flies eating dogs ears quite easy. When a dog suffers flystrike, it will have some painful bumps on the ears. These may scab or bleed with time.
Once the initial bites have taken place, the dog ears will have blood spots which will attract more flies making them congregate around the ears. As a result, eggs may end up being laid on the ears which later hatch into maggots. You should not neglect your dog to such an extent. Instead, make interventions the moment you notice your dog is attracting unusual crowds of flies.
Black Fly Bites On Dogs Belly
Black flies are most common during summer time. They happen to occupy areas around streams, garbage and compost heaps.
These are not only a nuisance to us but to our pets too. Black flies on dog’s belly and groin area are common. They like being on these parts and biting on the skin of your pet. As a result, your dog will have bright red circles. The reason why they may prefer the underbelly could be due to the thin layer of fur found in this area making it easy for them to access skin.
While the welts inflicted by black flies on a dog’s underbelly may appear gross, they will rarely be a bother to your dog. Other than the initial discomfort caused, there doesn’t appear to be any health risks associated with the bites. As such, no medical treatment is necessary. The bite marks will usually go away with no intervention.
In a few cases though, some dogs may be sensitive to the bites. These could result in inflammation and infections later on. If you notice your dog itching, scratching and licking the point of the bites, it is best to relieve the itch through the right medication. Your veterinarian can confirm if you are dealing with the black flies before recommending some. Keep your dog away from areas with the insects to avoid them developing these welts in the future.
How to Get Rid Of Flies on Dogs
Whether dealing with sand, stable, blow or bot flies, they all are pesky insects. If allowed to thrive, flies will cause fly strikes on your dog which will with time leave the skin vulnerable to infections. To relieve the discomfort and ensure your dog remains healthy, it is important to keep the dog’s environment free of the harmful fly species. Here is how to get rid of flies on dogs quickly.
Eliminating Existing Flies
To get rid of flies permanently and quickly, there are different options. These will mostly kill adult flies and have to be used constantly to effectively clear up an infestation.
- Use flypaper strips to trap and kill flies. These can easily be obtained from pesticide stores.
- To trap flies using apple cider vinegar, pour some of it into a bowl. Attach plastic wrap on the bowl and use an elastic to fasten it. Use a toothpick to poke holes on the wrap and place this around the dog’s feeding area. Once flies get into the bowl they will have no way of getting out.
- Installing a bug zapper could also help. This is more so outdoors. The zapper emits light which attracts bug flies. Once they are close, electric discharge kills them. In cases of severe fly infestations, this can be of great use
Keep Flies away Using Repellents
While still working on eliminating existent flies, you could also keep them away from your home and your dog. Additional measures can also help avoid fly bites on dogs. To achieve this:
- Apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly to their ears. This will serve as a preventive measure for fly strikes since the flies cannot bite through the jelly.
- Make a natural fly repellent by mixing equal portions of apple cider vinegar and water. Spray this on your dog to keep the pesky insects away.
- Purchase a commercial product safe for use around dogs to keep the flies away.
- To keep flies off indoor dogs, hang ziplock bags with a coin inside them around the house. The resulting reflection of light confuses them thus keeps them away.
- Dip a piece of cloth in lavender oil and once sufficiently soaked, place it in a can and leave it around the water bowl and food bowl but out of the dog’s reach. This will repel the flies.
- Spray lemongrass water around the dog’s living areas to instantly kill flies as well as keep them off.
Protecting your Dog from Flies
To further help in getting rid of flies on dogs, here are additional preventive measures.
- To reduce exposure to any type of flies, keep your dog indoors during daylight hours as this is when flies are most active.
- Flies get attracted to decaying matter. This also serves as their breeding areas. Ensure you discard waste products as well as pick after your dog frequently.
- Always clear up your dog’s feeding area off leftover food and clean the dish after use.
- In case your dog has any open wounds, keep them clean and covered if possible.
- Ensure your dog remains clean all the time so as not to attract flies.
Watching your pet’s environment and living area can go a long way in keeping flies away. This will not only keep off flies on dogs but discourage them from being in your home too. Whenever not certain on how to go about any dog related infestation, remember to consult your veterinarian.