Homemade Mosquito Repellent for Dogs
Easy to Make Mosquito Repellent for You and Your Dogs.
Where I live in Brazil, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are a constant problem for dogs. This problem increases during our wet season which runs from December through May. Although there are insecticides, repellents and other poisons to combat these pests, I prefer to use natural products for myself, my animals and in my home.
When I read about the dangerous chemicals that are in some of the repellents, I shake my head in disbelief that these are sold to the general public. Although DEET is now marketed as safe for humans, it isn't the case for pets. Because animals lick their fur they will be consuming some internally which is toxic to them. That fact alone tells me it is not something I want on my skin, either. Years ago I was given some good advice about skincare, they said, “don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't be willing to eat.” Your skin is the largest organ you have so why would you spray it with something toxic?
Although we can put on clothing to prevent us from being bitten by mosquitoes, dogs, can't. You might think that their fur will protect them and to some extent it does, but not all dogs have a thick coat.
Does Fur Protect Against Insect Bites?
At the moment I have two dogs, a medium sized mongrel, and a Doberman cross. The mongrel has longer hair than the Doberman thus protecting her from mosquito bites on her sides, neck, and back. Her ears, legs, and abdomen area are still susceptible to insect bites. The Doberman has short hair and when she is bitten it shows. She'll get raised lumps that are visible through her short fur.
I don't like the thought of either of them being bitten and so I made it my goal to find a pet-friendly natural repellent for them.
Because my neighbors have lived here all their lives, I mentioned to them I wanted a natural mosquito repellent. Not only do they have homemade recipes for repellents, they also are a wealth of information about medicinal uses for the various plants growing in this region.
How to Make Mosquito Repellent at Home
You might be wondering if you can just go and buy a mosquito repellent specific for dogs. Yes, you can, but you can also easily make it yourself. That way you know what's in it and that it's safe. I make two types here at my home. One has a base of citronella, which I have growing here at my home. The dogs love this plant and I often see them eating it and also throwing themselves into the center of it to have a good roll around. I am assuming they do this because they know the scent protects them from insects or they just like rolling in a fluffy plant.
The other one I make is one with a base of cloves. To make this is super easy. The ingredients are simple and easy to find.
- Rubbing alcohol, cloves, and a little baby oil. That's it!
Although I don't do it, other people around here add whole peeled garlic cloves to this mixture. I have seen it sitting on people's counters when I go into local shops. As you know, cloves are very pungent and it's their strong smell that makes this mixture work.
To make it you just pour a small packet of whole cloves (not ground) into the bottle of alcohol. Leave it for 3 days. Add a few drops of baby oil to make it easier on the skin. What you'll be left with is a brown, rather disgusting looking liquid that smells like Christmas! To apply, I put it in a small spray bottle, which is fine for me but my dogs prefer me to put some in my hand and rub it over their bodies. It is the sound of the spray they don't like, so I just rub it on them.
I know it works because if I forget to apply it, in the morning, her smooth coat is covered in small lumps.
Be warned though, the mixture with cloves can stain things brown so don't apply it to yourself and wear white clothing.
Home Made Insect Repellent Using Citronella
For the citronella, the procedure is the same, I choose to chop the citronella up and then put it in the bottle of alcohol after removing any older or tough parts of the plant. Again I leave it for 3 days. The liquid will have a green tinge but this I also use this to spray around my house. I find this a much better solution than buying expensive and toxic chemicals which are found in commercial insecticides.
I generally use the plant and not essential oils however you can use them if you prefer. Read the label for correct dilution rates.
There are many different plants that are effective against unwanted pests.
For the control of mosquitoes the following work well:
Although I use the plants growing in my garden, I realize that for many people it isn't possible. It could be that you don't have the plant or don't want to have any mess. With the essential oils, there is no waiting around for it.
I use these 3 in conjunction with my homemade. I always have a bottle ready to go. There is no need for my dogs or ourselves to go out unprotected.
Apple Cider Vinegar as an Insect Repellent
Another popular and easy to make repellent is using apple cider vinegar. The insects hate the smell and acid of vinegar.
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup witch hazel
- 5 drops citronella oil
Combine and put into a spray bottle. Reapply as needed.
Do you believe natural based products can work as well as commercial repellents?
Suitable for Humans
Although this article is aimed at safe natural repellents for dogs, they are also safe for humans and I also use this as my repellent. The only thing you have to be aware of is the potential for staining using the cloves (brown) or the citronella (green). This is of course not an issue if you use the essential oils.
Repellents, Insecticides and Pesticides
These are three words we hear and often they're used interchangeably. There is a reason for the confusion as some of the insecticides and pesticides leave behind smells and chemicals that act as a repellent. Let's clear up some of the confusion.
- Repellents are applied to the skin and are used on humans and animals. Repellents help prevent the insect from biting.
- Insecticides are used to kill insects and may be formulated to work on one type such as mosquitoes or it may be a multi-insecticide which will kill several.
- Pesticides are used against pests, insects being one. Pesticides also can include products that are made to work against rodents (rodenticides), fungi, weeds, snails, ticks, mites etc.
In the US the products are now labeled with warnings that are dependent on their toxicity.
© 2017 Mary Wickison