3 Natural Mosquito Repellents for Dogs

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

3 Natural Mosquito Repellents for Dogs
Reading Time: 7 minutes

When it comes to ensuring your pet’s safety and well-being, the significance of mosquito repellent for dogs cannot be overlooked. Mosquitoes serve as carriers for numerous contagious canine diseases, and addressing this concern promptly is essential to prevent potentially deadly consequences.

Before we delve into the treatments, let’s first examine the different types of mosquito-borne diseases that can impact dogs.

What Diseases Do Mosquito Bites Bring to Dogs?

a puppy is scratching himself

Mosquito bites not only cause bothersome itchiness on dogs but also transmit alarming diseases such as:

1. Heartworms

The most concerning consequence of mosquito bites is infestation by a parasitic worm known as Dirofilaria immitis. These worms reside within the gut of mosquitoes and are transmitted to dogs while they feed.

Adult heartworms have a long lifespan of up to 7 years.

Initial stages of infestations rarely come with clinical signs. Thus, it is not uncommon for many cases of heartworm disease to be overlooked until the condition took a turn for the worst.

Severe heartworm infestations in canines can seriously damage many vital organs in dogs, such as the heart and lungs. Liver and kidney failure are also some of the unfavorable outcomes of this disease.

2. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV)

The natural hosts of EEEV are equids such as horses and passerine birds. However, infected mosquitoes feeding on other animals, such as dogs, increase the virus’ transmission.

Most dogs are resistant to EEEV, but puppies are susceptible to catching the disease. If contracted, the virus impairs the central nervous system function and induces symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach upset
  • Inappetence

Within 1 to 2 days, neurological symptoms like depression, seizures, loss of coordination, and eventually coma may take place.

3. Tularemia

Tularemia is a bacterial infection caused by Francisella tularensis that commonly affects rabbits and rodents. While dogs are less likely to contract this disease, puppies and pooches with weakened immune systems are susceptible to it.

Pets can catch the disease in various ways such as ingesting contaminated water and getting bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Tularemia can compromise several organs in the canine body, including the liver, lungs, spleen, and bone marrow. Clinical signs of the disease include:

  • Inappetence
  • Low energy
  • Jaundice
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Abdominal pain

Serious cases of tularemia in dogs cause more severe symptoms such as liver masses and abscesses, high fever, and organ failure.

4. West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes become carriers of the West Nile virus after feeding on infected birds. These blood-sucking insects then transmit the illness to other animals through their bites.

Dogs are less susceptible to contracting West Nile virus than horses and certain bird species. However, puppies, senior dogs, and immunocompromised canines have a high chance of developing symptoms.

West Nile virus causes inflammation and swelling of the brain. Dogs affected by the disease will exhibit neurological signs such as circling, tremors, and convulsions.

5. Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis emerges as a result of the presence of an intracellular protozoan called Leishmania. This disease exhibits its presence in diverse global regions, with a notable prevalence in rural areas.

Its impact is not limited to humans alone; dogs, cats, and select rodents can also fall victim to its effects. The mode of transmission occurs through the bite of an infected small sand fly. [source]

Leishmania infection establishes itself as a chronic ailment, often persisting throughout the lifespan of the host. The clinical indicators of this condition encompass:

  • Skin lesions
  • Ocular abnormalities
  • Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose)
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lethargy

Why Invest in Using Mosquito Repellents for Dogs?

a dog is looking uncomfortable

Preventing mosquitoes from spreading transmittable diseases to dogs requires a twofold strategy. Dog owners must provide internal and external protection to their canine companions.

For instance, heartworm preventatives stop these parasites from thriving in your dog’s system before they cause a full-blown infestation. However, they do not guarantee your dog’s safety from mosquito bites.

So for external protection, mosquito repellents for dogs are great additions to your arsenal. They deter mosquitoes from feeding on dogs and prevent these bloodsuckers from passing off deadly diseases.

3 Natural Mosquito Repellents for Dogs

Ward off mosquitoes from your furry pal the natural way using these dog-safe essential oils:

1. Catnip Essential Oil as a Natural Mosquito Repellent for Dogs

Catnip Essential Oil

Catnip essential oil is one of the most popular natural repellents for mosquitoes.

Studies have found that it does have a deterrent effect on certain species of mosquitoes such as the Aedes aegypti and Anopheles harrisoni, which are capable of transmitting heartworms in dogs.



  1. In a glass bowl, combine catnip essential oil and coconut oil thoroughly using a spoon.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a dark glass cosmetic jar.
  3. Take a coin-sized amount of the catnip essential oil lotion and apply it to your dog’s coat.
  4. Repeat until you have administered this natural mosquito repellent for dogs on all areas of his body.
  5. Make sure to massage the lotion on him until it is properly absorbed and no residues are left.
  6. Apply it on your dog every time you take him outdoors.

Additional information

  • Administering diluted catnip essential oil orally can effectively provide sedation and alleviate anxiety or stress in dogs. Furthermore, it has shown the potential to enhance their sleep quality.

However, it’s important to note that this should not be employed as a daily supplement. Instead, reserve its use for specific occasions and ensure to seek approval from a veterinarian beforehand.

  • The topical use of catnip essential oil is a good antiseptic for wounds and cuts in dogs.


  • When applying the natural mosquito repellent on your pooch, keep him distracted with a dog toy or a treat. It prevents him from licking off the lotion from his body.

2. Vetiver Essential Oil as a Natural Mosquito Repellent for Dogs

Vetiver Essential Oil

According to several research, vetiver essential oil exhibited repellency against three species of mosquitoes that can feed on dogs namely Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus.


  • 10 drops of Vetiver essential oil
  • 2 ounces jojoba oil
  • ¼ cup distilled water


  1. Pour the distilled water into a spray bottle.
  2. Add 10 drops of vetiver essential oil and 2 ounces of jojoba oil.
  3. Gently shake the spray bottle to mix the ingredients.
  4. Spray the mosquito spray repellent for dogs on your pet’s body.
  5. Target areas with lesser hair density, such as behind the ears, the stomach, and the inner thighs. These regions tend to be favorable feeding spots for mosquitoes.

Additional information

  • If used in aromatherapy, vetiver essential oil can help provide relief to dogs suffering from anxiety, aggression, and trauma.


  • The natural oils in the pet-safe insect repellent spray may separate from the water when unused. Always shake the bottle gently but thoroughly before spritzing your dog so that the ingredients are well combined.
  • Essential oils oxidize when exposed to heat and sunlight. It reduces their potency and makes them spoil easily. So store this natural mosquito repellent for dogs in a dim and cool area.
  • Be careful not to spray on sensitive body parts of your dog such as his eyes, nose, mouth, and groin.

3. Neem Essential Oil as a Natural Mosquito Repellent for Dogs

Neem Essential Oil

A study observed that neem essential oil has a varying repellent effect against different types of mosquitoes.

A combination of 2% neem essential oil and coconut oil presented around 96% to 100% protection from Anophelis, 85% from Aedes, and 37.5% from Armigeres.

On the other hand, its effectiveness in fending off Culex spp. mosquito species produced broader results, ranging from 61% to 94%.


  • 1 organic and unscented soy-based floating wax candle
  • 15 drops of neem essential oil
  • 1 dozen neem leaves


  1. Place the neem leaves inside an empty mason jar.
  2. Fill the mason jar with distilled water. Leave just enough space for the wax candle to float without causing spillage.
  3. Add 10 drops of neem essential oil to the water, then stir thoroughly.
  4. Carefully place the floating candle inside the mason jar.
  5. Light up the neem mosquito repellent candles in your dog’s sleeping area at least an hour before his bedtime to keep away mosquitoes.
  6. Allow the scent to clear off before letting your dog get inside the room to avoid respiratory irritation.

Additional information

  • Neem essential oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in clearing up skin problems in dogs, such as itchiness, mange, and skin infections.
  • Aside from repelling mosquitoes, neem essential oil is also a good deterrent against parasitic insects like fleas and ticks.


  • Neem mosquito repellent candle is ineffective if used by itself. It should be paired with topical deterrents in order to produce a satisfying result.
  • Place this natural mosquito repellent out of your dog’s reach so he will not accidentally knock it over.
  • Do not leave the candle burning around your dog without supervision.

FAQS About Mosquito Repellent for Dogs

a french bulldog is scratching his neck

1. Why Are Mosquitoes So Attracted to My Dog?

Many factors come into play as to why mosquitoes are so attracted to your dog. Generally, these bloodsuckers are enticed by the carbon dioxide, blood type, skin oils, and the smell of their prey.

It is also worth noting that different species of mosquitoes have different preferences too. This can explain why some prefer to feed on your dog than other pooches.

2. Is Mosquito Repellent Safe for Dogs?

Mosquito repellent is safe to use on dogs if it is formulated to be dog-safe. Remember that most human mosquito repellents are made with harmful ingredients to canines.

They contain N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) and Picaridin, which can cause nasty side effects. Dogs exposed to these chemicals may experience vomiting, diarrhea, eye damage, and seizures.

3. What Can I Use to Keep Mosquitoes Off My Dog?

You can use dog-friendly essential oils like catnip, vetiver, and neem to keep mosquitoes off your dog. Just make sure to never topically use them on him without diluting them properly first.

Although these essential oils are considered safe for dogs, they can cause toxicity if administered in their undiluted form due to their highly volatile compounds.

4. Can I Spray Citronella on My Dog?

The citronella plant is toxic to dogs. Avoid spraying citronella on your dog as it can cause skin irritation. If he licks it off his fur, he may suffer from poisoning. For the same reason, do not use citronella candles around your dog.


Mosquitoes are hosts of several communicable canine illnesses such as heartworms and West Nile virus. They transmit diseases to dogs through their bites.

Therefore, using natural mosquito repellents like essential oils from catnip, vetiver, and neem thwarts them from spreading diseases and causing dangerous outbreaks.

One of the dangers mosquito brings to dogs are heartworms. Be equipped with the proper knowledge about this health issue by reading our article “Heartworm in Dogs: Health Complications, Hotspots, and Natural Remedies.”