Safe Bug Sprays for Dogs

Whether it’s a brisk evening walk or summer afternoon in the park, bug bites can seriously ruin the fun. Here are five insect repellents that are safe and effective for Fido. 

Is your dog scratching bug bites raw? Read our guide to learn more about soothing itchy bites from mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects.

 

Safe Bug Sprays for Dogs

  1. Vet’s Best Mosquito Repellent for Dogs and Cats
  2. Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray
  3. Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats
  4. Wondercide Lemongrass Natural Flea & Tick Spray for Pets + Home
  5. Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Spray

What makes these bug sprays safe? 

At Natural Dog Company, we’re incredibly eco-friendly. We also believe that natural products are healthier and safer for our pets. All five of our recommendations are all-natural and meet the EPA’s requirements for minimum risk pesticides.

 

Don’t use DEET products on dogs 

DEET is an incredibly effective insect repellent with a relatively low toxicity rating. But that doesn’t mean you should douse your pet in Cutter Backwoods before your evening run. 

Dogs don’t know they shouldn’t lick bug spray off their bodies. But even if your dog doesn’t ingest it, DEET can still be absorbed through the skin. Just like the active ingredients in some lawn pesticides, DEET can build up in your dog’s body over time. High concentrations can cause all sorts of problems, including inflammation, tremors, respiratory problems (when inhaled), and in rare cases, seizures. 

If you think your pet ate DEET, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

 

Ask your vet about Essential Oils

Are Essential Oils safe for pets? In general, essential oils are considered to be safe for  both humans and dogs. But according to the AKC, there’s very little scientific research about the risks of using essential oils on your cat or dog. 

Remember: Natural doesn’t always mean safe. If you’re an essential oil user, think about how potent a few drops of peppermint oil can be. Without proper use or application, oils can irritate the skin and cause gastrointestinal problems when ingested. Some oils, including cinnamon and citrus, are even poisonous to dogs and cats.

The best thing to do is talk to your veterinarian before using essential oils on your pet. Your vet can help you determine which oils might be appropriate and outline proper dosages and dilutions.

 

Summed Up: The 5 Best Dog-Safe Insect Repellents

Safe Insect Repellents  Active Ingredients 
Vet’s Best Mosquito Repellent for Dogs and Cats Peppermint Oil (4%), Geraniol Oil (2%), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (0.36%)
Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray Soybean Oil (23%), Castor Oil (10%), Citronella (4%), Cedar (2%), Lemongrass (2%), Rosemary (1.5%), Geranium (1%), Peppermint (1%)
Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats Eugenol (Clove Extract) (0.46%), Peppermint Oil (0.2%), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (1.78%)
Wondercide Lemongrass Natural Flea & Tick Spray for Pets + Home Cedarwood oil (4.2%), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (2.2%), Lemongrass oil (1.5%), Sesame oil (0.1%)
Richard’s Organics Flea & Tick Spray Cinnamon (1.5%), Rosemary (1.5%), Peppermint (1.5%), Cedar, Clove (1%), Eugenol (Clove Extract) (1%) 

 

Is your dog scratching bug bites raw? Read our guide to learn more about soothing itchy bites from mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects. 

12 Pet-Safe Pesticides for Yard & Home

Bugs are rarely welcome guests. They can wreak havoc on your garden, mount assaults on your lawn, and leave itchy bites all over you and your pets. The problem is that many of the active ingredients found in conventional pesticides like Cutter Backyard Bug Control and Ortho Home Defense are toxic. 

If overexposed, your dog can become poisoned. But even when you use high-powered pesticides properly, trace amounts can build up inside your dog (and you). Eventually, those chemicals can cause serious medical problems, including cancer and respiratory failure. 

Using pet-safe pesticides are the best way to protect you, your dog, and ultimately the environment. We compiled a list of some of the most low-risk pesticides on the market. We also chose a few top picks that are classified by the EPA as ‘minimum risk pesticides’ — the safest types of products available.  

Think your dog has bug bites? Read our guide to identifying common bug bites and soothing you pup’s red, itchy skin.

 

The 12 Best Pet-Safe Pesticides

Pesticide  Great for…
Natural Chemistry Natural Botanical Yard & Kennel Spray™ Yard, home, & mosquitoes 
Summit® Mosquito Dunks Mosquitoes 
EcoSmart® Home Pest Control Your home
Eco Defense Home Pest Control Spray Your home
NatureShield® Insect & Pest Repellent Gardening
Bonide® Hot Pepper Wax Ready-to-Use Gardening
True Stop™ Fire Ant Killer Ants
TomCat® Fire Ant Killer Granules Ants
Spectracide® Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate Lawn care & weed control
Agralawn Crabgrass Control  Lawn care & weed control
Ortho® GroundClear® Vegetation Killer Lawn care & weed control
Finale® Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate Lawn care & weed control

 

Note: All 12 of these pesticides received the lowest possible toxicity rating based on the Toxic-Free Future’s (formerly the Washington Toxics Coalition) evaluation criteria of lawn and garden chemicals.

 

Our Top Picks 

We’re proudly eco-conscious here at Natural Dog Company, so both of our top picks meet the EPA’s conditions for ‘minimum risk pesticides,’ which are even safer than low-risk pesticides. They must comply with six conditions, the most important being the EPA’s list of permitted active ingredients. (Most of the ingredients are “commonly consumed food commodities, animal feed items, and edible fats and oils.”) Ultimately, these are the two safest products you could choose.

 

Natural Chemistry Natural Botanical Yard & Kennel Spray™

🏆 Our top pick for yard & mosquitoes

Active Ingredients: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (4.28%), Cinnamon Oil (1.78%), Cedar Oil (0.71%), Clove Oil (0.71%) 

 Natural Yard & Kennel Spray™ is our favorite mosquito and insect killer. The main active ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is one of the least toxic chemicals across the board. It doesn’t harm to plants or flowers. It has a low soil mobility. It doesn’t harm aquatic life. Plus, it has a low environmental persistence (it doesn’t stick around very long).

 

NatureShield® Insect & Pest Repellent 

🏆 Our top pick for gardening

Active Ingredients: Garlic Oil (0.75%), Cinnamon Oil, Castor Oil (0.63%), Cedar Oil (0.25%)

NatureShield® is one of the few all-natural and completely oil-based pesticides — that’s why it’s our favorite pick for the garden. It kills mosquitoes, ants, bees, gnats, snails, slugs and other pests that could damage your plants without covering your produce in toxic chemicals.

 

Understanding the Risks of Conventional Pesticides 

High-powered pesticides work way better than organic alternatives, but not without risks. 

Lawn pesticides have been linked to cancer, nervous system disruption, and other serious problems in cats and dogs. .  In 2004, researchers at Purdue University studied Scottish terriers that were frequently exposed to herbicides. They learned that those terriers were four to seven times as likely to develop bladder cancer than Scottish terriers without exposure. 

There are plenty of similar studies in humans. For a reality check, take a look at how many of the pesticides found in the PAN International List of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (many of which are commonly found in products at your local home improvement store) are flagged as potential carcinogens and mutagens.  

We’re still learning about the impact of pesticides on our environment as well. A study in early 2019 determined that U.S. agriculture is 48 times more toxic to bees and other insects than it was before the 1990s. That’s a massive increase. 

It’s never too late to start using eco-friendly pesticides and help protect the environment.

Dogs and Pesticides   

When your dog plays in a treated area or yard, the toxic chemicals from pesticides get all over your dog’s feet, legs, and back. If your pup eats grass or licks its paws (which is inevitable), those chemicals make their way straight into the gut. 

Pesticide poisoning is a serious problem, but it usually only happens if your pet gets into a container of pesticide. Long-term contamination through small exposures is much more likely and takes years to build up in our pets’ bodies (and our own). The best way to prevent either of these situations is to use minimum risk pesticides and keep them locked away.   

‘Natural’ Isn’t Always Safer 

Labels can be misleading. For example, permethrin is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring insecticide. It’s not uncommon to find permethrin in products labeled as ‘organic’ or ‘all natural.’ However, permethrin is classified by the EPA as a substance that’s “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” if ingested. That’s why it’s best to stick with minimum risk pesticides.

 

How long after spraying pesticides is it safe for pets?

The labels on most products advise that you and your pets should stay away from sprayed lawns or surfaces for six to 24 hours. But that’s probably not enough time — especially if it hasn’t rained. 

Pesticides have been proven to stay on grass for over 48 hours. In 2013, researchers studied the urine of dogs after they romped around in a treated yard. The yard had been treated over 48 hours prior, but chemicals still turned up in the dogs’ urine and on grass particles. The moral of the story is that if your dog walks through treated areas, or eats some of the grass, he or she is likely ingesting those chemicals and tracking them into your house.  

The safest way to avoid pesticide exposure is the keep off of treated areas for at least three days. For the first few days after treatment, wipe down your dog’s coat and paws before letting him or her into the house. It doesn’t hurt to take off your shoes at the front door either. 

Dealing with pesky bugs and mosquitoes? Read our guide to identifying common bug bites and soothing you pup’s red, itchy skin. 

The 6 Best Natural Flea Remedies for Dogs

Fleas are the bane of every dog owner’s existence. First, they irritate your pet with feverishly itchy bites. The scratching begins. Next, the fleas invade your home.     

If your dog has fleas, your veterinarian will probably recommend something like Frontline or Advantage. If your home is infested, you might even be thinking about a professional exterminator. But what if you want to avoid cancer-linked chemicals like permethrin? How can you get rid of fleas naturally? 

Before you resort to medications or an exterminator, here are six all-natural flea remedies that actually work: 

  1. Traps (soapy water, electric, or glue) – kills adult fleas
  2. Diatomaceous earth – kills adult fleas
  3. Cedarwood and Neem oils – kills eggs, larvae, and adult fleas
  4. A Dawn Dishsoap bath – kills adult fleas and larvae
  5. Rosemary essential oil – repels adult fleas
  6. Apple cider vinegar – repels adult fleas

 

Before you get started, you should know that using just one or two of these tactics will not solve your flea problem. It takes the right combination of these remedies to eradicate a flea population effectively.

The fleas living on your dog are incredibly annoying, but the trick to fighting fleas naturally is to focus on the fleas living in your home first. Why? Because pretty much all home remedies you can use on your dog are only strong enough to repel fleas, not kill them. It’s impossible to win your fight against fleas without killing flea eggs, crippling the reproductive cycle. 

Fortunately, there’s a way to cover all the bases: eggs, larvae, and adults. Follow our three-step strategy to attack every life stage and conquer your pup’s fleas the natural way.  

Is your dog scratching flea bites raw? Read our bug bites guide to learn how to soothe itchy flea bites and jumpstart the healing process.

 

Step one: Reduce adult fleas with traps and diatomaceous earth 

Set flea traps

Trapping only works for adult fleas, but it’s one of the best ways to put a dent in the population without chemicals. It’s simple: place dishes of soapy water underneath nightlights around your home (especially where around where your pet sleeps). The water doesn’t need to be sudsy — a simple drop of anything from Dawn to baby shampoo will cause the fleas to drown immediately. You’ll be surprised to see how many fleas you’ll catch overnight. 

Electric and sticky-pad based flea traps are also available if you’re worried about spilling water. You’ll find a lot of mixed reviews online, but members of our team found both types effective in their own homes.

Spread diatomaceous earth around your house

Diatomaceous earth looks like talcum powder, but it’s actually an adult flea’s worst nightmare. Diatomaceous earth is filled with diatoms, which are the fossilized skeletal remains of unicellular plants. As it happens, those diatoms have razor-sharp edges that slice flea and tick exoskeletons, eventually causing death. 

You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth inside, outside, on furniture, and even onto your dog’s fur — any area that fleas can hide. Continue reapplying dust until you’ve eradicated all the fleas, then simply vacuum it up.

Note: Don’t confuse diatomaceous earth with “Pool Grade” diatomaceous earth. The latter is not effective killing fleas.

 

Step two: Cripple the reproductive cycle with cedarwood and neem oils

Both cedarwood and neem oil are incredibly powerful against fleas. In fact, some pet owners claim they’ve seen cedarwood oil kill fleas on contact. The oils are both strong enough to dissolve the exoskeletons of eggs, larvae, and pupae. 

You can either buy ready-made sprays or dilute essential oils in your own spray bottle. To use it effectively, regularly mist your carpet, furniture, and other places that fleas could be hiding. Some solutions are diluted enough to use directly on your dog — just make sure you check the label to be sure it’s safe.

 

Step three: Keep the fleas off your dog 

Bathe your dog with a Dawn flea shampoo

It’s not as simple as popping a pill, but giving your dog a daily soapy bath is one of the best ways to kill fleas that are on your dog. Pro tip: Make sure that you fill up your bath enough to cover as much of your dog’s legs and underbelly as possible. This way, the fleas in key areas are completely submerged in soapy water. After about 10 minutes of soaking, use a flea comb to remove the dead carcasses that haven’t already dropped to the bottom of the tub.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Despite popular belief, apple cider vinegar isn’t strong enough to kill fleas in any stage of life. At best, it’s a repellent. Fleas (and other pests) hate the smell of vinegar, but don’t expect them to leave your pup in droves.  

There are a few different ways to use apple cider vinegar against fleas. One is to mix a solution of one part unfiltered apple cider and one part water and spritz your dog’s coat. The other is to repeatedly dip your flea comb in pure vinegar as you groom. Just know that your dog probably hates the smell of vinegar as much as the fleas.

 

When to Use Professional Flea Control  

Fleas reproduce like mad. They only live about 90 days, but a single flea can lay up to 60 eggs per day. Here’s the real kicker: The hibernating cocoon can survive an entire without feeding.

Depending on the time and effort you can dedicate to natural extermination methods, you might not be able to control flea reproduction. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t see a drastic drop in fleas within a couple of weeks, it’s time to call the exterminator.  

According to Home Advisor, an exterminator could charge anywhere from $75 to $400 for the inspection and first-round treatment. If required, a second treatment could cost an additional $200.

 

Flea Remedy FAQs

Does Dawn kill fleas?

Dawn itself doesn’t kill fleas, but a Dawn flea dip will drown them. Dawn, or any dish soap, kills fleas by reducing the surface tension of the water. It also prevents insects’ cuticles from repelling water, which causes them to breathe the water and suffocate.

Does coconut oil kill fleas on dogs?

Coconut oil contains a saturated fatty acid called lauric acid. While lauric acid is known to repel fleas, it will not kill them. Dousing your dog’s fur in coconut oil might work wonders for his or her coat, but it’s not an effective flea remedy. 

How long does Salt take to kill fleas?

Like diatomaceous earth, salt can kill adult fleas by damaging their exoskeleton. Finely ground salt can work its magic within 12-48 hours, but it’s important to remember that salt can also irritate your pet. Make sure to keep your dog away from the area while it’s being treated. 

Clinical Signs of Spider Bites on Dogs

You’ll find a lot of worry and speculation about all kinds of harmful spiders online. But according to the CDC, there are only two groups of venomous spiders in the US that can cause serious harm for humans and pets: the Recluses (Loxosceles) and Widows (Latrodectus). Those two groups only account for 11 of the 3,000+ species in North America. And contrary to popular belief, they’re all far more scared of you and your pup than you might be of them.

The reality is that venomous spider bites are far less common than most people think. Most spider bites are a little red and itchy at worst. Slap a bit of soothing skin balm on those types of bites, and your pup will heal up as good as new.

But if a venomous spider bites your dog, he or she may need urgent medical treatment. Use this guide to learn about where venomous spiders live, how to spot them, and what to do if you think your dog was bitten.

Read our bug bite guide to learn more treating bites from mosquitoes, fleas, and other types of insects.

Clinical Signs of a Venomous Spider Bite in Dogs

Veterinarians rely on clinical signs to diagnose and treat venomous spider bite. If you observe any combination of these significant symptoms, call your vet immediately.

  • Seizures or tremors
  • Tissue necrosis at the bite center
  • “Drunk walking” or trouble walking or standing
  • Weak pulse (here’s a great guide to checking your dog’s pulse)
  • Respiratory collapse (extreme difficulty breathing)
  • Muscle cramps and rigidity
  • Abdomen (belly) sensitivity

Venomous spider bites might also cause fever, lethargy, vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea. Those symptoms are also important, but they are most concerning when paired other major symptoms above.

Can a dog get sick from eating a spider?

No, your dog probably won’t become seriously ill from eating a spider — even if it’s a black widow. Why? Spiders are venomous, not poisonous. You cannot be poisoned by a spider.

Here’s a quick toxinology lesson. Poisons are toxic, which means they cause harm if swallowed or inhaled. Venoms, on the other hand, aren’t toxic unless injected into your bloodstream. That’s not to say venoms and other foreign materials (like grasshoppers, crickets, etc.) won’t give your pup a tummy ache. But the good news is that it’s highly unlikely eating any spider can do serious harm.

“…the spider is venomous, not poisonous. The venom causes problems when it is INJECTED into the body from a bite, but there is no evidence that swallowing a spider would cause any ill effects.” — Linda Erickson, AKA: The Spider Chick, Spider Ecologist

Widow Bites: Signs and Treatment

Black Widow bites become pretty painful right off the bat, along with redness and swelling. More severe symptoms can show up within just a few hours after the bite. In general, widow bites develop more rapidly and are much more painful than bites from a recluse.

Treatment and recovery: If veterinarians can identify the bite, they will administer antivenom. Pain medications, muscle relaxers, and supportive care are often required as well. Complete recovery can take several weeks, but fatalities are incredibly rare. (Before the antivenom was created, death occurred in less than 5% of human victims.)

An interesting fact: Black Widows’ mouths are so small that around 15% of bites are ‘dry bites,’ which means no venom was injected.

Recluse Bites: Signs and Treatment

Recluse bites often go completely unnoticed because they’re so painless. (If your dog yelps when bitten, it’s not a recluse.) Redness and stinging follow within the next 2-8 hours and a white blister might pop up in the bite site. Over the next few days that blister usually turns into a ‘bulls-eye’ lesion that ultimately turns into a dark area of dead tissue (necrosis).

Most Recluse bites cause a localized reaction — some never develop any serious symptoms. But on rare occasions, bites can induce a systemic reaction that’s much more serious. In addition to major symptoms like seizures and respiratory collapse, a systemic reaction may cause kidney problems and blood clotting.

Treatment and recovery: There is no antivenom for Recluse bites, but with treatment, they’re rarely ever fatal. Because Recluse bites cause severe tissue death (necrosis), a surgical procedure called debridement is often required to remove the dead tissue and infection. Healthy pups normally recover within one to three weeks.

Range and Location

Southern and Northeastern US is home for the nation’s two venomous spiders. Fortunately, there’s not much overlap between each spider’s range. So except for the southernmost areas in the Southwest, you’ll only have one of the two spiders to deal. If you live in the West and Midwest, you’re lucky — you’ll probably never encounter any of these spiders.

So before you assume the worst about a bump on your dog, take a look at these maps to whether venomous spiders might live in or near your area:

Recluse Range and Location in the US

Brown Recluse range and location in the US

Recluses live primarily in Southeast and Central Midwest.

Widow Range and Location in the US

Black Widow range and location in the US

Widows live primarily in the Southeast and Northeast.

Identifying Venomous Spiders

Widows (Latrodectus)

Brown and Black Widows are the most common type of Widow in the US. (Red Widows can be found in parts of Florida, but are rarely seen.) As the names imply, both species have a unique look. But what’s consistent is the hourglass marking on the abdomen. Adult widows are about a half-inch long.

Black widow spider

Habitat: Widows prefer dark secluded places. Woodpiles, outdoor sheds, closets, and other cobwebbed areas are prime habitats.

Recluses (Loxosceles)

The Brown Recluse (often called the ‘violin spider’) is the most widely know Recluse. But there are actually six Recluse species in total. Each type is a small spider that’s brown in color. Mature males share the famed violin-shaped mark on the head. Unfortunately, neither of those features truly help identify the spiders. To be a recluse, a spider must have all four of these features:

  • six eyes in dyads (pairs)
  • uniformly colored abdomen with fine hairs
  • uniformly colored legs with no spines
  • a body less than 3/8″ in length

Because of its generic color and features, the Brown Recluse is the most accused spider in the US. Rick Vetter, a previous staff research associate in the Entomology Department at the University of California Riverside, investigated data from 20,000 “brown recluses” submitted by worried Californians, but not a single one turned out to be recluse.

Brown recluse spider

Habitat: Recluses are nonaggressive spiders that are commonly found in quiet, undisturbed areas. Indoors, that could be your shoe, pantry, and anywhere that isn’t moist. Outside, they’re often found in sheds and woodpiles.

Recluses are incredibly true to their name. They’re so shy, in fact, can live alongside humans without ever crossing paths. For example, consider this study from the University of California Riverside. Researchers found over two thousand recluses(!) living in a Californian home and no one in the house had ever seen or was ever bitten by a spider. The moral of the story is that recluses must be agitated before they resort to biting.

Can Dogs Get Mosquito Bites?

Yes, mosquitoes can bite dogs. Longer fur adds protection, but areas like the nose and ears are still prime targets for mosquitoes. Keep reading for more information about symptoms, heartworm disease, and what to do if your dog can’t stop scratching.

Signs and Symptoms

Mosquito bites get itchy fast, so there’s usually lots of scratching. As you separate your pup’s fur, you’ll see irregularly shaped whelps. Swelling and a slight warmth to the touch are both typical symptoms as well.

Compared to other types of bites, which are dark red and usually don’t swell much, mosquito bites tend to make larger whelps. Even if your dog is only mildly allergic to mosquitoes, bites might rise like small mounds on top of the skin.

Read our bug bite guide to learn more about other types of insect bites.

What if my dog keeps scratching?

Mosquito bites are super itchy. Scratching them is a perfectly normal reaction. What isn’t normal is when your dog can’t seem to stop. If your pet happens to have a more acute allergy, mosquito bites can be much harder to manage. Severe bite reactions can also induce atopic dermatitis.

If your pup frantically chews and scratches for days, call your vet and explain the situation. Often, vets prescribe a pet-safe hydrocortisone cream. (It works well for both mild allergic reactions and atopic dermatitis.)

Don’t ever use OTC hydrocortisone creams without asking your vet first. The cream in your cabinet likely has chemicals that are poisonous if ingested by your dog.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for mosquito bites?

Along with hydrocortisone, Benadryl is a common allergy medication. But you shouldn’t give it to your dog without asking your vet. Even if your pup has allergies, he or she may have other conditions that don’t pair well with Benadryl. Plus, Benadryl isn’t an effective treatment for dermatitis, which is usually the culprit in more acute reactions.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Bug spray is a simple and effective option to keep the bloodsuckers off your canine friend because it works wherever you go. But don’t just grab the first bottle you find in the cabinet. Never spray your dog with OFF!, Cutter, or any other bug spray without checking for DEET.

DEET can be dangerous to dogs at high levels, especially when they lick it off their bodies. But even if your bug spray doesn’t contain DEET, it’s always best to use a dog-safe bug spray instead.

Here are a few simple, all-natural tips for dealing with mosquitoes in your yard:

  • Adjust your walks: If at all possible, try to avoid walking your dog around dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Get rid of standing water: From birdbaths to small puddles, any amount of standing water can produce hundreds of mosquitos.
  • Check your porch: If you have a screened-in porch, double-check that you don’t have any holes.
  • Mosquito-repelling plants: Boost your yard with mosquito-repelling plants like lemongrass and citronella. Here’s a great list of the 12 best plants for the job.

Protecting Your Dog From Heartworm Disease

Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) is a parasitic roundworm transmitted to cats and dogs through infected mosquitoes. The good news is that even despite a rise of incidents, dogs on preventative heartworm medication are entirely safe.

The one exception is if your dog is infected about a month before starting medication. After about 50 days, heartworms reach their adult stage, and preventative medicine no longer works. That’s why the American Heartworm Society recommends getting a heartworm check at least once a year.

Mosquitoes can carry a variety of diseases

Mosquitoes can transmit a bunch of different diseases. The good news is that most don’t affect dogs, and others are incredibly rare. Heartworm disease is the biggest concern, and it’s easily preventable with medication.

Common mosquito-transmitted diseases:

  • Heartworm 
  • West Nile Virus 
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis 
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • St. Louis Encephalitis
  • Jamestown Canyon Virus
  • La Crosse Encephalitis
  • Dengue fever

Read our bug bite guide to learn more about other types of insect bites.

How to Identify and Treat Bug Bites on Dogs

Most bug bites are just an itchy nuisance, but in rare cases, they can be life-threatening. In this guide, we cover how to identify and treat the most common types of bug bites. You’ll also learn to spot the clinical signs of a serious allergic reaction.

Mosquito Bites

What to check for: firm, irregularly shaped bumps that occur in random, isolated spots. Since mosquito needles are so small (there are actually six of them), it’s usually impossible to see the point of penetration, even if the bite is on a hairless patch of skin like the belly.

Another telling clue is that mosquito bites become itchy much quicker than other bugs. So if your pup starts scratching immediately after a quick trip outside, a whirring bloodsucker is likely to blame. (In contrast, dogs will often lick or chew bites that are more painful than itchy.)

Mosquitos biting a dog

Mosquitoes are usually nothing to worry about

Heartworm disease is a commonly cited concern for mosquito bites. But dogs on monthly heartworm preventatives are completely protected against the disease.

The only exception is if your dog was infected about a month before starting medication. After about 50 days heartworms reach their adult stage and cannot be eliminated by preventative medication.

There’s one other scenario to watch out for: Like humans, some dogs are allergic to mosquito bites. Swelling and itchiness may be more severe. But your pup’s in no danger unless swelling in the face, nose, or throat interferes with breathing.

Flea Bites

What to check for: clusters of small, red bumps usually found around the paws, belly, or folds of skin. There’s often a red halo around the bite center. The presence of small black pepper-like specs called flea dirt (or flea dust) provide a sure-fire diagnosis. Note: you may observe more intense redness and swelling if your dog has a flea allergy.

Flea-bite induced dermatitis on a dog

Fleas are active year-round, but they’re most aggressive in warmer months. Check the AKC’s guide to see your state’s official flea and tick season.

Fleas spend very little of their life on your pet. A majority of the time they’re bounding around your yard or home. So if you find clusters of red bumps on your dog in the winter, and you aren’t getting bit yourself, it’s possible you’re dealing with a mite infestation instead. (Fun fact: Mites are much more resilient against colder weather than ticks.)

Tick Bites

What to check for: It’s easy to identify tick bites if the bug is still attached. Otherwise, it can be pretty difficult to distinguish the mark of a tick from a mosquito: a small red bump.

Ticks on a dog

Ticks can be active in any season or weather as long as the temperature is above freezing. Check the AKC’s guide to learn about your state’s official flea and tick season.

How to get a tick off a dog

The key to safely removing a tick is using a tick removal hook or fine-point tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible and gently pull up until the tick releases.

Safely removing a tick from a dog

Never use your fingers or blunt-tip household tweezers because you might end up squeezing more infectious material into the bite. You could also tear the mouth (which most people incorrectly believe is the tick’s head), leaving parts of it embedded in the skin.

Ticks and Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a common concern for dogs all over the US. It’s also a somewhat controversial topic in the world of veterinary medicine because the diagnosis can be tricky.

The bacteria responsible, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread only through tick bites. Initially, a tick bite looks like your average mosquito bite. But if your pup is infected, a circular rash may appear anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. The catch is that the rash only shows up for around 80% of infectees, leaving the other 20% with no visible signs of infection.

Even though traditional blood tests have been replaced by two much more effective methods (the Snap 4Dx and QC6), many dogs that test positive aren’t clinically ill and don’t need treatment. If a dog tests positive, the next step is to check whether the levels of a specific antibody (C6) are high enough to warrant treatment. Even then, some veterinarians may want to run additional blood and urine tests before making a decision.

Spider Bites

Most spiders are relatively harmless for dogs. Mild swelling and tenderness are usually the worst symptoms you’ll see. However, there are two types of spiders that can inflict serious harm on curious pups: Loxosceles (recluses) and Latrodectus (widows).

Identifying venomous bites

Widow and Recluse are primarily diagnosed based on clinical signs that may take hours (even days) to develop. Intense pain and lesions around the bite center are two of the most telling signs that your dog was poisoned. Seizures, muscle stiffness, lethargy, paralysis, vomiting, and fever are also big indicators. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms at any point we recommend seeing your vet.

Black widow spider

Venomous spider bites can manifest in two ways: local reactions and systemic reactions. This is important because in systemic reactions bite marks don’t always change in color or appearance. In other words, it’s possible your dog has been poisoned even if you don’t see a gnarly black lesion.

Hornet, Wasp, and Bee Stings

What to check for: Swelling is the biggest identifier for stings. Insects like bees and hornets are quick to retaliate, so most stings occur on the face, head, or paws after you dog accidentally disturbs a nest of a hive.

Swollen dog face due to a bee sting

How to get a bee stinger out of a dog

If your dog is stung by a bee, there’s a chance the stinger might still be embedded in the wound. Don’t use tweezers to remove the stinger because squeezing it will release more venom. Instead, scrape a credit card over your pup’s coat until it pops out, then flick the stinger away.

Ant Bites

What to check for: small red bumps with a rounded raised center. If fire ants are the culprit, bites will often turn into pus-filled blisters that look a lot like pimples. Dog’s often pick up ants after they step in a mound, so make sure to check for stragglers roaming around the fur.

Fire ant mounds

Fly Bites

What they look like: a flat, red splotch. Sometimes these bites will have an outline and other times the entire splotch will be a dark red. Black flies and Horseflies are the most aggressive types of flies and can even draw blood.

Small, annoying flies, like yellow flies and no-see-ums, leave a much smaller mark. Black flies and Horseflies are primarily found buzzing around large farm animals. So if you live near or on a farm, the likelihood that the bite you’re looking at came from a larger fly is much higher.

Ways to Soothe Insect Bites and Stings

No matter the variety of bite, there are two things you can almost always count on are redness and itching. If you’ve been a dog owner for any amount of time, you know how miserable that can make your pup. All that scratching and licking can even make the wound worse.

Here simple treatments that can help relieve itchy bug bites:

Skin Soother

Skin Soother is an all-natural topical treatment that’s perfect to keep handy at home or while you’re on the go. It’s super easy to apply (no mixing, no hassle) and it’s packed with antibacterial herbs that reduce inflammation and relieve the affected areas.
Try Skin Soother risk-free today.

Other natural treatments to try:

  • Oatmeal baths
  • Ice the bite with a cold pack
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Epsom salt
  • Baking Soda paste

Remember: Do not use calamine lotion on dogs because zine can be toxic.

Canine Allergic Reactions: How Do I Know If It’s an Emergency?

There are four different types of allergic reactions that your dog might experience after an insect bite. The good news is that only two have the potential to be life-threatening, and the symptoms are easy to identify.

Types of allergic reactions seen in dogs

Type Severity
Anaphylactic It’s the most severe type of allergic reaction and is fatal without treatment. Symptoms can reach a life-threatening stage in as little as 20 minutes. 
Edema You’ll see significant swelling in the face or throat, but it’s easily treatable and only fatal if the swelling interferes with your pup’s ability to breathe. Vets usually treat this with an antihistamine injection, but untreated, it will subside in a couple of days. 
Hives (Urticaria) Hives are incredibly annoying and itchy, but there’s no threat to life. 
Allergic Dermatitis  Your dog will have itchy, flaky skin.

Clinical signs of a serious allergic reaction

In extremely rare cases, insect bites can trigger anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a rapidly occurring emergency can affect major organs, restrict blood flow to the brain (sometimes causing seizures), and prevent your dog from breathing.

If you observe any combination of these symptoms in your dog, see your veterinarian immediately.

  • Hives or swelling in areas other than the bite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive drooling

With anaphylaxis, one of the most important things to look for (outside of a seizure, of course) is swelling in areas other than the bite. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction that erupts all over the body and in multiple organs.

How to tell if your dog can’t breathe

Reactions that cause a face or throat edema are generally much less serious than anaphylaxis, but they can be fatal if they constrict the airway. Check for any of the symptoms below to determine whether your dog is having trouble breathing.

  • Flaring nostrils when breathing
  • Breathing with an open mouth
  • Breathing with the elbows jutted out from the body
  • The belly expands and moves much more than normal during each breath
  • Noisy and scratchy breathing

Can I give my dog Benadryl?

Benadryl is a great medication for dogs with mild allergies, but it should never be self-prescribed. Always consult with your vet before trying an allergy medication out on your dog. Depending on your pooch’s health, Benadryl might actually make things worse.

All About Our Dog Dietary Supplements

We introduced dog dietary supplements!

We hope you’ve heard by now that Natural Dog Company now offers four varieties of vet-approved dog dietary supplements! While a dog’s food likely provides a well-rounded diet day in and day out, sometimes dogs experience joint pain, loss of fur, an upset stomach or may just need a daily multivitamin to round out their vitamin and nutrient intake. So, you spoke and we listened. We worked to bring you daily dog supplements made with the finest organic ingredients that are safe and beneficial for your dog — and tasty, too! Unlike all of our other products that are in fact, vegan, our supplements contain dog-approved ingredients like wild alaskan salmon, chicken, chicken liver and duck, complemented with spices and vegetables that create a flavor profile your dog will truly enjoy! 

 

Reasons you might consider giving your dogs dietary supplements: 

 

1. You dog has been diagnosed with a specific vitamin-deficiency disorder

If your dog’s vet has identified a weakness in your dog that is caused by a specific vitamin or mineral deficiency, it’s wise to give your dog a daily supplement to fulfill that need.

2. You cook your dog home-cooked meals

If you cook your dog home-cooked meals, they may lack well-rounded nutrition, just like we might if we aren’t getting all the minerals and nutrients we need each day from the food we eat. For this reason, it might be a good idea to include a dog multivitamin supplement like this one, to ensure your dog is receiving the proper amount of necessary nutrients.

3. You dog isn’t eating much or has a poor diet

If your dog doesn’t have much of an appetite, it might be necessary to introduce a daily supplement. A poor diet or loss of appetite can come with a dog’s old age, but  a multivitamin and other specific supplements can still ensure the dog is getting the proper nutrition that it needs.

 

Four Varieties to Choose From 

 

Skin and Coat

  • This dog dietary supplement contains rich fatty acids, DHA, wild Alaskan salmon oil, biotin, organic hemp seed, coconut oil and a blend of other essential vitamins.
  • What does all of this mean for your dog? These intentional ingredients can help prevent common dog skin allergies, as well as skin and fur irritations. These ingredients can also help boost a dog’s immune system and improve brain, vision and nervous system development.
  • How many chews should your dog take? Serving size is dependent on body weight.
    • Up to 25 lbs – 1 chew per day
    • 26-75 lbs – 2 chews per day
    • 75 + lbs – 3 chews per day

dog dietary supplement, dog skin and coat, dog vitamin, Natural Dog Company Skin and Coat Supplement

Probiotic

  • This dog dietary supplement contains both prebiotics and probiotics, as well as vitamins and other necessary nutrients  — like pumpkin, vitamin C, vitamin E and a probiotic blend — that support healthy digestion in dogs.
  • What does this mean for your dog? These ingredients improve the absorption of dietary calcium, iron and other nutrients and help improve the digestion of particularly tough foods. If your dog has digestion problems, the daily Probiotic supplement might help.  
  • How many chews should your dog take? Serving size is dependent on body weight.
    • Up to 25 lbs – 1 chew per day
    • 26-75 lbs – 2 chews per day
    • 75 + lbs – 3 chews per day

dog dietary supplements, probiotics for dogs, Natural Dog Company Probiotic

 

Multivitamin

  • This dog dietary supplement is chock full of premium organic ingredients like turmeric, hemp seed, cod liver oil, a multivitamin blend and a special enzyme blend to ease digestion.
  • What does this mean for your dog? The nutrients packed into the Multivitamin chew promote overall holistic dog health. The same ingredients provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties.
  • How many chews should your dog take? Serving size is dependent on body weight.
    • Up to 25 lbs – 1 chew per day
    • 26-75 lbs – 2 chews per day
    • 75 + lbs – 3 chews per day

dog dietary supplement, dog multivitamin, Natural Dog Company multivitamin

 

Hip and Joint

  • This dog dietary supplement contains wild Alaskan salmon oil, New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel and organic turmeric to relieve inflammation and digestion.
  • What does this mean for your dog? The ingredients included in this chew keep joints strong and provides joint relief for more mature dogs by reducing inflammation.
  • How many chews should your dog take? Serving size is dependent on body weight.
    • Up to 25 lbs – 1 chew per day
    • 26-75 lbs – 2 chews per day
    • 75 + lbs – 3 chews per day

dog dietary supplements, dog hip and joint, dog vitamins, Natural Dog Company Hip and Joint Supplement

Is Tea Tree Oil Bad for Dogs?

Tea Tree oil is a very popular essential oil used in all sorts of products and for many purposes. It has natural antibacterial properties making it an effective solution for treating minor infections of the skin for humans, but what about the use of tea tree oil for pets? Using tea tree oil on dogs and cats has been linked to toxicity, but some pet products still include the essential oil in trace amounts. This is actually believed to safe. So is tea tree oil toxic or is it safe? There are two beliefs, but it basically boils down to how its used and how much of it is used on pets. Toxicity can occur if tea tree oil isn’t used with plenty of caution, but veterinarians assert that tea tree oil used in pet products in very trace amounts (.1% – 1%) is actually safe.

 

What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil that comes from the leaf of the Australian tea tree. The oil is often applied topically to the skin to treat a variety of skin infections. Its antibacterial properties allow it to kill bacteria and fungus and heal certain skin issues. It can be effective in treating acne, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, other fungal infections and even lice. Tea tree oil, for the most part, is safe for humans, but you should never take it orally. It can be toxic when ingested. Although it’s totally safe to be used topically on humans, tea tree oil can sometimes cause minor skin irritation, stinging, redness, burning or dryness.

 

Tea tree oil has been used in certain products for pets like topical ointments. There is even tea tree oil shampoo to treat skin irritations the same way it does for humans. However, many wonder if it’s safe for pets in any amount.

 

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe for Dogs?

When diluted correctly, tea tree oil can be safe for dogs. The recommended amounts of tea tree oil deemed safe for dogs is 0.1-1.0 percent strength. If it’s in a pet product, it’s usually intended to treat minor skin irritations, hot spots, or bug bites and stings. However, tea tree oil becomes dangerous and toxic for dogs when used in high concentrations. High or pure concentrations should never be used on dogs or other pets, even though humans can usually use it with no glaring consequences.

 

With its growing popularity, consumers are more likely to purchase 100 percent tea tree oil and attempt to dilute it on their own. Often times the oil isn’t actually properly diluted and can be harmful to pets’ skin. This is especially dangerous if a cat or dog licks it off of their skin. Tea tree oil is extremely toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.

 

How is Tea Tree Oil Toxic to Dogs?

There are certain natural chemicals in tea tree oil called terpenes. Terpenes are the chemicals that give tea tree oil its antibacterial and antifungal properties, but they also are what can cause tea tree toxic. When terpenes come in contact with skin, they absorb very quickly. Tea tree oil applied to skin in high concentrations can result in the same toxicity as if it were ingested. For this reason, many pet owners decide to completely avoid the essential oil all together.

 

Side Effects of using tea tree oil on dogs

If a dog accidentally consumes tea tree oil, or if pure tea tree oil gets on a dog’s skin, he or she may experience minor side effects like drooling or vomiting. More severe cases of ingesting or absorbing tea tree oil can cause dogs to have seizures, tremors, or difficulty walking. If your dog experiences any of these side effects symptoms could last up to 12 hours and a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

 

What to do if your dog experiences tea tree oil toxicity

In mild cases of tea tree oil toxicity, you can wash your dog’s skin with mild soap to relieve irritation. If your dog gets any severe symptoms we recommend consulting a veterinarian or a poison control center right away.

 

What is Natural Dog Company’s take on tea tree oil for dogs?

 

Some of our all-natural balms for dogs used to contain one tenth of a percent of tea tree oil.

 

Because the amounts used in our formulas were so miniscule, they never put dogs at risk. However, we stopped the use of tea tree oil in 2017 because some of our valued customers were concerned about the ingredient affecting the health of their dog. So, as always, we listened to the feedback and removed it from all of our formulas.

 

  

Key Takeaways

  • Undiluted tea tree on dogs is never recommended.
  • Natural Dog Company removed tea tree oil from our formulas in 2017 as customers expressed concern. None of our products contain tea tree oil.
  • Tea tree oil isn’t the only essential oil that can treat minor skin issues on dogs. Natural Dog Company products contain several other premium, organic ingredients that soothe, heal and protect dogs’ skin.

Dog Dry Skin and How to Treat It

Does your dog have dry, irritated and itchy skin? It can be quite frustrating and uncomfortable when it happens to us, humans, and although they can’t speak and express the same frustrations and concerns, dogs often experience dry skin issues, too. 

 

Lucky for us, when we notice our skin is a bit dry, we simply reach for healing lotions, creams and even exfoliants; or perhaps we take an oatmeal bath. But when dogs experience similar skin problems, they can’t just slather on lotion like we can. Because of this, we must pay close attention to the tell tale signs that let us know our dog is experiencing dry, itchy and irritated skin.

 

What is the underlying cause of a dog’s dry skin in the first place? And how can you fix it quickly and safely? You love your four-legged friend as if they were your child, so you obviously want the best for them and their health. If you have an itchy dog on your hands, it shouldn’t go ignored. While dry skin doesn’t seem like a huge concern, it can certainly allude to greater issues, like allergies, parasites, fleas or even more serious medical conditions. So before you can fix your dog’s dry skin, you must first determine the cause.

 

Dog dry skin: What causes it? 

 

Allergies

Dogs get allergies, too, just like we do. Their skin may have an allergic reaction to the food they eat, different grasses, fleas and flea saliva, chemicals on the ground or pollen during particularly difficult months for seasonal allergies. And all of these reactions can lead to skin issues, and dry, dehydrated skin in particular. An allergy to dog food is less common, while allergies to fleas and flea saliva is more prevalent, and can certainly be the reason your dog has dry skin. Flea saliva usually creates an allergic reaction as it enters the dog’s skin as the flea feeds. If you can actually see that your dog has fleas, this could explain why your dog’s skin is dry and itchy.

Skin Infections

Sometimes, skin, bacterial and fungal infections are to blame and those types of conditions should first be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Other initial causes of dry skin can lead to bacterial infections as the dog scratches and breaks the surface of the skin. This can easily allow bacteria to enter scratches and wounds they create, leading to a more serious skin condition or infection that requires medical attention from a veterinarian. Ringworm is one type of fungal infection that can cause your dog to have dryness and itchiness. A sign of a larger type of infection, made apparent by dry skin can be identified by redness, hot spots, inflammation, rashes and more.  

Parasites

If you’re noticing dry or flaky skin on your dog, unfortunately, parasites can’t totally be ruled out. Check with your dog’s veterinarian to make sure your dog doesn’t have parasites. After they cause dry skin, parasites can also cause mange or canine scabies — just another reason why seemingly simple skin issues shouldn’t be disregarded.

Cold, dry weather

Colder weather usually means drier skin. This is true for us, humans, and it’s also true for our dogs. While this isn’t as serious as some of the causes we discussed earlier, it can still create an extremely irritating and uncomfortable situation for your furry friend. Their skin simply dries out like ours does in the cold, dry winter months. It’s itchy and uncomfortable, and if left untreated, can lead to other skin conditions and issues like the bacterial and fungal infections mentioned earlier. For dry skin caused by wintery weather, there’s a quick, easy and natural fix. It’s Skin Soother brought to you by Natural Dog Company! Natural Dog Company’s Skin Soother contains organic coconut oil, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, lavender, chamomile and other natural, nurturing ingredients that possess hydrating, healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Irritating shampoos / soaps

Did you know that a dog’s skin is actually much more sensitive to random bath and body products, shampoos and soaps than ours? This is especially true when products used on your dog’s fur and skin contain harsh chemicals. Some of those chemical ingredients may do a good job of cleaning your dog’s fur, but they can be incredibly drying to their sensitive skin. Has your dog ever needed a bath and all you had to use was your human shampoo? If so, never use human shampoo on your dog again. The soaps and shampoos we use on or hair and body can be extremely irritating and harmful to dogs, even if they don’t show signs of that irritation right away — avoid using human shampoos and soaps on your dog altogether, even if it means a smelly pup has to wait for that much-needed bath. When desperate times call for desperate measures, settle for a warm water rinse until you can get your paws on dog grooming products that won’t irritate their skin. 

Yeast infections

Yeast often lives on dogs’ skin and can be the reason why their skin is overly dry and itchy. Yeast infections in dogs can cause them to scratch, experience hair loss and cause affected areas to be red and inflamed. Our specialty product, Skin Soother can also help yeasty paws and infections on dogs’ skin.

 

These causes are typically the most common for why dogs itch and have super dry skin. There are certainly less common causes as well, such as age, diet and certain autoimmune diseases. Older dogs, dogs who aren’t quite getting the proper nutrition they need and those with certain autoimmune diseases like Canine Lupus and Pemphigus are often more susceptible to dry, itchy and irritating skin.

 

Symptoms to look for if your dog has dry skin

  • Constant scratching
  • Rubbing up against furniture to relieve an itch
  • Visible dandruff and skin flaking on your dog and in their fur
  • Visible redness and and irritated skin
  • Scaly skin  
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation and/or scabbing

 

How to treat your dog’s dry skin

Treating your pup’s dry skin depends on the cause. A proper diagnosis of why your dog’s skin is dry and itchy is important in treating the condition the right way. Does your dog need flea medicine? Do they need extra attention from their vet? Do they need an antibiotic to treat a more serious skin or bacterial infection? Determine how to treat the root of the problem and then use Natural Dog Company’s Skin Soother to further nurture, hydrate and heal dry skin on dogs. If the root of the dry skin is just dry, winter air or something less severe, a few applications of Skin Soother can do the trick to totally transform the area that needs a little TLC in the form of moisture and deep hydration.

 

 

Some immediate treatment options and tips for your dog with dry skin

 

Get rid of the fleas with medicine or treatment advised by your dog’s vet.

If you bathe your dog, use warm water, not hot. Hot water only dries a dog’s skin out more.

Soothe irritated, dry dog skin with Skin Soother.

 

So what should you actually use to provide relief for your dog? What’s the best dry dog skin remedy of them all? Instead of reaching for home remedies to treat and heal your dog’s skin, trust the soothing power of Skin Soother. It’s a special, hydrating balm specifically formualted for dog’s dehydrated skin — it’s safe for their skin that is significantly more sensitive than ours, and effective at transforming their dry, irritated skin in just a few applications. Healthy skin for your dog is on the horizon in no time with Skin Soother.

You may find research that suggests whipping up concoctions with apple cider vinegar, olive oil or giving your dog fish oil to protect or treat your dog’s dry skin — but why do that when you can have the perfect blend of soothing ingredients in one little container? Packed with vitamin E, organic coconut oil, organic sweet almond oil, organic safflower oil and other purposeful ingredients that will provide quick and comfortable relief for your dog’s dry skin, Skin Soother is a bestseller that dog owners reach for time and time again to provide quick comfort their best furry friends.  

Natural Dog Company Skin Soother for dry dog skin

Learn more about Skin Soother by clicking the image above or clicking HERE

Why Does My Dog Lick Its Paws So Much?

You pay close attention to your dog because you love them. You’re obsessed and enamored and delighted with everything they do because they are your pride and joy, and with each and every move, your adoration just grows deeper and deeper. As you hang onto their every move, it’s important to know which habits and behaviors are normal for your pup and which ones could be signs of more serious issues. One such habit that we get lots and lots of questions about is the constant licking and chewing of their paws:

“Why does my dog lick its paws so much?!”

 

Is it a normal grooming habit? Is it a normal behavior in dogs that may just suggest boredom? Or is it a more serious issue that needs to be properly addressed? While dogs and cats naturally groom themselves, all four paws included, excessive licking of their paws actually isn’t so natural after all. If you’ve noticed that your dog has started licking their paws, and well, hasn’t really stopped since, it’s worth the read to find out the cause, whether or not a visit to the vet is required and the treatment.

 

More often than not, the constant, excessive licking of paws is due to extreme itchiness. Unbearably itchy paws and paw pads cause your dog to seek relief by licking and chewing nonstop. To protect your pet’s health, it’s important to determine what exactly is causing the your dog’s itchy paws in the first place. Then you can treat the root cause of your dog licking paws.

dry dog paws

7 Reasons For Your Dog Licking Paws

 

Yeast infections or food allergies

Yeast infections or food allergies can occur from dog food not containing enough meats and proteins that dogs, natural carnivores, need in their diets. Many types of dog foods don’t contain adequate amounts of meat, and are instead filled with grains, carbs, chemicals, preservatives and vegetables. The lack of protein and meat, paired with harmful fillers and artificial ingredients can cause dogs to lick their paws excessively. Why? Yeast infections are the probable cause.

 

Dogs’ bodies, like all of ours, contain yeast in their guts. The yeast remains balanced when their immune systems are strong and healthy, and fueled by the foods that their bodies truly need. As mentioned earlier, a dog needs meaty proteins like beef and chicken, but sadly, many popular and affordable dog foods don’t do a great job of providing that for man’s best friend. So often times, the yeast in a canine’s gut tract is thrown out of balance and causes them to itch. If a dog has “yeasty paws” our number one solution is Skin Soother, which possesses powerful yeast, fungal and bacteria fighting properties. 

yeast dog paw skin soother

When they do get yeasty paws, dogs can experience intense itching on their paws and between their toes, and naturally develop the urge to lick them. It’s really the only way they know how to temporarily relieve itch or pain on their paws. Obviously, one might assume that the constant licking does more harm than good — and they’d be correct.

 

Excessive paw licking and chewing can cause redness and swelling, raw skin, bleeding, red and irritated skin between toes and even changes in a dog’s fur. When yeast is out of whack in dogs, the pH levels of their saliva actually changes too, which is why you might notice pink or red-ish fur on their paws as they continue to lick and chew.

 

Allergies

Dogs are very similar to us in that they suffer from a lot of the same things that we do! Take for instance — allergies. Their paws could be itchy and irritated from allergies to grass and pollen from various outdoor plants. And while it’s rather impossible to prevent their contact with grass altogether, there is a simple way to relieve their itch from outdoor allergies. The Itchy Paw Pack has everything you need to protect,  prevent and treat dry, itchy and irritated paws. PawTection, in particular, creates a protective barrier against outside elements, pollen and allergens that can potentially irritate dogs’ paws. 

 

I Am In Utter Shock! He Stopped Licking Within the First Day!

I am in utter shock! Odin suffers from environmental allergies and since we have moved to Washington his paws have gotten really bad probably from the constant wet ground here. I noticed he had been licking them and decided to check them out and they were bad! Missing hair, really red and inflamed, and oozing. The worst I had ever seen them get. I had seen before and after pictures of dogs with inflamed paws, so I figured I would give the Skin Soother a shot (next step was to a vet). I noticed he stopped licking within the first day. So I kept at it. Applying it at least 3-4 times a day. It’s been just about three weeks since we started using it and figured I would do another exam and was shocked to see the hair had almost grown back completely and no redness or ooziness. This stuff is amazing and saved us a costly trip to the vet!

-Kayla Conner, Tacoma, Washington

yeasty paws after Skin Soother Natural Dog Company

Anxiety or Boredom

It’s true — dogs experience bouts of anxiety, too. They tend to become anxious when they are left alone for long periods of time, when they are bored, feeling depressed or are becoming ill. Licking their paws is often a way that dogs comfort themselves. However, excess licking can cause eventual irritation and possible bacterial infections of the skin.

 

Bacterial infection

Whether your dog is licking its paws because they itch, hurt or because he or she simply feels like it, constantly licking can cause secondary skin issues for them, like bacterial infections. Typically, this type of skin issue is a medical problem that should be examined by your dog’s veterinarian. He or she might prescribe antibiotics and then suggest ways to prevent irritation in the future. Additionally, Natural Dog Company’s Skin Soother, which possesses powerful and effective bacteria-fighting properties, can soothe and heal skin infections that develop on dogs’ paws due to excessive licking.

 

Pain

Dogs tend to pay obvious attention to areas of their bodies that are injured and in pain. Scratching, licking or chewing injured paws can make them temporarily feel better. So, simply check your dog’s paws and paw pads for injuries, cuts, cysts or even foreign bodies that don’t belong — like splinters, glass or thorns, and be sure to observe your dog for limping. Too much licking due to pain can even cause “lick granuloma”, painful ulcers that appear on the skin, so look out for those types of sores, too. Even if you can’t see any objects causing pain, look for red or swollen areas and seek veterinary attention if necessary.

 

Dry Skin

Just like our skin becomes dry, cracked and irritated, so can a dog’s. Reasons for dry skin varies, and dog’s are affected in many similar ways. The heat in our homes, the cold, dry outdoor weather and certain products can dry out a dog’s skin and paws. Avoid excess bathing and especially avoid products that contain harsh chemicals and preservatives — they have no place in a dog’s grooming routine. For overly dry skin, apply Paw Soother once per day. To reduce the chances of this nourishing paw protection rubbing off on carpets, beds and rugs, apply it at night when your dog is naturally settling in for a night’s sleep. This will allow the product to penetrate deeply and reveal desirable results after just a few applications.

De-icing Salts, Pesticides and Other Outdoor Chemical Elements

Dogs’ paws come in contact with a lot of things. (Don’t think about that for too long — we’re here to discuss why your dog won’t stop licking his or her paws, after all.) If your dog is licking his paws and they look irritated and itchy, they may have come in contact with chemical or abrasive irritants like lawn pesticides, deicing salts on the sidewalk, fertilizer, sand from the beach and more. Some of these chemical elements can be irritating and drying to a dog’s delicate skin and paw pads, and may be the reason why he or she won’t stop licking.  

 

Prevent and Treat Dry, Itchy, Irritated Paws

Stop your dog’s paw itchiness and relieve the irritation that all the licking and chewing has caused with one of Natural Dog Company’s best selling solutions — Paw Soother. It’s an organic, vegan and natural product that heals, soothes and treats dry, irritated dog paws regardless of the cause — weather, allergies, diet, harmful elements or infections or injuries.

 

Dogs will continue to lick their paws until they are treated with a product like Paw Soother, that can bring their paws back to a healthy, hydrated and spongy state. So first, determine the cause of all the excessive paw licking. Next, apply Natural Dog Company’s Paw Soother to bring their adorable paws back to life and restore comfort to your four legged best friend!

Paw Soother

 

For added protection and prevention of dry, irritated dog paws, try PawTection, a blend of natural oils and waxes that create a safe and natural barrier between your dog’s paws and elements that can irritate and dry them out.

PawTection

Protect, treat and soothe all types of irritated paws with the complete Itchy Paw Pack

 

All About: Boston Terriers

A little dog with a big personality makes the Boston terrier is a popular breed. Diminutive – usually between 15 to 17 inches high and 10 to 25 pounds in weight – but enthusiastic, well-mannered and alert while being gentle all at the same time. Boston terriers are known for being highly intelligent and eager to learn, making them a joy to train and a fantastic companion dog.

Boston_terrier_with_toy

Playful and friendly – the perfect combo!

A True Family Pet
Boston terriers make some of the best family pets around, thanks to the playful and affectionate nature of the breed. Not exactly the best watch dog since they happen to be very accommodating to strangers. Boston terriers nevertheless are excellent with elderly people and are reliable and gentle pets when it comes to children – even the kinds of children that can be a bit more “hands on” for their own good. Boston terriers are often so even-tempered that they’re good with other family pets, cats (gasp)!

Of course, Boston terriers do need strong leadership from their human family. All dogs are pack animals, but Boston terriers thrive in a family dynamic where they know their place. Without being trained early on to show them where their rank is in the family “pack,” they can develop behavioral problems including attempts to establish dominance over the human members of the household. Remember, though: a Boston terrier will only do this when there’s a lack of solid leadership for it to get behind.

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Too much fun in severe climates can really dry out the short snout of a Boston terrier.

Health Considerations
While smaller dogs often benefit by having increased life expectancies (a well cared-for Boston terrier can easily live to 15 years of age), there are some common health considerations to watch out for. Boston terriers are prone to both eye and breathing problems because they’re so short faced, much in the way other breeds like pugs, or English bulldogs with similar characteristics can also suffer.
Eye problems such as dry eyes, cherry eye, corneal ulcers, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, entropion, distichiasis and late-onset or juvenile cataracts can occur. Meanwhile, Boston terriers who play a bit too hard in extremely hot or cold weather can find it hard to breathe, and can overheat quite easily if they overexert themselves. Snoring or drooling problems from their short faces are also common.

In many circumstances, Boston terriers can suffer from dry skin on their noses as well, especially in arid climates. This can lead to cracked and even bleeding skin, something that many pet owners may attempt to treat with petroleum jelly. However, this substance is toxic to dogs! The only products that should ever be used on your pet should be organic, all-natural, and non-toxic. Snout Soother from the Natural Dog Company is specially formulated to heal dry, crusty, cracked, and bleeding noses. It has been made with dogs in mind, so it is completely safe, natural, scent-free, and is an ideal choice for Boston terriers who habitually suffer from a dry nose.

Grooming, Exercise and Other Considerations
Boston terriers are great dogs for nearly any environment, as they’re compact enough to do well in an apartment in the city while they’re robust enough to have a good time out in the country – or even just in a well-fenced in backyard. However, Boston terriers do poorly in regions where there are extremes in the weather; if you do live in such an area, it is best to keep your pet inside most of the time except when going for a long walk at least once a day. If you do keep them inside for the majority of the time, make sure to provide them some structured play to keep their spirits up and get them the modicum of exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.

Overall, Boston terriers aren’t much in the way of high-maintenance dogs. Their short-haired and smooth coat is easily groomed with a firm bristle brush; Boston terriers don’t necessarily need regular bathing. An exception to this is to make sure their faces are clean at least once a day; use a damp cloth to ensure their eyes are clear and their nose isn’t dry, apply some Snout Soother if you do see some dry skin, and occasionally clip their nails to ensure your Boston terrier will be a very happy dog indeed.

Sources: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/bostonterrier.htm
https://naturaldogcompany.com/articles/reviews/bosco/
https://naturaldogcompany.com/product/snout-soother-regular/