This all-natural homemade bug spray recipe for dogs is a great natural insect repellent. It’s a simple and easy recipe that comes together quickly. Plus it’s also a great way for pet owners to provide protection from annoying pests during the summer months without using commercial bug sprays.
Why Use Natural Bug Repellents for Your Dog?
Our pets truly deserve the best from us, and that includes protecting them from deadly diseases such as the west nile virus and lyme disease. Of course, this depends on where you live and how often you see mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects.
While we want to do the best for our furry friends, we also don’t want to overload their bodies with toxic chemicals either. Also, our dogs are really different than us and that can cause harm to them. This includes things as simple as food, herbs, and ingredients in the products we use.
The good news is that there are lots of natural alternatives to using conventional insect repellents. Making your own homemade dog bug spray is just one way to protect your dog. The citronella plant, lavender plant, and geranium plants all make great landscaping plants and act as natural solutions to pesky bugs. You may also use neem oil in your bug spray, however, it has a strong odor that can be unpleasant at best (but it does work)!
Lastly, if you are in an area that is prone to mosquito-borne diseases, you may want to look for other organic products that can provide another layer of protection. However, you must avoid using any product with the active ingredient DEET or Picaridin, which may cause severe health issues to your pet such as vomiting, skin irritation, staggering, and seizure.
The best option is to use distilled water since all impurities are removed through a distillation process. If you’re going to use distilled water, then I would suggest you buy this from the store. The next best option is to use boiled tap water that has been cooled, which I use most of the time. Boiling the water removes microorganisms, but it still has mineral salts.
Clear, high-proof alcohol is ideal for this recipe. It is colorless, doesn’t have a strong scent, and works well to mix essential oils and water for a more extended period of time. I would recommend using Vodka or Everclear when making your own homemade bug repellent spray. This is needed for actually emulsifying the ingredients.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This common ingredient in most households may help deter mosquitoes when applied to your dog. It’s also great for itchy skin, dirty ears, and fleas. The benefits of ACV are so on and on, but when using this topically or internally with your pet it’s best to use raw, organic, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Just make sure to shake the bottle before using it.
Essential oils are what give this homemade dog bug spray it’s a natural deterrent to those annoying pests. Using essential oils will help protect your pet from insect bites. In this recipe, we are using a mix of essential oils that are generally safe for dogs. See below for several essential oils to choose from.
Peppermint oil is generally not recommended to use topically on dogs, so it’s not on the list below even though it’s in other repellent recipes.
Best Essential Oils for Natural Repellent Sprays Safe for Dogs
- Lavender oil
- Citronella oil
- Geranium oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Purification oil
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Cedarwood oil
Homemade Natural Bug Spray Recipe
Before you get started, if you will use boiled water as I do, you will want to boil it right away. You can boil it in a glass measuring cup in the microwave or boil the water on your stovetop. I typically will boil 2-4 ounces of water at a time, just in case something happens or I want to make another recipe!
Add 1 teaspoon of raw, organic apple cider vinegar, and 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) of water (either boiled and cooled or distilled water) to a clean spray bottle.
Measure out 3 teaspoons (1/2 ounce) of clear alcohol (vodka) and pour it into the glass spray bottle using a small funnel if needed.
Lastly, add your drops of essential oil to the homemade repellent spray. For the 2oz size bottle, add between 12-15 drops of essential oils for a 1% dilution rate. For the 4oz size bottle, I would suggest between 25-30 drops of essential oils. You can start with a smaller amount of essential oils and add more if needed. Select a combination of the above oils for recommendations to use in your spray.
Personally, I like using a combination of lavender, citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood essential oils for this recipe.
Once all of the ingredients are added, you can screw on the spray nozzle and shake to mix. Each time you use the homemade dog bug spray, you will want to shake it before using it to ensure the ingredients are mixed well.
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How to Use a DIY Bug Spray for Dogs
Once you have the DIY bug spray made, it’s relatively easy to use and store. When using the spray, you will want to spray it directly to the pet’s coat making sure to avoid their eyes, mouth, and any sensitive areas like open cuts. I like giving my dog a treat while giving her a quick spray down her back, neck, tail, and belly. Then I also spray my dog’s collar before sending her outside. For best results, you will want to reapply every 1-3 hours if your dog is outside for longer periods.
Although this is free of harmful chemicals, you may want to test a small area to make sure there isn’t any skin irritation on your pet.
Store your DIY bug spray in a cool, dry area of your home making sure to avoid heat and sunlight. This is a recipe that I re-make each summer for my dog, as it generally lasts between 3-6 months.
Natural Remedy for Mosquito Bites
If your pet does get mosquito bites, you can make a quick natural remedy using a few ingredients. This is a slightly modified recipe from my Bug Bite Roller Recipe that our family uses when we get bug bites.
Lavender oil is a great natural repellent for mosquitoes and other bugs. Check out my Lavender Lotion Recipe for Natural Mosquito Repellent that’s a great natural alternative for young children and those wishing to avoid store-bought sprays. Also includes my DIY Bug Spray recipe for us pet owners if you don’t want to share it with your pet!
Add 10 drops of purification and 10 drops of lavender to your 10ml roller bottle. Fill the remaining with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. Shake well to combine.
Apply the bug bite roller to insect bites or itchy spots on the skin as needed. It is best to apply the roller as soon as possible after the bug bite. This can be re-applied as often as needed, up to once per hour. If you don’t have all these essential oils, then you can also use a small amount of lavender oil along with some carrier oil directly to the bug bite. Make sure your dog does not lick this area for at least 10-15 minutes while it is absorbing into the skin.
More Natural Dog Care Recipes
Hi, I’m Kristin.
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