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How to Safely Keep Gnats Away From Your Outside Dog

How to Safely Keep Gnats Away From Your Outside Dog

One of the biggest annoyances in summertime is all of the flying insects.

Flies, gnats, mosquitos, and wasps can all be annoying to humans, but at least we can swat them away with our hands. Unfortunately, with their paws dogs aren’t so lucky.

Sure, their tails can protect them a bit, but that just isn’t enough. And what’s worse, insects such as gnats can be quite dangerous to your dogs.

If you live in an area that gets particularly buggy in the summer months, then you’ve probably wondered what ways are best to protect your favorite four-legged pal. Stick around and I’ll go over some of the best ways to safely repel gnats from your dog.

When it comes to keeping gnats away from your dogs, there are many methods people swear by. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can keep those pesky bugs away from your pup.

What are gnats and why are they harmful to my dog?

You may have heard the term gnat, but what exactly is this creature?

Gnats are part of a family of tiny winged insects including sewer flies, midges, fruit flies, and black flies. Some of them bite and feed on blood.

These are the ones we ultimately want to keep away because they can transmit secondary infections and even diseases through their bites.

One of the biggest problems with biting insects is that, while dogs have helpful tails to keep bugs away from their end, that doesn’t help with the rest of their bodies.

Annoying gnats perched on a fence

In fact, these insects often target an animal’s ears. You see this with farm animals as well as domesticated pets. Unnoticed wounds in your dog’s ears often heal just fine on their own, but sometimes the bites can become infected.

In other cases, flies and gnats lay eggs in or near the open wound, which can lead to many other issues, including potential blood infections.

If an infection arises, many young and healthy dogs will be just fine but older dogs or those with weakened immune systems may not be able to fight an infection on their own.

As you can see, you have every reason in the world to keep gnats away from your dog.

How can I prevent getting gnats?

When it comes down to it, the best way to handle is a problem is to avoid it to begin with. Unfortunately, many people don’t think about prevention until it is too late.

If you are lucky enough to not be dealing with a gnat infestation, I highly recommend doing your best to keep it that way. Gnats are attracted to warm, damp places and things that are rotten and “funky”.

Make sure to keep any standing water to a minimum, both inside and outside.

Taking out your garbage frequently should help. Also, check any of your house plants or potted plants, as standing water and rotting plants are the perfect breeding ground for gnats.

What are gnats attracted to?

Gnats, like many other flying insects, have many things that they are attracted to. Eliminating or reducing any of the following items should help reduce your gnat problem:

  • Standing Water: This can be in potted plants, a bucket with old water in it, and even sink and shower drains.
  • Mold and Fungi: Search your yard to find any areas that may have mold or fungal growth. Pay extra attention near any places where bugs can access your home.
  • Bright Lights: If you have bright, white lights in your outdoor fixture, chances are you’ll have some gnats flying around. Replace these bulbs with a softer yellow light to reduce bug attraction.
  • Carbon Dioxide: This isn’t something that you can change, since your dogs have to breathe. However, lighting a candle can provide an additional carbon dioxide source that will distract gnats and hopefully get them to leave your dog alone.

Can I buy a product that will keep gnats away from my dog?


There are several products on the market that are available that you can purchase you keep gnats on your dogs. The only downside to these sprays is that they are produced in a factory and contain various chemicals.

While they are technically pet safe, there are many options if you would prefer a natural repellant that you can make yourself!

What natural products can I use as a gnat repellant?

If you prefer to go the natural or DIY route, there are many great ways you can safely repel gnats from your dog. Some of them are applied directly to your pet’s coat, others are used in the same vicinity as a distraction method.

The first thing you can do is place apple cider vinegar or wine plus a few drops of dish soap in a mason jar. Place this on your porch or deck when your dogs are outside. Make sure it is well out of their reach.

If you want to control the gnats in a compost pile or garden, you can add Steinernema feltiae or Steinernema carpocapsae, both of which are beneficial nematode and help with long-term gnat larvae control.

For a quick repellent, add several drops of vanilla extract to your dog’s collar. Reapply as needed.

Another fantastic idea is to make your own gnat repellant spray. All you need is a spray bottle, water, and some essential oils.

You spray it on entry areas to your home, but be sure that it is applied to surfaces your dog won’t come in direct contact with. Alternatively, you can simply put a few drops of the oil onto a cotton-ball and place it out of your dog’s reach.

essential oil for aromatherapy

You can use the following essential oils to repel gnats and other flying insects:

  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon eu eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Clove
  • Citronella
  • Cinnamon
  • Cedarwood
  • Castor


Overall, one of the best ways to keep gnats away from your dog is to eliminate the gnat population and potential habitats as much as possible.

We do understand that this isn’t always an option as you may find yourself in the midst of an infestation. If you want to keep gnats away from your pets, hopefully this Q&A has some options that work for your family.

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