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12 Best Fly Repellents for Dogs

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Insects can cause infections and complications for dogs, so it's important to use dog fly repellents to prevent them from biting dogs.
  • When choosing a fly repellent for dogs, consider whether it is all-natural or organic, contains pesticides, is an ointment, and contains little to no DEET.
  • Homemade fly repellents can be made using essential oils and water, but it's important to consult a vet before using them to ensure they are safe for dogs.
  • Fly repellents can be administered through sprays, ointments, or roll-ons, and their frequency of use depends on the product.
Written by Khalil
Khalil is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Veterinarian and veterinary microbiologist working as a veterinary science lecturer at the UVAS, Lahore.
Published on
Friday 4 June 2021
Last updated on
Monday 21 August 2023
importance of fly repellents
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Insects adore both humans and dogs, and let’s face it: it’s not the adoration we want. Being an intelligent species, humans always somehow manage to escape. But our poor doggies still fall prey to good and bad insects that latch onto them, bite them, and ultimately infect them. These infections can sometimes be exceptionally severe, causing lethal complications. For such cases, dog fly repellents act as an antidote by preventing the insects from biting our dogs.

This article discusses how we can pick the best fly repellents for dogs. Additionally, we’ll be reviewing ten fantastic choices for these repellents too. Get your pup together – let’s get rolling!

12 Best Fly Repellents for Dogs

In the following dog fly repellent list, we’ll be talking about ten top-of-the-line products known for their effectiveness in the fight against flies.

But before we start, you might wonder which one is the best on our list. Well, the top spot among our bets is Farnam’s Swat Clear Fly Repellent Ointment. It’s not a surprise that we included three products from Farnam in our list. Along with thousands of pet owners, we agree with its effectiveness, ease of use, and value for your buck. 

Here are the rest of the products we recommend to keep flies away from your furry pals.

1. Absorbine UltraShield Green Fly Spray

Though it’s originally for horses, Absorbine’s UltraShield Green is a fantastic choice for dogs as its formula is oil and water-based. While most fly repellents are somewhat hazardous, UltraShield Green is eco-safe, minimizing any risks endangering you or your family.

Its ingredients are seven essential botanical oils (thyme, cedarwood, lemongrass, rosemary, citronella, and clove) that retain their smell in this spray, eventually carrying it to your canine’s coat. The bottle contains 32 oz. of fluid, and you can use it every couple of hours for best results.

Noticeably effective, UltraShield Green is among the natural fly repellents to go for.


  • Eco-safe, water-based, and naturally-sourced
  • Contains essentials oils (thyme, cedarwood, lemongrass, rosemary, citronella, and clove)
  • Repels flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and gnats


  • Has a strong citronella scent that others may not like
  • Needs to be reapplied frequently to be effective
  • A bit pricey but doesn’t last long due to frequent application

2. Farnam Swat Clear Fly Repellent Ointment

We’re not yet done with Farnam. Another sweet product from this brand is the Swat Clear fly repellent ointment, which protects pups against flies. Entirely inorganic compounds like Pyrethrins and Piperonyl Butoxide make up this ointment, which is why it lasts long hours.

When repelling insects and flies from wounds, ointments are most effective. However, you should not apply it directly over an open cut – it might cause the wound to burn. And since it’s a pesticide, prevent your dog from licking its fur to avoid pesticide poisoning.

Overall excellent, Farnam’s Swat Clear is a clever hack against flies of all sorts.


  • Effective in repelling house, stable, face, and horn flies
  • Long lasting due to its Pyrethrin and Piperonyl Butoxide contents
  • Handy and easy to apply to pets


  • Active ingredients are pesticides
  • May cause burns if applied to open wounds
  • Dogs need to have cones to avoid licking the product

3. Farnam Flys Off Fly Repellent Ointment

Do you see Farnam’s expertise on the repellent matter? The third product in a row, Flys Off ointment from Farnam, uses a very similar formulation to the Swat Clear ointment, so this is an alternative if one isn’t available.

With 7 oz. this excellent chemical compound kills house, stable, face, and horn flies instantly. But bear in mind that it isn’t for humans. After applying it to your dog, wash your hands thoroughly.

And remember, there are also pesticides for dogs that you shouldn’t apply directly on the wound to prevent flies. It’s a must-have in summer when flies are in full swing as it’s highly rated for its effectiveness.


  • Effective in repelling house, stable, face, and horn flies
  • Has a minty scent 
  • With a thick consistency that stays on the dog’s coat  longer


  • Contains toxic pesticide ingredients
  • May cause burns if applied to open wounds
  • Hazardous to humans; washing hands after handling is a must

4. Flys-Off Insect Repellent for Dogs & Cats

Excellence over excellence, the Flys-Off repellent spray is yet another promising product by Farnam. With a reputation of lasting for days on end, this product is a smarter investment to make than others.

Great for both dogs and cats, this inorganic, chemical spray will serve you a 2-in-1 purpose if you own both domestic fur babies. Additionally, it works incredibly well over surfaces – you can spray it on your dog’s kennel or house to prevent flies from having fun.

The only catch is that it’s rated for lasting up to 9 days yet lasts half that time. But when you compare it to other products that last a few hours, it’s a better way to go.


  • Kills ticks, fleas, and lice, plus it repels flies, mosquitoes, and gnats temporarily
  • Suitable for both dogs and cats, and can be used on surfaces too
  • Convenient application with its pump spray 


  • Doesn’t last as long as other competing brands
  • Works well on fleas but not so much on flies
  • Contains toxic pesticides

5. K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Prevention

An exceptional product on the list, K9 Advantix II is a topical cream that guards your pup against flies for around 30 days. The best thing is that it doesn’t rely on physical contact with the flies to kill them.

Plus, the fact that it’s odorless makes it so much more comfortable to use for both you and your dog – you won’t have to worry about dogs not liking its scent.

Although it is a flea and tick prevention product, one of its features is to repel and kill biting flies. It claims that it’s a “flea and tick prevention” ointment, but it goes on to eradicate them. If that works for you, K9 Advantix II is a worthy and long-lasting investment. Note: it doesn’t start working until the first 24 hours are over, so be sure to wait until after the application.


  • Effective as ticks and fleas prevention as well as a flies and mosquito repellent
  • Easy to use topically
  • Once-a-month application only as it lasts for up to 4 weeks


  • You need to wait 24 hours for it to start working
  • Not pesticide-free
  • Not suitable for a multi-pet home as its poisonous for cats

6. Farnam Roll-On Fly Repellent 

Another Farnam masterpiece, yet this time as a roll-on offering a more measured, easier, and concentrated application. Similar to other Farnam products, it’s a chemical solution that’s equally effective and impressive.

A plus point of using this roll-on is that you don’t come into contact with the 2 oz of fluid present in the bottle. Sprays and ointments have a higher chance of interacting with you or your clothes, which can be damaging for you and your other pets (like cats) if any.

While it’s a bit non-conventional, it’s mostly a hit or miss – the chances are that either your pooch will love it or your pooch will hate it due to its different application. Remember not to apply it on wounds and irritated skin patches of your dog and to read the instructions manual before using it thoroughly.


  • Easy to use and has less spillage with its roller-ball applicator
  • For use on hard-to-reach areas around the nose, eyes, ears, or mouth
  • Fewer chances of contact with the product


  • Chemical or pesticide-based
  • Doesn’t stay as effective as other Farnam products
  • Has a scent that dogs may not like

7. Yaya Organics Tick Ban

At the end of this dog fly repellent review, we have Yaya Organics’ Tick Ban, a DEET-free, family friend, and all-organic repellent for your pets.

Containing cedarwood, geranium, peppermint, and thyme oils, this dog fly repellent has zero citronella oil, which’s terrific for your pets whether they have any issues with it or not. And although it’s branded as a tick product, it also prevents black flies, gnats, and other bugs.

Atop every other benefit, Yaya Organics’ Tick Ban is perfect for personal use as well. For people and dogs with sensitive skin, this repellent can be refreshing and fly-preventive.


  • All-natural, non-toxic, tick repellent from plant-based ingredients 
  • Suitable for the entire family, not just for dogs
  • Available in a convenient spray bottle


  • The herbal scent might be too strong for dogs
  • Mixed reviews on the durability of the spray nozzle 
  • Effectiveness doesn’t last very long and needs frequent reapplication

8. Natural Cedar Oil Insect Repellent 

No need to worry about pesticides or chemicals on your repellent. The Natural Cedar Oil from Cedarcide boasts natural and effective ingredients. As its name suggests, the main component of this repellent is natural cedar oil. So, it’s safe not just for your dogs, but for everyone in the family too, including children. It doesn’t cause any irritation on the skin or any poison hazard. Plus, it doesn’t stain your clothes or other textiles too.

So, during your next trip outdoors, you’re safely protected from insects with this product. While cedar is a scent others tolerate, some may not like the woodsy smell. Some reviews also pointed out that although the product is effective, its container is not durable. Many shared instances of leaks or the spray nozzle not working properly. Lastly, some reviews also mentioned that the product is a bit pricey. 


  • Made from natural ingredients 
  • Suitable for children and adults, aside from dogs
  • Safe for the skin and clothes


  • Has a cedar scent that some may not like
  • The container isn’t very durable and not leak-proof
  • A bit expensive

9. Pyranha Zero-Bite All Natural Fly Spray 

If going natural is your preferred route, we’ll give you more options on our list. The Zero-Bite All Natural Fly Spray from Pyranha is another naturally-sourced insect repellent from our picks. It contains geraniol, clove oil, and peppermint oil. It’s a multi-insect repellant that works against many kinds of flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, and gnats. It is safe to use for dogs, cats, horses, and other caged pets. Plus, you can use it on surfaces where your pets frequently hang out, too. 

However, despite its natural ingredients, it’s not recommended for use in humans. It may cause some irritation on the skin. Some reviews also pointed out its sodium lauryl sulfate contents, stating it’s not completely natural. Additionally, there are many comments about the contents leaking easily from the bottle. Also, there are mixed reviews on the longevity of its effectiveness. 


  • Natural fly spray with peppermint and clove oil 
  • Can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, and other small animals
  • Safe and free from chemicals or pesticides


  • Can’t be sprayed on the skin as it may cause irritation
  • The contents may easily leak out of the bottle
  • Effectiveness only lasts for a few hours

10. Bio-Groom Repel-35 Insect/Flea/Tick Control Spray 

Control nasty insects like fleas, ticks, as well as flies effectively with Bio-Groom Repel-35 Insect/Flea/Tick Control Spray. Its residual action works in killing not just fleas and ticks but also flies, mosquitoes, gnats, lice, and even louse eggs. It is water-based, so there is no oily residue on your pet’s fur. Bio-Groom claims their product’s effectiveness lasts for up to 35 days. This means less frequency of application, thus saving time and product. 

However, based on some reviews, the product is effective for a few days but not as long as 35 days. This product is also not recommended for frequent use because it contains permethrin. It is an insecticide usually found in scabies and lice treatments. Because this product contains chemicals, it is not suitable for puppies below 12 weeks old.


  • Water-based formula, so there is no oily residue 
  • Contains lanolin and aloe to help moisturize dog’s skin
  • Targets ticks, lice, louse eggs, fleas, flies, gnats, and mosquitoes


  • Contains permethrin and other chemicals
  • Only suitable for dogs more than 12 weeks old 
  • Although it’s effective, it doesn’t last as long as 35 days as advertised

11. Nantucket Spider Natural Insect Repellent for Dogs 

Next on our list is the canine-friendly and deet-free Natural Insect Repellent for Dogs from Nantucket Spider. This natural bug repellent for dogs contains a broad spectrum of organic essential oils. It is a safe and effective way of dealing with ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, and bugs. So, your dog will enjoy bug-free playtimes every day. Plus, it has a mild cedar scent without the canine-irritating citrus smell.

This repellant is water-based, so it’s convenient to use without the oily residue on your pet. However, some dog owners shared that the bottles came without the spray nozzle. So they had to get a spray bottle of their own. Also, although the product smells great, the cedar scent may not be for everyone. Some dogs may get an allergic reaction to some components of the product such as peppermint oil. 


  • Natural dug repellant made from organic essential oils
  • Effective against various insects like flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas
  • Water-based formula with a mild cedar scent


  • The product may not come with the spray nozzle, especially for online orders
  • Natural ingredients like peppermint oil may cause an allergic reaction in sensitive pets
  • The scent of cedar oil may not be for everyone

12. Epi-Pet Unscented Skin Enrichment Spray for Pets

When dogs suffer from skin conditions, they often become a magnet for insects, especially flies. This mostly happens in cases when the dog’s skin problem causes an unpleasant smell. So, to avoid flies swarming your pets, it’s best to use skin relief products like Epi-Pet Unscented Skin Enrichment Spray for Pets. This will also help alleviate itching and discomfort, as well as shedding. So, you are able to target two goals with just one product. This skin and coat conditioner contain natural ingredients that maintain moisture on your dog’s skin. 

It is unscented and hypoallergenic which is suitable for sensitive dogs. Plus, this spray can help relieve skin allergies if they are having flare-ups. Just take caution in handling the container as contents may leak. Also, to get more effective results, you may need to pair it with other products like a cleanser from the same brand. 


  • Unscented and hypoallergenic for sensitive pooches
  • Helps relieve itching, redness, and irritated skin
  • Aids in improving pet’s coat and removing bad odor caused by skin conditions


  • Reviews on spray bottles having tendencies of leaking contents
  • May need to add other products for more effective results
  • Doesn’t really actively repel other insects, instead works on improving the skin to avoid flies

What to Look For in Fly Repellents For Dogs

To understand what makes a fly repellent great, we must understand what to look for in fly repellents, their types and contents, and of course, their specific effects. This understanding would then help us assess our needs better.

All-Natural or Organic Sprays

All-natural and organic sprays contain non-toxic essential oils like Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Lemongrass, and Citronella. Their non-toxicity helps prevent pesticide poisoning in dogs while you’re applying it on them – something that’s likely to occur with chemical/inorganic ones.

These oil-based natural fly repellent sprays also help you groom and trim your dog’s coat and sometimes adding a lovely scent as well.


Second to sprays are pesticides that not just repel but also kill insects. Pesticides deal with a higher level of threats such as ticks and lice, dwelling deep in the dog’s coat.

However, just like we mentioned before, pesticides contain toxic elements that your dogs must not consume. If organic sprays aren’t available and you’re using pesticides, keep an eye out for your dog’s behavior – vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive drooling are all pesticide poisoning symptoms.


Fly repellent ointments (creams, gels, lotions, etc.) are balms (either organic or inorganic) that you apply to the dog’s coat as a fly preventative measure. In general, ointments last much longer as they absorb into the dog’s skin, unlike sprays which the air mostly dries off.

Your pup’s wound is a McMeal for flies, and ointments are best at preventing them from accessing it, thus avoiding infections.

Little to No Amount of DEET

While DEET is the most efficient bug spray ingredient, it’s also the most damaging for animals. Ensure that the repellent that you’re getting for your pet doesn’t contain DEET at all to avoid Toxicosis.

If you use a repellent for yourself at home that contains DEET, try to find alternatives as no matter if it’s you or your pet, DEET is dangerous for all.

the impact flies can have to dogs
Some dogs are bred with really sensitive skin!

Homemade Alternatives for Fly Repellents

DIY fly repellents for dogs are a reality not many people are aware of – yes, using household essential oils, you can make natural fly repellents at home. If it’s that easy, then why do brands exist, you ask? That’s because most people think it’s a complicated task and that chemical formulas are the only way around fly prevention.

So what should you do? You should do-it-yourself: grab a spray bottle full of water and add a few essential oil droplets – and voila, you have your homemade fly repellent for dogs ready. Do not, however, use it without enough research about either your dog or the oil in question, as they can be toxic for dogs and most domestic pets. The best practice here would be to consult a vet.

So, which oil to go with? Though that depends on your vet’s recommendation, nature recommends oils such as basil, eucalyptus, and bergamot as its best fly repellents, so you don’t have to take our word for it. And if you don’t have these essential oils – you can go for the water-vinegar alternative just as quickly. Simply mix both equally and well and pour the solution in a spray bottle – you’ll have an excellent DIY dog fly repellent ready.

insect repellents dogs need
Keeping your dog safe from any parasite is your responsibility as a handler!

Fly Repellents for Dogs: FAQ

We hope the reviews above helped you. You must have some questions about dogs, flies, and fly repellents. Let’s try to answer them all.

Why do flies love dogs so much?

Naturally, flies are attracted to dogs because of their coats, which are not as clean as, generally, people perceive them to be. Though fly bites aren’t harmful, they can cause skin irritation, leading to your canine scratching it continuously.

Moreover, the presence of flies itself is annoying and irritating for both your dog and you. They give an unpleasant and unclean vibe that puts off everyone who likes cleanliness. Flies are active during the day, so it’s a smart practice to keep your dog indoors at this time. A smarter approach is to use fly repellents for dogs and keep flies away at all times.

What diseases can dogs get from fly and other insect bites?

Flies can transmit diseases like malaria and dengue as they are dirty, but they’re unlikely to affect your dog. The only animals – other than humans – known for catching dengue are monkeys

However, this doesn’t mean you can stop worrying. These flies carrying diseases can infect you and your family, while flies, in general, can cause itching, redness of skin, bumps, or wounds on your dog’s skin.

How do I administer fly repellents?

The process for administering fly repellents depends on the type of product in question. If you’re using a spray, you would have to spray it on your dog from a few inches away. If you’re using ointments, you’ll have to apply them using your hands.

You also have the option of using roll-ons, where you’ll apply them on your pooch directly by rubbing it on their body. Though their main goal is the same, these three different types have different levels of effectiveness.

When and how often should I put on the fly repellent?

Your product is your best guide on the frequency at which you should apply it to your dog. Fly repellent sprays like Absorbine’s UltraShield last a few hours only, yet ointments like K9 Advantix II stay for a whole month – it depends on the product you’re using.

Though brands claim that one application would last 24 hours and that you don’t need to apply the product frequently, it’s better to go with your assessment. Observe when the repellent is not working anymore and then re-apply. Also, brands don’t mention everything on the product container, so refer to the instruction manual inside the box. You can find some fly repellent management tips here.

How do fly repellents work?

Pesticides or repellents work by directly affecting the insect’s senses of taste, smell, and often sight as well, to disable them from finding us or our dogs – their hosts. 

Lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, and DEET are some typical ingredients of these pesticides. While DEET and picaridin are excellent for human use, you should not use them on your dogs as they can cause severe health complications.

Fly repellents for dogs are essential grooming and health care tools. Are they optional? That depends on your priorities: do you prioritize your dog’s health and hygiene? Do you care that there’s no infestation around your house? If you do, then fly repellents should be your go-to option. And sure, it’s not compulsory to go with branded products (we recommend K9 Advantix II, in case you’re interested). Just grab essential oils from your kitchen counter, add a few drops to a water bottle and you’re good to go with your natural and organic fly spray.

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