There are flies on your dog because something is on your dog’s skin that is attracting the flies. This can include feces, an open wound, garbage, something sticky, and many other things. Weather also plays an important role. You’ll notice more flies on your dog in the hot summer months and fewer in the cold winter months.
Flies… we all hate them. Your dog does too, trust me. Flies are nothing more than an annoyance to humans, but they can actually cause pain for dogs. It’s not uncommon for flies to bite the edge of a dog’s ear, which will cause minor bleeding. The problem is that this minor bleeding will attract every fly in the area to swarm around your dog.
Today, we will be discussing the types of flies that may be bothering you and your best friend. Then, we will go into some reasons they may be hanging around, before finally offering some solutions to remedy this nightmare.
Types of Flies That Land On Your Dog
Let’s start by getting something clear right up front. There are two basic types of flies that may be humming around your dog. We aren’t saying there are only two species of flies, there’s a lot more than that! But there are only two types that will be an annoyance for your pup.
The common housefly and the fruit fly will find their way to your dog for various reasons. Both present their unique challenges. As a dog owner, you should do everything in your power to keep these flies off your dog.
Let’s start by talking about the common housefly.
The housefly, or Musca Domestica, can be found pretty much anywhere you find humans. They’re attracted to food, and wherever humans gather, food is typically present. Rotting food, garbage, and even an open wound will attract the common housefly to your home, which will attract them to your dog.
Drosophila, commonly known as the fruit fly, will be buzzing around anywhere there is a scent of something sweet. While fruit flies will be seen around fruit (hence the name), they can also be around things not thought of as sweet by humans, such as an old beer bottle or a mop that had lemony cleaning products on it.
Why Do Flies Land on Your Dog?
Now that you know what attracts these two types of flies to your home, let’s talk about why these flies love to hang out on your dog.
Although the smell of rotting garbage is obnoxious to a human, to the housefly, it smells like grandma’s kitchen. We’ve all seen what looks like a biblical swarm of flies around the dumpster. Well, now imagine a big old meat wrapper stuck on fido’s rear paw. That is something sure to bring the flies around.
Dogs also love to carry around unusual smells with them. So it’s not uncommon for your dog to roll in the garbage. Now that your dog has the garbage scent on him, flies will come swarming.
When you see your dog licking at a wound, I can assure you that any fly within a hundred yards will be zipping to it soon enough. Even if it’s a tiny opening and you can’t see the blood, to a fly, it is a veritable smorgasbord just ripe for the picking.
Although you may love your dog’s smile, flies love it even more. Your dog’s mouth is a warm, humid environment filled with nooks and crannies that are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Microscopic organisms can find your dog’s tongue and teeth one of the most inviting areas to live on the planet.
Unfortunately, these microscopic organisms can put off a scent that attracts flies. If you notice a lot of flies around your dog’s mouth while your dog is sleeping, there’s a good chance you need to take your dog to the groomers to get their teeth cleaned.
Dog poop… people hate it, flies love it. Flies love feces for two reasons. First, believe it or not, they will eat it.
A pile of dog poop can keep a swarm of flies around for days while they pick at it. Gross, I know, but to a fly, it is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Second, it is a perfect place to lay their eggs. The moist fecal matter is an ideal laying ground in that it offers insulation and the wetness the eggs need. Then, when they hatch, they can have a quick snack.
Remember that juice you spilled yesterday and fido came over to lap a little up? Well, some of that is still on his paws. You can’t see it or smell it, but fruit flies can. They will be drawn to the sticky substance like, well, flies on poop. The reason the juice is sticky is mostly because of its sugar content, and flies love sugar.
Your dog might have also rolled around in something sticky or got tree sap stuck to their fur. Either way, if there is anything sticky on your dog, flies will find their way over.
How to Keep Flies From Landing on Your Dog
Keep Your Dog Out of The Garbage
I know that is easier said than done, but you have to take precautions to keep the rotting food out of your dog’s reach. Otherwise, you might as well have a hatchery right in your house. If your dog does get into it, inspect him and make sure there are not any wrappers stuck in his fur. Give his face a quick cleaning if he got deep into it. Also, be sure to check his paws and give them a quick clean up.
Keep Up With Their Dental Hygiene
Keeping your dog’s breath tolerable is not only a courtesy to yourself, but it will also keep the pests away. There is a multitude of flavored toothpaste for dogs, and you should brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
I know brushing your dog’s teeth can be an annoyance. If possible, try to brush them at least once per week. On the other days, you can let them clean their own teeth by using a dental chew toy. Many of these chew toys have a built-in hole for toothpaste as well.
You can also use dental water additives for dogs. Just add a few drops to your dog’s water, and it will help kill the harmful bacteria.
Clean The Poop Quickly
Dealing with feces is a multifaceted strategy. Not only do you have to clean it up from off the ground, but some dogs have so much fur on their rear ends that some poop gets stuck to their fur. The way you can help with this is by grooming their rear end. Yes, it’s annoying, but it must be done. Grooming will prevent poop from becoming matted in their fur.
The next stage of the strategy is keeping your yard clear of poop. Get yourself on a three times per week schedule of picking up the poop in the yard. Picking the poop up from the yard on a schedule will significantly reduce the number of flies your yard attracts. Remember, the fewer flies the yard attracts, the fewer flies your dog will attract.
Wrap The Wounds
Dog’s don’t do a great job caring for their wounds. Sure, they can lick at it, but that is nothing compared to what you can do to help your dog. When you see your dog has an open wound, clean it thoroughly, even shaving a little if you have to.
Put antibacterial ointment around the wound and bandage it. Caring for the wound helps it heal quicker and not only relieves your dog, but it also prevents the flies from getting at it. Flies LOVE open wounds. You may have to work with your dog to keep it from ripping or shaking the bandage off, but eventually, they will let it be.
If your dog continues to bite off the bandage, you may have to use the dreaded cone of shame. They’re not fun, but sometimes required.
Bathe Your Dog Once Per Month
Bathing your dog on a regular schedule is a sure-fire way to prevent flies from bothering them or you. If your dog doesn’t like bath time, don’t worry. By regularly bathing your dog, they will become accustomed to it.
Just be sure to praise your pet through the entire bath so that it feels comforting and not anxious. If your dog does misbehave, like throwing water all over the place, don’t yell at it and make a stressful time even worse. If possible, bathe your dog outside, this can make the cleanup process a whole lot easier, trust me!
There’s no doubt that flies are annoying, but the good news is that if you take the right steps, you can significantly reduce the number of flies that land on your dog. Just remember to keep your dog out of the garbage, clean up their booth, take care of their oral hygiene, and give them a bath once per month. Those small steps will make a massive difference.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.