Protect Your Pets From Fly Bites, Northfield, MN Patch

Protect Your Pets From Fly Bites

Fly strikes can make your pets life miserable. The problem, the treatment, and prevention.

By Shirley Taggart, Neighbor
Jun 19, 2012 5:49 pm CT | Updated Jun 21, 2012 3:43 am CT

No, I’m not talking about target practice. This bull’s-eye is related to fly bites on your pet.

Have you noticed red blotches (circles) (bull’s-eyes) on your pets tummy and inside the back legs? Don’t think it’s a big deal? How many times have you gone outside, stayed outside when the gnats, flies, and or mosquitoes have been swarming? You either head for cover or apply insect repellent to protect yourself. Protecting our pets isn’t difficult. Do for your pets what you would do for yourself.

Fly bites are often called «fly strikes.» Flies are biting the dog to obtain a blood meal and the bite is often painful. Because of the thin skin and hair on the ears and the inability of the dog to defend his ears, flies will seek out this location. Some dogs will endure hundreds of bites a day for weeks at a time. This naturally creates a very painful cycle where the bites cause more sores and infections, and attract more flies. The result of these numerous insect bites can be dermatitis. Without treatment, dermatitis is typically progressive. Dermatitis can cause extreme discomfort.

Dermatitis is defined as any inflammation of the skin. If left untreated, dermatitis can progress to secondary bacterial skin infections, or worse. The hallmark of dermatitis in dogs is intense itchiness.

Owners of affected dogs may notice some or all of these symptoms:
Intense itchiness, scratching, licking, pawing and/or biting at areas of skin; Skin redness;
Foul-smelling skin; Rubbing the head on the floor or ground; Inflammation of paws, legs, tail base, flank, neck and/or armpit areas; Hair loss in affected areas ; Hot spots
(raw, weeping, painful sores); Red raised skin eruptions or bumps; Dry, scaly, crusty skin; Dandruff; Ear infections; Foul odor from ears

That’s a pretty impressive list associated with insect bites. And, once the insects start biting, they don’t quit unless you step in and help.

If you see blood spots or flies congregating near your dog’s ears then you can assume fly bites are occurring. The bite wounds attract flies which may lay their eggs in the damaged tissue. These will later hatch into maggots.

Do not underestimate the pain that these flies can inflict and be sure to initiate treatment at the first sign of fly bites on your pet. Gently cleanse the ear with warm water and a mild antiseptic soap. Then, apply a topical antibiotic ointment which will help to control any infection which may be present. If the fly bites are severe, or maggots are present, immediate veterinary attention is needed.
For cleaning bite areas, you want to soften the scab over the bite. Soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it against the edges of the ear where the bites are. Be patient — it may take several minutes for the scabs and crust to soften enough for you to be able to wipe them away.

Once you’ve cleared away the scab and crusty bits, you can wash the bitten areas with an antiseptic or antibacterial liquid soap. Be sure to rinse away all the soap — otherwise, dried soap can cause more irritation to the area. For smaller dogs and cats, you may want to forgo the soap and just clean the area with a gauze pad and warm water. For big dogs and horses, soap (and a careful rinsing) is a good idea.

Apply an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and soothe the bitten areas of the ears. You can do this several times per day to help fly bites heal. While the bites heal, you’ll want to keep an eye out for new scabs and leaking serum. Try to keep the area clean by wiping away crusty bits daily. Here again, petroleum jelly will provide a protective shield against new bites. With any prevention method, one application won’t solve the problem. It is something that needs to be tended to on a regular basis

A thin-coating of petroleum jelly applied to the affected skin reduces the potential for future bites.

If a spray is used, spray the product on a soft cloth or make-up pad and wipe the surface of the ear avoiding direct contact with large open wounds. If open sores are present, they should be cleaned daily with soap and water. Coating with a triple antibiotic ointment will reduce the potential for infection and decrease the attraction of flies to the open wound.

While treating the bites, assess and address the possible underlying causes of the condition, paying particular attention to your pet’s home environment. External parasites (such as ear mites, fleas, lice and ticks) can also cause dramatic itchy skin conditions in dogs.

Medicated shampoos that contain natural ingredients can also help to reduce itchiness, moisturize skin and heal skin sores. Dogs with severe skin inflammation or infection may need to be treated by a veterinarian. Always use medications according to package directions.

I’ll throw in an extra two cents — veterinary care can be expensive. Why not do some home health care and prevention. The most successful treatment is prevention. All dogs should be fed a high-quality, well-balanced diet, which can help avoid adverse reactions to poor food ingredients.

The most important treatment is prevention. Moving the pet indoors during the heat of the day also will help. Spraying the dog’s outside living quarters will also help keep fly numbers to a minimum. Remove any materials which may attract flies, e.g., fecal material, uneaten pet food, garbage, etc. Keep your pet clean and well-groomed, removing any urine-soaked or fecal-contaminated hair.

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Preventing future fly bites is very important. A topical fly repellent can be used to keep the flies away. Make sure that you pick a repellent that is specifically produced to keep flies away, and that the product is safe for dogs. Dogs confined to the outdoors are much more likely to suffer from fly strike dermatitis and dogs that only venture outside a few times a day for their walks are much less susceptible to this problem. Keeping your dog inside except for a few walks a day is therefore one way of preventing fly strike, especially while the ear is still healing.

1 Clean the area where you dog hangs out. Dog feces attracts flies, so pick up every day. If you dog lies in a special spot, clean that area also.
2 Bring your dog inside. Flies seem to be active in hot, humid weather. Take your dog inside the house during the hottest part of the day if you notice flies biting.
3 Wash the dog’s ears with a mild shampoo and rinse well. If the ear was bleeding, apply an antibiotic ointment.
4 Apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly to both ears. Flies cannot bite through the petroleum jelly. Reapply daily.

For those owners that do not want their dog in the house, make sure you provide your outdoor pet with protection. We get these lovely creatures and we owe them care and attention.

Bee stings are also common in the spring and summer. Most spiders in North America are not poisonous, with the exception of the brown recluse (or fiddleback) spider. The brown recluse spider hides in dark areas associated with wood piles, outdoor sheds, dog houses, etc. The venom from the bite of a brown recluse tends to spread slowly, killing off tissue and leaving a dark ulcer. Such ulcers are slow to heal and can lead to more serious problems.

Cats can but are much less likely to acquire fly bites.

I know this is repeated; however, prevention is the best course of action. When problems arise, get right on it. Don’t put off taking care of your pet. It doesn’t get better by delay. We go to doctors and dentist to keep our bodies healthy — your veterinarian is there to help keep your pet healthy also.

Resources and References Used:
John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD / Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS
AVMA / ASPCA / PETWAVE / Dr. Foster and Smith — Pet education

Flies Bites on Dog’s Ears – Can It Be Dangerous?

As spring sets in, the long-awaited warmth of the sun and green grass is a source of happiness not only with humans, but also with our four legged friends. However, a pleasurable pastime v can be overshadowed by the attack of flies. Bites of flies (and those can sometimes draw blood and leave unsavory wounds) bring not only great discomfort to the dog, but also often may cause dangerous diseases such as anthrax, sepsis, staphylococcal infection and tularemia. Therefore, every non-indifferent pet guardian must know what to do if there are fly bites on the dog’s ears.

How to Treat the Fly Bites on Dog’s Ears?

We, humans are able to protect ourselves from the bites of annoying insects with the help of various products. But our animals cannot take care of themselves. If the flies bite the pet’s ears, we should prevent negative consequences by protecting the dog and giving it timely treatment. You can boo away pesky insects by the following products.

A Fly-Bane ‘Mukhotsid’

A remedy against flies pestering dogs is available in the form of a spray. Diethyltoluamide acts as an active ingredient in it, menthol and camphor are used to enhance the effect. The repellent effect is maintained for 4-8 hours after application. If the animal has been caught in the rain or has been swimming in a nearby pool, re-applying is advisable.

Neocidol and Neostamosan

You may treat your dog at home with Neocidol. The antiparasitic agent repels flies, scaly mites and other blood-sucking insects. The product looks like a light brown concentrated emulsion with a light pleasant smell. Processing has to be conducted assuming 0, 05% emulsion for 1 treatment time in 9-10 days. You cannot use the product on sick and undernourished animals.

A good tool in the battle against flies, ticks, lice and other ectoparasites in animals, The product is based on transmix, tetramethrin with some fillers. Active components affect both central and peripheral nervous system of the arthropods.

When administered in recommended dosage, the product is completely harmless to homoithermic animals. It should be used assuming 1 ml per 200 ml of water. The solution may be applied on the ears of the pet and along the whole body area of the dog. A single treatment protects the pet from reinfection for at least 2-3 days.


Flies would not be able to leave wounds if the pet’s ears if those are processed with a Butox water solution. The active ingredient of the insect-repellent drug is a synthetic deltamethrin pyrethroid, which makes the product so very effective against flies, ticks, midges, bedbugs, louses and other parasites. When ingested by arthropods, this substance inhibits the activity of peripheral nerves, which results in their paralysis. When administrated in recommended dosages the water emulsion is not dangerous for the four legged friends.

If there are fly bites on the ears of your dog, it is also advisable to treat the skin and coat of the animal with an aqueous solution of Butox (in dosage of 1 ml per 4 liters of water). Shaggy breeds of dogs can be even bathed in this solution. In a more concentrated form, the composition is used to combat ticks (1 ml of emulsion per 1.3 l of water).

Natural Home Remedies

If the flies pester the dog and bite it in the sensitive area behind the ears, you can take to the natural folk remedies that are available in every household.

  1. Cover dog’s ears with a decoction of a bay leaf. For the preparation of this remedy use 100 g of fresh leaves per 200 g of boiling water. The cooled brew should be filtered and used carefully, avoiding contact with the pet’s eyes and mouth. The remedy is effective not only against flies, but also when combating against ticks.
  2. If the parasites bite the pet’s ears, several drops of the tea tree essential oil applied onto the intact skin would do the trick. The aroma will serve as a natural defense against annoying parasites.
  3. The sensitive skin on the dog’s ears can be saved from the attack of flies, if you cover it with some vinegar solution (200 g of water mixed with 1 tsp. of vinegar). The smell of vinegar will act as a natural repellent against pests.
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How to Treat Insect Stings?

If, despite all your efforts, the flies still managed to leave wounds on the pet’s ears, you need to process them without delay. First things first, wipe the injured skin with some Chlorhexidine. And subsequently cover it regularly with Levomekol. As of natural remedies, juice of plantain, bitter wormwood, bird cherry, wild ashberry or tansy may also contribute to the healing process.

If there are wounds left by insect stings on the dog’s ears, you should process those without prevarication or delays, using any of the above mentioned recipes. Otherwise, the inflammatory process will begin, bringing pain and suffering to the pet.

Prevent flies biting dogs ears

If you own a German Shepherd dog and live in an area where you get flies (is this most of the world. ) then you might have an issue with flies biting the ears of you German Shepherd. This can get quite serious, even to the point where you will have to amputate the tips of your dog’s ears due to an infection caused by the fly bites.

I’m not 100% sure why this happens, but I reckon it’s due to the thin skin/pelt near the tip of your dog’s ears, and the fact that most of the time the tip of the ears are black, which makes them really hot. Of course, hot ears means blood vessels close to the skin, and this means easy snacking for the flies.

There are a few things you can get to prevent flies biting dog’s ears, most of them medicinal sprays (like a product called “Shoo Fly” here in South Africa). You can wipe the dog’s ears, and then spray the product on the ears. Something else we were told we could use was Vaseline. The flies wouldn’t get through the vaseline, AND it would “moisturise” the ears if the flies have already bitten the ears.

If you know of anything else to get rid of the flies and prevent them biting your dog’s ears, please let me know.


39 Replies to “Prevent flies biting dogs ears”

Make a strong solution of khaki bos soaked in hot water. Allow to cool & spray or dip your dog. Spray their bedding too – this also helps control fleas & ticks, and it’s natural. We do this to our Sharpei’s.

Thanks for the tip. Sounds good.

There is a new product on the market called Advantix (in SA). It controlls ticks, fleas and… you guessed it, flies!

I only started using it a month ago but so far so good.

we have a chow/husky and flies have been biting his ears so bad that they are black. And also they have been biting his nose so bad that it is bleeding on his whole nose. What do i do?

Hi Rylee. I think the best bet for you might be to go to the Vet first and get the sores cleaned out. They should also be able to give you a medicated cream that will help heal the wounds, as well as keep the flies off.

Hi, we have the same problem with our Boerboel and the only effective remedy that we have found is a product called Equivet, you can buy it from the Vets, it is actually for use on horses, but works beautifully for dogs ears too.

Thanks for the info Ann.

I also have a boerboel and have found that putting a few drops of citronella oil on his hears keep the flies at bay. What we have also tried is “Zambuk” which helps heal the sores and keeps the flies away.

Hi I take flowers of sulphur and vaseline mix the 2 together and spread it on the dogs ears. This treatment is also used for when a dogs hair falls out and makes balb patches. I hope it works for you like it did for me

Hi Liz. Thanks for your ideas. Hopefully it proves useful to somebody…

If you are willing to go to the trouble, I make a salve. It is a bit heavy and oily, so not recommended if you are getting ready to show your dog. It works well for my outside malamute mixes.

1/2 oz. beeswax
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin
8 drops Lemon eucalyptus essential oil
4 drops Lavendar essential oil

Combine oils and glycerin. Melt beeswax in double boiler. Once melted, stir in oil mixture and whip with fork or egg whip. Pour immediately into small widemouth jar.

Apply to dogs ears every three to four days or when flies are noticed.

This is a little thicker than Vaseline due to the wax but stays on better. These essential oils are healing for ear tips already sore from bites. Hair seems to return fairly quickly also. These oils are also safe for animals but keep in mind that any essential oil product may cause an allergic reaction. Also – never use essential oils undiluted on pet or human unless they are specifically stated to be safe for application in that sense.

Thank you Jody, that is EXCELLENT information.

i am struggling with fleas, spent a fortune at the vets for the past year, this doggie came with fleas and i have tried everything, somebody recommened that i rub the dog down with citronella oil , i have done this ,but now fear that it might harm her,

There’s a product called X Spot. I had terrible problems with flies on my German Sheperd and Husky’s ears. Tried X Spot and I’ve never looked backed!

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i need help……My black labrador cross mastiff puppy has open wounds on his ears from the fly bites……we used a puppy fly repellent and he was allergic….it nearly killed him :(……..i need to know what i can use to heal his ears and keep the flys off……thanks

You could try these “organic” options:

Or just the vaseline option…

Let me know what happens.

Hi Amanda
Try X Spot. It’s an ointment which you put on the skin between the shoulder blades and the base of their tales. I put a bit near their ears as well just to be sure. You can find it at most Vet’s or pet shops. I had a huge, huge problem with flies, my German Sheperd has no tips on his ears due to flies. I’ve tried vaseline but unfortunately I have other dogs and they made his ears worse by licking the vaseline off.

I have 2 german shephards one is 5mnths and the other 8 weeks I don’t have this problem yet but I have been told that white zinc cream helps…

I always put VICKS & it help & cures the ears..

I also have two dogs, and they lick everything off, from shoofly to vaseline. I am going to try the zambuc due to the eucalyptus, but would X-spot help? Will the dogs lick it off?

Hi Clive
Not at all! Before X-Spot I tried Vaseline and Zambuc and it would have worked but I have 3 other dogs who loved the taste and sat licking my german shepard’s ears which made the ears raw which only attracted more flies. The product is applied inbetween the shoulder blades and where the tail starts and applied on the skin not on the hair. I put a bit on their heads and ears as well just as an extra precaution.

Thanks Candice. I take it I cannot apply it to the open wound, but close by on the skin of the ear?

I do Clive, it actually helps the wound dry up.

Thanks Candice. I am definately going to try this…

One thing which I’m sure you’ll read is don’t wash your dogs before applying it’s works best with “dirty” dogs. Good Luck! Let me know how it goes.

One thing which I’m sure you’ll read is don’t wash your dogs before applying it works best with “dirty” dogs. Good Luck! Let me know how it goes.

hi guys! the best product i have found for my boerboel’s ears is fly rid works really great and stays on for really long. keeps working. hope this helps someone

i use “corona” ointment that is made for horses and cattle


I use the same insect repellent I use on myself…here in Australia it is called aero guard…it stops flies, mosquito,sand flies and ticks.

My two Boxers are not really bothered with flies biting their ears but they are really pestered by biting flies around the head and tail areas. I used to use a spray called Fly Rid which was absolutely marvellous. The dogs hated it but it worked very, very well. Now I cannot find it on sale anywhere. Can anyone help with vendors please.

wound airosoll help very good its the best ask your vet were you can find it or if he can order it for you

My thanks to Dawid but I have managed to find more supplies of Fly Rid plus the fact it is late autumn here now so the biting fly menace goes away until next summer.

My lab had a sore on his nose and the vet recommended “swat”. Sway may be purchased at most feed stores such as Tractor Supply. My vet said left untreated flies may lay eggs in sore and the sore will only get bigger.

I have 2 rots, we have used Avon skin so soft forever, it’s a miracle. My babies show no sign of problems or irritation. They seem happy

My German Shepherd’s ears were awful, especially when I got home after a week of camping. My pet sitter only put something on once a day. I have tried everything: Vaseline, Fly repellent for horses (I was concerned about it being too potent but it still didn’t work) even Corona Ointment, which farmers use on animal’s wounds to keep flies off of them. I found this site and was going to try the essential oil recipe but Whole foods is 20 miles away and I wouldn’t be able to get there for a few days. So, I tried my Deep Woods Off Bug and Sun Cream. We were just camping in CO and I used it – never got a bite or sunburn. And it worked immediately on his ears! I only have to put it on once a day. It does not sting his ears while the wounds are healing, it doesn’t smell, my dog didn’t mind it at all. We are two days into it and I would say that he is already growing hair back!

My white boxer has had an aweful time with the biting flies all over, especially his ear tips (so much that they bleed). I wash the ears with hydrogen peroxide and a cotton ball then apply a generous amount of antibiotic ointment to the tip, then rub his fur down with AVON’s Skin-So-Soft oil. THE FLIES DISSAPPEAR IMMEDIATELY.

I use a product by the name off in australia the flies are bad we even have a wave called the aussie salute in summer when the flies are bad off even keeps the flies of me even when i’m fishing & we know how much flies like bait give it a go.

A few drops of Tea Tree oil mixed in vaseline or the bees wax, also works great. Tea Tree is very healing & a natural antiseptc for ALL sorts of external things.

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