bug bite prevention for dogs

As the temperatures rise in spring, biting insects are also emerging and starting to bother our dogs (and us too).

For dogs, this isn’t about just a bit of annoyance or itchiness from a bug bite. Some mosquitoes can cause heartworm disease by injecting larvae (microfilariae) into dogs when they bite them. And ticks can carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

So you want to protect your dog this season but you probably don’t want to protect him with harmful chemicals!

If you’ve done your research, you won’t want to give your dog neurotoxic heartworm medications which can be riskier than getting heartworms. And Lyme vaccinations are a very high-risk, low efficacy solution to try to protect your dog against Lyme disease.

(Related: The Dangers Of Heartworm Meds)

But are there natural and safe options that work?

There are lots of natural insect repellents that contain ingredients like cedar oil, lemon eucalyptus oil or essential oils to keep bugs off your dog. Natural repellents can be very effective … but you have to apply them thoroughly all over your dog, which can be difficult, especially with a long haired dog … and some dogs don’t like being sprayed with them as they’re quite strong-smelling.

Homeopathy To The Rescue

There’s another solution … and that’s homeopathy! You might have given your dog a dose or two of Arnica if he’s hurt himself, or Arsenicum if he’s eaten something that’s caused a bout of food poisoning … but you might not think of homeopathy as a way to prevent insect bites.

But it is … and it works really well. And best of all, it’s completely safe.

Homeopath Linda Miller BMUS, CCH, RSHOM (NA), Director of the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine in Calgary, Alberta (Canada), explains:

“This 200 year old system of medicine is a vast treasure house capable of managing a plethora of conditions, some of which you may never have imagined. One such example is the effectiveness of homeopathy for insect control. “From the perspective of homeopathic medicine, pet owners can both treat and prevent insect bites. Specific homeopathic remedies can reduce swelling, redness and itching and speed healing whereas others improve immune function. “Happily, the use of homeopathy to treat the effects of insect bites and infestations does not place an additional toxic load on the immune system, liver and excretory organs. Because of this, the homeopathic treatment of insect bites also reduces the likelihood of a repeat infection after treatment.”

So, your dog (and you) can use homeopathy as a safe and effective way to:

A. Protect against bug bites (and the diseases that bugs carry), and

B. Treat bug bites so they don’t become red, itchy and irritating.

But before I tell you about the remedies, I want to remind you there’s one more important step in protecting your dog against diseases from insects …

A Healthy Immune System Is The First Step

You might not realize this, but a healthy immune system as the first step in protecting our dog against insects and parasites.

“Our pets are often exposed to toxins, drugs and chemicals that can stress the immune system. When the body is in a weakened state, insects and parasites can take over; it’s all a part of Mother Nature’s plan!

“If you wish to treat any insect or parasite problem in your dog, you must restore the immune system to good healthy function.”

Here’s an example. Lyme disease only occurs as a co-infection. That means healthy dogs don’t get Lyme … it only appears if your dog is suffering from another disease. And many dogs walk around with just a few heartworms or intestinal worms for their entire life and they never develop any disease … but these parasites are kept in check by the immune system. That’s its j0b! But if the immune system is stressed (by vaccines, drugs, pesticides, processed food, toxins), it can lose its ability to keep the parasite populations in check and those few heartworms or intestinal worms will turn into hundreds or thousands and your dog will soon become sick.

white blood cells eat parasitic worm

You should work hard to build a strong immune system in your dog. Here are a few important steps to doing that:

  • Feed a fresh, whole food diet
  • Minimize vaccines 
  • Avoid drugs like antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflamatories (NSAIDs)
  • Avoid pesticides such as chemical dewormers and pesticides/herbicides on your lawn
  • Limit the use of chemicals and detergents in your home.

This will go a long way toward preventing the diseases insects can carry. But insect bites still hurt and can cause pain and itchiness.

So these homeopathic remedies are the next step in your bug bite protection arsenal …

(Want to see your dog’s white blood cells in action? Check out the link to this 10 second video below)

Top 5 Homeopathic Remedies To Protect Against Bug Bites

Linda Miller says that remedies like Staphysagria, Ledum palustre, Grindelia, Cedron and Urtica urens are all indicated for mites, fleas, lice, mange, midges, black flies, horse flies, deer flies, chigger mites, bees, wasps, hornets, ants, dust mites, spiders, worms, ticks…the list goes on!

Here’s a brief guide to how each of those remedies can help treat insect bites or stings.

Staphysagria

Inflammation that is the result of an insect bite. It can range from redness and swelling to ulcers with green or yellow pus, hives or scabby sores with water oozing from underneath. The skin is very difficult to heal.

Ledum palustre

Puncture wounds from any insect or object, often causing marked discoloration lasting long afterwards. Swelling, itching, inflammation, red spots and rash; poison ivy. Anti-tetanus properties. Works well for many kinds of insect bites including bee or wasp stings. Ledum can also be highly effective in protecting against Lyme disease.

Grindelia robusta

For bites of insects, particularly fleas, causing itching and burning. Eruptions may be vesicular and/or papular. Can also be effective for poison oak or herpetic eruptions. Also useful for ulcers with swollen, purplish skin.

Cedron

Affectations of the nerves occurring at exact periods is the most marked feature of this remedy. It antidotes the effect of snake bites as well as the stings of insects. There can be trembling and numbness of the whole body. Useful in malarial affections of damp, warm, marshy areas.

Urtica urens

Itching, raised, red blotches. Nettle rash; worse every year, the same season. Prickly heat. Elevated hives with rheumatism; after eating shellfish; with pinworms. Vesicles. Intense burning and itching.

Prevention

The remedy descriptions tell you which remedy is best to treat different kinds of bites. To prevent your dog from bites, the same remedies work if you give them before exposure. The same remedies that treat bites can prevent them by reducing your dog’s susceptibility to them

This is called homeoprophylaxis …

… in other words, giving a nontoxic dose of the medicine that treats a specific ailment, before exposure, to prevent the ailment.

The remedies will start protecting your dog about half an hour after he takes them, so give him a dose (read on to find out the best way to do this) about half an hour before going outdoors or somewhere he might be exposed to ticks or mosquitoes.

How To Use The Remedies

These remedies are easy to use and they’re inexpensive (usually under $10 for about 80 pellets).  You can buy them at apothecaries, health stores like Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods, or you can google the remedy name and find them at many places online (even Amazon).

They come in different potencies:  30C and 6C are commonly available.

  • If you’re using them to treat your dog for insect bites, a 30C is a good choice.
  • For prevention, the lower 6C potency is best.

The remedies usually come in the form of little pellets (like the ones below) or tablets.

  • It’s best not to handle the pellets with your hands as that can inactivate the remedy. They don’t taste bad so your dog probably won’t mind taking them in his mouth.
  • Just tip two or three pellets or a tablet into the bottle cap or a teaspoon and put them in his mouth (pulling out his lower lip on the side of the mouth and tipping them in there is an easy way to do this.
  • But if your dog doesn’t like taking the pellets, you can dissolve them in a little filtered or spring water (never use unfiltered tap water), stir vigorously and then use a dropper or syringe to put some of the liquid into his mouth.
  • To take the remedies yourself, just pop two or three pellets or a tablet under your tongue and let them dissolve.
  • To use the remedies to prevent bug bites, give him a dose before heading out into the woods or anywhere there are likely to be mosquitoes, ticks or other biting pests.

They’ll start protecting your dog from bites about half an hour after you give them to your dog.

Safety

Unlike many other methods of pest control, homeopathy is both safe and effective.

  • Homeopathic medicines are non-toxic because the original substances they’re made from are diluted hundreds of thousands of times.
  • There are no side effects or contraindications.
  • They won’t interact with other medicines or herbs (but if your dog is already taking homeopathic remedies for another condition, check with your homeopathic vet before giving them).
  • There’s no smell

… and they work!

You can try any of the above individual remedies above or use a ready-made product.

(Related: Top Natural Mosquito Repellents For Dogs)