Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 08, 2021

No one likes mosquitoes, especially your pets. Since mosquitoes carry diseases, they're also dangerous for you and your pets. What can you do to keep them safe this summer?

Use Screens In Your Doors and Windows

Mesh screens let fresh air into your home and none of the bugs, including mosquitoes. Consider putting screens in your doors and windows to give your pets a taste of fresh air without letting mosquitoes in.

If you have a porch, consider screening your porch. A screened porch allows your pet to get fresh air and sunlight without being exposed to insects and mosquitoes.

Remove Standing Water in Your Yard

Mosquitoes love water. They find areas of standing water in your yard and reproduce. Removing standing water will force them to relocate.

Rainwater tends to collect in outdoor containers and objects. Check, empty, and clean containers like:

  • Tires
  • Buckets
  • Outdoor toys
  • Planters
  • Birdbaths
  • Trashcans

If you can, remove or cover objects that collect rainwater. For example, you can cover some things with lids or mesh screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the standing water.

Swimming pools are resistant to mosquitoes. The chemicals that keep swimming pools clean also repel mosquitoes, preventing them from reproducing.

Practice Yard Hygiene

Mosquitoes like dark, humid, and cool spaces. Tall grass and thick brush create cool shade for mosquitoes to live in.

Shade also prevents heat from evaporating any standing water. Keeping your grass and bushes trimmed will deter mosquitoes from hanging out. Your pets will also love a nice trimmed yard, too!

Talk to Your Neighbors

While you can protect your yard, your neighbors may leave puddles of water or their grass too tall. Unfortunately, you can't control what your neighbors do. However, talk to them about your pets and see if they'll consider practicing good yard hygiene.

Use Outdoor Fans

Fans used outdoors are great. They keep you cool and keep mosquitoes away. The moving air makes it harder for mosquitoes to fly and land. So, it's less likely they'll land on your pet.

Avoid Mosquito Active Hours

Mosquitoes are most active around dawn and dusk. Walk your pets in the middle of the day or when the sun's down. While mosquitoes won't be as active during this time, there's still a chance you'll encounter them.

Don't Use DEET Repellants

DEET is a chemical found in many insect repellants. You can find it in repellant liquids, creams, and sprays that you would use to repel mosquitoes. Even though humans commonly use it, DEET can cause problems for your pets.

If you're looking for a suitable mosquito repellant for your pets, local pet stores have pet-safe repellants. Always check with your vet before committing to a product.

Essential Oils As an Alternative Repellant

Repellants made from lemon and eucalyptus are popular with humans. They smell good and last longer than your typical DEET repellant.

Some essential oils can be toxic or irritating to your pets. For example, cats are generally sensitive to many essential oils. Sensitivity can lead to:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Central nervous system depression (e.g. weakness, difficulty walking, and muscle tremors)
  • Irritation around their mouth
  • Difficulty breathing

Before using essential oils, talk with your vet about what's safe for your pets.

Don't Use Citronella

Citronella is considered the smell of summer. It's a popular mosquito repellant used in candles, oils, and mists. You can even grow citronella plants in your garden.

However, citronella is toxic to your pets. Contact with and ingesting citronella can cause the same toxicity symptoms as essential oils. Avoiding citronella altogether is the safest thing to do.

Be Cautious With Citrus

Mosquitoes don't like citrus smells and oils. Some people recommend using citrus juice or other tart fruit juice to repel mosquitoes.

However, citrus can be toxic to your pets when ingested. Before making citrus mists or putting citrus juice on your pet's collar, talk to your vet.

Plant a Mosquito Repellant Garden

Some plants repel mosquitoes and are safe for your pets. For example, plant basil, catnip, lemon balm, and rosemary to create a comfortable, green sanctuary for your pets to play in.

Avoid the following plants. They can be toxic to your pets if eaten:

  • Geraniums
  • Citronella
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Garlic
  • Marigolds

What If Mosquitoes Are Unavoidable?

Sometimes, there's nothing you can do about mosquitoes. So, what can be done?

Mosquitoes can carry heartworm disease. Repelling them will prevent your pet from potentially developing this disease.

If you can't prevent the threat of mosquitoes, make sure your pets are getting treated for heartworm disease. This type of prevention is the best method to keep your pets safe.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Animal Humane Society: "Pet-friendly mosquito repellents (that humans can use too)."

ASPCA: "People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets."

CDC: "Controlling Mosquitoes at Home."

Consumer Reports: "5 Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away."

EPA: "DEET."

FDA: "Keep the Worms Out of Your Pet's Heart! The Facts about Heartworm Disease."

Michelson Found Animals: "Essential Oils and Animals: Which Essential Oils Are Toxic to Pets?"

npr: "A Guide To Mosquito Repellents, From DEET To ... Gin And Tonic?."

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