Just as humans require relief from pesky mosquitoes, dogs need protection in the form of citronella and other aids as well. Mosquito repellent for dogs often is the same or similar to that of humans. Most veterinarians recommend natural repellent sources rather than ones that contain N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET).
Many parents already avoid using DEET on their children because of potential health risks, but the chemical is especially dangerous for pets. Since animals lick themselves, the chemical is not only in contact with their skin, but also their digestive systems. DEET is not intended for digestion and can cause several negative health effects, including neurological damage.
There are several different over-the-counter mosquito repellent for dogs. Many contain natural ingredients that humans often use in outdoor candles, such as citronella or lemongrass. Other natural ingredients might include catnip, neem oil, or garlic. These are usually liquid formulas that can range from a moderate to expensive. Most pet care stores, as well as some warehouse or grocery stores, sell these products.
A veterinarian can also recommend a combination flea, tick, and mosquito repellent for animals. This is often in a monthly treatment meant to be applied to the animal's skin. Other products are available in spray or shampoo form. Prescription insect repellent is generally the most costly option, but it protects against several types of bugs and often produces the best results.
To use a mosquito repellent for dogs, pet owners should follow the product instructions carefully. Most sprays can be used immediately on the dog's coat. Shampoos and other liquids are usually simple to apply as well. Rather than risking harm to the pet's eyes, nose, and mouth, it is often best to skip applying these products to the pet's face. Repellent can usually be carefully applied, however, by first applying it to the human's hands, then rubbing it gently over the animal's face, avoiding the sensitive regions.
The best solution is the same one that humans use: preventing contact with mosquitoes. Eliminating standing water around the house can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs and occupying residential spaces. Keeping dogs indoors for most of the day can prevent both mosquito bites as well as heat stroke. Walking the dog in the morning and afternoon, rather than in the late evening when mosquitoes are most active, may also help.