If there’s one thing that’s universal across all species on Earth (except maybe spiders), it’s the belief that flies are annoying.
As much as they bother you, imagine how much worse it is for your dog — after all, she doesn’t have access to a flyswatter or even a pair of chopsticks to knock the little jerks out of the sky. As a result, she has to just deal with them for the most part.
That’s where a good fly repellent comes in. In the reviews below, we’ll show you which repellents actually keep flies away, and which ones only seem to attract more. Once you find one that works for you, you’ll finally be able to give your dog a little respite from those annoying insects.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Farnam Ointment||
|Premium Choice||Calm Coat Natural||
|Nantucket Spider Natural||
The 7 Best Fly Repellents for Dogs – 2020
1. Farnam Flys-Off Fly Repellent Ointment — Best Overall
While it’s nominally for use on open wounds and sores, Farnam Flys-Off Ointment can also be used to keep flies away from your pup’s face, even when she’s not injured.
It works on all kinds of flies, including horse flies, house flies, and stable flies (maybe not elephant flies, but luckily no one’s ever seen one of those). It’s perfect for pets with jobs in rural areas, such as herding dogs.
A little of this stuff goes a long way (and that’s probably due to the smell, which is atrocious), so there’s no need to slather your pooch’s entire body with it. You simply lather a little bit on the affected area with your fingers, and then watch as the flies stay away.
If your mutt is constantly being attacked and pestered by flies, there’s really nothing like Farnam Flys-Off Ointment. Not only was it the clear choice for the top spot, but it’s head and shoulders above the rest (except for our #2 product, but there’s a reason for that, which you’ll see shortly).
2. Farnam Flys-Off Insect Repellent — Best Value
There’s a good reason why our top pick is only slightly better than our #2 pick, and that’s because they’re both from FarnamFarnam. This version of Flys-Off comes in a spray bottle, which makes application more convenient, but at the cost of reducing effectiveness a bit.
The spray bottle makes it easier to cover a large swath of your dog’s body, but that’s usually unnecessary, and it also increases the risk you’ll get some in her eyes accidentally. The good news is you don’t have to get any on your hands, though, because it doesn’t smell any better than the ointment.
It’s perfect for spraying on bedding and other fabric to keep flies from landing. In addition to flies, it also repels gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and lice.
Even better, it does all this at an extremely competitive price, making it the best fly repellent for dogs for the money. If you had to choose just one, we’d recommend the ointment, but luckily, they’re each affordable enough that you can keep both handy.
You don’t have to worry about lathering a bunch of harsh chemicals all over your pet with Calm Coat Natural, as it’s made with botanical ingredients like citronella. This lets it protect your pooch against flies, mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, ticks, and more.
The spray isn’t oily or sticky, so your dog’s coat shouldn’t be affected for long, and the scent isn’t overwhelming.
It is a bit expensive, though, and that becomes aggravating when you realize you’ll need to reapply it every day to see any results.
While Calm Coat Natural works well, it only does so for a day at a time, so it’s hard for us to justify ranking it any higher than third — especially given that it’s relatively expensive.
4. Nantucket Spider Best Natural Repellent
Nantucket Spider Best Natural is a DEET-free concoction that instead relies on essential oils to keep bugs at bay. It uses a wide range of these oils as well, including rosemary, lemongrass, spearmint, and more, giving you broad protection against insects.
We can certainly see why bugs hate this stuff, because the smell is nearly unbearable. Your dog likely won’t appreciate getting coated in it, so expect to watch her roll in the dirt immediately after you apply it.
However, that may be a small price to pay for a repellent that actually works, which Nantucket Spider Best Natural seems to do. It’s easy to get a complete coating, too, as the sprayer offers a consistent fine mist with every pull.
While it keeps flies away well, it does little for mosquitoes and gnats, so you may need a separate spray to take care of them.
Ultimately, this is a good-but-not-great solution — and #4 on this list seems like a good place for something like that.
5. Absorbine UltraShield Natural Fly Repellent
Absorbine UltraShield Green Natural is another product that uses essential oils, but they must use different ones than Nantucket Spider does, because they can’t quite match that product’s results.
The good news, however, is that this stuff smells a lot better than the other spray. It has a fresh botanical scent that dogs don’t seem to mind, but it doesn’t last very long. Expect to have to reapply it at least twice a day, if not more.
That means a single bottle won’t last very long, and this stuff isn’t cheap. If you only need to keep bugs away for a short time, such as on vacation, then this is a fine choice, but we wouldn’t recommend it for everyday use.
Even when it’s freshly-applied, though, don’t expect it to keep away every fly. It will certainly cut down on the number bothering your pooch, but it won’t completely eliminate the problem.
We’re big fans of eco-friendly solutions like Absorbine UltraShield Green Natural, but we’d be even bigger fans if it worked better and lasted longer.
6. Miracle Coat 1063 No Fly Zone
If the bugs have been getting after your dog for a while, the oatmeal and vitamin E inside Miracle Coat No Fly Zone will help soothe her irritated skin. When you pair that with the lovely smell, this is one spray that dogs might actually welcome getting coated with.
However, the fly-repelling aspect of this fly repellent leaves a lot to be desired.
It uses cloves to keep flies away, and if cloves have been proven effective for this purpose, no one has told the flies. If anything, it keeps them at bay for a few minutes, but it often struggles to even do that much.
As a result, this is fine if you want to keep flies off your dog whenever she goes to the bathroom outside, but if she spends most of her day outdoors, you’ll want to find something much stronger.
The bottle isn’t very big, either, and it’s fairly expensive, so you’ll need to buy it by the case if you intend to keep applying it as needed. We can’t recommend doing that, however, which is why we can’t really recommend using Miracle Coat No Fly Zone, either.
7. Zeke’s Bug Away Fly Repellent
Zeke’s Bug Away pairs essential oils with witch hazel to create a formula that’s non-oily and odor-free; however, regardless of how it smells, it doesn’t do much to deter flies.
The problem with it being odor-free is that it’s hard to tell if you’ve applied enough of it, and you’ll never know when it’s stopped working. The only clue you have to go on is how many flies are pestering your dog, and since it doesn’t do much to cut down on that number in the first place, that’s an extremely unreliable marker.
It can also sting your pooch if you get some in her eyes or nose accidentally, so you have to be very careful when applying it near her muzzle. That’s unfortunate because the muzzle is the area where dogs seem to be bothered by flies the most.
We appreciate that the manufacturer tried to make a fly repellent that would make application painless, but Zeke’s Bug Away fails in enough other important areas as to make that quality fairly meaningless.
As much as it may feel like flies love to bother you, they seem to find dogs absolutely irresistible. In this guide, we’ll explain why that is, and why it’s important that you put a stop to it as soon as you can.
Why Do Flies Love Dogs So Much?
There are many reasons why a fly might be drawn to a dog’s coat. These include everything from little bits of poop that are matted in the fur to open wounds concealed by her hair.
Some flies are even more diabolical than others. Horseflies, for example, will actually bite your dog (and you, too, so be careful). These bites can bleed, leading to infection, so it’s important to treat them as soon as you can — not to mention prevent them from happening again.
Are Flies Dangerous to Dogs?
They can be, yes. As noted above, some bite into your pup’s flesh, leaving wounds that can easily become infected.
Others transmit disease — as many as 65 known diseases, in fact. These range from harmless annoyances to serious conditions like dysentery.
Granted, it’s rare that a dog will suffer a potentially-fatal disease from coming in contact with flies, but there’s no reason to take a chance.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Flies at Bay?
While the repellents on this list do a great job of keeping bugs off your dog, they can only do so much if swarms of flies are constantly buzzing all around.
As a result, it’s important to keep the surrounding area as clean as possible. This means picking up poop as soon as possible, ensuring all garbage containers are tightly sealed, and removing any standing water.
Also, grisly as it may be, sometimes you’ll have an abundance of flies due to a dead animal in the area. In that case, it’s essential to remove the carcass as soon as possible (and you may need to call animal control to do this).
You can also set up fly traps, strips, and zappers around your home to try to snatch the bugs out of the air before they land on your dog. Be careful about using anything that comes with an attractant, though, as that can just make the problem worse.
Finally, there are other natural solutions, like releasing fly predators into your yard. For example, there’s a species of non-biting wasp that feeds on fly larvae; by releasing them around your house, you can completely decimate an entire generation of flies without using a single chemical.
What Should I Look for in a Fly Repellent?
The short answer is, anything that works.
There are a variety of solutions that may offer relief, from eco-friendly essential oils to powerful pesticides like pyrethrin. It ultimately comes down to what you’re comfortable putting on your pet’s skin, as well as what you find to be the most effective solution.
Farnam Flys-Off placed two repellents in the top slots on this list: an ointment and a spray. The ointment was our favorite, as it just took a little dab to keep flies away from your dog’s entire body. Plus, it’s great for keeping them off open wounds and sores.
The spray is almost as good and a little bit cheaper. It doesn’t require you to get your hands dirty, and it even works to keep them off bedding and other fabrics.
We hope these reviews have made it possible for you to find a repellent that will finally give your dog a little peace on hot summer days. We believe the options shown here are your best bet for finally keeping all manner of flies at bay.
If they don’t, of course, there’s only one solution left, and it involves buying copious amounts of napalm.
Featured Image Credit: Fran_, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 7 Best Fly Repellents for Dogs – 2020
- 1. Farnam Flys-Off Fly Repellent Ointment — Best Overall
- 2. Farnam Flys-Off Insect Repellent — Best Value
- 3. Calm Coat Natural Fly Repellent – Premium Choice
- 4. Nantucket Spider Best Natural Repellent
- 5. Absorbine UltraShield Natural Fly Repellent
- 6. Miracle Coat 1063 No Fly Zone
- 7. Zeke’s Bug Away Fly Repellent
- Buyer’s Guide