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PET SAFETY MONTH: 30 tips in 30 days that can save your pet's life - Tip #17

April showers not only bring May flowers but they bring mosquito larvae, heartworm, ticks and fleas. Oh my!

But with the weather warming and moistening, things are definitely going into high gear

These are equal opportunity blood suckers. With climate change, many vets are now keeping even their northern patients on heartworm prevention year round. This writer has removed ticks after a hike in frozen February.

Sometimes the prevention is more dangerous than the cure. Most drug store bug repellants contain DEET which the FDA considers safe for human with nasty disease carriers. Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to becoming dinner for a mosquito as are we.use but, unfortunately, can be toxic to pets. There are a number of natural oils that repel mosquitoes, ticks and other nasties. You can buy pet bug repellant or make it easily (yes, carries everything)

The downside is natural repellants need to be reapplied every couple of hours rather than once or twice a day. But they don't get into your blood stream the way DEET does and since it's not toxic to your pets, there is no question which you want to use.

Consumer Reports writes that the best natural bug repellant is lemon eucalyptus oil and it is even more effective than DEET (of course, no big companies advertise it). You have to apply it a little more often but that's fine. Here's a quick recipe for a natural bug spray for both you and pup. Be safe when you dine outside, go to the beach or chase a tennis ball in an open field. Mix this in an amber colored (for uv protection) glass spray bottle:

  • 25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (note: this is different from either lemon oil or eucalyptus oil)

  • 4 oz witch hazel or 2 oz coconut oil or another carrier oil like almond oil

  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract

  • OR 6 drops peppermint essential oil

  • OR 3 drops lavender essential oil


  1. Mix the ingredients all together in your glass spray bottle

  2. Shake well

  3. Spray your pup all over, taking care not to spray his eyes

  4. Reapply every 2-3 hours

  5. Use on yourself as well

Relax, enjoy and know you are repelling the mosquitoes and not poisoning either your pup or yourself.

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