About fly repellents for dogs and horses
Perching on every part of our pet’s bodies, especially their ears, eyes, and tails, flies are a very bothersome lot to horses and dogs alike. And, of course, when our babies are bothered, we are bothered as well. It can be really hard watching them swish their tails and ears constantly due to the attack from these devil-may-care flies.
And it isn’t just about the flies, it’s about other insects as well that is a bit more than pesky nuisances. Many of them bite and/or carry diseases and viruses that are quite detrimental to the health of our pets. For instance, some mosquitoes may carry the West Nile Virus and some ticks can cause heartworm disease. You need to get rid of those insects, they are causing your pets serious harm or constituting a nuisance at the very least.
One of the many ways you can take care of this situation is to get the best equine fly spray for your horse or a fly spray for dogs.
What do fly repellents for horses and dogs contain?
When we talk about fly repellents for horses or fly repellents for dogs and their ingredients, you can safely say that they contain the same ingredients, give or take one or two. So, without further ado, let’s check them out:
Pyrethrins are children of a parent chemical known as pyrethrum. This pyrethrum is produced by a particular species of the chrysanthemum plant that grows in Kenya, Japan, and the Middle East.
They are pretty toxic and work very fast. Because they are poisons, once there is contact between the insect and the pyrethrin, this chemical quickly penetrates the insect’s shell or skin. By the time it gets into the body of the insect, it heads straight for the nervous system and paralyzes it.
Now, even though pyrethrins are poisons and do a mean job of knocking down insects, bear in mind that they do not actually kill them. Insects have an enzymatic system that makes it possible for pyrethrins to be degraded or detoxified thereby, leading to the recovery of many of them (insects).
It is due to this reason that most manufacturers add “synergists” to pyrethrin in order to slow down the enzymatic action. When this happens, there would be enough time for a lethal dose to be administered to the insect.
Thankfully, pyrethrin degrades easily in the presence of sunlight, oxygen, and moisture, so it isn’t dangerous to the environment. But although it is relatively non-toxic to mammals, it is very toxic to fish and just moderately toxic to Aves and bees.
Unlike pyrethrin, permethrin is synthetic, i.e., it is manufactured in the lab. However, it still bears some similarities with pyrethrin. For instance, it’s also a neurotoxin and causes an overstimulation of the insect’s nervous system. This will lead to a knockdown of the insect. And just like pyrethrin, manufacturers often combine permethrin with synergists in order to make them lethal.
Unlike its natural counterpart though, permethrin is more stable so it is able to offer longer-lasting protection than pyrethrin.
Permethrin isn’t considered very hazardous to the environment because it breaks down fairly easily (even though not as easily as pyrethrin).
Permethrin can be fatal to felines and fish and very toxic to bees and a range of other beneficial insects. So, if you do have any of these animals on your property, use caution when using a fly spray that contains permethrin.
Diethyltoluamide (DEET) is about the most common active ingredient you’d find in any insect repellent whether for human or for animal use. It was developed after World War II by the US Army and has been used since then till today to ward off insects. It is quite effective against mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and a wide variety of other biting insects.
DEET has been reported to be a bit toxic to animals though, and even to humans at certain concentrations; causing unpleasant adverse reactions when humans or animals are exposed to it. Even at very low concentrations, some very sensitive folks might still react to DEET.
Plus, its characteristic yellow color which stains clothing is also another reason many manufacturers are beginning to boycott the use of DEET.
Icaridin is practically colorless and odorless. As a chemical compound, it is quite effective in repelling many different types of insects. Because of some of the adverse effects of DEET (including irritations), Icaridin is often used as an effective alternative for DEET.
How about natural fly repellents?
There are all kinds of fly repellents out there today posing as natural fly repellents for dogs or horses or cats or what have you. But how can you prove which is truly natural? For a product to truly qualify as “natural”, then it must meet all of four specific criteria.
- It must be natural: That goes without saying, doesn’t it? The product must be made entirely of natural ingredients alone. And the processes involved in manufacturing the product must not compromise the integrity of the ingredients.
- It must be safe: The product must not contain any ingredient proven by research to be unsafe for human health.
- Responsibility: The product must not use animal testing in the process of its development.
- It must be sustainable: That is, it must come in a bio-degradable, eco-friendly packaging.
Natural fly repellents will usually contain ingredients such as organic Aloe Vera juice, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, Neem oil, lavender, organic peppermint oil, organic tea tree oil (this is toxic to cats), lemon eucalyptus, Geranium essential oil, organic lemongrass essential oil, organic clove bud essential oil, organic rosemary essential oil, Himalayan Cedarwood oil, and Ma Chang essential oil.
Things to consider before buying a fly repellent for horses and dogs
Natural sprays will only repel the insects for so long, while fly sprays containing insecticide will kill as well as repel insects. If, however, you still prefer to go natural, that’s okay too.
Just be sure to use it when the population of bugs is generally low, like in the early spring, late summer or in the fall. These are the periods when you can get the best out of natural fly repellents. Or remember to reapply the natural fly spray as instructed on the label of the product.