As the days get longer you spend more time outdoors with your dog. Sadly, as temperatures increase disease-carrying pests start to appear to ruin your fun. It is important to protect yourself and your dog from these pesky insects.
Heartworm, Lyme disease and West Nile are just a few of the potentially fatal diseases these blood-sucking bugs can transmit to your beloved dog. A topical spray is an added reassurance that you and your dog are protected.
DEET is the most widely used bug repellent, but people are started to question its safety. While Consumer Reports and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim it is safe to use on people (not safe for pets) in recommended doses, people are looking for a more natural solution. Many are turning to plants and more specifically to the oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE).
“According to the CDC, oil of lemon eucalyptus could be a much safer and more natural weapon,” reported Treehugger.
It is the only natural oil recommended by the CDC and has performed just as well or better than DEET in Consumer Reports testing. The intense aroma from the naturally occurring compound is found in the leaves of Eucalyptus citriodora. However, studies have found that the repellent needs to contain 30% of OLE to be effective.
Consumer Reports did a study on OLE and found, “Product in our insect repellent ratings that contained 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) did well in our tests, warding off mosquitoes and ticks for at least 7 hours.”
Picaridin is a “synthetic repellent modeled after a compound that occurs naturally in the black pepper plant.” Although, it is not natural it was created to mimic the compound in the plant. This type of repellent performs well, but people are worried that not enough testing has been performed to see if there are side-effects.
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray ranked second in a study by Consumer Reports, outperforming DEET products. People who have used the Repel spray give it high marks for efficiency but state the smell is very strong. Dogs Naturally posted a DIY spray you can make to use on your dog and yourself.
Homemade Bug Spray
“If you like making your own products, here’s a homemade natural bug spray recipe you can try:
1 glass spray bottle
25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (this one’s a good choice)
4 oz witch hazel or 2 oz coconut oil or another carrier oil like almond oil (use oil if your dog will be going in the water)
You can just use the above ingredients, or you can experiment with 1 or more of these additional ingredients:
1 tsp real vanilla extract
OR 6 drops peppermint essential oil
OR 3 drops lavender essential oil or atlas cedarwood essential oil”
Just like sunscreen, it is recommended to reapply the DIY topical spray every couple of hours and the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus spray every 6-7 hours. Enjoy the great outdoors again with Fido!
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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