Do you live in an area that’s prone to mosquitos and fleas? Learn how citronella oil can protect your dog by helping to prevent mosquito bites and flea infestations. 

I’m willing to bet that when you think of mosquitos, nowhere in the mental image of swatting at annoying flying insects does preventing them from landing on your dogs enter your mind! However, this is something every pet owner needs to consider as mosquitos not only cause itchy, painful bites, but they also can inject your furry baby with disease-causing pathogens. Ick!

Do Mosquitoes Bite Dogs?


Even with that beautiful thick coat of fur your dog has, mosquitoes still bite dogs.

Dogs with shorter fur have the greatest risk of bites on the legs, trunk or belly. But even dogs with longer or thicker fur are at risk for getting mosquito bites in the areas where their fur is thinner such as the nose, ears, belly, and groin. 

Mosquito Bites On Dogs

Dogs experience the same itching and irritation from mosquito bites that humans do. 

However, keep in mind that mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance because they can transmit diseases (like heartworm), serious bacteria, and parasite infections to your dog.

Types of Infections Dogs Can Contract From Mosquito Bites:

  • Heartworm 
  • West Nile Virus 
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis 
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Heartworm, a life-threatening heart and lung infection, is perhaps the most common concern for dogs. It is carried from one animal to another by mosquito bites. In fact, mosquito bites are the sole way a dog can get heartworm

As you can conclude, protecting your dog from mosquito bites is the best and only way to reduce the risk of heartworm infection.

Symptoms of Mosquito Bites On Dogs

Mosquito bites are just as itchy for dogs as they are for humans. Here are symptoms to be on the lookout for if you suspect your dog has mosquito bites:

  • Rubbing ears or nose against a rough surface
  • Constant scratching
  • Red, raised bumps similar to mosquito bites for people
  • Illness from mosquito-borne parasite infection
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Mosquito bites aren’t the only itchy problematic infestation that dogs (and dog owners) need to worry about. Fleas are a huge, uncomfortable nuisance too.

How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

Fleas are every dog owner’s worst nightmare because this tiny, bloodsucking insect quickly turns into a huge infestation without proper prevention and treatment. A female flea lays up to 50 eggs per day, and it only takes one female to quickly have a big problem on your hands. Terrifying, right? That makes prevention the most important thing you can do

Dogs typically pick up fleas in one of these four common ways:

  • From other animals
  • In your home
  • At dog facilities
  • Outside

How Do You Know If It’s Mosquito Bites or Flea Bites On Your Dogs?

Telling the difference between flea bites, mosquito bites and other insect bites on dogs is difficult because most bites have a similar-looking area of redness with possible swelling.

However, mosquito bites are: 

  • Usually solitary 
  • Can occur anywhere on the body
  • Take longer to resolve than flea bites
  • Occur in warmer climates

Flea bites, on the other hand, can occur at any time of the day as opposed to primarily at dusk and also when the weather is cold, if fleas are living in your warm home. Plus, with flea bites, your dog will itch like crazy almost non-stop.

How Can I Soothe My Dog’s Irritated, Itchy Skin?

Check to see if you can determine the cause of your pup’s irritated, itchy skin. If you suspect that mosquitoes or fleas are the problems, you can help relieve the irritating itchiness by using the right skincare products.

There are safe, natural tactics you can use to help your pup overcome this uncomfortable, itchy problem, such as following a bathing routine with all-natural products that contain safe, calming, and soothing essential oils. Also, use preventative methods to keep insects away from your pets.

What Essential Oils Are Safe For Dogs?

Several different kinds of oils have various healing properties for dogs’ skin, including a few essential oils. There is quite a lengthy list, but some of the safe essential oils for use on dogs include: 

  • Citronella
  • Chamomile 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Almond oil
  • Peppermint oil 
  • Lavender oil 
  • Cedarwood oil 

Keep in mind that any essential oil must be properly diluted with a carrier oil before applying it to your pup. This is crucial, y’all.

Citronella Oil Uses

Citronella comes from the lemongrass family which is why it smells so intense, but it’s actually that smell that keeps insects at bay. The distinctive scent makes it difficult for mosquitoes and fleas to locate your pet.

Citronella can help to prevent fleas from attaching themselves to your pets. Simply burn a citronella candle or use a pet shampoo that contains citronella oil. When properly diluted – more on that later – you can even apply it topically to your dog or cat’s coat.

Is Citronella Safe For Dogs?

Diluted citronella applied to the fur is pretty safe and won’t cause any medical issues with your dog, even if they lick it.

In order to make citronella oil safe for dogs, it’s important to dilute the essential oil with something like cold-pressed olive oil or another carrier oil. I recommend these dilution ratios: 

  • Large to medium dogs need a ratio of 1 drop essential oil to 10 drops base oil 
  • Small dogs need a ratio of 1 drop essential oil to 25 drops base oil. 

To use topically, apply the (heavily diluted) oil to a rag or paper towel, and proceed to rub it into your pet’s coat. Avoid contact with any openings: eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and anus. Contact with such areas may result in a negative reaction.

MuttScrub Products Provide The Perfect Soothing Blend And Insect Repellant

Each product that MuttScrub offers uses citronella oil to help keep mosquitoes and fleas at bay and prevent irritated skin. 

MuttScrub products are made of all-natural substances to give your dog instant relief from itchy, irritated skin and allow the healing process to begin.

All three of our products work best when used together in the Pawsitively Soothing Itch Relief Kit For Dogs. We’ve got several great reviews of the product over on our Facebook page…check them out!

Tell us in the comments: have you ever tried using products with citronella oil to keep fleas and mosquitoes at bay?

Also Check Out:

Best Anti-Itch Shampoo for Dogs

How To Eliminate Dog Odor In Your House

Homemade Dog Treats For Fresher Breath