How to protect your dog from mosquitoes

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Mosquitoes spread infection and disease that could make your pet very ill if you’re thinking of spending any time outside the UK. Find out how to keep mosquitoes from biting your dog.

If you live in a hot climate, or you’re travelling abroad with your pet, speak to your vet about choosing a dog safe mosquito repellent. It’s sensible to avoid walking your dog near still or stagnant water at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. If you can, try and distract your dog when he next tries to chase a buzzing insect – you might just be saving his life!


Mosquitoes can transmit a dangerous parasite called heartworm which means a dog safe mosquito repellent and an effective treatment for mosquito bites are both essential if you’re thinking of travelling together.

Why should my dog avoid mosquitoes?

Mosquito bites are really painful yet some dogs still can’t resist chasing after insects. At best, a mosquito bite will irritate your dog’s skin and feel very itchy. However, the bite can also become infected – especially if scratched – and, in Mediterranean countries and tropical climates, a mosquito bite can potentially be a source of disease.

Why is a mosquito bite dangerous?

Mosquitoes are usually linked to malaria in humans but, when it comes to your dog, the most serious disease transmitted by mosquitoes is heartworm disease (also called dirofilariosis). When a female mosquito pierces your dog’s skin, she injects saliva into your pet’s blood and this can contain organisms and bacteria from previous bites. A mosquito doesn’t die after biting so each female mosquito can bite many times, spreading disease and infection from host to host.

What’s a heartworm?

The heartworm (or Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes and lives in the heart of affected dogs. The symptoms of heartworm disease may include weight loss, tiredness, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties and excessive panting. In severe cases, heartworm disease can be fatal. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health – especially if your pet has recently spent time in a hot climate – always contact your vet for advice.

Did you know…

Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark clothes than light clothes. This isn’t because they're fashionistas or goths, but because dark clothing retains more heat.

Find out more about effective parasite protection for dogs here.


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Date of review May 2022

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