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Dog with bugs flying around in a park

Don’t DEET dogs

Q: May I apply DEET insect repellent to my dog? Since we switched from a topical flea-tick product to an oral one, the mosquitos and flies have been biting her.

A: Many human insecticides contain DEET, which isn’t recommended for dogs. It’s absorbed through canine skin, and high concentrations can cause drooling, vomiting, hyperactivity, loss of coordination, tremors and seizures.

If it’s accidentally sprayed into a dog’s eyes, DEET can cause inflammation, squinting, tearing and corneal ulcers. If it’s inhaled, it can induce airway inflammation and breathing difficulties.

A better idea is to return to the topical product you were using earlier. When applied to a dog’s skin, products like Vectra 3D and K9 Advantix II repel and kill biting insects.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

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