Is DEET Safe For Dogs?


Furry coats might help a little bit, but mosquitos and other insects can still get down to the skin. Your dogs might not be able to complain about getting bit by mosquitos and other pests, but they get bit up just like us.

Don’t leave your dogs to fend for themselves! Just head over to Amazon or down to your local pet store and pick up a bottle of dog friendly insect repellent, but what’s safe to use on dogs? Can you spray a dog with insect repellents that contain DEET?

Is DEET Safe For Dogs?

Head down to your local Walmart and check out the mosquito repellent aisle. I’m willing to bet 90% of the products on the shelf contain DEET. Although DEET based products are by far the most effective bug spray for humans, unfortunately, you can’t use them on your dog.

Products that contain DEET are very dangerous to dogs. DEET is a toxic chemical that can be deadly when licked off and ingested by dogs. However, there are other vet-approved insect detterents available for dogs.

If your pet has accidentally ingested DEET call your veterinarian immediately or contact an emergency vet if after hours. Watch out for signs of chemical toxicity including excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty walking, vomiting, and seizures.

Can I Use Any Type of Bug Spray On My Dog?

Yes, there are a lot of dog friendly bug sprays available to use. You need to look for bug sprays labeled as vet-approved or pet friendly.

Just because bug spray is labeled as natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to use on a dog. These can be safe on a dog’s skin, but poisonous to ingest. You’re better off buying bug sprays specifically designed for pets.

All in One Flea, Tick, Mosquito and Flies

Instead of applying bug spray as needed you’re much better off looking for an all in on flea and tick treatment like K9 Advantix. These almost always fight against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and flies. So if you’re already using a flea and tick treatment your dog should be good to go.

Personally, I supplement my flea/tick treatment with vet-approved bug spray as needed. It only comes out on those nights where you really start to get bit up sitting around the campfire.

Vet Approved Bug Spray

Just because a product is touted as being natural doesn’t mean it’s safe for your dog. Only use bug sprays that are vet-approved and safe for animal consumption.

I really like Vet’s Best Mosquito Repellent, which uses a plant-based blend of ingredients containing lemongrass oil and geraniol(comes from citronella). Your dog will basically smell like a lemon-scented citronella candle. This gets used as needed alongside the monthly k9 Advantix.

Remember that even though a product is labeled as pet safe you still need to keep an eye on your dog. You never know how your dog is going to react to something new. Just like humans, all dogs have different reactions to chemical products.

Insect Repellents To Avoid

DEET isn’t the only insect repellent that’s dangerous to dogs. Other natural ingredients that are generally safe for humans can cause gastrointestinal distress in animals.

Stay away from most of the garlic and natural insect repellants. Although these bug sprays are skin safe the ingredients could still be toxic once ingested.

You will also want to stay away from essential oils. Essential oils use different carrier oils and chemicals that may or may not be safe for dogs. Much better off playing it safe!

What About Skin So Soft?

Skin So Soft is another product that gets thrown around as being a safe alternative for pets. Although it’s not poisonous, it’s questionable whether or not it actually works.

People seem to either love or hate using skin so soft as a bug repellent. Researchers claim that bugs just get trapped in the oily film and it doesn’t actually repel insects. It always seemed to help whenever I’ve used it, but it’s hard to say for sure.

How Much DEET is Toxic To Dogs?

It’s hard to say exactly how much DEET a dog can ingest before you run into problems. You need to take the dog’s size and general health into consideration. Big dogs will be to handle way more DEET than smaller ones.

Just don’t spray products that contain DEET onto your dog. Occasionally licking a humans arm that has DEET on it shouldn’t cause any problems. Obviously, you shouldn’t let a dog just sit and lick poisonous chemicals off your body.

Symptoms of DEET Poisoning
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Face and Eye Irritation (Red Eyes)
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Seizures

DEET Poisoning Isn’t Common

Don’t Worry! Lots of people are spraying their dogs with DEET every day and not running into problems. Obviously, this is a terrible idea when there are safe products on the market, but the occasional lick or two most likely won’t cause serious harm.

Just watch for subtle differences in the way your dogs acting. If you’re concerned give the vet a call and listen to their recommendation.

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