How to Keep Gnats off Dogs? Ultimate Guide

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Author: Jacob Kay

Gnats are small insects which can damage your pup’s skin. They bite on dog’s skin and few types of female gnat can even suck blood and causes itching and other inflammation on skin. So, let me answer your queries about How to get rid of gnats?

There are many reasons why gnat infestations can occur, like when your place is not clean and water is accumulated in your area. This increases the breeding of these tiny insects.

In this article, you will know about the Do’s and Don’ts on How to keep gnats off your dog and few natural and home remedies to prevent gnats on dogs.

How to Keep Gnats off your Dog

How to prevent Gnat bites on your dog?

You might wonder How to keep the Gnats off your dog. There are many possible methods to prevent Gnat and to reduce pain and discomfort, the temporary steps that you can take are:

  • To prevent the gnat infestation, you should use soap and water to clean the gnat bites and remove dirt from the skin. Swelling and discomfort can be reduced by applying a cold compress in that particular area.
  • Also, a few over-the-counter anti-itching medications can be used to reduce itching and scratching. Your veterinarian may recommend best antihistamine for dogs uk medicines to reduce the symptoms. Antihistamines may not be effective in repelling gnats from dogs.
  • Stay alert to observe signs of infection if the bite becomes red, or it swells and shows pus-like fluid, then it could indicate infection. It is better to consult a vet to discuss and solve this problem.
How to prevent Gnat bites on your dog?

What Are Gnats? What Are the Symptoms of a Gnat Infestation in Dogs?

Gnats are tiny, non-biting flies that are commonly found near water bodies and shaded areas. They get active during warmer and humid environment. They cause symptoms like :

  • Itching
  • Scratching
  • Swollen bumps
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Rubbing their skin against the ground to relieve inflammation
  • Hair loss around bite wounds
  • You might observe foul smell and dry skin
  • There might be sores and redness around the affected area
  • Infection in ears
symptoms of Gnat infection in dogs
Have you ever wondered what causes dog kennel cough? To find out more, check our guide on "can kennel cough kill a dog" for more information.

Do’s and Don’ts on How to keep Gnats off dogs

So, What will keep flies off the dogs? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts you should be aware about to prevent gnats on your furry pet.

Clean your drains
The best possible way to prevent gnat infestation is to keep your drains clean. You can do this at your home by mixing half cup of bleach with gallon of water, followed by rinsing it with hot water. Keep your dog’s fur clean and bath them regularly with quality shampoo. Also maintain cleanliness around him, like changing his water and food bowl.
Do not use bounce dryer sheets on your dog As these sheets act as gnat or mosquito repellent, but they have a compound called linalool in them which is harmful to your furry friend.
Can use Apple cider vinegar as a trap
You can mix apple cider vinegar with dish soap and put it in a cup after covering it with plastic. Make holes in it so that fruit flies can enter, and they get trapped inside.
Do not use apple cider vinegar spray on your dog
It is not advisable to use this spray as it has no proven benefits.
Check for any standing water areas
It is suggested to keep your gutters and drainage clean and check for areas where water is stagnant. Also, water bowls should be kept clean.  
Don’t allow anything to rot in your yard
You have to keep compost away from your home as gnats love rot and seal your bins with insect repellent, so they do not attract gnats. Also, seal your fruits to avoid fruit flies.
Read labels on any gnat repellent spray
There are many insecticides and pesticides which are poisonous to dogs, so you should check the label. Natural gnat repellents contains Nixalite which has garlic oil and garlic is not safe for your dog, so it should be avoided. There are other common ingredients like, Disulfoton and Malathion which are harmful.
Don’t use essential oil to keep gnats off your pup, Mostly all citric essential oil like citronella, limonene are not used as they are highly dangerous for your dog.
Use Neem and Cedarwood oil
Neem is completely safe for your dog, and it repels these tiny insects too, but it can irritate the skin. So, you should be aware of dermatitis.
Avoid Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is poisonous to your dog, so it should be avoided.[1]
Gnats are mostly active during peak hours and in the late afternoon, so it is better to keep your dog indoors during these times and reduce the risk of getting them.Do not over water your plants, as gnats are attracted to moisture.

There are many dog friendly bug repellent collars available in the market. Also, other things like petroleum jelly can be used to prevent these bugs from irritating the skin.[2]

Bathing your dog to prevent gnat infection


What smell do gnats hate?

Gnats hate many smells that are sour, spicy or strong. They don’t like common fragrance from essential oils, like eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass. Also, they repel citrus smell and along with that they dislike smell from herbs like basil, clove and spices like garlic and vinegar.

Do gnats bite humans?

Gnats are a group of tiny organism that belong to the same family as mosquitoes. Yes, some gnats bite humans but not all as female gnats need blood to produce eggs. Gnats bite can be serious and show allergic infections like fever, pus, swelling and other.

What is a Good Repellent for Gnats?

There are many home remedies and bug spray available in the market like: All Natural Insects Repellent, Amrita Aroma Therapy – Bugs BeGone, Sawyer Products Premium Insects Repellent and Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus.

Can Gnats Come from the Drains?

Yes, drainage system in the house can be a possible source of entry for gnats into your house. As this place is warm, humid and extremely unhygienic, it helps gnat to grow. There are high chances that gnats come from kitchen and bathroom drains as in these areas water is steady.

To Summarize

To summarize, gnats infection is not a serious issue, but you should be careful with it. There are many signals that indicate the irritation caused by these tiny insects. You might observe your pet is continuously itching, and scratching in any area, or you observe redness and inflammation. These symptoms leads to skin issues like dermatitis in dogs.

There are many methods to prevent gnats like cleaning your gutters, bins and drains. Regular bathing of your dog and proper grooming is also necessary. But, it is not recommended to used bug repellents that are poisonous or harmful to your little pup.

Always check the label for ingredients and avoid products which contain garlic, Nixalite and other harmful chemicals in them.


  1. Pet Poison Helpline. (2020, March 4). Tea Tree Oil Is Toxic To Dogs | Pet Poison Helpline.
  2. De La Harpe, T. (2022, October 31). Using Vaseline On Dogs: Is Petroleum Jelly A Safe Home Remedy? – PawSafe.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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