The mosquitoes here in Alaska have been awful this summer. It's so bad that even with bug spray I don't want to be out for more than a couple hours, and this is the only time of year when I can enjoy the Great Outdoors without a heavy coat!

Poor Oscar keeps getting bitten, particularly right above his nose where his fur is shortest. I've heard that Benadryl is OK for dogs to help with the itching and swelling, but is there some kind of dog-safe bug spray I could put on him to keep him from getting bitten in the first place? I'd hate to cover him in chemicals so if there's some more natural solution that would be best.

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Just because it's "natural" (whatever that means) doesn't mean it's safe.  Many of the worst toxins known are 100% natural.  I use 100% DEET in myself -- rarely.  The corgi coat  seems too thick for most bloodsucking insects besides fleas and ticks.  The snout seems the only vulnerable place.    I have never put any insect repellent on my dogs.  An insect repellent might be more unpleasant for the dog than the insects.  I've seen Gwynnie napping peacefully when the humans are being driven to distraction, madness, and DEET by flies and mosquitoes.  

Local taverns often sell mosquito insurance policies.

Does anybody really know if DEET is either toxic or really unpleasant to dogs?

Thanks for the link! I will try those recipes. I'd love to use something with less chemicals on myself as well, though nothing seems to work better than DEET (for humans.)

The bug bites don't seem to bother Oscar, really, but I had heard about a local dog getting sick from mosquito bites so I want to limit his exposure if I can.

Nice link, Sam.  I like he apple cider vinegar recipe because I have had to use apple cider vinegar on my face and close to my eyes and I know the fumes do not make my eyes burn.  One needs to be very careful putting anything in the vicinity of the eyes.

Don't know about those Alaska mosquitos, but when I used to hike in Virginia on the Appalachian Trail, I used Avon's Skin So Soft, on myself and used it on my kids when camping.  I have used it diluted with water 50/50 on very young puppies 6-10 wks old., so it should be safe on your dog.  All my hiking companions used Deet based products and laughed at me, but I did not get bitten.  One day we crossed paths with a Thru--Hiker  (they hike Main to Giorgia, or Georgia to Main, depending on the time of year) and we asked him what he used for bugs.  He said Skin-So-Soft and I was vindicated!  It will last a few hours, then reapply.

Hi Elizabeth.  I live in Palmer!  :)   Just wanted to let you know you and Oscar are not alone in your suffering.  The mosquitos are AWFUL this year, that's for certain.  My little Claire Bear has had a hard time with the darned things.  As you mentioned with Oscar, she is bitten constantly right above her nose, and her nose has been SWELLING up.  NO DEET ON MY DAUGHTER, MY DOG OR MYSELF!  No thanks.  I use Bert's Bees repellant.  It's main ingredient is lemon grass oil.  Doesn't work as thoroughly as all the toxic sprays, but it works well enough to make a difference.  Claire doesn't mind it, either.  Plus, it makes her smell good.  Good luck with the rest of the summer, and ENJOY THE WEATHER.  :).

Thanks! I'll see if I can find the Bert's Bees, or the Skin So Soft (thank you Anna!) as I've found some of the stores around the Anchorage area are sold out of regular bug spray, because the mosquitoes have been so bad. There's a really good organic food store not far away that should have all the essential oils necessary for those recipes too. I'd love to get out this weekend with Oscar and go hiking without coming home covered in bug bites!

Do give us an update on what works for you in those circumstances, once you've had a chance to try things out.  Yours is the perfect testing ground :-D

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