Gnats are incredibly irritating insects that can infest your home. These little flying creatures look similar to mosquitoes but are weak fliers in comparison.
Also referred to as back flies or midgets, once inside your house, these insects can take over your pets, leaving your furry little friends feeling itchy and annoyed. Keep on reading to find out how to keep gnats off dogs.
They are attracted to moisture and will nest in your house if you have waterlogged areas. Under-sink cabinets and drainage areas are the most common high gnat traffic areas.
Once inside your home, these insects can be agitating for your furry little friends. They will swarm around them and hide in their fur.
The easiest way to keep insects off your furry little friend is by keeping the gnats out of your house. Identify what attracts them and destroy their breeding grounds.
If you can remove ideal breeding conditions for these insects, you can eliminate a gnat infestation risk and keep your pets safe from this menace.
What Attracts Gnats?
Gnats are attracted to moist places, which is why they are often found in kitchens, sinks, or yards. You can start by wiping away all excess water from around the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Eliminating excess moisture sources aids in the fly extermination process.
Rotting Plants and Vegetables
These become a reason for a fly infestation both inside and outside your house. An ill-maintained yard with excess hedge can be the root cause of your problem.
Dogs usually attract such insects during their outdoor excursions. They may be chasing a fly and end up with a lot of them in their fur.
Trim all overgrown plants in your yard and remove all rotting vegetation. You should also remove all debris from the area to ensure a clean yard.
Doing so will not only remove all hiding or nesting places for insects, but it also guarantees adequate sunlight provision to all corners.
Don’t Overwater Plants
Because these insects are attracted to moisture, overwatering is the number one reason for their presence in your yard. Always touch the soil before watering. It only needs additional care and moisture if it feels dry to the touch.
Mould and Fungi
Waterlogging, inadequate airflow, and lack of sunlight promote the growth of mold and fungus. Both of these attract gnats and encourage them to stay.
Dogs naturally produce carbon dioxide, which attracts these insects. It is highly likely that if even one of these insects is present in your house, they will latch onto your pet. They reproduce very quickly, and before you know it, an entire colony of these pests may be living on your dog.
A significant indicator of gnat presence on your dog is swelling. You won’t feel a gnat bite, but you will notice inflammation. If you randomly spot inflammation on your pet’s body, it could be because of these annoying insects.
While the insects are harmless to humans, they can cause an allergic reaction in dogs. If your pet is feeling lethargic and depicts signs of weakness, you need to pay a visit to the veterinarian, especially if you notice lethargy combined with swelling.
There are multiple remedies that you can use to keep your dog gnat free.
Take a bowl and fill it with either of the following mixtures:
- Wine, water and dish soap
- Apple cider vinegar, water, and dish soap
Wine and vinegar attract gnats. When these creatures reach the bowl, the dish soap traps them in, drowning them.
The solution proves extremely useful if you’re handling the infestation at its infancy. You can also use it to reduce bug traffic both outside and inside your house.
However, it does not provide a permanent solution to the problem as you also need to get rid of gnat eggs. To do that, you can scatter beneficial nematodes over your garden.
While the liquid attracts and kills adults, nematodes like Steinernema carpocapsae or Steinernema feltiae target their larvae.
While combining both these will kill all gnats in your house, and outside, it still won’t protect your dog completely, especially if your pet loves wandering outdoors. For optimal protection, you need to combine these with gnat repellant technologies.
Vanilla extract provides the most straightforward way of getting rid of gnats. The scent repels these insects, and applying it to your dog’s collar can be the most natural solution. However, the vanilla extract does attract flies and mosquitoes because of its sweet scent, making it not so optimal for everyday use.
You can instead make a gnat repellant spray. In a spray bottle combine:
- Witch hazel – 2 tablespoons
- Grapeseed oil – 2 tablespoons
- Jojoba oil
- Almond oil/ Neem oil
- Vodka – ½ teaspoon
- 100 to 110 drops of one of the following essential oils:
- Lemon eucalyptus
Once you have the mixture ready, you can use the spray on your dog once daily, especially before taking them out. Make sure to avoid their faces as it may burn.
If putting together the mixture feels like way too much work, you can instead use lemon eucalyptus essential oil and water. It acts as a natural bug spray, which proves to be more effective than most chemical solutions available in the market.
For immediate relief, you can use a sticky trap and place it where you witness excessive gnat traffic. Place the trap with a bit of fruit on it and watch the number of insects that stick to it within minutes. Even though sticky traps are not a permanent answer, often, people prefer them as they are inexpensive and easy to use.
A long term investment that can provide long-lasting, effective relief from these insects is an electronic bug zapper. You can buy one for your outdoor area and hang it on your porch. It works particularly well if you leave it on at night and shut off all extra lights in your house.
Electronic fly killers have built-in lighting to attract insects. Once it successfully lures them in, it kills them by electrocuting them. Many even come pre-fit with a tray to catch all the dead bodies, which makes cleaning a whole lot easier.
Change the Lights
Bright white or incandescent lighting attracts insects and can give them the invitation to invade your home. To prevent that from happening, replace the white lights with warm LED lighting.
LED bulbs emit a yellow/orange hue and act as natural bug repellents. With these solutions, you also need to take some preventive measures to provide your house with the ultimate protection.
Take out Garbage
Trash is the #1 attraction for gnats. It is home to rotting fruits, vegetables, and other food sources that gnats feed on. Uncovered trash can become the number one nightmare for you. Here’s what you can do to prevent that from happening:
- Replace garbage bag regularly
- Tie it up properly before disposing of it
- Place the trash can as far out from the premises of the house as possible
- Always keep your trash can covered
- Maintain a separate box for wet trash
A few simple preventive steps can help keep your home and your dog fly free.
Remove Dog Poop
Do not leave dog waste lying around in your yard. Always dispose of it off properly as it attracts insects. You can:
- Use a brush and dustpan to pick up your dog’s waste
- Put on gloves and pick up the waste excretions
Place it in a shopper and tie it properly before throwing it in the trash can. Leaving it unattended is just unhygienic and attracts various undesirable creatures into your yard.
What is a Good Repellent for Gnats?
You can use a natural home remedy like the repellent spray we mentioned above, or you can use a chemical bug spray. Some of the best bug sprays are:
- All Natural Insects Repellant
- Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus
- Amrita Aroma Therapy – Bugs BeGone
- Sawyer Products Premium Insects Repellant
You can also use fabric softener sheets as their scent also repels insects. Placing them on your dog’s bedding is a straightforward answer to your problem.
Where Do Gnats Come from?
Gnats may enter your house because of fungus or the presence of mold. Rotting vegetables and fruits also attract these insects. House plants serve as a major attraction to these insects, especially if you overwater them.
Can Gnats Come from the Drains?
Yes, the drainage system in the house is also a massive fly housing colony. It has all the ideal living conditions for gnats. It is warm, humid, and extremely unhygienic. Often, gnats find their way into your house through the bathroom and kitchen drains as these areas have stagnant water puddles. To get rid of gnats, you need to first get rid of excess moisture.