How to Keep Flies Off Dogs, Cats & Horses

"The flies are at you all day, crawling into your eyes, up your nostrils and down your throat... and no sooner do they, from sheer exhaustion, or the loss of daylight, give up the attack, than they are relieved by the mosquitoes."

- Lieutenant John Lort Stokes, R.N. (Discoverer of Darwin, N.T)


If you live in Carnarvon, without a doubt you would have experienced the pesky fly epidemic we are having at the moment. They are the type of fly that is attracted to protein in the secretions from your eyes, nose and mouth and are therefore the most annoying!

Given the number of pets we have seen at Carnarvon Vet Hospital lately with insect related health problems, it is clear that the bugs are giving our pet’s a whole lot of grief too. Fortunately, there are a whole myriad of fly repellent products available for pets these days, that you can spray around their face and body (avoiding getting product directly in the eyes). Here are a few that we recommend may be worth trying for your pet, all of which are available in our pet store:


A spray that contains a blend of pyrethrins and citronella oil that both kills and repels biting insects including flies, mosquitoes, fleas and lice. Safe to use on dogs, cats and horses.

Troy Repel-X

A spray with fast action killing of flies and fleas, and repels flies, mosquitoes and other biting insects. Safe to use on dogs and horses. Not safe for cats.


A permethrin concentrate, registered for use on dogs and horses in the control of fleas, flies and ticks. Can be used as a spray or a rinse. Dilute with water. Not for use on cats.


An environmental permethrin spray, consisting of a powder to be mixed with water and sprayed around buildings, pet bedding and areas where flies and insects are most bothersome. Can also be used to spray under the house or sand in an aid to help control flea infestations. One application lasts up to 4 months. Not for use directly on pets.

Home Made Natural Remedy

You can also try this chemical free home-made formula, by mixing:

  • 30ml citronella oil
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 basil leaf
  • 1 bay leaf

Some dogs (and people) may be allergic to citronella oil. Before using the citronella in your fly repellent, test it on a small part of your dog's skin. If your dog has a reaction to the citronella you can use two tablespoons of lemon scented dish detergent instead. 

Adding Vaseline
In severe cases you may have to use the muscaban, repel-x or permoxin once or twice daily. However, you can also try to prolong the contact time as well as provide a physical barrier to flies, by mixing these products in with a little Vaseline and applying it to fly prone areas (except eyes, mouth and nose), such as the tips of the ears.

If your pet is experiencing problems with flies or other insects, be sure to ask our friendly healthcare team for advice. You can visit us at Carnarvon Vet Hospital at 318 Robinson St East Carnarvon or call us on 9941 1886.

Have any other fly repellent tips or recipes that you’ve found work well? We’d love to hear them! Drop us a line at