When you think of citronella oil often times you imagine a candle burning on a humid summer’s evening keeping mosquitoes at bay. But it does come at a price as you must endure the overpowering scent of citronella. While citronella does ward off insects it might also ward off your friends too!
Citronella comes from the lemongrass family which is why it smell so bright, but it’s actually that same smell that wards off the insects. The distinctive scent makes it difficult for insects to locate you.
Citronella has been found very effective on a species of mosquito, called Aedes Aegypti whose bite causes the dreaded Yellow Fever. However, it’s also effective on fleas, ticks and all types of mosquitoes.
Dirty & Hairy OUTDOOR has managed to create products that contain citronella so they ward off insects, but to the human nose they have a lovely fresh smelling green tea and lime smell. Spray it on your legs or on your dog and up goes that anti-insect force field
The best part? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) citronella oil has little or no toxicity when used as a topical insect repellent.
Advantages of Citronella oil over Insecticides
Insecticides like Permethrin can be used to repel insects. Permethrin is highly effective against ticks and mites, but at the same time may have harmful side effects for humans and animals. Likewise, the biggest disadvantage of DEET is that it is toxic. DEET goes into the bloodstream through skin and hampers the body’s nervous system.. On the other hand citronella oil has no side effects, and is considered very safe. Also citronella uses water as a carrier, as compared to alcohol which is used in DEET. The natural insect repellents are safe to use for all ages and pets.
Citronella Oil and Dogs
Outdoor insects are more prevalent in the summer which is the same time that dogs are the most itchy—hmmm… not a coincidence! Flea Allergy Dermatits (FAD) is the most common inflammatory skin disorder in dogs. Although all dogs can become infested with fleas not all dogs will develop FAD. This condition only arises in certain dogs that have an allergy to the flea’s saliva. When fleas bite your dog, they inject their saliva into his skin. In dogs that are prone to FAD, this sets off an allergic reaction, causing the dog to irritate the wound even more than expected. Dermatitis results and the damage to the skin allows for bacterial invasion. Now the problem snowballs even more due to this secondary bacterial infection of the wound. What is a dog owner to do?
Remove the live fleas and prevent new fleas from jumping on board. There are countless over the counter products like Advantix to help kill live fleas on your dog. They are relatively safe but not for every animal. If yours is older, or battling an acute disease, don’t use it. We recommend trying natural products that contain citronella first like Dirty & Harry OUTDOOR spray.
Other Ways to Manage Flea Allergy Dermatitis
- Feed a healthy diet. Dogs are less likely to be flea magnets and they will be more resistant to the flea bite.
- Wash your dog with a colloidal oatmeal-based shampoo to break the cycle of itching and use topical sprays
- Treat your environment Remember too that the flea’s life cycle involves some time spent away from the dog’s body. So don’t forget to take the necessary precautions to treat his environment in the home as well
- Fish Oil has been shown to help with itching and also has anti inflammatory qualities.
- Cover it up! If your dog is scratching the same spot over and over, cover it up with a doggie Tshirt or doggie booties or lick strip. By placing a barrier between your dog’s claws and the abrasion you allow the irritation to heal.
- CHILLAX! Your dog may be working himself into a frenzy and the scratching becomes a nervous habit. Sleepytime Tonic won’t cure the itchy skin, but it WILL relax and calm
- Spot On! If your dog has a particular part of his body he’s really scratching or chewing at, consider using Itchin’ For Relief . This is a convenient, easy to use spray with a unique nozzle to direct the spray to where it’s really needed.
As a last resort…
- Allergy Shots. A vet gives your dog very small doses of that allergen, and gradually increase the dose over time. That way his immune system gets used to the allergen, and is less likely to react to it. Relatively good success rate however it’s expensive and it isn’t a quick fix (1 month to 1 year)
- Antihistamines. Effective in about 30% of dogs, most are the same as those used in humans (Benadryl)