In the Laurentides of Quebec right now, life has gone to the bugs. They bite a lot, they bite anywhere, and they bite hard. We resident humans need to douse ourselves with DEET before venturing outside to so much as start the BBQ. Blackflies, the bane of June! Unfortunately, I can’t use DEET on the dogs, as it’s toxic, so I searched around for a natural and safe homemade bug spray recipe for dogs. Here’s what I found and tried:

[b]U.S. Forest Service Bug Spray Recipe[/b]

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil
1 cups vinegar
1 tsp. Eucalyptus oil (found in health food stores)

Optional: few tsp of citronella oil.

Shake before use, as the liquids will separate. I used a spray bottle from the dollar store, and marked with sharpie the liquid volumes on the side, so I can refill it without having to pull out the measuring cups. I also added a squirt of dish soap to help amalgamate the oil and water/vinegar.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked, and one application lasts a long time. The red bite spots on my hounds’ bellies faded away, and did not reappear with a daily spritz to the areas where the hair is thin enough to expose the skin. In a controlled study comparing Avon Bath Oil to DEET the bath oil is shown to be almost as effective as DEET. Who would have thought? It’s easy to find the oil on Ebay, and I purchased what I believe will be a lifetime supply (7x 500ml bottles) for a fraction of what it would cost in the store.

Now, life has gone back to the dogs. Take THAT blackflies!