With spring finally upon us, more and more pet parents are spending time outside with their furry family members. Unfortunately, spring is also a time when we see an uptick in pests both inside and out.
So, how do you effectively manage pests while at the same time keeping your pets safe from toxic chemicals and sprays?
That’s what we’re here to discuss. We’ve done our research and have listed our favorite pet safe bug spray and pest control products specifically for thoughtful pet parents like yourself.
But First, What is A Pet Safe Bug Spray?
Pet safe bug sprays are typically made of natural ingredients that are safe for both pets and people.
There are a few different types of pet safe bug spray you can consider when considering keeping your yard, garden, home and pet safe and protected.
Like people, pets can be affected by pests, especially the kinds that bite and sting. However, unlike people, pets have heightened senses and they can be extra sensitive to scents and ingredients in bug sprays, especially if those sprays contain chemicals like DEET or Picaridin.
What You Should Know About DEET And Picaridin When It Comes to Your Pets
Also known as N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, or Diethyltoluamide, DEET is considered to be one of the most commonly used ingredients in commercial bug sprays worldwide.
DEET is widely popular for helping to repel mosquitoes and other biting and stinging pests. It is also effective against ticks, fleas chiggers, and even leeches.
However, DEET is also a chemical ingredient that is synthetic and can be harmful to people, pets and even the environment.
Picaridin, is also a chemical ingredient commonly used in bug sprays that is designed to be used directly on the skin or clothing of people. Some studies have suggested that Picaridin is safe to use around dogs in particular, but most experts agree that these studies are inconclusive and that Picaridin has more risks than benefits when it comes to a pet safe bug spray option.
Furthermore, although most experts also agree that products containing DEET and Picaridin are generally safe for people and children to use when used correctly, DEET in particular has been found to be quite toxic to animals.
DEET is most harmful to animals when it is applied directly to their skin. Pets may lick the DEET, consuming it, which can cause severe reactions including GI upset, skin irritation, seizures, vomiting, staggering and more.
If animals are sprayed accidentally in the eyes with products containing DEET, they could end up suffering from scleritis, conjunctivitis, blepharospasms, lethargy, epiphora, corneal ulceration and uveitis.
There is also a risk posed to pets if they inhale products containing DEET. Inhalation can cause serious airway inflammation that requires medical attention that includes steroid medication, oxygen assistance and bronchodilators.
For this reason amongst many others, it’s best to just say no to using synthetic bug sprays or insecticides around your pet.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that using a pet safe bug spray option comes without pros and cons.
Keep reading to learn more.
Pros And Cons Of Using Pet Safe Bug Spray
While some pet safe bug spray options work effectively, they may not be strong enough in severe infestations.
For the most part, pet safe bug spray options are great alternatives to chemical insecticides for the whole family. Pet safe bug spray products are not only going to be safe for your dog and cat, but they are also likely safer for children and the environment as well.
With that being said, there are going to be pros and cons to using a pet safe bug spray, especially if you are planning on using the pet safe bug spray directly on your pet or directly in your yard or garden during pest season.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common pros and cons pet owners run into when using a pet safe bug spray alternative:
Pros of Using Pet Safe Bug Spray
- Pet safe bug spray is usually safer to use around people as well as the environment
- Pet safe bug spray typically contains all natural ingredients and is chemical-free
- Most pet safe bug spray options are versatile and can be used by people and pets
- Pet safe bug spray comes in a variety of options and uses
- You can use most pet safe bug spray both inside and outside of your home
- You can use most pet safe bug spray on plants and turf without risking damage
- Most pet safe bug sprays are highly effective when used as directed
Cons of Using Pet Safe Bug Spray
- Pet safe bug spray options may not be as effective as chemical bug spray
- You may need to reapply pet safe bug spray more frequently than synthetic bug spray
- Pet safe bug spray may not always be 100% safe for pets
- You will still need to monitor pets when using pet safe bug spray
- Pet safe bug spray should still be considered a bug spray and used with caution
- Not all pet safe bug spray options work against all types of pests
- Pet safe bug spray generally does not protect 100% against fleas or ticks
Remember, when it comes to your pet’s health, your vet is generally going to be your best resource for advice.
If you’re not sure about which type of pet safe bug spray would be best for your pet, yard or garden, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian or another trusted professional.
What To Look For In The Best Pet Safe Bug Spray For Your Pet
Before deciding if pet safe bug spray is right for you, it’s important to do plenty of research.
In general, most pet safe bug spray is going to be a natural bug spray that is specifically made to use on or around pets. These ingredients can include plant-based ingredients, essential oils, and other products that are non-toxic while still being effective against pests.
When picking out your pet safe bug spray, be sure to consider your pet, if your pet has any sensitivities, and make sure you read the instructions carefully before using the spray. Some pet safe bug spray options are designed to spray directly on pets, while others are simply designed to spray around your yard and garden to repel typically insects.
When choosing a pet safe bug spray to spray directly on your pet, remember that some bug sprays are geared towards either cats or dogs specifically. Cats and dogs can have different reactions to certain ingredients, so be vigilant about the products you are buying and don’t assume that if a bug spray is safe for dogs then it is also safe for cats, and vise versa.
Once you have the pet safe bug spray you would like to use, It’s a good idea to only spray a very small amount on your pet at first to ensure your pet does not have a reaction.
As we mentioned above, when looking for a pet safe bug spray, avoid bug sprays with synthetic ingredients. That said, there are also some natural ingredients that can be harmful to pets as well.
The most common ingredients in bug sprays that you should avoid when looking for a pet safe bug spray include:
- And Pyrethroids
Of course, also keep in mind that even pet safe bug spray options or natural bug spray options are not 100% guaranteed to be safe. It’s always important to use even bug sprays carefully and monitor your pet for any adverse reactions.
The Best Pet Safe Bug Spray For Yards and Gardens
There are several products you can use that are safe for pets to help repel pests in your yard.
Picking out the best pet safe bug spray for your yard and garden will include doing plenty of research. Remember, just because a product states that it is made with all natural ingredients does not necessarily mean it is safe for dogs and cats.
It’s important to find a pet safe bug spray to use in your yard and around your garden, especially if you have outdoor cats or dogs that enjoy playing frequently in your backyard.
Most pet safe bug spray options are, again, going to be made with natural ingredients that are not only safe for pets, but also safe for people and the environment as well.
If you’re not sure where to begin looking for the best pet safe bug spray option for your yard and garden, don’t worry. We have listed some of our favorite options below for you to consider.
Wondercide Flea and Tick Yard Spray
When looking for a pet safe bug spray, many pet parents look for bug sprays that specifically target fleas and ticks.
One of our favorite pet safe bug spray options is a product by Wondercide. Wondercide uses all natural ingredients like essential oils to help repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests that can irritate not only pets but people too.
We like Wondercide products because they are made with plant-based ingredients and are perfectly safe to use in yards where pets and children play often. In fact, this product is so safe that you can simply spray and play. There is no wait time for this product to dry.
When applied correctly, Wondercide can treat up to 5,000 square feet and will work continuously to repel pests like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and more.
Eco Defense Pest Control Spray
Another pet safe bug spray we like for both indoor and outdoor use is a natural product by Eco Defense. This bug spray is again made with all natural ingredients designed to be safe for children and pets.
It works against a number of insects, including mosquitoes, spiders, ants and roaches, while also leaving behind a fresh smell that won’t irritate people or pets.
The spray works quickly to kill pests on contact and then keep them from returning when applied correctly.
Colton’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent
If you’re looking for a product that is especially effective against mosquitoes, then you’ll want to take a look at Colton’s Naturals. This product is made with all natural ingredients and is a pest control spray that is considered very safe to use around pets and children.
It works using garlic and cedar oil that repels and kills pests on contact. It is also a long-lasting product that only needs to be reapplied once every two to four weeks.
Of course, while this product is deemed to be a pet safe bug spray, it’s important to note that garlic can be toxic to pets if ingested. It’s best to allow this spray to have a dry time before letting your pet out in the backyard to play to ensure maximum safety.
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray
This is another pet safe bug spray we like because it is specifically designed to use around pets. In fact, you can spray this pet safe bug spray directly in pet kennels and areas where pets frequent.
It is made to protect pets and yards from fleas, ticks and other pests like mosquitoes using essential oils and plant-based ingredients. This spray is also garden-safe and will not harm grass or ornamental plants.
The order includes one spray bottle as well as a 96 ounce refill. It can cover up to 5,000 square feet and treats pests in all their life stages.
EcoRaider Mosquito Yard Treatment
Last, we have another eco-friendly pet safe bug spray by EcoRadier. This is a mosquito yard treatment that kills mosquitoes in a variety of their life stages including their adult stage, larval stage and egg stage.
The spray kills on contact and also continues to kill mosquitoes for up to two weeks when sprayed in stagnant water sources. (Of course, never spray even a pet safe bug spray in your dog’s water bowl).
Because this product is made with all natural ingredients, it is safe to use around pets and children and will not harm the environment.
To use this spray most effectively, spray it where you have noticed the most mosquitoes activity. Repeat the spraying process once every two weeks for best results.
The Best Pet Safe Bug Spray For Pet Skin
Be careful when choosing a bug spray to spray directly on your pet’s coat and skin.
Choosing a pet safe bug spray to spray directly on your pet is going to be different from choosing a pet safe bug spray to spray in your yard. Keep in mind that some pets can be more sensitive than others, and dogs and cats can also have varying reactions to certain ingredients in bug sprays.
We should also note that most pet safe bug spray options should not be used in place of general parasite medications like flea and tick repellents, flea medications, and flea collars.
That said, there are a few pet safe bug spray options you can choose that are not only safe to spray directly on pets, but that may also help protect your pet from various outdoor parasites.
Take a look.
Bug Soother Spray
We like the above pet safe bug spray to spray directly on your pet’s coat for a number of reasons.
First, it is completely free of DEET and other chemical ingredients that are harmful or toxic to pets. It is made with all natural ingredients to repel gnats and mosquitoes, and is even safe enough to use on children.
The ingredients not only help repel pests, but they also soothe the skin and your dog or cat’s coat. However, you may find that you need to reapply this pet safe bug spray more often than other bug sprays when out and about, so keep this in mind.
Vet’s Best Mosquito Repellent For Dogs and Cats
While it is true that dogs and cats can react differently to certain ingredients in pet safe bug spray, you can also find a variety of pet safe bug spray options that work for both of them. This is evident in the above listed bug spray by Vet’s Best. This is a mosquito repellent bug spray that is safe to use on both dogs and cats.
Like many of the pet safe bug sprays on this list, the above bug spray is made with all natural ingredients including natural essential oils. It is also DEET free and free of other chemicals or toxins.
The product is safe to apply directly to your pet’s coat and should be reapplied once every two hours while outdoors.
Do not use this product on pets younger than 12 weeks, and be careful to avoid your pet’s eyes and mouth when spraying this product.
Nantucket Spider Natural Insect Repellent For Dogs
This pet safe bug spray is specifically designed for dogs using essential oils and other ingredients that not only repel mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, but also soothes your dog’s skin.
The spray is made with essential oils like cedar oil, geranium oil and rosemary oil, and is gentle enough to spray directly on your dog’s coat. The mist comes out very fine, and it’s easy to target areas like your dog’s back and underbelly. Of course, this product is also chemical free and free of DEET.
Homemade Pet Safe Bug Spray Recipes
Some essential oils can be used as pest repellent, though not all essential oils are safe for pets.
Would you prefer to make your own homemade pet safe bug spray? While it is possible to create your own bug spray for pets and people, it’s also important to follow recipes carefully and consult with professionals first. This is especially true if you’re planning on using a pet safe bug spray to spray directly on your dog or cat’s skin.
Here are some of our favorite ingredients and a recipe for a homemade pet safe bug spray for yards, gardens and pets.
Essential Oils That Are Safe For Pets When It Comes To DIY Pet Safe Bug Spray
Not all essential oils are going to be safe for dogs and cats. Furthermore, even safe essential oils should be used with caution and diluted. Never put undiluted essential oil on your pet, as the potent oil may cause an adverse reaction.
There are also a few essential oils experts recommend you avoid using on pets, including essential oils derived from wintergreen, clove, or pennyroyal.
Instead, be sure to use pet-safe essential oils and to also dilute these essential oils before using them.
Some of the safest essential oils to use around pets or in a DIY pet safe bug spray include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Verbena Oil
- Catnip Oil
- Pine Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Lemon Balm Oil
- Basil Oil
- And Lavender Oil
How To Make A Homemade Pet Safe Bug Spray
- 1 Spray Bottle
- 15 of the Essential Oil of Your Choice
- 2 Ounces of Witch Hazel, Almond Oil or Vanilla Extract
- Combine the ingredients together in the spray bottle
- Shake the bottle well to mix the solution
- Spray a small amount of the solution on a small patch of your pet’s coat and let sit for about ten minutes while monitoring your pet.
- If there is no reaction, go ahead and spray the solution all over your dog’s coat.
- Always avoid your pet’s eyes, nose and inner ears.
Other Expert Tips On Keeping Your Pet Safe From Pests And When Using Bug Sprays
Along with using pet safe bug sprays, you can also take steps to make your yard and property safer for your pet.
Even all natural bug spray and bug spray deemed as pet safe can still be harmful to sensitive pets. For this reason, it’s best to contact your veterinarian if you’re not sure of which type of pet safe bug spray would be right for you.
We also recommend making sure you use pet safe bug spray only as directed. Avoid applying pet safe bug spray directly to areas your pet sleeps, eats or plays unless you can keep your pet off of these areas for at least 24 hours.
It’s also important to make sure you monitor your pet when using a pet safe bug spray directly on your pet’s coat. Remember, dogs and cats can have different reactions to certain pet safe bug spray, as we mentioned in the beginning of this article.
When looking for the best pet safe bug spray for your pet, look for quality ingredients and products made by brands you trust.
It’s also important to consult with your veterinarian regarding other treatments when looking to use a pet safe bug spray during flea or tick season.
While some pet safe bug spray options can help prevent flea and tick bites, most vets agree that bug spray is not the first choice for flea and tick repellent when it comes to dogs and cats.
You can also protect your pets from pests in your yard and garden by following the below tips:
Keep Up With Routine Landscaping
Ensuring your yard and garden is properly cared for is an excellent way to deter pests. It’s also important to remove excess debris or clutter, and to get rid of dead trees, foliage, or stumps on your property.
Invite the Predators
Pests like mosquitos have a number of natural predators, including bats, birds, and other beneficial insects like dragonflies and spiders. You can help keep pests like mosquitoes under control by making your home and garden more hospitable to these types of animals and insects.
Use Companion Planting To Repel Pests
If you’re passionate about using natural pet safe bug spray, you might also be excited to learn that you can use plants and flowers as a method for pest removal.
Companion planting using vegetation that deters pests is another natural way you can go about keeping your garden pest free. However, not all plants that deter pests are safe for pets. Make sure you do your research before choosing the plants to incorporate in your garden in an effort to keep pests at bay while also keeping pets safe.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed
Fleas and ticks are attracted to longer grass and overgrown yards. To keep fleas and ticks at bay and better protect your pets and family, it’s important to keep your lawn tidy and trimmed short.
Harvest Fallen Fruits or Vegetables From Gardens and Trees
Fallen fruits and vegetables can attract wild animals, which in turn can attract fleas and ticks that can attack your pets. To avoid this, routinely pick up and remove fallen fruits from fruit trees and harvest any fruits or vegetables from gardens.
Store Garbage Bins Properly On Your Property
Just like rotting fruit and veggies can attract wild animals to your property, so can improperly stored garbage. In order to further protect your property and pets from pests, avoid leaving garbage bins out overnight or make sure they are properly sealed and stored until trash day arrives.
Remove Any Excess Water Sources Around Your Home That Could Attract Pests
Excess standing water attracts a variety of pests, but especially mosquitoes. To protect your dogs and family from these biting pests, remove any excess sources of standing water like bird baths, kiddy pools, dog water bowls, overturned tiers, buckets, and more.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the best pet safe bug spray! Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.