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Why is my dog scared of bugs?

Why is my dog scared of bugs?

You might think that humans are the only ones who find bugs a nuisance, but almost all animals hate bugs. This also includes your dog, who might get uncomfortable or run away when they see a bug. It is not uncommon for bugs to annoy dogs. However, considering that most bugs can hardly harm a dog, why would your dog be scared of them? Find answers to some of your questions related to why your dog cannot stand bugs.

Why is My Dog Scared of Bugs?

There are several reasons why a dog will be scared of bugs. Here are some of those reasons why your dog starts acting out when they see bugs.

Was Stung Before

One of the reasons your dog may be scared of bugs is if they have been stung before. If your dog was playing outside, then got stung by a bug, they would associate insects with a painful experience. As a dog owner, you can be frustrated, especially if your dog was stung before you owned it.

Insectophobia, which is a fear of bugs, can be traced to a bad experience your dog had long before you got him. This can be annoying because it will be more challenging to solve. Maybe this happened with the previous owner or at the pet store, and you need to find what triggered the phobia so that you help your dog deal with it.

Sensitive Hearing

Your dog’s sense of hearing exceeds yours by far. Dogs can actually hear almost twice as well as humans. They can also hear sounds as far as 80 feet away and can differentiate sounds better than humans. While bugs buzzing around your home may simply be a minor nuisance that you can ignore, for dogs, it is different. The vibrations caused by the wings can infuriate the dog to a point where it interrupts whatever the dog is doing.

Why is My Dog Scared of Flies?

Flies also fall under the category of bugs. Which means some of these reasons could be intertwined. However, apart from the annoying sound flies make, they do not pose much danger. Yet your dog seems to be scared of them. Why is that? Here are some of the reasons.

Biting Experience

Maybe your dog has had a bad experience with flies before. Certain fly species like black flies can bite a dog’s groin and underbelly, which can be painful and uncomfortable. It is possible that a fly bit your dog in the past, and so they are still traumatized from that experience. Tracking this as the source of fear can be tricky, especially if it happened before you got the dog.

Bad Memories at a Shelter

Sometimes, if your dog is afraid of flies, it has nothing to do with being stung or the annoying sound they make. Rather, your dog may have developed a fear of flies because they associate them with unhappy memories.

Maybe you own a rescue dog that has been kept in bad condition. Some dogs may have lived in cramped shelters where they were surrounded by other dogs and lacked personal space. These conditions can be traumatizing and affect the dog’s mental health. Some of these shelters are not well maintained, which can lead to fly infestation.

While these flies did not harm your dog, it will associate the flies with the bad experience they had. Therefore, a fly can trigger bad memories even in a loving home where the dog is well taken care of.

Did Not Socialize

Just like humans, dogs need to socialize as well for their development and wellbeing. This needs to start from a young age while they are still a puppy. If for whatever reason, your dog does not socialize with other dogs or people, it can grow to be anxious and develop irrational fears. One of those is the fear of flies.

Why Do Flies Bite My Dog?

Flies can be attracted to the dog’s coat if it is unclean or matted. If your dog is unwell and is suffering from diarrhea, keep it inside. Otherwise, cleaning your dog will often keep flies away.

Why Does My Dog Fear Fly Swatters?

Some dogs cower when they see a human holding a fly swatter. They may hide or whimper. This has made people believe that dogs are not exactly afraid of flies or bugs but the tool used to kill the bug. Surprisingly, most dog owners admit that they have never hit their dog with fly swatter, so they do not understand why the dog could be scared of it.

However, according to psychologists who have studied phobias in pets, they think it is the action you do with the swatter that could be unsettling to the dog. When killing a fly, you make a sudden movement, and if you hit a surface, it will result in a loud noise. If your dog suffered punishment a long time ago, the sudden movement and the loud noise could trigger bad memories.

What To Do About My Dog Being Scared of Bugs?

If your dog is scared of bugs and flies, there are several things you can do to ease the discomfort. Here are some of them.

Be Understanding

Just like you would want someone to be understanding of your phobias, extend the same grace to your dog. When you notice your dog hiding or shaking, try and soothe or reassure your canine friend that everything is okay.

Do Not Ignore the Problem

Do not ignore your pet’s fear of bugs and hope it will simply go away. Some people advise dog owners to ignore the pet when it reacts like this, because they assume the dog is just doing this for attention. However, this is not the case. Insectophobia is a real thing, and your dog is not doing this for attention. Ignoring means leaving your dog to deal with a rational fear that even some humans deal with from time to time.

Get Rid of Bugs Around Your Home

To reduce dog discomfort every time a bug is in the house, eliminate the insects in your home and the yard. Some of the ways to do that include:

  • Close doors and windows and check that all cracks, tears, and rips are sealed to prevent insects from getting inside the house.
  • Use DIY repellents. There are several dog-friendly repellants you can make at home using essential household items. For instance, a mixture of lemon and water or apple cider vinegar and water can help. While they will not kill flies, the scent will keep them away. Other herbs like rosemary, mint, basil, and bay leaf are also insect repellants.
  • Use petroleum jelly. Apply it on specific parts of the dog that seem to attract flies. This will discourage flies from biting.
  • Get commercial insect repellents. There are many insect repellent products you can purchase from the stores to help eliminate bugs from your home. Some can even be applied to the dog without causing any harm.

How Can I Get My Dog To Be Less Afraid of Bugs and Flies?

An alternative to helping your dog is by teaching it to be less afraid of bugs. You may be able to control bugs inside your home, but it can be more challenging outside, especially when you are taking a walk. So why not teach your dog to be less afraid? Here are some ways you can do that.

Teach the Dogs To Catch Flies

Be prepared to look somewhat silly when teaching your dogs how to catch flies. However, it is fun, and if it helps your dog overcome its fear, then the experience is worth it. Open your windows and let in several flies.

Close the other doors leading to the room, as you do not want flies all over the house. After a few flies have accumulated in the room, bring in your dog. Start by mimicking the act of catching flies and pretending to be eating them. This behavior will intrigue your dog, and they will also start doing the same thing. It will start jumping up and down while opening and closing the mouth.

When it starts doing this, give it a treat as a reward even though it has not caught any flies. Keep the process going till the dog starts catching the flies and eating them. This will take a few tries, but eventually, your dog will get it. The point of this exercise is to reduce your dog’s fear of bugs. Therefore, the next time it sees one, it will not quiver with fear.

Create Positive Experiences Outside

Some dogs may be reluctant to go out if there are a lot of bugs outside. However, you should create experiences outside that trample the fear of going outside. These may take several tries, but eventually, the dog will forget about the flies.

For instance, get new toys and make time for playing outside. You can also put a favorite treat in their bowl then move it out. Your dog will not be able to resist this. Hopefully, by the end of the exercise, your dog will have started forgetting about its fears.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Be Scared of Flies?

This is completely normal behavior that should not be alarming. It could be that they associate flies with bad memories, and so seeing them triggers a traumatic experience. Also, considering that the buzzing sound is annoying and some fly species can bite dogs, it is not uncommon for dogs to be scared of flies.

How to Keep Flies Away from Dogs?

Ensure your dog is clean and healthy all the time, as this will help keep flies away. When your dog is unwell and has a skin condition that keeps attracting flies, ensure it gets the medical help it needs immediately. 

Can Bugs Harm My Dog?

Bugs like bees and wasps can sting your dog, which is painful. Horseflies like biting a dog’s belly, ears, and backside and are painful. The bitten part may bleed and get infected. On the other hand, Mosquito bites can lead to heartworm disease, which can be fatal to dogs.