DEET is very toxic to dogs. How can I use DEET-based sprays and not poison my dogs? (my dogs often lick me, and they can get poisoned)

2 Answers 2


I would spray the DEET on your clothes in places where the dogs won't lick, such as the top of a hat. I would also suggest trying to avoid using DEET by wearing long pants and sleeves to avoid the number of mosquitos trying to bite you.

It also worth pointing out that since this is a known problem, people have developed mosquito repellents that are designed to be safe for use around dogs.

Cats are a different story entirely and sometimes dog safe doesn't mean cat safe.

See this article and this one.

It's also worth listing the symptoms of DEET poisoning,

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Redness of eyes
  • Face irritation
  • Drooling
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Inflammation of the stomach
  • Burning eyes

DEET Toxicity in Dogs

  • 1
    +1, but please consider adding a warning that dog-safe repellents may not be safe to use on or even around cats.
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 1:48
  • 1
    @ab2, this is an extremely important warning! Even the very few things that can be used on/near dogs can be toxic to cats. The amount is important too. My friend had a flea-prevention treatment that was prescribed by a vet, a larger dose for her dogs and a smaller dose for her cats. Tragically, she accidentally gave the dogs' pills to the cats, and within a few hours, all three cats had perished from the overdose. It was, and still is, heartbreaking. Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 23:19

A quick search found this on a vet site:

Picaridin is another common active ingredient in insect repellents made for people. Though it appears to have a wide margin of safety when used on dogs, there are no products specifically licensed for use on dogs that I am currently aware of.


If you love your DEET, mix it with bitter apple, sold in pet stores to discourage chewing. This will reduce the amount your dog gets from licking you.

Essential oils (Mint, rosemary, lemon...) are also skin irritants to dogs, and they are only somewhat effective on people.

While it feels gross, one thing that works is lard. The mosquitos will continue to do touch and go landings, but won't bite. Works well on flies too. Any long staying greasy material will work. Warning: Some (Nivea is one) make sunburn worse.

I talked to a guy who was working on the Limestone Point power line up the east side of Lake Winnipeg. Bugs were awful. And Manitoba is hot in summer. So the guys wanted to work without shirts. Slathered themselves with motor oil. All the bugs did Touch and Go landings except the no-see-ums. They'd land and stick.

  • 1
    Hi Sherwood, could you please list the source of that quote about Picaridin? Thanks! Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 1:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.