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Fly Bites on Dogs’ Ears – What Are the Dangers and What Can Be Done?


If you have a dog that spends a lot of time outside, keep an eye out for fly bites on the dogs ears. Dogs with “standing ears,” are an easier target then ones that are “floppy.” If you see flies around the dogs head or flies landing on the ears, you have a problem. The fly lands on the tips of the dogs ear and bites the surface to obtain a “blood meal.” The damage surface from the many fly bites gives the flies the perfect place to lay their eggs. If this is not treated, these eggs will later hatch into maggots. You must take immediate action to prevent the eggs from hatching and to heal the damage on your dogs ears.

There are several thousand different species of flies throughout the world. The species of flies you have, depends upon where you live. These flies can feast on the surface of the dogs ears, (or sometimes, the bridge of the dogs nose.) Fly bites are not only painful for the dog, but can lead to further problems if left untreated. So what are these problems and how can you protect your dog?

What can you do?

Because the dogs ears will be painful from the many fly bites, you must gently clean the ear off with warm water and a very mild antiseptic soap, or betadine. To control any infection, gently apply a topical antibiotic ointment. If the damage is severe on the dogs ears, keep your dog inside until the ears are healed. If the dog won’t stop rubbing his ears on the carpet or furniture, or if the sores keep getting worse; (and especially if maggots are present); then you better rush your dog to a Veterinarian.

Prevention and treatment

The most successful treatment, of course, is prevention. You can buy sprays and/or ointments that are very effective in repelling flies such as: permethrin; or look for a product called “SWAT” or “FLYS OFF,” where they sell horse supplies. Another way to help prevent the fly bites is to place a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the top of the dogs ears, and replace often.

Caution…You don’t want any product to come in direct contact with the dogs eyes. Instead of spraying any product on the dogs ears, spray the product on something such as a make-up remover pad or a soft clean cloth and then wipe the surface of the ear.


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