DIY multipurpose dog spray – calm, deodorise, repel fleas, mosquitoes!

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I made this spray quite some time ago but didn’t use it that often because for a while Donna was fearful of being sprayed at. But what with the insect bite allergy, scratching and some skin abrasion, I probably should start using it more often.

The stuff needed to make the spray are apple cider vinegar, lavender or chamomile essential oil and water.

1. Get a small spray bottle and fill with water water.
2. Add one teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3. Add 3-4 drops essential oil
4. Cap and shake vigorously to mix well.
5. Store in a cool and dark cupboard between use.

To use, mist or rub in the mixture at the neck and ears, body, tail, underbelly, and overall coat (avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth) and let the dog air dry.
Note: For dogs with light coats, replace apple cider vinegar with distilled white vinegar if you find the apple cider vinegar staining their light or white coats. 

Why these ingredients?

According to Whole Dog Journal in the article The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs, vinegar has long been used for “topical applications, including muscle aches and bruises; sunburn, windburn, abrasions, insect bites, and stings; and hair care (controlling dandruff and improving condition and static control).” in humans, and can be applied to pets.

As an insect repellent, “plain vinegar or herbal tinctures containing cider vinegar repel insects, including fleas and mosquitoes.” Vinegar can also be used to disinfect and deodorise a dog that has started to smell funky.

As for the use of essential oils in the recipe, I preferred Lavender and Chamomile, vs Rosemary and Mint which is another combination I have found people to use for their dogs. This  is because of this 2005 research that found shelter dogs became calmer when exposed to lavender and chamomile and more active when exposed to rosemary and mint.

In a study published in 2005, Graham, Wells, and Hepper reported the results of their research exploring the influence of five types of olfactory stimulation (lavender, chamomile, rosemary, peppermint, and a control (no odor) on the behavior of 55 shelter dogs.  Their analysis revealed that dogs spent more time resting and less time moving upon exposure to lavender and chamomile than any of the other olfactory stimuli. These smells also encouraged less vocalization than other types of aroma. The diffusion of rosemary and peppermint into the dogs’ environment encouraged significantly more standing, moving and vocalizing than other types of odor.  The authors conclude that lavender and chamomile appear particularly beneficial, resulting in activities suggestive of relaxation and behaviors that are considered desirable by potential adopters. – view full article

I live in an apartment block, where my nearest neighbour’s front main door is just 1-2 metres from mine. It is important that Donna behaves calmly and does not cause any disturbance/unhappiness to the neighbours, particularly since some people do have negative preconceptions of mongrels.

P/S: The same ingredients for the dog spray can also be used to make dog shampoo, instructions at See Spot Bake.