Is your dog acting strange, terrified, or annoyed around flies?
Such a tiny insect scares such a big dog? What’s going on here?
Most dogs are afraid of flies because they haven’t been well socialized enough during puppyhood or had experienced a traumatizing event in the past that included a fly. Flies could also annoy dogs because of dogs’ superb and sensitive hearing.
In this article, I will go over some less common reasons for a fear of flies and give you some helpful tips for telling if your pup is really fearful of flying insects.
There is no one absolute reason why dogs can be afraid of flies. Some dogs remain calm or exuberant when a flying insect enters the home, while others bark in terror.
It can be challenging for dog owners to understand why their best friend has developed a debilitating fear of these frustrating bugs. But, here are some of the most common reasons flies may be causing your dog unnecessary stress.
Socializing a puppy (and even adult dogs, as a matter of fact) is extremely important for their development and wellbeing later in life.
If a puppy wasn’t socialized properly due to any reason, they could grow up to be more anxious than they would otherwise be and therefore have “irrational” fears, including fear of flies.
Your dog may have had a traumatic experience with a flying insect in the past.
Though common houseflies do not sting, bees and wasps certainly do. Some fly species, such as black flies, have been known to bite dogs’ underbelly and groin, causing pain and discomfort.
It is entirely possible your beloved pooch was stung or bitten sometime in the past and has developed a traumatic memory response.
Please note, this event could have happened well before you were the dog’s owner, so the inciting incident may be impossible to track.
The fly-associated trauma may have nothing to do with being bit or stung. Instead, some dogs develop a fear of flies due to unhappy memories from earlier in their life. Living in a cramped shelter, surrounded by other dogs and with no personal space, can do a number on a canine’s mental health.
These shelters are often poorly maintained and can experience fly infestations. A fly inside your home could simply be a memory trigger. Rescue dogs are often kept in filthy and cramped conditions.
It is common knowledge that many of a dog’s senses greatly exceed that of a human. As a matter of fact, dogs can hear almost twice the frequencies of people (up to 45,000 hertz), and they can hear sounds up to 80 feet away. Additionally, dogs have an easier time differentiating between different sounds than humans due to a long ear canal and multiple muscles throughout the ear itself.
What does this all mean? A fly buzzing about the home could be a minor nuisance for us and can easily be ignored. However, to a dog, the vibrations of the fly’s wings could be highly annoying and a severe interruption to the dog’s daily life.
Dogs may also be fearful of a fly swatter hitting the wall, which could present itself as a fear of flies. Many dog owners agree that the sound of a fly swatter may remind a dog of punishment it received earlier in life. The sudden hand movement that accompanies the use of a fly swatter could also be a trigger for the dog.
Black flies bite the groin and underside of dogs. Horseflies bite the skin of dogs to feast on blood, similar to that of a mosquito. Maggots can nest in the skin folds of older and relatively inactive dogs. Your dog may be afraid of flies because there is an infestation in the home or in the yard, and they are repeatedly getting bit.
Some dogs may make their fear of flies noticeable by yelping and attacking the insects every chance they get. Other dogs can be subtle in their dislike of flying insects. Here are some warning signs to look out for.
If your dog tends to hide with its tail tucked between its legs whenever a fly enters the home, that is a sign your dog is fearful of the insects. Fearful dogs can hide underneath tables, inside piles of clothing, or behind couches.
Do not scold or punish your dog for this behavior, as this fear can be debilitating and cause your canine significant discomfort.
Suppose your dog has suddenly begun to exhibit aggressive traits, such as snapping at visitors or barking uncontrollably. In that case, this could be a sign that the pup is afraid of flies and one has entered the home.
However, sudden aggressive behavior could be a sign of a medical disorder, so we recommend taking the dog to the vet.
If your dog is terrified of flies and related insects, there are some steps you can take to ease your dog’s suffering and bring peace to your home.
Dogs can be taught to catch and eat flies, which could significantly ease their fears. The process is quite simple, though somewhat silly.
Some dogs can be afraid of yards if there are too many flies afoot. To combat this fear, try to create some positive memories with your dog while in the yard. Buy some new toys and take the time to play with your dog outdoors. This can include a new ball, new treats, or a juicy bone.
The point here is to create an irresistible experience for the dog that overrides its fear of flying insects. It may take several days to stick, but the fear should evaporate with time.
If all else fails, you should try to severely limit the number of flies and related insects entering the home or traveling to your yard.
This can be done in many ways, such as the following:
Please talk to your vet before allowing your dog to interact with any chemical or substance.