Special fabrics that repel or poison biting insects are becoming more popular for hikers, campers, hunters, and even those of us who wander in the woods picking wild flowers. Your dog can benefit from this clothing when he's outside too.
There are two types of fabrics created for dogs to wear outside in buggy seasons. One is a mesh fabric called noseeum, a very tightly woven, unevenly patterned, extremely lightweight material. Noseeum, (or No-See-Um) fabrics are created to cover a human's clothing, head, and face to keep the tiniest little buggers away from you - same for pets. BugBaffler® is one company that makes no-see-um products for humans as well as pets. (see above image)
Insect Shield Mesh Tank Top for Dogs (with permathrin)
Most other insect repellent clothing for pets is treated with a chemical called permethrin, a synthetic copy of the natural bug-deterrent in chrysanthemums. When applied to a fabric, the permethrin drys and becomes a stay-fast barrier to small pests. Permethrin is not exactly an insect repellent; it's more like an insecticide that kills mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other potentially harmful (and irritating) pests (source), but customers are not generally in agreement about its effectiveness on fleas. Permethrin attire has become more popular since outbreaks of tick and mosquito-born illnesses have become more prevalent.
Dry permethrin is generally safe for humans, dogs, horses, and most other animals, but it can be TOXIC to CATS. Cats should be kept away from permethrin-treated garments, but proximity to a permethrin spray (often used to treat landscapes) is a real danger, especially if the spray is wet.
Textiles with permethrin can be machine washed, but should be washed separately from other fabrics. Some manufacturers state that 25 washes are the maximum number of times garments can be washed before they lose their protective powers, but others claim their products' effectiveness can last for 70 washings. Personally, I would purchase a new permethrin jacket after 25 washes of the old one; 25 washes would probably extend its life to five years at least!
Here's a look at 5 of the top bug-protective coverings for dogs...
BugBaffler uses the no-see-um fabric to surround your pet's body in a lightweight jacket with openings to allow him to 'do his stuff.' The jacket also has elasticized cuffs for your pet's legs. If you don't want even a relatively safe bug deterrent chemical in your pet's clothing, the BugBaffler is the one for you!
Sizing from back of neck to end of back is even-numbered 8" to 26." Cats can wear the BugBaffler too, as the material does not contain any chemical allergens.
With or without the hood, the Insect Shield Mesh Tank Top for Dogs is an effective permethrin bug-repellent shirt, available in bright green and bright orange (photo at top), colors popular for hunting and other outdoor activities, as they are most easy to see. Insect Shield is a popular brand name for human outdoor activity clothing, as well as bedding, and shelter for dogs.
The Tank Top, T-Shirt, and Hoodie come in sizes x-small to xx-large. The material is very lightweight and breathable. If you would like to learn more about the Insect Shield pet fabrics, see the video at this link.
If you need a neck and head covering to protect your dogs neck and ears from bug bites, the Insect Shield Insect Repellent Neck Gaiter is the way to go. Polyester and spandex, like the Insect Shield Insect Repellent Dog Shirts above, the Neck Gaitor fits snugly, but is light weight. It can be worn over your dog's head to protect her ears or loosely around the neck.
The Neck Gaiter gives you greater flexibility when deciding whether to pair it with a tank top or other Insect Shield dog jacket. Besides, it looks really neat.
The Doggles Insect Repellent Shirt uses Insect Shield technology in the manufacture of this shirt, nicely designed with a snug, but breathable, shell.
According to Doggles, this polyester tee can be washed up to 70 times without loosing its effectiveness, but many customers purchase new shirts long before that. On the whole, the T-Shirts are very highly reviewed.
The Doggles T-Shirts size indicates the length in inches from a dog's collar to his tailbone: XS=10-12", S = 14-16", M=18-20", L= 22-24", and XL 24 - 26 inches.
Dog Not Gone designs and manufactures its visibility dog vests in Maine. In 2015 the company started its "No Fly Zone" line of vests that are not only highly visible, but made with permethrin to keep insects away. "No Fly Zone" is actually a proprietary product of Burlington Fabrics that many other companies use in their insect repellent fabrics.
These Dog Not Gone vests are rated very positively by dog parents both for their reflective qualities as well as their effectiveness against ticks and other biting insects. This vest has Velcro closures at the neck and tummy.
The vest comes in orange, hot pink, and neon green and has reflective banding. Sizing is as follows: Small: 25-40lbs, Medium: 40-70lbs, Large: 70-110lbs, X-large: 110+ lbs. Customers suggest that if your dog is near the upper end of the recommended weight range, you should purchase the next size up.
Dog Not Gone makes a No Fly Zone 'mini vest' in the same colors for smaller dogs that has a D-ring attached for your convenience.
The Mini Safety Pet Vest comes in small (7-15 lbs) and medium (15-35 lbs).
The above bug-off vests and hoods are all rated as effective by most customers. If your dog is exposed to buggy areas, including your own yard, I would definitely invest in one of the vests, especially now that the threat of the Zika virus, among other insect-borne diseases, is growing.
That's the buzz for today!
recommended reading: EPA Topic: Insect Repellent