How to Prevent Fly Bites on Pets

Horse Fly Illustration

Biting flies make themselves at home on farms, stables and other environments where livestock and animals are present. These flies breed in manure or decaying grain feed and may also consume the blood of small animals such as dogs.

While most fly bites are relatively harmless to dogs, high populations may result in multiple bites that could severely irritate a dog's skin. A group of flies that might bite dogs are known as horse or deer flies. Some of the largest flies in the world, horse flies are common throughout North America and produce extremely painful bites.

The horse fly's mouthparts account for their painful bite—while many small insects use a piercing proboscis to feed on the blood of other animals, the horse fly is equipped with a scissorlike pair of mandibles. However, the irritation caused by the bite of a horse fly is not lasting.

Female horse flies feed on blood, while males seek nectar and sugary liquids. Horse flies tend to be active in warmer temperatures. Although constant breezes discourage biting flies, horse flies are relatively resilient against strong air currents due to their size.

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