Why Is My Dog Afraid Of Flies?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

A dog's fear of flies can be attributed to three factors: Having been stung before having a bad association with them and having sensitive hearing.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Why Is My Dog Afraid Of Flies?“.

First you see this you think its funny – a big fierce dog scrambling under a bed whimpering at the sight of one innocent fly. However your poor pet does not find it funny at all.

There are many dogs large or small who are scared of flies or other insects to the point where their anxiety turns into a phobia.

There is no doubt that dogs can develop phobias just as humans can and since they cannot go to a shrink it is up to their owners to help them overcome their fears.

3 reasons why are dogs afraid of flies?

Several reasons can explain why a dog even a big German Shepherd is afraid of flies and it is often difficult for an owner to understand exactly how the fear developed.

1. Has been stung before

The most common cause is a negative experience like getting stung by a bee or fly. Humans do not feel the sting of common house flies which are just an annoyance. 

Nonetheless there are many types of flies that do sting and their bites can be quite painful. It is possible that your dog was bitten by a fly outside and the pain he felt at that time made him fear flies in general.

Occasionally the dog is afraid of one type of fly while other types do not bother him at all.

It is frustrating for you as an owner that this might have happened before you owned the dog.

When a dog has insectophobia it can be traced to a negative experience the dog had before becoming your pet and it can be very challenging to resolve.

It could have happened at the pet store the animal shelter or the previous owner in which case there is no way to determine what set off his phobia and all you can do is try to help him overcome it.

2. Bad association

There is also the possibility that a dog might fear flies for another reason: flies remind him of bad memories.

Perhaps you now own a rescue dog which was kept in squalid and cramped conditions where there were many flies.

Those flies did not harm the dog in any way but the dog associates the flies with this traumatic time.

When a fly is spotted or heard even in a loving home it takes them back to that dark place.

3. Sensitive hearing

The last reason for dogs being afraid of flies may only apply to a very small percentage of dogs however it relates to the noise and pitch of the buzzing.

Some dogs will be frightened by this noise making them go crazy!

How do you know if your dog is afraid of flies?

Phobias are not something your dog is born with. Insectophobia is an irrational fear of flying insects that appears suddenly and without apparent cause. It may not be obvious to you but the dog certainly has some reasons to be afraid of seemingly harmless insects.

When there are plenty of flying pests around during the warm months the dog may refuse to go outside. This sudden change in behavior might be hard to comprehend especially if your dog used to be an animal that enjoyed running around the yard and nothing seemed to bother him.

A very clear indication that your dog has developed insectophobia is when he tucks his tail between his legs and hides when a fly enters the room. Please do not scold your pet when he tries to hide under your chair or buries himself under the pile of freshly-washed clothes on the couch. Theres nothing silly about the dog; hes not playing or trying to irritate you. Instead hes scared. The poor animal tries to protect himself against the flying enemy as much as he can.

Many dog owners report that this phobia is devastating for their pets – some hide in a dark corner and shake uncontrollably for up to fifteen minutes others whimper from under the bed and others vomit as a result of a full-blown panic attack. 

Why is your dog afraid of fly swatters?

A dog owner often observes a connection between his dogs fear of flying insects and the way he cowers when he sees a human holding a fly swatter. Many people believe that the dog is not afraid of flies but rather of the fly swatter that is used to kill them.

There are many dog owners who swear they never used a fly swatter on their pet so there is no way the animal can associate the swatter with the pain he received. 

In fact there are psychologists who study phobias in house pets and they say it might not actually be a fly swatter per se that dogs are afraid of but the very sudden hand movements you make when using one or even the sound it makes when it hits a wall. There may be a connection between that sudden movement of the hand and/or the sound and punishment he suffered years ago.

How to help a dog that is scared of flies

In the beginning take pity on the poor animal and try to understand his fear. Get rid of the intruder when your dog is hiding and shaking and then reassure the dog everything is fine.

Its best to help him through desensitization and classical conditioning in the long run.

Teach your dog to catch flies

Flies can be fun to catch for your dog if you make them see them as tasty treats. This sort of thing requires you to act silly but helping your beloved pet overcome fear is well worth it.

Allow a fair number of flies to enter one room then demonstrate how to catch them instead of swatting them away. In other words open your mouth and pretend to catch flies by jumping around.

If you catch one or if you pretend to have one in your mouth you should make an appropriately pleased gesture dog will be fascinated by this behavior as will your neighbor across the street reet.

However he will soon begin imitating the dog rather than the neighbor hopefully. Treat your dog whenever he attempts to snap a fly from the air.

Create some positive experiences

It is important to make your dog associate going in the backyard with a pleasant experience if he is reluctant to go outside because there are flies there. Find something interesting to distract him from the flies.

Play catch with your dog using a new rubber ball you bought him. You can also move his bowl to the backyard and make sure it is filled with his favorite treats or a juicy bone something he cannot resist.

He will forget about the flies as he eats and hopefully in a couple of days he will overcome his fear. 

Don’t ignore your pet’s problems

The conventional wisdom holds that you should ignore your dogs display of fear but this idea is based on the assumption your pet is acting weird to get your attention. Thats not the case. The dog is not faking insectophobia it is a real condition. By ignoring him we are leaving him alone with an irrational fear that even humans have trouble handling.

Other buzzing insects that your dog might be afraid of

The majority of dogs are afraid of flies some hate all of them and some are just afraid of one type in particular. 

This can cause a lot of confusion for a pet owner who might not even notice a particular fly. Horse flies and deer flies are incredibly nasty creatures whose bite can cause extreme pain so its no wonder a dog will develop a phobia after a very close encounter with one of these insects.

A dogs aversion to bees or wasps is easy to understand. You should not be surprised if your dog suddenly becomes terrified of anything that looks like a bee after finding a wasps nest on your property. Its pretty common for dogs to poke their noses where they should not and the memory of being stung by a bee is enough to make him hide whenever he sees one.

Humans on the other hand are more terrified of mosquitoes than of flies but there are hardly any reports of dogs being afraid of mosquitoes although some of those pesky pests can make it through a dogs fur.

You should install screen doors and use bug repellents to make your house a safe haven. To keep these annoying creatures away from your dog you can use certain insect repellents that are safe for dogs. Even if your pet has no problem with bugs you should use such products because certain insects can transmit serious diseases such as heartworm.

Why are chihuahuas or other small dogs scared of flies?

A Chihuahua is a wonderful pet but they can be a bit shaky and afraid of many things including flies. Although they seem aggressive sometimes its just their way to hide their fears. There are many fears Chihuahuas have making it difficult for their owners to get them over them. Insectophobia can develop suddenly in an adult dog and training him to overcome his fear is much more difficult than training a puppy. 

Such problems are common in other small breeds such as Shih Tzus and toy poodles as well not just Chihuahuas. If you want to help them overcome this particular phobia try teaching them to catch flies.

Wrapping Up

Regardless of their size or breed a dogs fear of flies is a common problem. Most often the phobia was caused by an unpleasant experience probably a painful bite. The first thing you need if you have a dog with this problem is patience. It is a very intense fear and it will probably take a while for your dog to desensitize itself and be able to tolerate the presence of annoying insects. Donot give up though! 

Be sure to protect your dog from bug bites using insect repellents which are not only annoying but also dangerous since flying pests can transmit diseases.

If you want to read more about dog breeds read here: Dog Breeds Updates.

Why Is My Dog Afraid Of Flies? (Watch Video)

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