bug and sun protection for pets and livestock

Sun & Bug Protection For Pets & Livestock

Create a more pleasant summer for your animals with these tips to protect them from the worst of the sun and insects.

When the sun shines bright, and the bugs start buzzing, our beloved pets and livestock need some extra tlc. Just like us, they can feel the heat and suffer from those pesky bugs during the warmer months. But fear not! With extra care and attention, you can give your furry and hooved companions the sun and bug protection they deserve!

Bug Protection


Summer bugs can be a real buzzkill for our furry friends. Unfortunately, bugs like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and others can transmit diseases, cause skin irritations, and generally make your pets miserable. To protect your pet from bugs, use an effective insect repellent. However, not all insect repellents are safe for pets. Many contain chemicals that can be toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin. For an alternative, opt for a pet-safe bug repellent, which can help keep your pet free of pests without putting them at risk.

Fortunately, simple precautions can help ensure your pet stays reasonably safe from bugs and comfortable all summer.

  • Keep your furry friend fresh and clean by giving them regular baths using a shampoo that's specifically made for pets. This helps eliminate pesky insects that might have hitched a ride on their fur.
  • Protect your pet from bugs by using insect repellent that's safe for them. Never use a human insect repellent on your pet. Chemicals like DEET and Picaridin can cause various worrisome effects in a pet when ingested or absorbed into the skin. Just carefully read the labels and follow the instructions to keep your pet protected without any worries.
  • Stay on top of tick and flea prevention by checking your pet regularly. These critters love the summer season, so inspect your pet's fur and use a reliable flea and tick preventative recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Create a bug-free zone in your yard by keeping it tidy and well-maintained. Eliminate any stagnant water sources, as they attract mosquitoes. Bug zappers and natural mosquito-repellent candles placed near the areas your pets hang out can be helpful in reducing flies and mosquitoes. Never leave a candle unattended, however. Also, keep your lawn trimmed and remove debris like leaves or grass clippings, which can harbor ticks. Check out this article in the dirt for tips on keeping your yard and garden free of insects.
  • During the prime bug times of dawn and dusk, keeping your pet indoors is best to minimize mosquito exposure. These buzzing insects are most active during those times, so let your pet enjoy the indoors and avoid those itchy mosquito or painful fly bites.


When it comes to protecting your livestock from the nuisance of insects, implementing a comprehensive pest management program is key. Regular cleaning, hygiene maintenance, and strategic grazing practices will further contribute to their protection and create a happier environment for them. While the following guidelines focus mostly on cattle and horses, they can be adapted to suit other types of livestock.

  • Provide adequate shelter and shade for your livestock to minimize insect exposure.
  • Use fly repellents or insecticides and other fly-control measures specifically designed for livestock, following the recommended application guidelines. Murdoch’s also carries pour-on solutions and insecticide ear tags specifically for cattle.
  • Keep the barn and surrounding areas clean and free of manure buildup, as it attracts flies and other pests.
  • Use fly traps, fly sheets, or fly masks to further protect your horses from insects. For more information on remedies for horses during biting fly season, read our article in the dirt.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by regularly cleaning and sanitizing water troughs and feeders to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and other bugs.
  • Rotate grazing areas to help break the life cycle of parasites and reduce insect populations.
  • Trim tall grass and remove brush or weeds near livestock areas to eliminate hiding places for insects.
  • Consult a veterinarian for additional advice and recommendations on insect control measures specific to your livestock.

So, whether you're enjoying a sunny day at the beach with your dog or tending to your horses on a hot summer afternoon, remember that sun and bug protection is essential for the well-being of our beloved animals. By taking the necessary precautions and providing them with shade, water, and appropriate care, you can ensure their comfort, health, and happiness all season long.

Sun Protection


Because dogs and cats share similar vulnerabilities to humans when it comes to sunburn and heat-related issues, it's important to take measures to safeguard them during the summer season, just as you would for yourself and your family.

  • For pets that are kept outdoors, provide shade and water during hot weather to ensure their comfort and hydration. Trees, umbrellas, or shelters help protect your pet from direct sunlight.
  • For pets that are kept indoors except for when they are let outdoors, limit your pet's exposure to the sun during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Apply pet-specific sunscreen to exposed areas such as the nose, ears, skin around the lips, and underbelly.
  • Taking your dog on a hike? Bring water for your pet to drink during any outdoor activity to prevent dehydration.
  • Be mindful of your pet's susceptibility to sunburn, especially if they have light-colored fur, short hair, or exposed skin. Monitor them for signs of sunburn, including redness, swelling, or discomfort. Remember that sunburn can cause long-term consequences, such as skin cancer, so take proactive steps to protect your pet from harmful UV rays. Seek veterinary care if necessary.


Providing sun protection for livestock is vital for the welfare of the herds. Similar to pets, cattle and horses with thin hair, pink pigmentation, or white or white areas are particularly susceptible to sunburn. The pretty white socks on a horse, there too. Also, certain types of feed can contain compounds called photodynamic agents, which can make livestock more susceptible to sunburn. When ingested, these agents, like moldy or spoiled feed, St. John’s wort, buckwheat, alsike clover, and others, can interact with sunlight, leading to a damaging reaction on skin cells. This condition is known as photosensitization.

Fortunately, these key steps will promote the overall comfort and health of your livestock in high heat and sun:

  • Place water troughs or automatic waterers in shaded areas to keep water cool and accessible throughout the day. Also, remember to check water sources to ensure cleanliness regularly.
  • Remove triggering feed from the diet of affected animals and promptly treat any inflammation or infections. This step protects your animal’s health and prevents further complications. Consult a veterinarian if you need help with proper treatment or how to adjust the diet.
  • Provide ample shade with barn access, run-in sheds, shade trees, or shade cloth. Creating shaded areas allows the animals to seek refuge from the direct sun.
  • Schedule turnout and exercise during cooler hours to minimize sun exposure. Typically, early mornings or evenings have lower temperatures.
  • Apply animal-specific sunscreen to sensitive areas prone to sunburn. If unsure, consult a veterinarian for suitable products and proper application techniques to protect your animals against harmful uv rays.

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