Why Are Dogs Afraid of Flies – 17 Reasons

Fear in dogs can emanate from various sources, with an assortment of triggers rooted in their experiences, sensory perceptions, and even their genetic predispositions. For some dogs, flies are among these fear-inducing factors. Below, we will delve into 17 reasons why dogs might be afraid of flies, exploring insights from various perspectives.

Why Are Dogs Afraid of Flies
Why Are Dogs Afraid of Flies

The 8 most common reasons

  1. Negative Past Experiences with Flies Dogs might develop a fear of flies due to prior unpleasant encounters, such as being bitten or stung by them, which can leave a lasting negative impression.
  2. Sensitive Hearing and Distressing Buzzing Sounds The buzzing sound produced by flies can be particularly distressing for dogs due to their sensitive hearing, which may amplify their fear.
  3. Association with Bad Memories Flies might remind dogs of squalid, unpleasant conditions or traumatic times from their past, generating an association that elicits fear.
  4. Intrusive and Annoying Behavior of Flies Flies can be perturbing due to their persistent, intrusive, and annoying behaviors, such as landing on the dog or buzzing around them.
  5. Disease Vectors Flies can carry diseases, and while it’s unclear how conscious dogs are about this risk, their instinctive behaviors might steer them to avoid potential threats like flies.
  6. Genetic Predisposition Certain breeds or individual dogs might be genetically predisposed to fear specific stimuli, including flies, which can be manifested as an ingrained phobia.
  7. Sound Sensitivity Beyond just the buzzing of flies, dogs with general sensitivity to sound might be more prone to develop fears related to audial stimuli.
  8. Painful Memories of Bites Some flies can bite, and a dog may generalize fear toward all flies if they’ve experienced pain from a bite in the past.

For most dogs that fear flies, these are the likely causes. However, it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact reason. There are certainly other less common reasons that dogs may be scared of flies.

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9 Other Possible Reasons

  1. Flies as a Symbol of Threat or Danger Dogs might associate the appearance of flies with negative or threatening scenarios, evolving a symbolic fear.
  2. Uncertain Motions Flies move erratically and unpredictably, which might create anxiety in dogs who cannot anticipate the insect’s trajectory.
  3. Visual Disturbance The small, swiftly moving visuals of flies can be unsettling to dogs, especially those with keen eyesight and a high prey drive.
  4. Fear of Insect Swatters Dogs might not only fear flies but also the swatters used to kill them due to the sudden movement and noise.
  5. Small Size and Quick Movements Flies, with their small size and rapid movements, may trigger the predatory instinct in dogs, shifting between excitement and anxiety, which might be interpreted as fear.
  6. Fear of Other Insects and Generalization Dogs afraid of one type of insect (like wasps or bees) might generalize this fear to include all flying insects, including flies.
  7. Fear of Outdoors or Specific Spaces A fear of flies might be interlinked with a dog’s reluctance to venture into specific spaces where flies are prevalent, such as outdoors during warm months.
  8. Learned Behavior from Owners or Other Dogs Dogs might also learn to fear flies by observing the reactions of their owners or other dogs during encounters with these insects.
  9. Sudden Appearance Flies often appear abruptly, and the sudden entrance into a dog’s perceptual field might be startling and invoke fear.
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Guiding Your Canine to Overcome Fear of Flies

Embarking on a journey to assist your furry companion in mitigating their fear of flies can be approached through various compassionate and encouraging methods, all aimed at fostering positive experiences and gradually reducing their anxiety. Here’s how you might enhance their comfort and tranquility amidst the fluttering invaders.

Embrace Positive Association Training

A quintessential approach to navigating through your dog’s aversion to flies involves positive association training, whereby you merge the presence of flies with rewarding outcomes. When a fly is around, and your dog demonstrates calmness or reduced anxiety, shower them with treats and affirmative verbal appreciation.

The goal is to gradually weave a mental correlation for your dog, linking the sight or sound of flies with delightful rewards, thus demoting their inherent fear over time.

Gradual Exposure Therapy

Employing a technique of gradual exposure, or desensitization, can also be a considerate way to navigate through their fly-related fear. Initiate this by carefully introducing your dog to a fly in a setting where variables can be controlled – ideally, indoors.

Ensure to offer treats and verbal praise whenever they exhibit calmness in the proximity of the fly, progressively lengthening the exposure duration. Over time, this method should assist in mitigating their anxiety, morphing their apprehension into indifference towards flies.

Establish a Sanctuary Free from Flies

In scenarios where the above approaches encounter challenges, crafting a safe, fly-free haven within your home becomes pivotal for your dog’s comfort and emotional well-being. Several preventive actions can be implemented to diminish the probability of fly intrusions.

Ensure all windows and doors are fitted with screens, maintain the cleanliness of dining spaces, and routinely dispose of garbage. Refrain from leaving used food dishes or pet treats exposed for extended periods, as these could potentially lure flies.

If you’re keen to explore homemade fly deterrents, consider gently applying a thin layer of Vaseline on your dog’s coat and ears, acting as a physical barrier against flies. Alternatively, a spray concocted from equal parts apple cider vinegar and water can be used (ensure to steer clear of your dog’s face during application).


Overall, dogs might be allergic to flies or they might be afraid of them because of the reasons listed above. Even if a dog is not allergic or afraid of flies, they can still find them to be annoying and bothersome.

At Cozzzy Together, we love dogs. If you are a dog lover, we would encourage you to shop our collection of bandanas for your dog, accessories, as well as products to treat yourself.

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