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Black Fly Bite Fright!

Warm weather means trips to dog parks and more time spent outdoors for you and your pup. But starting in mid-May, those lush fields can also contain some newly-awoken critters that are thrilled to get a taste of your dog: buffalo gnats, also known as black flies.

black fly

We know when black flies have emerged because we start getting panicked calls from owners who find the distinctive “bullseye” inflammation caused by their bites. Because black flies tend to swarm, there may be multiple bites, generally located on the dog’s stomach and groin area (where the hair is thinner.) While the appearance is startling, black fly bites don’t generally seem to bother dogs. They resolve on their own – usually within a week – without needing medical intervention.

dog by river

Black flies are found where there are rivers and streams, and prefer cloudy, humid days with low wind. Active from mid-May through June or even July (depending on temperatures), their bite can be painful and itchy to humans, unlike our canine companions, who don’t seem to notice them. However, if your dog is reacting to the bites (demonstrated by excessive licking, chewing, or scratching at the area), contact us for advice.