Easy DIY Insect Repellent Bandana for Dogs

One way to help prevent ticks from bothering your dog while hiking, camping, or hanging out in your back yard, is to have your dog wear an insect repellent dog bandana.

You’ve probably seen tick and mosquito repellent dog bandanas available online or in pet stores before.

The Insect Shield bandana for dogs is a popular one.

UPDATED: June 14, 2022

But did you know it’s super simple to make your own bug repellent bandana for dogs?

Dog in a DIY insect repellent bandana

Why Use a Tick Repellent Bandana for Your Dog

Ticks like to burrow and hide in warm, dark places on your dog.

One of the favorite go-to places for ticks is the back of your dog’s neck where the hair is often thicker.

If your dog is wearing an insect repellent dog bandana, ticks are less likely to be attracted to the head and neck area. It’s like a little “insect shield”.

An insect repellent bandana alone is not enough to protect your dog’s entire body from ticks (check out my 5-pronged approach to repelling ticks) but it’s an excellent addition to topical flea and tick medication.

It can offer a little extra protection though.

Why Make Your Own Insect Repellent Bandana for Dogs

There are several reasons that you may want to make your own inspect repellent dog bandana instead of buy one:

  • You don’t have to choose from only one or two available bandana prints
  • You can choose the bandana style you feel is more comfortable and safer for your dog: tie-on, snap, or over the collar
  • You can use a bandana from your favorite handmade shop to support small business
  • It has the potential to last forever because all you need to do is “refresh” it after several washes

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase. 

Dachshund in the desert wearing an insect repellent bandana

3-Step DIY Insect Repellent Dog Bandana

There are 3 simple steps to making a badnana for your dog that repels nasty, biting insects.

Step 1 – Get or Make Your Dog a Bandana

First, you’ll need a bandana.

You have several options that vary in effort and cost.

You can make your own dog bandana from a sheet of fabric or an old shirt.

You can cut it out free-hand in a triangle shape or by placing another dog bandana on the fabric and cutting around it.

The down-side to doing this this way is, unless you bind the edges, this bandana will fray easily and start to not look so nice quickly.

Note: If you use pinking shears to cut the fabric, the edges will fray a little less.

If you want to make a little more effort, you can sew, or use iron-on hemming tape, to finish the edges.

Simple dog bandanas cut out of a piece of fabric

The third, and easiest way to make your own insect repellent dog bandana, although not always the cheapest, is to start with a dog bandana that you purchased from your favorite small shop.

Some good places to get handmade bandanas are:

Step 2 – Buy Permethrin Clothing Treatment

Permethrin is an insecticide. It’s a synthetic chemical designed to act like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower.

Permethrin can kill insects if they eat it or touch it but it’s more toxic to insects than it is to people and dogs.

Less than 1% of permethrin that touches the skin is absorbed into the body anyway (source).

Warning: Permethrin is toxic to cats!

Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothes

Permethrin is the main ingredient in my favorite topical flea and tick control for dogs and is the insecticide used to create most commercially-available insect repellent bandanas and clothing.

It kills ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, chiggers, mites, and more.

You can buy it in a spray bottle to treat clothing and gear.

My go-to choice is the Sawyer Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent.

Step 3 – Treat the Bandana with Permethrin

Treating your dog’s bandana with permethrin to help protect them from fleas, ticks and other insects is pretty easy.

Simply lay the item flat, spray the repellent on, flip the item over to treat the other side, and hang to dry.

dog bandanas sprayed with insect repellent hanging dry

The exact instructions for application from the product I use are:

“To apply, spray Permethrin directly onto clothing and gear with a slow sweeping motion, keeping the bottle about 6 to 8 inches away and treating each side of the garment for about 30 seconds.”

Permethrin (at least the one from Sawyer I linked to above) will not stain or damage clothing, fabrics, plastics, finished surfaces, or outdoor gear.

I still prefer to take precautions though and lay the item to be treated outside on the grass,concrete, or on and old towel.

One treatment of permethrin will last up to 6 weeks, or 6 washings.

Simply re-treat the bandana after that time and it will keep working.

That’s it! That’s all there is to creating an insect repellent bandana for your dog.

Final Thoughts

An insect repellent bandana can provide an additional layer of protection for your dog.

You can purchase one or use this tutorial to make one yourself.

Remember though, it’s not the only line of defense you should use.

Using a good monthly flea and tick treatment like Vectra 3d will provide the most protection against ticks.

How to make an insect repellent bandana for your dog

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


    1. Simply getting wet is not an issue. The treatment stays bonded to the fabric for 6 washes (with detergent and agitation in a washing machine). After 6 actual washes, you would need to re-treat with the spray again.

  1. I’ve owned dachshunds for years and now I have one who is allergic to almost everything- treating with coconut oil and Claritin- how do you think this will be with my dog?

    1. Hi Lisa. I can’t say for sure. Once you spray the product on and let it dry, it bonds to the fabric. There is nothing to “come off” so your dog should not be able to breathe it nor should it get onto the skin. I just can’t make any promises to you though about a potential reaction because of allergies, sorry.

    1. Hi Will. I’m not a vet and don’t use the Seresto collar so I don’t know. I will say first though to make sure we are on the same page: you don’t spray the permethrin ON your pet. This article is about spraying it on a cloth (bandana here but you can also treat a dog jacket their wear). There is no waiting period I’m aware of with the monthly topical I use (usually Vectra 3D or Advantix II), although there has always been an elapsed time between when I apply the flea treatment and we go for a hike where they wear the bandana. I would check with the manufacturer or your vet about any conflict with the Seresto collar specificially.

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