Insect bites on pets is a common problem faced by pet owners.
Dogs, cats, even birds can suffer from insect bites so it is important
to know how to deal with this pesky situation and treat your pet properly.
This article focuses on dogs. We will focus on birds in our next issue.
Dogs are playful animals and are often found sniffing and exploring
unusual places. They tend to sniff under the trash bins, below the ledges
and mysterious corners of porches and sheds and love digging up the soil.
These places are home to a number of insects which will
not hesitate to bite the unsuspecting, curious pooch. At one time or another,
this adventurous behavior will lead to insect bites on your dog. Although,
you may think of it as a minor insect bite, many insect bites on dogs lead
to numerous reactions and dog allergies. It is important to recognize and
understand the types of bites and their possible symptoms.
Insect bites on dogs are usually due to the sting of bees, wasps, hornets or
ants. If your dog is bitten by any of these insects, he may show symptoms
within 20 minutes of the bite. You should keep a close watch on your dog
as mild symptoms develop after 12 - 24 hours.
If you observe insect bites on a dog's belly, it means that
the dog has been bitten by either wasps or ants. Bees also sting on the
hairless areas of the dog. The most common place
to observe insect bites on dogs is on the face, head or areas around the
mouth. Stings and insect bites on dogs results in inflammation and pain.
This may take about an hour to subside. In cases where the dog is bitten
by honey bees or wasps, there will be redness and the sting site will feel
hot to the touch. If the stinger is left behind, it contains muscle tissues
that keep contracting and injecting more venom into the dog. The best
way to remove the stinger is scrapping it off using a credit card or a
similar object. Do not use a tweezers to pull out the
stinger as it may cause the stinger to release more venom.
You may also find flea or tick bites on your dog. When the
dog is bitten by a flea, it is generally not one flea, but a number fleas
that have made their home in your dog's fur coat. If your dog scratches
and bites the various parts of his body repeatedly, it means he is infested
with fleas. Ticks are also common pests that can cause serious bites on
dogs. These tiny pests attach themselves to the dog's skin and suck blood
till they are full. Once full, they drop off and die. Even though the tick
dies, this bite can lead to many deadly diseases in both dogs and even
the dog owner.
Dogs can also be bitten by spiders. There are many poisonous
spiders. Spider venom can cause a reaction the minute it comes
in contact with the dog's skin. Most of the spiders cannot penetrate their
fangs into the dog skin and do not pose much of a threat. However, black
widows spiders can penetrate the skin and cause serious consequences.
Insect bites on dogs can
include the following reactions:
- Swelling on the eyelids
- Swelling on ear flaps
- Swelling on the lips
and in some cases the entire face. In this case, it is
known as angiedema.
- If the dog is bitten on the nose or mouth, it will lead
to large swelling and the animal will have difficulty breathing
also known as "hives" which displays as welts are observed on
the skin. These bites are usually itchy and can cause anaphylactic
- Weak pulse
heart rate and fever which may cause the animal to go into shock.
symptoms of insect bites on dogs may lead to cold extremities, trembling,
vomiting, diarrhea and collapse.
Blood sucking insects like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, etc. cause
swelling and irritation on the bite site. These insects contain some compounds
in their saliva that aggravates this effect on the dog's skin and
may also cause tiny bumps on the skin. Spider bites cause large
swollen bumps because the e spider bite contains an enzyme in the injected
venom that leads to an allergic reaction on the dog's skin.
Few insect bites on dogs are extremely dangerous, but some
can be very irritating and painful to your dog. There are some home remedies
for treating insect bites on dogs that are safe and effective. Below are
- In the case of bee or wasp stings, apply aloe vera gel. It
helps sooth the pain and burning sensation due to the sting or bite.
- For bumps and sores, you
can try gently applying a paste of baking soda and water several times
a day till the bumps recede.
- For irritation, try applying milk of magnesia, calamine lotion
or hydrocortisone cream several times a day to ease the irritation.
You can also apply regular oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal on the bite site
to help relieve the irritation.
- As previously mentioned, remember to remove
the stinger with a magnifying glass using a credit card or similar object.
Once the stinger gone, bathe the area with a diluted solution of baking
soda mixed with water. Prepare the solution by adding one part baking
soda to several parts water. Apply a cold pack for several minutes to
help reduce the swelling and pain. Repeat the cold pack several times
- You can mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 2 cups warm water
and boil it. Keep it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. Bathe
the dog with this mixture, to treat irritated and itchy paws and skin.
To treat hot spots on skin, saturate a cotton ball with witch hazel and
apply it to the spot for several days.
Many dogs develop allergic reactions to bites and stings that
require immediate veterinary attention. If the bites are on the face, the
swelling may obstruct the dog's vision or breathing. If you find the dog
is having trouble breathing or seems disoriented, take him to the
vet immediately. You may need to seek veterinary attention
if the dog is bitten by a spider, as their venom can cause a more serious
reaction than bees or wasps.
It is very important to take care of your dog in case he is
bitten by any insect. Even a minor mosquito bite can lead to an infection
as the dog tends to keep scratching the itchy area. This can lead to infection
by other pathogens which may cause other problems like pus or fever in
your dog. Pet care is the owner's responsibility. To give
the best possible care to your dog please make sure you do not take insect
bites lightly, as the life of your pet may depend on your alertness.
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