Dogs, Bug Bites, Stings and What You Should Know

Dogs can be bitten by all kinds of bugs even if your dog is an inside dog.  My dogs are inside dogs, but they still have to go outside to do their business and get their daily exercise. 

There are all kinds of evil bugs out there just lurking around waiting to prey on our furry friends.  Dogs can be bitten by fleas, spiders, mosquitoes and other insects just like we can.  In fact, Ash went after a hornet yesterday. Lucky enough it didn’t sting her but it very well could have.  Of course, it is more likely that your dog will be bitten during the warm months, but don’t get me wrong, they can be bitten during the cooler months too.

Bugs on a dog, Titan

Bug bites can be annoying, can itch, sting and at the very worst, be dangerous at times.  The following are some of the most common types of bug bites that your canine friend might come into contact with:

  • Fleas:  These are just downright yucky!  They are annoying and can cause flea bite allergies which can be the cause of itching and skin infections.  The most common allergy caused by flea bites, specifically caused by the saliva of the flea, is called flea allergy dermatitis.  Your dog can be very itchy and can develop secondary skin infections from this allergy.  Strangely though, dogs with flea allergies don’t have very many fleas at all.  The reason for this is because they are so very itchy which causes them to excessively groom themselves.  The excessive grooming gets rid of a lot of the fleas.  But if your dog is allergic to flea bites, even just a couple of flea bites a week can make him miserable.
  • Mosquitoes:  We all hate mosquitoes and we all know how much they annoy us!  Well, they can also cause irritation and annoyance for your dog.  Worst of all, they can spread heartworm disease.  You can’t usually see a mosquito bite on a dog like you can on a human, so you probably won’t know if your dog is being bit by mosquitoes.  I can’t even begin to stress how important it is that you have your canine friend on a heartworm preventative.
  • Spider Bites:  There aren’t that many venomous spiders around but if your dog was to be bitten by one of them, it could be deadly.  Pets are more commonly known to be bitten by black widow spiders than any other spider.  The male and female are both poisonous but only the female is large enough and has enough venom to hurt your pet.  The venom is a nerve toxin and can severely affect or even kill a small dog.  Black spiders are found mostly in the eastern and Southwestern parts of the United States.
  • Brown Recluse:  Another venomous spider that can cause harm to your dog.  Their venom destroys the tissues surrounding the bite.  The bite will cause the area affected to turn red and sometimes it will be accompanied by fever and nausea.  The damage from the spider bite is specific to the area around the bite.  The muscle tissue that lies under the bite may die and become infected and some bleeding might occur.  The wound can take weeks to heal with or without treatment.  You should seek your veterinarian’s help if your dog is bitten by a brown recluse to prevent additional tissue damage surrounding the bite.  Brown recluse spiders are found throughout the United States, especially in the southern part of the United States.
  • Bees, Wasps, and Yellow Jackets:  Your dog can be stung by all of these.  Painful swelling and redness where your dog was stung can occur.  It usually happens on a hairless part of your dog such as the nose or feet.  Your dog’s face and neck can swell even if he wasn’t stung in those areas.  If your dog is stung a lot of times, the absorbed toxins could cause him to go into shock.  If this happens, contact your vet immediately.
  • Centipedes and Scorpions:  These stings can cause a local reaction and maybe even severe illness but these bites heal slowly.
  • Flies:  Flies can be pesky little creatures and at times they might bite your dog’s ears.  If the flies cover your dog’s ears and leave behind bloody bite marks, it can be irritating and can become infected.  Your dog might try to relieve the discomfort by rubbing his ears.  Different kinds of salves, insect repellents, and insecticides can be used to try to keep the flies away.  Vicks Vapo-rub, Vaseline, and other products can be used to keep the flies off of your dog.  You can use antibiotic creams to help soothe the bites.  Honestly, the best way to keep the flies off of your dog is to keep him inside during the heat of the day.

Depending on your dog and their immune system, they may be more sensitive to bug bites than other dogs.  If you think your dog is having an allergic reaction to a bug bite, you should contact your vet immediately.  A moderate to severe reaction could be life-threatening for your dog.

Has your dog ever had an allergic reaction to a bug bite?  If so, what kind of bug and what did you do?

Filed under: Dog Care

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