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Bugs are as dangerous to dogs as they are to humans. The best way to keep your dog safe is to reduce its contact with bugs. But, dogs like exploring; which means they will get themselves bitten by a bug eventually. Therefore, you also need to know how to treat bug bites.
Symptoms of bug bites
Swelling and irritation of the skin are the most common symptoms of bug bites. In the case of a bee or wasp sting, the bitten area will feel hot.
Fleas also cause irritation. In the case of a flea infestation, your dog will experience severe itching.
Another common bug bite in dogs is a mosquito bite. Like in human beings, a mosquito bite will form a bump on the surface. Fortunately, the irritation is mild. However, mosquitoes carry heartworm disease. For that reason, you should ensure your dog is in the heartworm disease vaccination program.
Ticks are also a concern for dog owners. A tick bite is similar to a mosquito bite, a small red bump. However, in most cases, you will find the tick still attached to the dog's skin. Itchiness is not the only concern when it comes to ticks. They carry Lyme disease, which affects both dogs and humans.
Your dog could also fall victim to a spider bite. These bites can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, drowsiness, disorientation, and shivering. Note that, these are the same symptoms you will observe if your dog receives multiple bites from wasps or bees.
How to treat bug bites
You should not allow your dog to scratch, lick, or bite the site of the bug bite as it will only make the irritation worse. Scratching is also likely to cause a secondary infection. Therefore, the first step should be reducing the irritation.
To reduce the irritation of a bug bite, consider the following methods:
- Apply a cold compress or ice pack. The cold temperature soothes irritation and reduces swelling.
- If your dog has a bug bite or sting in the mouth, consider using something that can fit in the mouth, like a cold carrot or a slightly frozen chewing toy. In fact, vets recommend similar emedies to soothe the discomfort of teething in puppies. On this link, you’ll find the best thing for teething puppy.
- Baking soda: apply a paste of baking soda on the affected area. Baking soda will balance the pH levels; thereby reducing inflammation. Other readily available products that work on bug bites include apple vinegar cider and onions.
- Giving your dog an oatmeal bath, Epsom salts bath or using milk of magnesia.
- Hydrocortisone creams: these over-the-counter creams reduce itchiness and swelling associated with bug bites.
- Benadryl medication relieves mild allergic reactions to bug bites such as irritation and swelling. However, consult a vet to make sure you give your dog the proper dosage.
Use products that are safe for dogs. Because a cream or lotion works on humans does not make it safe for dogs. For instance, calamine lotion has zinc, which is toxic to dogs.
A bee will leave the stinger after attacking. You should remove this stinger as soon as possible as it continues pumping venom.
Bug bites might necessitate an emergency visit to the vet
In most cases, the symptoms of bug bites subside without medical intervention. However, like humans, some dogs experience acute anaphylactic reactions when bitten by certain insects. For example, some dogs are allergic to bee venom.
The anaphylactic reactions will manifest within 20 minutes of the bite or sting. In the case of bee venom, the response might involve swelling of the face, and throat, which causes difficulty in breathing. In case you notice severe allergic-like reactions, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
Other symptoms of bug bites that require the intervention of a vet include:
- Respiratory problems
Even if your dog does not show severe symptoms, it is still advisable to take it to the vet for an additional checkup. Remember, bugs spread infections and diseases such as Lyme disease and heartworm.