The most common parasites that you will find on dogs are fleas and ticks. However, other insects will cause your dog to become unsettled from being bitten. That is why, in this article, we will look at how to treat ant bites on dogs.
Yes, you read that right, ants will bite dogs as much as humans, if not more. I say more, because we, as humans, can feel an ant and remove it with a swift swipe of our hands. Dogs, on the other hand, try to scratch at them, but the fur holds them in place and stops them from coming away as quickly.
Many bugs, even ants, pose a real threat to pets. Those threats range from an allergic reaction causing swelling and pain to more serious anaphylactic shock that could lead to death. Therefore, it is vital that you know the signs of ant bites on your dog and take them seriously.
Signs Of Ant Bites On Dogs
Knowing the signs of ant bites on your dog is the first step to treating them. Although they can occur in any area of the body, there are two main places to check for ant bites:
- Paws and lower legs.
- Nose and snout.
Dogs do not watch where they are going anywhere near as much as humans, and rarely wear shoes! Therefore, the first place to check for ant bites in on their paws and lower legs. Secondly, as dogs will smell everything that they find, their noses will contact the floor a lot. So that is often a problematic area for ant bites, too.
While you are checking in those areas, you will be looking out for raised and red localized regions on the paws and snout. There are different signs that you need to look for, depending on where you have found the bites:
Paws And Lower Legs
The paws and lower legs are where you will find the majority of ant bites on dogs. There are two main symptoms that you will be looking for other than the hives. Luckily, they are both quite easy to spot:
- Lameness. – The inability to walk without difficulty because of the injury of a bite to the legs or paws.
- Chewing. – Again, because dogs do not understand that a bite has caused the pain, they will often try to gnaw or chew the pain away.
When you see either of the symptoms shortly after a walk, you can almost guarantee that it is because of an ant bite.
Nose And Snout
You may find bites on their nose or snout if they are dogs that like to keep their noses to the ground. Again, they will show some pretty visible signs:
- Pawing. – They will be trying to scratch off the bite with their paws.
- Rubbing. – Your dog will try to rub their faces and the bites along your furniture, carpet, anything else that will scratch them in the place of the bite.
Although those two places are the main areas of concern, there is nothing stopping ants get onto, and biting your dog anywhere else if they decide to roll around or lie down a lot.
The majority of ant bites will only cause localized pain and swelling, and they are not likely to need vet treatment. However, there are two times that you may need to seek help when wondering how to treat ant bites on dogs:
Facial Ant Bites On Dogs
Facial ant bites are nasty for whoever encounters them, and dogs are no different. Some bites, from some ants, can cause such swelling in areas like the nose that it stops the dog from breathing correctly. That is certainly a case for a vet.
Most of the time, ant bites will only cause localized pain and swelling, but in rare cases, your dog may be allergic to the venom. In this case, the only way to treat a dog for ant bites is to take them straight to the vets as a matter of urgency. There are a few tell-tale signs that you need to look out for:
- Severe weakness. – If the bite is on their paws or legs, as we have said above, you may notice lameness. However, if it is anything more than that, such as lethargy, etc. that could be considered to be a severe weakness. In this case, you will need to seek professional help.
- Dis-ease in breathing.
- Pale gums.
If you notice any of those symptoms along with even a possibility of an ant bite, you need to assume anaphylactic shock and take your dog straight to the vets.
How To Treat Ant Bites On Dogs
Now let’s get into how to treat ant bites on dogs. Ant bites are only a quick occurrence. However, if you suspect an ant bite, the first thing that you need to do is remove them from the area. After that, you need to follow these steps:
- Put on gloves. – You do not want to be bitten too! Wearing long sleeves may also help if your dog has a long coat.
- Check for more ants. – Most ants will only bite from self-defense and then move away from the dog pretty quickly. However, ensure that you check the hard to reach places of your dog. They are places such as between the toes, in and around the ears, and the pits of their legs.
- Remove any remaining ants. – Either brush or pick off any ants that are still on the dog.
- Observe their health. – Check for signs of anaphylactic shock. If you see any of the symptoms listed above, take your dog straight to a veterinary clinic.
- Look at the skin. – If there is a considerable amount of swelling, or if the dog is itching a lot, you may have to give them an antihistamine. However, you will need to check with the vet to see which they can have, and at what dose.
- Use a homemade salve. – You can make a homemade salve with equal parts baking soda and water. Then you need to apply it onto the bites several times a day. That will help with itching and relieve some swelling.
- If in doubt. – Always take your pet to the vets if you are in doubt about the health condition of your dog.
How To Repel Ants From Dogs
It’s not just about how to treat ant bites on your dog, you need to try and prevent it if you can. You can use over the counter, pet-specific, bug repellants if your dog is prone to bites, or is outside a lot of the time. Alternatively, you can use essential oils as a more natural remedy. Here are some of the oils that may keep ants away from your dog:
Do not put them directly onto the skin, as they may burn the skin as they are so concentrated. Always use a carrier oil such as jojoba, almond, or coconut oil and gently rub it into the fur. Alternatively, you can make a spray by adding a few drops of dog shampoo and the oil into a spray bottle filled with water and use it before taking the dog on walks.
You are unlikely to stop your dog being bitten by ants, especially if they go into areas where a lot of them are. However, when it comes to how to treat ant bites on dogs, try to follow the advice in this article. If you are ever in doubt, take your dog straight to the vets.
As a final note, try to find out which ants are common in the areas that you take your dog so that you can treat them appropriately. If you find that there is a particularly aggressive species, such as the fire ant, then my suggestion is to try and prevent them from biting the dog in the first place with one of the sprays, oils, or over the counter repellents.