The most common parasites 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. On the other hand, dogs try to scratch at them, but the fur holds them in place and stops them from escaping quickly.

Many bugs, even ants, pose a real threat to pets. Those threats range from an allergic reaction causing swelling and pain to more anaphylactic severe shock leading to death. Therefore, it is vital that you know the signs of ant bites on your dog and takes 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 go. Therefore, the first place to check for ant bites is on their paws and lower legs. Secondly, dogs smell everything they find, so their noses often contact the floor. So that is often a problematic area for ant bites.

While checking those areas, you will look 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. You will be looking for two main symptoms other than the hives. Luckily, they are both relatively 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 often try to gnaw or chew the pain away.

When you see either of the symptoms shortly after a walk, you can almost guarantee it is because of an ant bite.

Nose And Snout

The paws and lower legs are where you will find the majority of ant bites on dogs. You will be looking for two main symptoms other than the hives. Luckily, they are both relatively easy to spot:

  • Pawing. – They will be trying to scratch off the bite with their paws.
  • Rubbing. – Your dog will try to rub its face and bite along your furniture, carpet, or anything else that will scratch it in the place of the bite.

Most ant bites will only cause localized pain and swelling, and they will not likely 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.

Anaphylactic Shock

Most of the time, Ant bites will only cause localized pain and swelling, but your dog may be allergic to the venom in rare cases. In this case, the only way to treat a dog for ant bites is to take them straight to the vet 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 its paws or legs, as we have said above, you may notice lameness. However, if anything more than that, such as lethargy, etc., that could be considered a severe weakness. In this case, you will need to seek professional help.
  • Collapse. 
  • Vomiting.
  • Dis-ease in breathing.
  • Pale gums.

If you notice any of those symptoms and the possibility of an ant bite, you must assume anaphylactic shock and take your dog to the vet.

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 ants. They are between the toes, in and around the ears, and in the pits of their legs. Most ants will only bite in self-defense and move away from the dog. However, check the hard-to-reach places of your dog.
  • Remove any remaining ants. – Either brush or pick off any ants 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 to a veterinary clinic.
  • Look at the skin. – If there is considerable swelling or the dog is itching, you may have to give it 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 to bites several times a day.
  • If in doubt. – Always take your pet to the vet if you doubt your dog’s health.

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 often. 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:

Conclusion

You are unlikely to stop your dog from being bitten by ants, especially if they go into areas where many 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 to the vet.

Finally, try to find out which ants are common in the areas where you take your dog so that you can treat them appropriately. If you find a particularly aggressive species, such as the fire ant, I suggest trying to prevent them from biting the dog first with one of the sprays, oils, or over-the-counter repellents.