Insect Bites

April 12, 2012

It’s important to acknowledge that insect bites hurt your dog as much as they hurt you. In fact, an insect bite will often cause secondary problems in dogs such as hot spots and infections. Insect bites don’t have to be a huge deal, as long as you know how to deal with them. Your dog will need your help to get past the insect bite and get back to their regular activity.

Symptoms

The symptoms of an insect bite will generally appear within 20 minutes of the bite and they can continue to have reactions to their bite for 12-24 hours. You will usually find insect bites on the area of the dog’s body where there is not as much hair. You’ll usually notice swelling of the eyelids, ear flaps, lips, and sometimes the entire face will swell. A dog may also develop hives, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, cold legs, trembling, wheezing, diarrhea, and they may even collapse and go into shock where their heart rate will become abnormal. Of course, most dogs will not have reactions this severe, but it is possible and new symptoms can develop for 12-24 hours after the bite.

Prevention

Prevention of insect bites can be an effective way to reduce the number of insect bites that your dog has. The biggest thing that you can do to prevent unnecessary bites is to make sure that the area in which the dog plays in is free of trash, debris, and feces as these things often attract insects that your dog will come across. You can also help limit the bites that your dog suffers by keeping all flea and insect control programs up to date. Dogs are bitten by a wide range of insects and eliminating those that you can will be helpful in determining what has or has not bit your dog if a bite occurs.

Treatment

If your dog has suffered an insect bite you should take immediate action. The first thing you will want to do is remove a stinger, if applicable. Create a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting to help with the pain and itching that is caused by it. Then, apply a ice pack or cold compress to the area to keep it from swelling. If your dog appears to get worse instead of better a trip to the vet may be required. Your vet will remove a stinger, may start IV fluids, and may give the dog antihistamines and corticosteroids. The prognosis for dogs that are bitten by insects is usually good, except in cases where shock occurs.

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