How to Identify and Treat Ant Bites on Pets

How to Identify and Treat Ant Bites on Pets

Fleas and ticks can be dangerous to our pets but there are also other bugs out there that can sting and hurt them such as spiders, scorpions, bees, wasps, ants and flies. This is why pest control services like A1 Pest Control should be contacted if you have pests in your home. Pets may have allergic reactions to bites and will result in pain, swelling and even difficulty breathing.

Ant Bites on Dogs

Ant bites are red, raised bumps and these are triggered by the ants’ mandibles pinching the skin. Bites can be itchy and painful, some ants may draw blood.

Dogs are most likely to get stung by ants when:

  • They step or dig into anthills
  • They sniff or try to eat the ants

Ants can bite dogs pretty much anywhere on their bodies but since dogs lead with their noses and are always on their feet, these two areas (nose and feet) are often the prime targets. Injuries to these areas can be especially problematic, as swelling here can lead to airways getting blocked which then causes difficulty breathing.

Not every ant sting or bite warrants a trip to the vet, but depending upon how your pet responds to the venom, may require you to do so.

Symptoms include:

  • lameness
  • hives
  • licking at the affected area
  • swelling
  • whining
  • restlessness

If a dog suffers an anaphylactic reaction, the following may be observed:

  • vomiting
  • respiratory distress
  • weakness
  • pale gums
  • collapse

Ant bites may appear as red sores and some may have white pus-like material, however because of the dog’s fur they may not be easily visible. Fire ants in particular are venomous insects that cause severe pain and swelling, and some pets may suffer from anaphylactic reactions from fire ant bites.

It is essential to check your dog’s fur for possibly more ants after an attack, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the ears, eyes and between the toes. Fire ants can be aggressive so if your pet has been attacked move them to a safe area and pick any remaining fire ants from them.

Afterwards, be sure to keep an eye on your dog and check their overall well-being. Talk to your vet to determine what medications to give your pet, if any as well as the specific dosage. If you observe signs of an anaphylactic reaction take your pet to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic or hospital.

Just like us, some dogs can be more sensitive than others. They may have a greater response to ant stings and bites. Should the symptoms become a cause for concern, contact your veterinarian for treatment. Some pets may need to be admitted to the hospital while others can recover quickly and may only require prescription medications.

The treatment will depend on the severity of the attack. The itchiness or pain from ant bites tends to go away on its own. Your veterinarian may instruct you to apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling. They may prescribe over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl.  Over-the-counter topical ointments, sprays or creams are not generally recommended since your pet  may lick the medicine and ingest it.

Ant Bites and Stings Prognosis for Dogs

Most dogs fully recover from ant stings and bites within a day or two and require no medical treatment. Unfortunately there have been incidents of fatal allergic reactions. With swift medical treatment and care, this can be avoided.

To protect your dog from an ant attack, here are some helpful measures to keep in mind:

Eliminate anthills from your yard.

  • If necessary, contact a pest control service to get rid of ants in and around your home.
  • When out for walks in nature, keep your dog away from anthills.
  • Do not allow your dog to roam free in areas that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Don’t let your dog sniff and eat insects.

How To Prevent Ant Bites On Dogs

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