Wondering how to manage ant bites on dogs? You’re at the right location. This guide provides insights on how to recognize ant bites on dogs, their duration, and the potential consequences a dog could face from such bites.
Ant bites, particularly a fire ant bite can be extremely painful to dogs. Without treatment, sensitive dogs can even develop a severe allergic reaction. The extreme itchiness caused by ant bites can make a dog distressed.
So, let us find out how to deal with ant bites on a dog effectively.
How Do You Treat Ant Bites on a Dog?
Ant stings can be extremely painful to our pets and can result in severe itching or an allergic reaction. If your dog has been bitten by ants, first, remove any remaining ants right away.
Next, use mild soap and water to wash the bitten parts. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling followed by some diluted apple cider vinegar to the bites.
If needed, give some Benadryl or an antihistamine to prevent your dog from developing allergic reactions to the ant bites. Monitor your dog closely if it has been bitten. If it develops swelling, breathlessness, severe itching, oozing blisters, etc. then please seek veterinary attention.
Also Read: What Causes Dog Hives and How to Treat It?
Identifying Ant Bite on Dogs – What Do Ant Bites Look Like on a Dog?
According to vets, an ant bite sting could cause the following reactions or symptoms:
- Presence of small, red, raised bumps or welts on the skin, nose, and paws
- Carpenter ants can cause continuous limping or pawing of the nose in your furry friend.
- The skin or paws might have itchy bumps.
- You may also notice your dog licking or biting at the affected area, which can further irritate the skin and cause additional discomfort. You must take the steps to prevent licking using an e-collar.
If you suspect an ant bite or bite from other bugs, other insects, and creepy crawlies on your dog, then monitor it for any severe allergic reactions like oozing blisters, shortness of breath, panting, etc. If your dog shows signs, then please call your vet.
How Long Do Ant Bites Last on Dogs?
The duration for which the stinging can bother your pet can vary based on the extent to which your pet was bitten, its size, overall health, and immune response, as well as the type of ants that bit it.
In most dogs, with prompt treatment and supportive care, the bitten area or local reaction will start to heal within a couple of days. Also, the skin will be healed completely in a week. During this period, you might notice some itching, redness, swelling, and blisters.
If you notice your dog’s symptoms worsening – scratching excessively or appearing distressed, has a fever, respiratory distress, and oozing rashes, then please contact your veterinarian immediately to prevent the emergency situation from worsening. Your pet may need some antihistamine medication to prevent anaphylactic reactions.
Also Read: Immune Support for Dogs
Are Ant Bites Bad for Dogs?
In most dogs with a healthy immune system, a couple of mild ant bite wounds will resolve in a day or two.
However, in the case of small dogs or dogs with poor immunity or those sensitive to the formic acid present in the ant’s saliva, ant bites could result in a severe allergic reaction including anaphylaxis.
The bite can result in breathlessness, excessive swelling, and, in rare cases, death.
Also, some ants like red harvester ants and fire ants can even inject venom into the dog’s skin through their stings. Their sting can be extremely painful to the dog. Moreover, dogs allergic to this venom can go into anaphylaxis shock and that needs urgent medical attention.
That is why pet parents must prevent ant bites on their dogs with the following measures:
- Keep your pets away from ant hills or ant mounds- especially fire ant colonies and red harvester ants.
- Get rid of ants in the home by discarding uneaten dog food, cleaning the kitchen, fixing leaky taps or faucets, and sealing cracks.
- In the yard, remove debris, rusting toys, wood piles, fallen leaves, etc. Prevent animals like raccoons, possums, etc. from hiding under your decks and patio. These animals often bring ants and other insects with painful stings.
- Use herbal pesticides like beneficial nematode spray to eliminate ants in a pet-safe manner. For severe infestations of ants, seek the help of a pest control professional.
- Trim and mow the lawn to 1-2 inch grass blades. This will prevent ants and other insects from hiding in the lawn.
How to Treat Fire Ant Bites on Dogs?
If you suspect your dog has been bitten by fire ants, please take the following vet-recommended steps to treat it:
- Use a pair of tweezers to remove leftover ants.
- Wash the affected area with warm water and soap. This will remove bacteria from the dog’s skin.
- If your pet is itchy, apply some ice or a cold compress (ice pack wrapped in a cloth) to the affected area. If your pet does not allow that, you may apply some diluted apple cider vinegar or aloe vera to soothe the itch.
- You can also treat the affected area with a paste of baking soda and water. Baking soda will help neutralize the formic acid in the ant’s saliva and help soothe the itch and relieve pain.
- If needed, bathe your dog using colloidal oatmeal. Pour a cup of colloidal oatmeal into the cold water bath. Have your dog soak in it for 10-15 minutes. You can use a cup to pour the colloidal oatmeal over the dog’s bitten skin. Colloidal oatmeal has a soothing action and can relieve itch and pain.
- Give an antihistamine like Benadryl to your dog to counter allergic reactions like difficulty breathing, facial swelling, pale gums, itchiness, and discomfort.
If your dog is still itchy or in pain or develops any of the severe reactions mentioned above, please call your vet.
What Happens if Fire Ants Bite a Dog?
Fire ants tend to inject venom into the dog’s skin with their stings. Their bites can be extremely painful to pets. Some dogs even develop an allergic reaction (with symptoms like difficulty breathing) to the fire ants’ bites and could go into anaphylactic shock.
Therefore, you must monitor your dog and administer the above first aid. If needed, call your vet for any additional treatments such as pain medications or antihistamines, depending on the severity of the bites.
What natural remedies are there for ant bites on dogs?
The best natural remedy for ant stings on one dog is baking soda mixed with a little water applied over the bites.
Is toothpaste good for ant bites?
Toothpaste with menthol can help cool the skin and may treat ant stings effectively.
What is the best cream for insect bites on dogs?
Hydrocortisone cream can help relieve the bumps, redness, and pain associated with most insect stings.
Conclusion – Ant Bites on Dogs
If you find ant bites on your dog, you must administer first aid right away. This includes ice packs, antiseptic creams, ACV, aloe vera gel, and mild hydrocortisone cream safe for pets.
Monitor your dog over the next few hours. If it appears to have an anaphylactic reaction to the stings characterized by trouble breathing or its face or skin is swollen, seek prompt veterinary help.