Easy remedies and at-home treatments for insect bites on your dog

October 13, 2015

Many insect bites that you may find on your dog will not need veterinary attention and can be treated at home, as this guide will show, with basic first aid and home remedies.

Easy remedies and at-home treatments for insect bites on your dog

When should you seek help?

Bites from fleas, ticks, spiders and bees may make your dog uncomfortable, but they're not life-threatening. Of course, if your dog has signs of an allergic reaction or has been stung by multiple insects, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

Treating bee, wasp and hornet stings

  • To treat this kind of injury, remove any stingers using your fingernail to dislodge them.
  • Then apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the area. You can then apply an ice pack to reduce swelling in that area.

Treating canine spider bites

  • The appropriate treatment for spider bites depends on the type of spider that bit your dog.
  • Poisonous spider bites can be life threatening, so you should call your veterinarian immediately. Otherwise, apply a paste of baking soda and water to the area.
  • Calamine lotion can also help prevent your dog from itching the site and causing the bite to become infected.

Treating dog flea bites

  • Treat your dog with a flea shampoo to remove any adult fleas. You'll also need to clean and treat your house to eradicate any fleas from your living space.
  • Then consider an oral prescription medication that will repel fleas in the future. Some dogs may have a hypersensitivity to flea bites.
  • If your dog won't stop itching, but you've eliminated all of the fleas, your dog may need steroids or antihistamines to overcome its sensitivity.

Treating tick bites

  • Remove the tick from your dog by firmly grasping the head of the tick with a pair of tweezers and pulling slowly.
  • Make sure the entire head is removed, and then clean the area with a disinfectant. Your dog shouldn't need additional treatment unless the bite becomes infected.

When to see a veterinarian to treat an insect bite

  • If your dog's face or neck begins to swell after an insect bite, immediately administer diphenhydramine and take your pet to the nearest veterinarian's office.
  • An allergic reaction to an insect bite can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
  • For dosage instructions for your particular dog, call your veterinarian or pet hospital and ask for instructions.
  • If you know your dog is allergic to bee stings, your veterinarian may also recommend that you carry an epinephrine auto-injector.
  • Dogs that have been bitten by a black widow or brown recluse should also be rushed to the veterinarian.
  • These bites are incredibly painful and can cause seizures, fevers, weakness and muscle pains. Antivenin that is administered quickly can prevent shock and possible death in these cases.

Most other insect bites should heal quickly. If you find that the bite site becomes infected or changes colour, it's important to seek treatment for your dog. Otherwise, you can often use the same types of remedies used to treat human insect bites on your canine companion.

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