Insect bites, such as mosquito, ant, and fly bites, are common occurrences for dogs. Ant bites can often be treated effectively at home, but it's important for you to recognize when your dog needs medical treatment from a veterinarian. If your dog is bitten by an ant, he may be itchy.
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Recognizing ant bites on dogs
If your dog is bitten by an ant, he may paw at his face, lift up his foot, chew on or lick the bite site, rub his face in the grass, or roll on the ground. Redness and swelling may appear shortly after your dog is bitten. Though your dog can be bitten by ants anywhere on his body, the face and feet are common places to see ant bites when they occur.
Soothing ant bites on dogs
Wrap a bag of frozen peas in a clean towel and apply it to the bite site for five to 10 minutes. If your dog was bitten on one of her feet, you can stick her foot in a tub of cold water for five to 10 minutes.
Another idea is to make a paste by mixing baking soda with a little water and apply it to your dog's bite similar to the way you would apply ointment to a bite on your own skin. Don't use any over-the-counter ointments without consulting your veterinarian first. Not all ointments made for humans are safe for dogs. If your dog has several ant bites or if she was bitten on more than one part of her body, she might find an oatmeal bath soothing. Only give your dog an oatmeal bath if she doesn't find it stressful, though.
It is safe to apply aloe vera to ant bites on dogs. You can purchase aloe vera gel at your local grocery store or drug store. Put a thin coating of the gel onto the bite. Make sure your dog doesn't lick it off before it has time to soak into your dog's skin.
Preventing infections and reducing symptoms
If your dog chews, bites, licks, or scratches at his bites, put an Elizabethan collar on him. When your dog chews, licks, or scratches at his bites, he can get bacteria in them, which could result in an infection.
An antihistamine may help reduce any itching the ant bites cause your dog. Always consult your veterinarian before you give your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine. While some antihistamines are safe for dogs, you will need to consult with your vet regarding a safe dose to administer to your dog.
When to see a vet
Ant bites can generally be treated at home. While allergic reactions to ant bites aren't common, they can occur, and if one does occur, you need to seek medical attention for your dog right away.
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog, you need to take him to a vet emergency room immediately — severe swelling around your dog's head or neck, wheezing or difficulty breathing, hives, stumbling, lethargy, diarrhea or vomiting, excessive drooling, agitation, or seizures. While an anaphylactic reaction usually appears within 20 minutes of the bite, it can occur hours later. Keep a close eye on your dog for several hours following an ant bite.