How to Treat Mosquito Bites on Dogs
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Just like people, dogs can also become the victims of mosquito bites. The problem is not so much the bite itself, which does not usually have major consequences, but the diseases that these insects can potentially transmit. That is why it is so important to protect dogs from mosquito bites.
In this article of AnimalWised we will discuss how to treat mosquito bites on dogs. We will explain how to identify them and, above all, what precautions you should take in order to avoid them.
Symptoms of a mosquito bite in dogs
Normally, a mosquito bite on a dog will mean no more than a small mark or a red bump on the skin. At most, this usually only produces some inflammation and itching. It is only in some cases that more significant discomfort can occur. For instance, if they are allergic to mosquito bites or the bite is located on the face, nose or inside of the mouth. A bite which causes inflammation of the throat can impede the dog's breathing, causing it to suffocate.
In these cases, the dog may suffer a major allergic reaction, known as anaphylactic shock. This is an emergency which requires immediate veterinary attention. This reaction occurs after the bite, or a few hours later, and its general symptoms include nervousness, diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems and weakness, in addition to swelling, redness or itching at the site of the insect bite. Without attention, the dog can collapse and go into a coma, eventually dying.
Rather than the bite, the most significant problem of mosquitoes or similar biting insects is the fact that they carry and transmit serious and potentially fatal diseases. These diseases can include canine leishmaniasis. In such cases, the bite would form a wound and be unable to heal, even after significant time has passed.
Another serious disease transmitted by mosquitoes is filariasis, also known as heartworm in dogs. Both filariasis and leishmaniasis can reside in the dog for months before triggering any symptoms. Therefore, even if you think that the bite is not serious, in reality the disease may already have been transmitted to the dog by the mosquito or a sandfly.
To know what other problems can be caused by mosquito bites on dogs, take a look at our article on canine mosquito-borne diseases.
What to do if my dog is bitten by a mosquito?
Usually mosquito bites on dogs go completely unnoticed. If you spot a bite or find a compatible mark, we can easily treat it at home. Only if your dogs shows signs of anaphylactic shock should we rush to a veterinarian. In this situation, a professional should also check any bites that are very swollen or that affect more delicate areas such as the eyes, nose or inside the mouth.
If leishmaniasis or filariasis are common to your area, it is especially important to report any mosquito bites or compatible marks to a veterinarian. This professional can advise you on what steps to take, carry out the relevant tests to check for any infections in our dog and recommend the most appropriate preventive measures.
Home remedies for mosquito bites in dogs
If your dog shows signs of being bothered by the bite, you can treat the area with something cool. In this way, swelling and itching will be minimized. For this, you can use ice, or a bag of frozen food wrapped in a cloth or towel to avoid damaging the skin.
To reduce the chance of infection, you should wash the area with plenty of soap and water before applying the cold remedy. Remember that mosquito bites in more sensitive areas, or that cause anything more than a local reaction, must not be treated at home. In these cases, a veterinary check-up is necessary.
Prevention of mosquito bites in dogs
Veterinary products containing repellent are recommended to prevent mosquito bites on dogs, and the diseases caused by them. Pipettes, collars and sprays are commercially available. Consult your veterinarian for the product most suited to your dog's situation. It is advisable to apply it every month, especially for those dogs who live in areas where filariasis or leishmaniasis are common. At least, they should be applied during the months when mosquito numbers are at their peak. In this related article we explain how often to deworm a dog.
Keep in mind that some substances that claim to be mosquito repellents do not achieve the same results. Either the effects are nonexistent or limited to a short period of time, immediately leaving the dog unprotected. This is why, only specific veterinary products should be used to tackle serious diseases such as leishmaniasis or filariasis. In addition to this, certain precautions should be taken:
- Avoid leaving your dog outdoors, especially at those times of day when mosquitoes are most active e.g. dusk, dawn and during the night.
- Prevent mosquitoes from entering your home by putting screens on doors and windows.
- Remove any organic material from the garden or yard, as this will attract mosquitoes.
- Eliminate standing water, as it is the ideal place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Mosquito Bites on Dogs, we recommend you visit our First aid category.
- Carlson and Giffin. (2002). Canine Veterinary Manual . Madrid. Editorial el Drac.