Understanding and managing insect bites on dogs

24 July 2023 - 4 min read

The information in this article has been reviewed by Team ManyPets on 24 July 2023 . Although it may provide helpful guidance, it should not be substituted for professional veterinary advice.

insect bites on dogs

Insect bites and stings in dogs

As a pet parent, you know that your dog's health and wellbeing are important and a common issue that many dogs face, especially during the summer months, is insect bites and stings. These can range from a simple flea bite to a more serious spider bite, causing discomfort and sometimes even serious health issues for your beloved furry friend.

Understanding insect bites and stings

Understanding insect bites on dogs is crucial for every pet owner. It's not just about knowing what a bug bite on a dog looks like, but also about being able to identify the signs of a potential allergic reaction and knowing when to get vet help.

Identifying insect bites and stings

Insect bites and stings can cause a variety of visible signs on your dog's skin. These may include redness, swelling, and sometimes a clear puncture mark. In some cases, you may even notice your dog scratching or biting at the affected area. It's important to monitor these signs closely, as they can indicate the severity of the bite or sting and mean that a vet visit is needed.

Behavioural changes in dogs due to insect bites and stings Aside from physical signs, if your dog’s bitten by a bug they may also exhibit behavioural changes. This could include excessive scratching or biting at the affected area, restlessness, or unusual aggression. These behaviours can indicate discomfort or distress and shouldn’t be ignored. If you notice any sudden changes in your dog's behaviour following a potential insect bite or sting, it's important to speak to your vet.

Potential insects that can harm dogs

There are several insects that can harm dogs, including fleas, mosquitoes, spiders, bees, and ticks. Each of these insects can cause different symptoms or risks. For example, a flea can transmit tapeworm if your pet accidently eats the infected flea when grooming itself, can cause flea allergy dermatitis in some pets, or even anaemia if there’s a severe infestation.

Bee stings can be very uncomfortable, and dogs can get stung on their paws if they tread on a bee, or in their mouth if they accidentally eat one. This can lead to swelling in the mouth or throat which can be life threatening.

If your dog’s been stung, you should speak to your vet for advice. With ManyPets you get access to unlimited, 24/7 online vet advice with your policy, which can help put your mind at rest.

The vet may advise you to take your pet to the surgery, or they may advise you to monitor them.

You should be aware of the potential risks in your area and take steps to protect your dog. Using preventative treatment is a first step and with ManyPets you get a discount on our Flea, Tick and Worm plan.

Learning more about how to get rid of fleas on dogs and treat worms is another positive step.

Home remedies for insect bites and stings

If your dog’s bitten by a bee there may be a stinger left in the wound. This small, sharp object can continue to release venom into your dog's skin, causing increased pain and swelling. It's important to remove the stinger as soon as possible to prevent further harm. You can do this by gently scraping the skin with a credit card or similar object. Avoid using tweezers, as this can squeeze more venom out of the stinger.

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and provide some relief for your dog. You can use a bag of frozen peas or a cold, wet cloth, but be careful to apply them gently so as not to shock your dog.

It’s not recommended you home medicate your dog as many human medications are toxic for dogs and cats. We’d recommend you speak to your vet if your pet is uncomfortable. Or if you’re a ManyPets customer you can use our unlimited, 24/7 online vet advice service.

When to get vet care

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can occur in response to an insect bite or sting. If your dog shows signs of anaphylaxis such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, or collapse, seek vet care immediately. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

The role of pet insurance in managing insect bites and stings

Pet insurance can play a vital role in managing the costs associated with treating insect bites on dogs. With a good insurance plan, you can ensure your pet gets the best care possible without worrying about the cost. Whether it's a simple visit to the vet for a minor bite or a more serious situation requiring emergency care, having pet insurance can provide peace of mind knowing that your pet's health is covered.

At ManyPets, we understand how important your pet is as part of your family. Keeping your pet happy and healthy is top of your list. That's why our pet insurance covers a range of health issues, including those caused by insect bites.

With a range of cover levels and excess to suit your budget, with Manypets, you can rest easy knowing that your furry friend is in good hands.

Learn more about our dog insurance and how we can protect your pet.