How do you avoid dog bug bites?
If you’ve ever been bitten by mosquitoes, you know how bothersome and persistent the itch can be. But did you know your dog also gets bitten (and annoyed) by mosquitoes? If you’re looking to protect your dog from mosquitoes — or to soothe existing bites — look no further. We have tips and solutions to address common concerns about mosquito bites on dogs.
What Do Mosquito Bites on Dogs Look Like?
Mosquito bites on dogs may not be as obvious as they are on humans, but there are still some signs you can look for. Your dog might suddenly lick, chew or scratch the bite site since they can feel the sensation of a mosquito penetrating the skin.1 Mosquitoes can bite anywhere on a dog, but common target areas include the back or flank. Those areas may be more prone to bites because they provide the most space to feed and are difficult areas to scratch. Through your dog’s fur, you may also find raised, red welts as you might on human skin.
How Can Mosquitoes Bites Affect My Dog’s Health?
Mosquito bites aren’t just uncomfortable; there’s a chance mosquitoes can transmit diseases to your dog, too. For pets, the biggest danger posed by mosquito bites is heartworm disease. In fact, the only way heartworms can infect your dog is through a mosquito carrier.
Heartworms have a higher incidence rate in hot, humid areas of the United States, but the risk of infection is present in all 50 states.2 Regular heartworm preventative treatments help shield your dog against health issues from mosquito bites after the initial itch. To further familiarize yourself with mosquitoes and their potential threats, check out these mosquito facts.
What Can Help Soothe Mosquito Bite Itch on Dogs?
If you want to help calm a mosquito bite on your dog, ask your vet to recommend a topical itch-relieving spray or lotion specifically designed for dogs’ skin. A soothing or itch-relief dog shampoo might also be effective. Follow the product’s directions to help relieve itchy bites and keep your dog from scratching bites raw.
Is It Safe to Use Bug Spray on Dogs?
Never use a mosquito repellent meant for humans on your dog. Most brands contain ingredients that are safe for people but extremely dangerous for pets. Many human bug sprays contain DEET, a pesticide that can cause your dog to vomit, itch, drool excessively or even experience a seizure. Luckily, there are pet-safe alternatives available to help avoid an itchy dog.
How Do I Keep Mosquitoes Away from My Dog?
There are a few preventive methods to help reduce your dog’s chances of being a target for these pests:
- Check their environment: Whether your dog is inside or outside, make sure they aren’t frequently exposed to mosquitoes. Remove or avoid locations with standing water, as these are prime mosquito breeding grounds. Avoid walking your dog during peak bug hours, which for most mosquito species are during dawn and dusk. Make sure your home is mosquito-free by checking window and door screens for any holes you need to patch.
- Use pest preventive treatments: While most flea and tick products offer no protection for flying insects like mosquitoes, some products — such as K9 Advantix® II — repel and kill mosquitoes through contact, which means they don’t have to bite your dog to die. Be sure to include heartworm prevention in your regular routine to protect against diseases carried by mosquitoes.
- Prepare your outdoor space: Mother nature’s mosquito controls are predators such as birds, bats and dragonflies. By cultivating a backyard environment that safely draws in those species, you can help keep mosquitoes under control. Also consider lighting citronella candles or planting mosquito-repelling plants like mint, catnip, marigolds or sage.2
Armed with knowledge about pests and a few preventive measures, you can make sure your dog has a wonderful time exploring the great outdoors — no mosquitoes or itchy bug bites involved!
- “7 Common Bug Bites on Dogs and Cats” (April 24, 2015). PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/7-common-bug-bites-dogs
- “Protecting Your Dog or Cat from Mosquitoes” (July 13, 2022). PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/general-health/protecting-your-dog-or-cat-mosquitoes