By hannah hollinger
Published: 06/29/2017, edited: 09/07/2022
More articles by hannah hollinger
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Can dogs get bitten by mosquitoes? YES!
Now you might think your hearth-rug Chewbacca look-alike dog is safe from mosquito bites...but this isn't always the case.
Those thin-furred areas, such as the nose and groin, are still ripe for a nip from a mosquito. When your dog goes to drink from that stagnant pond, swarms of mosquitoes can nip at the bridge of the nose, or even the smooth inner ear flap or belly. This is also true for medium and short-coated dogs. The shorter the fur, the greater the risk of bites on the trunk, legs, or belly.
You also need to know mosquitoes are not just a nuisance, they can transmit diseases such as heartworm to your dog.
Does my dog have mosquito bites?
What will you see if your dog gets bitten?
- Itchy, raised lumps on the skin. For short-coated dogs, skin inflammation can give the appearance of raised patches of fur.
- Itchiness. Just as bites are irritating to people, so they are irresistibly itchy to our pet pals.
- Rubbing or scratching at raised red welts on the skin.
As to the causes of mosquito bites, be vigilant for bodies of standing water where mosquitoes love to breed, such as:
- Bird baths
- Stagnant ponds
- Ponding in tarp covers
- Untreated pools
- Standing buckets of water
Diagnosis of mosquito bites is usually made on appearance alone. However, diagnosis of the conditions they carry, such as heartworm and Leishmaniasis, is more complex and involves blood tests, x-rays, and possibly skin biopsies.
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How do I treat mosquito bites on dogs?
Prevention is better than cure. This involves draining sources of standing water, plus avoiding exercising the dog when the mosquitoes are most active, such as at dawn and dusk. Avoid using human insect ant repellent on dogs. These products often contain DEET, which is toxic to dogs. Speak to your vet about a licensed product that is both safe and effective for pets.
The itchy redness of a mosquito bite is best treated with a topical ointment containing antihistamines or even steroids. In ultra-itchy cases, then giving steroids by injection or mouth may be necessary, to stop the dog damaging their own skin by scratching.
Mosquito bites are a nuisance, but most dogs shake off the itchiness within a few days. More of a worry is the after effects such as disease transmission. Since it's not possible to completely eliminate the risk of bites, it's essential to use a heartworm preventative all year round.
For more information on treatment and prevention visit: Mosquito Bites in Dogs.
How are mosquito bites in dogs similar to those in humans?
Oh, those pesky mosquitoes! Here's how they make dogs suffer, just like people.
- Raised red welts on the skin
- Overwhelming urge to itch
- Can transfer disease from bug to body
How are mosquito bites in dogs different than those in humans?
And how do dogs and people differ in their response?
Actually, this is one area where they are remarkably similar, except that mosquitoes carry a whole host more diseases that affect people, such as:
- Zika virus
- Yellow Fever
- Dengue virus
And don't forget, an excellent resource to learn more about mosquito bites in dogs is Mosquito Bites in Dogs.
Imagine a short-coated dog, left in a yard at dusk. Mosquitoes from a neighboring pond zero in on the dog and bite the skin of his trunk. Within 20 minutes or so, the dog's normally smooth coat has a bumpy appearance. This is due to skin inflammation and swelling at the site of the bites causing the hair to stand on end.
The dog is irritated by the itchiness and starts to scratch. Prompt treatment with an antihistamine helps soothe the irritation and prevent self-trauma to the skin.
The more concerning question was whether the dog regularly takes a heartworm preventative. If 'Yes' then there's little cause for concern, if 'No' then the dog may have just contracted a parasite that can kill if left untreated.