Bug bites are a real pain, literally and figuratively. We’ve already taught you a little bit about parasites, but it’s also important to know how to identify their bites. Some can are no big deal while others are potentially life-threatening. Here is our guide on preventing and identifying bug bites.
Preventing Bug Bites
First off, know your options. There are a number of parasite preventatives, primarily ones for fleas and ticks. These options range from topical ointments to chewables. There are also flea collars available for purchase. Your cat and dog should be on some kind of preventative all year long, as the best offense is a good defense. Speak to your veterinarian about the best options for your pet.
Identifying Bug Bites
Fleas are bloodsuckers that tend to congregate on a pet’s head, groin, neck, perineum (by the anus) and tail base. Fleas may bite or otherwise irritate the skin. Your cat or dog might respond by licking, chewing or scratching the bite. Flea bites can swell, turn red, crust over or ooze. They can also show hair loss.
Ticks brush off of grass or other flora and onto your animal’s fur. Ticks move slowly and then latch onto your pet’s skin to suck their blood. Ticks can be found anywhere, but particularly on the face, ears, head, torso and limbs. Ticks vary in size and their bites can cause redness, swelling and crusting.
Mites (or mange) are tiny insects that burrow under the skin. This can lead to inflammation, as well as secondary infections, such as bacteria or yeast infections. Skin lesions can develop all over the body, particularly around the ears, elbows, armpits, groin and other areas with less hair. Swelling, redness, crusting, oozing, lesions and hair loss can also occur.
Mosquito bites on pets are similar to mosquito bites on humans. They itch pretty much immediately and dogs and cats most often experience the bites on their back, flanks and other large surface areas on the body. Swelling, redness and hives are common symptoms. While these bites itch, they usually aren’t cause for concern.
Bee, hornet or wasp stings can occur anywhere. These stings cause pain, swelling, hives and redness. Your pet may vocalize their discomfort or exhibit lameness or itching. More sensitive pets may experience diarrhea, vomiting, stumbling, collapse or low blood pressure.
Ant bites on pets are generally mild and occur on body parts, such as the feet, that have contact with the ground. Ant bites are itchy and red and might cause lameness.
Fly bites can cause pain, itching and swelling. Fly bites can show up anywhere on a dog or cat’s body. Flies, however, may also lay eggs on your pet’s skin. The eggs hatch in a few days. The larvae might crawl on the skin or burrow into it. This can cause swelling or infection.
If you see a bug bite, call your veterinarian! They can let you know if the bite is cause for worry.