When the weather’s warm, you may head outside with your precious pooch for a long walk or just a fun day of play. But how can you enjoy your backyard if it’s full of hostile stinging ants?
While we’re all too familiar with the painful ache of an ant bite, did you know that ants can attack pets, too?
What should you do if your furry friend accidentally stumbles into an active ant colony? Check out our article, where we’ll explain everything you need to know about ant bites on dogs and other pest control tips that could help you against ants!
Why Do Ants Bite?
Typically, ants only bite whenever they feel threatened or respond to an attack. Ever accidentally stepped in an ant mound? Hundreds of ants will stream out of their home, ready to fight off intruders.
If ants believe you are a threat to their colony or queen, they will vigorously bite and sting to incapacitate or force you to retreat.
Sometimes ants seem to bite at random. Maybe you’re sitting on your deck, and one crawls over to deliver a painful bite for no reason! Ants are hardwired to provide for and protect the colony, so they may act abnormal even when you’re nowhere near a nest.
Perhaps a foraging ant wanted to see if they could collect food, or you unknowingly posed a threat against the colony or other foraging ants. Regardless, ants typically only bite when they feel uneasy, so avoid bothering any ants you see milling around.
However, your pets may not have the foresight to avoid dangerous insects like us. To dogs, the backyard is their oyster, and an ant mound can resemble any other pile of dirt. They won’t know to take the precautions against insects as we do!
Ants may bite your dog if they stumble into their mounds or interrupt their foraging. If you keep dog food outdoors, your pet could deal with painful bites on their face or mouth as they try to eat their kibble.
Whenever you head outdoors with your dog, keep an eye out for potential ant colonies and direct your dog away from danger. Check outdoor food bowls to ensure ants haven’t crawled inside for a treat.
What Do Ant Bites on Dogs Look Like?
Ant bites on dogs look different than their appearance on humans. Because of their fur, it’s difficult to find ant bites unless your pet exhibits discomfort.
You can spot these wounds easily if ants bite your dog on their stomach or groin. Some dogs have no hair on their bellies, while others have short cropped fur in these areas, making it easier to find bumps.
When inspecting your dog for ant bites, move their fur around until you find raised, red bumps. These injuries could also resemble small white pimples.
Ants can bite anywhere on your dog’s skin, but it’s more common to find bites on their feet, stomach, or face. Dogs may accidentally step or dig around an ant mound or consume items infested with ants (or the ants themselves!).
Symptoms of Ant Bites on Dogs
When ants bite your dog, you may see some of these reactions:
- Pain around bitten areas
Dogs vocalize their discomfort by whining or howling if they are in significant pain. Ant bites are itchy, too! Before applying a new flea treatment, look around for another reason behind their distress. Your dog could begin scratching to stave off a persistent itch caused by annoying ant bites.
Your dog may limp if an ant has bitten their paw. Check around the pads of their feet for any signs of bites or bumps that cause tenderness.
Dogs rarely experience extreme effects but may fall ill after numerous bites. Some pets can even have debilitating allergic reactions, and smaller dogs are more susceptible to adverse responses.
If you notice your pet is in pain after spending some time outdoors, look around their body for any signs of wounds. The bitten areas may be painful for your pet, so avoid touching any place that could cause discomfort.
Caring for Ant Bites on Dogs
Check your dogs for lingering ants tangled in their fur to avoid further bites. Aggressive ant species like fire ants may continue to attack your dog and latch onto their skin.
Most dogs won’t need extensive treatments after interacting with ants. A handful of bites shouldn’t leave any lasting side effects, so you won’t have to take a trip to the vet if your pet is acting normally and not in any pain.
To ease your pet’s bites, create a cold compress with an ice pack and towel to reduce swelling. Consult with your vet if an allergy or itch medication will be suitable for your dog or if another option is available.
This video can teach you more about what to do when your pet is bitten by ants!
If you notice any concerning symptoms like pale gums, difficulty breathing, or weakness, immediately consult with an emergency vet, as your pet may have developed an allergic reaction.
Preventing Ant Bites on Dogs
You can’t always prevent ants from building in your yard, but there are some steps you can take to keep your furry friend safe!
Whenever your dog is outdoors, keep them from interfering with any insects outside like ants, wasps, or bees. Instead of letting them roam free, keep a close eye on their movements to ensure they aren’t sticking their nose inside an ant’s nest!
Covering pet food and water will prevent harmful facial bites and keep your dog’s kibble pest-free. No one wants to share their meal with insects– not even your dog!
One of the best ways to keep pests away from your yard and home is to trust a reputable pest control agency like proof. pest control!