Insect and spider bites can be very bothersome to pets, and more serious bites can cause severe reactions. While there are a number of different scenarios that can result in your pet getting stung by an insect, we’re here to help you know what to do.
We encourage all pet owners to familiarize themselves with pet first aid so they are prepared in the event of an emergency.
We would like to advise all owners that pet first aid does not replace treatment by a licensed veterinarian, and that pet first aid is intended to stop your pet’s condition from worsening until you are able to get to the vet.
Serious reactions to insect bites and stings include but are not limited to: redness, itching, inflammation, and hives; symptoms like facial swelling, vomiting, breathing difficulty, or collapse warrant immediate emergency care.
If you know or suspect your pet has been bitten or stung by a spider or insect, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance.
Certain medications or dosages can be fatal in dogs and cats. Do not give any over-the-counter or prescription medications to your pet without confirming the medication, strength, and dosage with your veterinarian.
It is extremely common for pets, especially dogs, to get into ant piles while exploring the backyard or going for a walk. However, those little ants can cause a whole lot of itching when they bite! The paws are often the most affected areas as pets will unknowingly walk through an ant pile. You may notice redness or bumps on the bottom of your pets paws or in between their toes, and your pet may lick or chew at their feet more than normal.
Bee and wasp stings can be a little more serious than ant bites. Pets can be stung anywhere, but it most common for pets to be stung in the paws by stepping on a bee, or in the mouth from trying to catch or eat the bee.
If your pet is stung on the paw, you may notice some limping and tenderness on the affected foot as well as redness and swelling. Sometimes, the stinger can be left behind in the paw and will need to be removed. If you are unable to do so, or your pet is too painful to allow you to manipulate the paw, contact your veterinarian for assistance. Watch for signs of hives, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing.
If your pet is stung in the face or inside their mouth, contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs your pet has been stung may include facial swelling, excessive drooling, face is painful to touch, labored breathing, and rubbing their face on the ground or with their paws.
Like wasp and bee stings, spider bites can cause a lot of pain and inflammation. It is important to take spider bites seriously as some spiders are poisonous, and their venom can cause serious health complications, such as vomiting, tissue death, and collapse. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet is bitten by a spider, and if possible, take a photo of the spider to help identify whether the spider is poisonous or not.
If you’ve ever stepped on a scorpion, you know how painful it can be to be stung by one of these! Like spiders, scorpions can be poisonous and are capable of causing a lot of damage in spite of their size. We recommend following the same protocol for spider bites.
Any animal that is scared or in pain CAN AND WILL BITE. This is a normal defensive response and is not indicative of your pet’s temperament. If accessible, muzzle your pet before attempting to treat. If you attempt to treat your pet with first aid and notice signs of aggression, including tense body language, half-moon eyes, growling, snarling, or showing teeth, STOP ATTEMPTING TO TREAT IMMEDIATELY. Your pet may require sedation or pain management administered by your veterinarian. Be aware that pets might snap or bite with zero warning signs if they are experiencing pain.