Learn How to Treat Fire Ant Bites and Stings in Dogs and Learn the Symptoms of Allergic Reactions in Dogs With a Fire Ant Allergy. (Jithin K.U. Photo)
Pet owners living in the southeastern United States and South America — locations where fire ants are present — may be interested in my latest article, titled How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.
This article discusses how to remove fire ants from a dog’s body (there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this – the wrong way will result in many more fire ant stings!), how to treat fire ant bites in dogs, along with how to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a fire ant allergy.
Treating Fire Ant Stings in a Dog Who’s Allergic to Fire Ant Venom
Unfortunately, this latest pet care article was inspired by experience. On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, I was out for a game of fetch with my pit bull, Sasha-Simöne, when she stepped in a fire ant nest. (Fire ants are very uncommon in southwest Florida.) Just a few fire ant bites triggered an acute response in my robust, peppy and healthy pit bull.
This dog’s fire ant stings caused a near-instantaneous reaction – white gums, low blood pressure, vomiting, a refusal to walk and swelling to the leg that sustained the fire ant stings. Fortunately, Sasha-Simone has recovered and she’s now doing well, although we are still caring for her fire ant bites and the veterinarian recommended a course of Benadryl. Benadryl is safe for dogs; it’s given to treat minor allergic reactions, therefore, it’s an effective way to treat itching from fire ant bites in a dog.
(Please note that not all over-the-counter medications are safe for dogs; pet owners should never give Benadryl or any other over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat before consulting a veterinarian. Some OTC medications —like Tylenol and Ibuprofen — are deadly for dogs and cats and even “safe” medications can elicit a deadly reaction in a dog who has certain medical conditions or in a dog who takes other medications. And some over-the-counter drugs are safe for dogs, but deadly to cats, and vice versa. So always consult a veterinarian before giving over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat. Okay, that’s the end of the OTC medication and pets spiel! )
How to Treat a Dog’s Fire Ant Bites and Prevent Infection
This pet care article also discusses how to treat a dog’s fire ant stings in the days following the attack. Fire ant bite pustules will form within 12 to 36 hours after the stings occur (note: fire ant bites are actually a bite and sting in one – these little red ants bite away a little chunk of skin, while simultaneously injecting venom). If the pet’s ant bites are not treated properly, an infection will occur.
Fire ant bites are itchy – very itchy! In response, dogs bite and scratch at the fire ant bites frequently and intensely. This makes a dog’s fire ant bites more prone to infection, since they’re apt to break open the pustules and the act of scratching introduces bacteria from the dog’s mouth and feet, thereby contaminating the fire ant bites. This article explains how to clean fire ant bites in a way that reduces the chance of infection, and it provides information on how to recognize the symptoms of infected insect stings in a dog.
Pet owners will also learn how to treat the dog’s itching from fire ant stings, which can be extremely itchy, yet painful. Swelling from the ant bites will also require treatment.
To learn more, read How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.
Pet owners may also want to learn more about how to treat fire ant bites in humans, as there’s a good chance the owner will sustain at least a few stings and bites while trying to help the dog.