Can Dogs Get Mosquito Bites?
Mosquitoes need blood for them to reproduce. They have a long stinger-like mouth that they use to pierce the skin of their victim and suck small amounts of the victim’s blood. Aside from sucking blood, they also inject saliva containing an anticoagulant that will prevent blood clotting.
Female mosquitoes require nutrients such as amino acids and protein from the blood that helps in egg development. Without blood, they are unable to reproduce. On the other hand, male mosquitoes are not known to bite as they do not need blood. What they consume is plant sap and nectar to get nutrients.
Do Dogs Get Mosquito Bites?
Can dogs get mosquito bites? Yes, mosquitoes bite dogs. Once mosquito activity is confirmed, pet owners should be alarmed whether it is mosquito season or not.
Usually, the ideal environments for mosquitoes start during earlier springs or milder winters. This leaves dogs more vulnerable to getting mosquito bites. They are more vulnerable to getting mosquito bites when they play outdoors. Even during the humid and warm summer weather, mosquitoes are sure to stay.
Warmer seasons are known to attract various bugs and among the widespread and persistent pests are mosquitoes. Mosquitoes gather in areas where moisture and protection from various elements are provided. So, areas with are bushes and grasses, are sure to host a large mosquito population.
These pests love snacking on humans, but dogs are also easy targets because they tend to be much closer to the ground. Their undercarriage and legs are only a few inches from the grass, which makes them the lowest possible hanging fruit.
Mosquitoes do not only irritate dogs, but they also transmit diseases and parasites to dogs. Some of the parasites that they can transmit are heartworms. This is a potentially deadly parasite that is present in some areas in Canada.
Heartworms develop inside the heart and lungs of dogs and can cause extensive health problems. If you are aware that you are residing in a heartworm endemic area, your dogs should get a heartworm preventive to get protection against these parasites.
Heartworm Disease and Other Diseases Due to Mosquito Bites
As mentioned, heartworm is among the parasites that mosquitoes may transmit to dogs. Get to know more about this parasite and other serious diseases that dogs can get from a mosquito bite.
1. Heartworm Disease
Heartworm can become a life-threatening parasite that can easily spread even by a single mosquito bite. As soon as the heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream, this can cause major damage to the blood vessels, lungs, and most especially the dog’s heart.
Worms in their adult stage can grow to a maximum of foot in length and these parasites can live in dogs for up to seven years. In one dog, there can be up to 250 adult worms living in their body. Make sure that your dog gets a heartworm treatment even before the mosquito season starts.
Some symptoms of heartworm infections that you should look out for:
2. Allergic Reaction
Like humans, most dogs will get a swollen and itchy bump on the area of a mosquito bite. However, some dogs could suffer from more severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention.
Some visible signs of severe allergic reactions in dogs are the following:
Swelling, especially of the dog’s face
Loss of Appetite
If your dog shows signs of a severe allergic reaction after a mosquito bite, contact your vet immediately or an emergency veterinary hospital.
3. West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus can be quite serious once humans get infected. However, side effects are milder when it comes to dogs.
The symptoms can also be more severe to other dogs. This is true, especially for a dog with a compromised immune system. Dogs that are already suffering from medical conditions or those receiving immunosuppressant drugs and puppies and senior dogs can also suffer from serious symptoms.
It is rare for dogs to develop encephalitis, which is a life-threatening condition of brain inflammation. The symptoms of this virus can be mistaken for influenza, which is why proper diagnosis should be done by a veterinarian.
A few symptoms of the West Nile virus that your dog may experience are:
Rashes on dog’s skin
Swollen lymph nodes
Once your dog shows signs of possible infection from this virus, bring him immediately to a veterinarian to keep your dog safe and prevent the infection from getting worse.
4. Rare Diseases
In rare cases, there are other diseases that dogs can get from mosquito bites. You should be vigilant at all times and take precautions to prevent your dogs from getting these diseases.
Two of the rare types of diseases that your dog may get are Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). As mentioned above, dogs that are at greater risk for these types of diseases are those with compromised immune systems and those with existing medical conditions.
As soon as you notice any abnormalities with the cognition and behaviour of your dogs, it is recommended that you immediately seek the attention of a trusted veterinarian.
What Do Mosquito Bites Look Like on Dogs and How to Treat the Bites?
It can be difficult to identify the specific bug bite on your furry friend as you can mistake any bug bites for tick bites, spider bites, or possibly bee stings. So, another way to identify if the bug bites are from mosquitoes and not another kind of insect bite is by monitoring the behaviour of your dog. Just like humans, many dogs will have a similar predictable reaction from mosquito bites.
Insect bites from mosquitoes are diagnosed based on the signs of irritation and itching. However, heartworm infections will require a test done by a veterinarian. Once dogs test positive, heartworm treatments and heartworm preventive medication will also be provided.
Signs of mosquito bites may include:
Mosquito bites under your dog’s fur
Constant scratching due to intense itching
Since mosquitoes usually dine in groups, the reaction may get worse especially if your dog gets more mosquito bites. This is the main reason appropriate, and dog-safe mosquito protection must be used when bringing them outdoors.
Natural Solutions to Treat Mosquito Bites on Dogs
Many natural treatments are meant to be used on pets. These are usually less risky to be used unlike human infection and wound treatments and are equally effective. Homeopathic and natural treatments use the natural healing properties of minerals, herbs, and botanicals to avoid infection.
Another natural solution that can be used is coconut oil. It can be applied topically to relieve the itchiness and speed the healing process. Because of its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can support fast healing and lessen irritation and swelling.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites on Dogs Belly and Other Parts of Their Body?
It was believed the mosquitoes bite during dusk and dawn. However, new breeds bite all day and daily. Some of the things you can do to make a mosquito-free house for your and your dogs are the following:
Remove Standing Water
Mosquitoes are known to lay eggs on stagnant water. Look for areas with collected water and get rid of it. If you notice that your dog is always getting bit and developing bad reactions, steer away from watery spots when going out.
Try Fanning Out
Consider getting a box fan if your dog tends to sit out on your porch. Since mosquitoes are terrible flyers, the fan can easily blow them away.
Use a Year-Round Heartworm Prevention Treatment
Both dogs and cats can get heartworm diseases and you must get a heartworm prevention medication for your dog that will fit your budget and lifestyle. Talk to your veterinarian about it.
Ask Your Veterinarian for a Pet Safe Mosquito Repellent
Dogs react differently when exposed to certain chemicals than humans. It is recommended that you ask your veterinarian for a mosquito repellent that is safe to be used for pets.
we recommend the following products to start getting rid of mosquitoes around your home: