Pet Wellness Guides > Treating Bug Bites On Dogs - Pet Insurance Review

Treating Bug Bites On Dogs

Posted: 03/04/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Top Tips

When the weather gets warmer, the bugs come out! Like us, our pups are susceptible to getting stung and bitten by all sorts of creepy-crawly things. What can we do for our furry babies to help relieve the sting and itch? This post will dive more into treating bug bites on dogs.

What to Do if Your Dog is Stung or Bitten by a Bug

Has this ever happened to you: you’re walking your dog when all of a sudden, he stops, whimpers loudly, and holds up his paw? As he trembles, unable to walk, you notice he has just stepped  on an ant hill.

Wasp, spider and ant bites/stings are common for our pups. While the pain can be bad enough, it’s the venom that can really cause issues. From mild irritation, to itching, swelling and even life-threatening shock, bug bites can be nasty! That’s why treating bug bites on dogs quickly is so important.

So what should you do if your pup gets bit or stung by a bug?

1. Be Observant

Pay close attention to your pup. Is he suddenly biting at his paw, pawing his face, trembling or whimpering? Check his body for any obvious signs of redness or swelling.

2. Find the Bugger

Quickly scan the environment to locate and identify what it is that bit/stung your pup. If what you see is an odd-looking spider/insect that you’re unsure of, and you have your phone on you, snap an image. This will help you (and your vet) identify what it is.

If you spot a bee, then try to find the stinger on your pup. Bees are the only insects that leave their stingers in their victims. And it’s pretty ingenious of them because the stingers will continue to release venom into the victim’s body. 

So look to see if you can find it on your pup. If you do, do NOT try to remove it with your fingernails or tweezers, as squeezing the stinger will only squeeze out more venom. Instead, use a credit card to scrape and flick the stinger off.

3. Minimize Swelling

Next it’s time to get any sweeping down. Do this by applying an ice pack to the affected area for 10 minutes. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or other veggies will suffice. 

4. Soothe

There are different things you can do to try to soothe the pain and sting away. If your pup has multiple bites or stings, a soothing oatmeal bath can do wonders. If it’s just one main area that is affected, you can apply a thick paste of baking soda and water.

5. Prevent Allergic Reactions

Treating bug bites on dogs often requires preventing allergic reactions. Speak with your vet about what you can give your dog to block a histamine reaction. Oftentimes diphenhydramine (brand names: Benadryl®, Vetadryl®) can be given to dogs to minimize the reaction and decrease itching. 

ALWAYS speak to your vet first for guidance on medications and dosing.

Stop Them from Scratching

While the soothing bath and allergy meds should greatly diminish the urge to itch, dogs are dogs and they’ll want to itch and bite at the affected areas regardless. Your job is to STOP them from doing that, because constant scratching will delay the healing and potentially cause an infection. 

 When are Bug Bites/Stings Serious?

Many dogs are hypersensitive (very allergic) to insect bites and stings. A strong allergic reaction will typically occur within 20 minutes of the bite or sting. Having said that, every dog is different and a reaction could happen hours later.

This is why close monitoring is essential if your pup gets a bad bite or sting. Severe reactions (anaphylaxis) can be fatal so quick action is vital. 

Should you notice any of the following, take your pup to your vet or the nearest after-hours emergency clinic:

Severe swelling around head or neck (This could compromise breathing)

Hives (bumps under the skin that raise the hair) or red bumps on hairless areas such as the groin.

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
  • Panting more than usual
  • Excessive drooling
  • Agitation or anxiousness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Seizures

Should your pup experience any of the above, get them to the vet immediately. Veterinary intervention will reduce the severity of of the allergic reaction, prevent shock, and even save your dog’s life. 

Don’t get Stung by the Cost of Vet Bills

The discomfort of a bee sting lasts only temporarily. But the sting of a costly vet bill can be felt for months. Don’t get caught off guard by an unexpected pet health emergency that can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

A pet health insurance plan can reimburse you for up to 90% of the vet bill. Talk about peace of mind!

If you’ve thought about enrolling your fur baby into a pet insurance plan but were not sure who the best providers were, here are the top pet insurance providers – in order – based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12






The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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