Mosquitoes are equal opportunity suckers when it comes to finding blood and animals are just as prone to being bitten as humans. Short-haired dogs are more vulnerable.
But do mosquito bites cause the same itchy reaction in your dog that it does for you? A mosquito leaves behind a small amount of saliva when it bites which is designed to prevent continuous bleeding. Your body produces an immune response to this saliva in the form of histamines which causes the itching. Dogs have the same immune response and therefore also itch after a mosquito bite.
How Can You Identify A Mosquito Bite?
So how do you know if your dog is suffering from an irritating itch due to a mosquito bite? This is actually a process of elimination.
The first sign is when a dog constantly scratches the same area continuously. However, this could be due to a bite from another type of insect, like a flea or a tick. It could also be due to other types of skin conditions or a wound that has become infected. Check the site and look for a small, raised, reddish area and eliminate all the other causes.
How Can You Treat The Mosquito Bite Safely?
Just like in humans, the itchy bite spot should disappear within a couple of days without any treatment. Dogs will also lick the area making conventional treatments that are effective on humans unsuitable for dogs.
On the other hand, the constant scratching and licking can result in an open wound that becomes infected and begins to fester, exacerbating the problem. Mosquitoes can also infect your dog with Heartworm which is very dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.
Therefore, prevention is better than cure. Natural remedies like burning citronella candles or using diluted essential oils on your pet should repel mosquitoes and keep them at bay.
Zinc oxide can be applied to the area which will alleviate some of the itchings and prevent infection from occurring. Calamine lotion is also great for reducing the itch and is safe for use in small quantities. If your dog is licking the bite site intensively, cover the area.
Should you notice extreme swelling, consult your vet. Your dog may have an allergic reaction to the mosquito bite that will need more specific treatment. If you notice an open wound that is weeping or if you suspect Heartworm, visit your vet.