Preventative Care@3x

Common Bug Bites in Pets

May 25, 2022 | Ask a Vet, AZPetVet, Cat, Dog, For Your Pet, Pet Safety, Preventive Care

Bug Bite Season is Here!


As a proud Arizona resident, you know that our desert climate is home to a lot of different insects… some of which like to bite. In this blog, we’ll take a look at common bug bite culprits, pet-safe bug bite home remedies, what to put on dog bug bites and cat bug bites, and more.

While you’ve probably gotten used to the occasional bug bite, it can be more difficult to keep track of what your furry friend might be encountering while they’re playing outside. When it comes to bug bites in dogs and cats, the bite itself isn’t the biggest problem—it’s the diseases these bugs can transmit to your pet when they feed on their blood. So, what are the most common biting insects in Arizona?


Top Three Common Bug Bite Culprits for Pets


  1. Ticks: Tick season begins when the weather starts warming up in early spring and lasts well into summer. Ticks transmit Tick Fever (Ehrlichia canis), Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Tick bites often look like small red bumps or blisters with black centers filled with blood clot-like material called necrotizing skin lesions. If you find a tick attached to your pet’s skin, remove it right away with tweezers or a pair of fine-tipped plastic gloves, and then disinfect the wound site with a diluted betadine solution.
  2. Fleas: Fleas are much smaller than ticks and are usually dark brown or black. Flea bites cause pets to suffer from intense itching. Fleas can also lay eggs on your pet’s fur which then hatch into larvae that feed off your pet’s blood. If you see fleas on your pet or suspect that they have an infestation, you should use a flea comb or another tool to brush them off their coat before giving them a bath with a medicated shampoo that kills fleas. You should also vacuum or wash all areas where there might be fleas (i.e., carpets, bedding). Fleas also contribute to the spread and infestation of tapeworms, especially to cats.
  3. Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying for humans—they’ll also bite your pets! These bites are characterized by a red bump that forms at the feeding site and is often covered in fluid. In addition to being bothersome, mosquitoes are also one of the most common carriers of diseases such as heartworm and West Nile virus.


Bug Bite Home Remedies That Are Safe For Pets


Not sure what to do when your pet’s been bitten by a bug? Check out these pet-safe home remedies you can apply directly to the bite area using cotton balls or swabs:

  • Apple cider vinegar – antifungal, antibacterial, and an astringent that reduces swelling 
  • Honey – antiseptic, antibacterial, refuses inflammation and helps prevent infection
  • Tea tree oil – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal
  • Aloe vera – reduces inflammation, soothes pain, and promotes healing
  • Baking soda – soothes itching and reduces redness
  • Oatmeal bath – soothes irritated skin and reduces itchiness


How to Prevent Bug Bites on Pets


The best way to protect pets against bug bites is to keep them indoors as much as possible, especially during tick season (from May until August) and the heaviest part of mosquito season (June through September). In addition, it’s important to inspect your pets regularly for signs of fleas or ticks. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian about measures like flea and tick preventatives, as well as heartworm prevention, that can help keep both you and your pet free from bug-related health problems all year round!


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Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.