Bug Bites on Dogs: Can Dogs Get Bug Bites?

by Sundays

Here’s a guide to bug bites on dogs, including some signs of the more common types of bug bites, whether you can treat it at home, and when to call the vet.

If you’ve noticed a sort of circular rash or raised red bumps on your dog, especially on their nose or belly, you’re probably wondering if they got bitten by something. 

Dogs can in fact get bug bites, just like people can. Their fur can only protect them so much, and they’re especially vulnerable to bug bites in areas with no hair, like their bellies, noses, or paws.

Here’s a guide to bug bites on dogs, including some signs of the more common types of bug bites, whether you can treat it at home, and when to call the vet.

How to Identify Bug Bites on Dogs

What do bug bites usually look like on dogs? It does depend on the type of bug that it is, but you can also look for these general signs of bug bites on dogs:

  • Swelling
  • Areas of redness (could be red splotches, circles, or bumps) 
  • Itching
  • Hives or a rash
  • Biting or licking

You’ll probably notice bug bites on your dog’s skin in areas like their belly, face (ears and nose), inner legs, groin, skin folds, or in between their toes.

When to Call the Vet for Bug Bites on Dogs

If your dog is having a bad allergic reaction or allergic shock from a bug bite, you need to go to an emergency vet. Your dog could be allergic to the saliva of certain biting bugs, like mosquitoes or ticks. They could also have an allergic reaction to the venom from stinging bugs, like ants or bees. 

Here are some signs that you need to get your dog to the vet right away:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Facial swelling
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Hives
  • Severe swelling

Home Remedies for Bug Bites on Dogs

If you don’t see any of the signs of allergic shock, you can try to help soothe the bug bite at home. Here are a couple of home remedies, depending on what you have at home:

  • Apply some aloe vera (use 100% gel or break off a piece of the plant to rub on the bite)
  • Make a baking soda paste (mix a little baking soda with water and put on the bite)
  • Give your pet an oatmeal bath or make a paste (put oatmeal in a blender to create a powder, or use oatmeal bath packets, and mix oatmeal with water)

Types of Bug Bites on Dogs 


Flea bites are very common on dogs. They look like little red bumps, but you probably won’t see the flea bites if they happen under your dog’s fur. You may see red areas if your dog has scratched the bites, especially if they are allergic to flea saliva. You could also see patches of hair loss or sores caused by intense scratching. Look for live adult fleas or little black specks of flea poop (called flea dirt), especially on their back end and near the tail. 

The best way to prevent this is by keeping your pup on year-round flea prevention, and if your dog has a flea allergy, your vet can prescribe something to ease the inflammation and clear up any infections caused by scratching.  


These bites also look like red spots. You probably won’t be able to see these bites through your dog’s fur, either, but you may feel a bump or small scab if your dog has scratched the area. 

There’s no need to rush to the vet if your dog has a tick bite. Just keep an eye out for signs of infection or Lyme disease, which is caused by tick bites:

  • Low energy
  • Not eating as much or at all
  • Walking stiffly or seeming to be in pain
  • Scratching, redness, or oozing where the tick bite was


Most spider bites won’t cause an emergency vet visit. Usually you will just see a red bump, like with tick or flea bites, and you should wash the bite with mild soap and water. 

The two spiders that do cause problems are the brown recluse and black widow, the same as with people. Watch for these signs:

  • Licking or chewing the bite (and possibly crying out when they do)
  • A change in color of the bite (getting darker red or black)
  • Vomiting
  • Sluggishness
  • Tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Staggering while walking

Don’t ice the bite area; this could make it worse. Go to the vet if you see the signs of a brown recluse or black widow bite.


If you live in a warmer climate, especially, and your dog loves going outside, you’ll have to look out for mosquito bites as well. They’ll probably show up on unprotected areas like your dog’s nose or ears as red welts. The area may swell, and your dog may scratch at them. 

The thing you really need to worry about with mosquito bites is heartworm disease. If you have kept up with your dog’s monthly heartworm prevention or taken them to get the ProHeart 6-month or 12-month shots, they will be protected. If you haven’t, take your dog to the vet to get a heartworm test and to start on heartworm medication.


This is another bite that looks like red spots or sores, usually found on your dog’s nose, paws, belly, or inner legs. There's not usually a reason to worry about ant bites on dogs, unless your pup has an allergic reaction. You also want to watch out for fire ants, because they sting and bite, releasing venom and causing pain and swelling. Look for hives, vomiting, weakness, or having trouble breathing or walking.

Bed Bugs

Some people worry about whether their dog can get bed bug bites, but the truth is that these pests prefer to feed on humans. It could possibly happen, though, if you stay at a hotel or cabin with your pup and they sleep on the bed. 

Check the sheets for small splotches of blood. On your dog, look for small red bumps in groups in a straight line. Your dog will probably also be scratching. Check your dog’s bedding for the actual bugs, which are tiny and reddish brown. If you see these, wash your dog’s bedding in hot water.

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