Insect Bites and Your Pets: What You Need to Know

As a pet owner, you have a duty to keep them safe from harm. This includes everything from abuse and terror, to avoidable accidents. You have to keep your pet in the best possible way, doing everything possible to keep them safe, happy and healthy. 

If you don’t, you’ll not only be letting them down, but possibly breaking the law too. However, there are some incidents you can’t avoid – animals won’t always do what you think or expect them to. So, you need to be on guard, and ready to prevent any situation from getting out of hand. One of the hardest things to do is helping them avoid lifestyle-related harm. This includes everything from insect bites while out on walks, to being hit by cars when walking near roads.

As summer is here, it’s now time to be extra vigilant about insect bites. While most are just harmless, if irritating, swollen lumps, they can be avoided. Sometimes, if your pet is allergic, these bites can become something more than just an itchy spot, and when this happens, you could be in trouble.

Common insect bites


Nearly all animals will get a flea infestation at some point in their lives. These tiny insects can be a huge pain to get rid of, as they will lay eggs everywhere – both on your pet in and your home. So, if you think your pet has fleas, you need to act fast. You can usually identify this by constant scratching, licking and cleaning, and by acting very unsettled. If you brush them, you’ll usually be able to see small black dots, which is flea debris. Get a flea comb and brush as many out as possible, and give your carpets, soft furnishings and curtains a deep, intensive clean. You can treat fleas with special shampoo, tablets and flea drops: your veterinarian will be able to advise which is the best option.


Ticks are horrid bugs that can end up being quite harmful. They carry all sorts of diseases, and can quickly infect your pets. If you see that your pet has a tick, unless you know how to remove them, leave it and go straight to the clinic. If you try to ‘unscrew’ a tick and get it wrong, you can end up releasing all sorts of nasty toxins into your pet’s body. There are plenty of anti-tick sprays and drops on the market, so it’s worth investing in some if your pet goes outside a lot.


Mosquitos aren’t just the bane of your life during the summer – if you’ve got larger pets like horses or livestock, they’ll really feel the brunt of it. Mosquito bites, while itchy, are usually harmless – unless your horse has sweet-itch. This condition is caused partly by mosquitos, and can make life unbearable. Do as much as you can to keep them safe, including using powerful fly spray, fly masks and fly rugs.

Wasps and hornets

These big, stinging insects can cause nasty reactions, especially in smaller pets like cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. While most pets will avoid any incidents, sometimes they happen accidentally, like treading on them while on the floor, or running into nests. As wasp and hornet stings can be so vicious, it’s always worth taking your pet to the clinic if you’re worried.


While ants seem like quite an innocent, if not irritating, insect, some species have a huge bite on them. If you spot a nest of fire ants or red ants, try to keep your pet away. These little insects can drive animals crazy, so get ready with a hose to spray them off if you’re at all worried.

How to keep your pet safe from biting insects

Keep the house insect-free

Firstly, your home needs to be free of all biting insects. If you’re worried about an infestation, get in touch with your local pest removal company, rather than trying to deal with it yourself. If you’re based in North Carolina, speak to businesses like Go-ForthPest Control in Cary NC.

Feed certain foods

Some foods, like garlic, will repel insects as they won’t like the taste of the blood. Do some research into insect-repelling foods, and speak to your veterinarian about any pet food brands that stock such ingredients. Research and ask veterinary professionals before feeding these foods to your pet: many can be harmful, if not fatal.

Keep out of high-risk areas

Be mindful of where you walk and when. Going through long grass, woodland areas or boggy, wet places during dusk and dawn will always attract more insects than necessary. Try to stick to safe areas until the biting season draws to a close.

Use fly repellant

If you’re going to carry on walking in your normal areas, make sure to cover both you and your pets in strong fly repellent. Then, once you get back, check your pet thoroughly for any ticks or swollen lumps.

Keep up to date with flea and tick treatments

The easiest way to prevent fleas and ticks is by using drops or tablets. Usually applied every one to two months, these treatments can save you a lot of heartaches, and stop your pet from feeling itchy and irritated.

What if your pet has a bad reaction to a bite

If your pet has an allergic reaction to a bite, you need to act fast. Going into anaphylactic shock can sometimes be fatal. However, if you get your pet to a veterinarian as fast as possible, and identify what bit your pet, you’ll be able to reverse any ill effects very quickly. It always looks terrifying, but try to stay calm. The calmer you are, the more efficient you’ll be – and it’ll help your pet too.

Sometimes bites will get infected. This often happens when animals scratch and itch them too vigorously. While not life-threatening, it can be very unpleasant and sore for your pet, so you should always keep an eye on bites, and make sure they aren’t escalating. If your pet is known for constantly biting and itching their bites, you might want to think about putting a cone collar on, to give their skin chance to heal.

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