Ant Bites on Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment.

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Ant Bites on Dogs

In most cases, ants are regarded as harmless insects. However, ant bites can be piercing. Dogs usually are the victims of ant bites, and when it happens, they suffer from several health risks.

These range from mild skin inflammation to dangerous conditions. Therefore, if you don’t want your furry friend to experience pain from the stinging bites of ants, you need to learn how to treat and prevent these bites. 

Which Species of Ants are Dangerous to Pets?

Fire Ants (RIFA)

Fire Ants (also known as Red Imported Fire Ants) tend to build gigantic dens and are generally drawn to humid environments. They are likely to create colonies around structures like around the house, near the roots of bushes or trees, and pavement cracks and corners. 

These ants can be distinguished by their dull red or reddish-orange color. They also have a 2-segmented pedicel, which resembles two bumps in the ‘middle’ and two-segmented sections at the end. To put it mildly, fire ants resemble normal ants. 

Fire Ants-RIFA

Fire ants pose a risk to dogs as they inject a toxin when they bite, triggering an allergy. They do this by seizing and holding on to the skin with their pincers before releasing venom (solenopsin).

It does so through its stinger, which is located on the hind part of its body. Reactions may differ, with some pets experiencing mild symptoms like itching and red rashes, while for some canines, an ant bite can even lead to death. 

Regarding our pets, how big our Dog is will be another factor. A giant dog is less likely to be affected by a fire ant than a toy dog. Dogs are particularly predisposed to fire ant bites due to their curious personality – usually sniffing ant hills in the soil and trampling their colonies.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants derive their name from their ability to build their nests by excavating wood from your house or furniture. Whenever their dens are disturbed, these ants bite defensively. Their bite can be unpleasant and possibly injure the skin due to their size. The formic acid detected in bee stings might be diffused within the puncture, making the pain more severe. If the acid is present, the pain felt instantly is followed by a lingering sting and irritation.

Carpenter Ants           

Bullet Ants

Bullet Ants are the largest of the ant family. They are not naturally threatening and rarely bite dogs and animals as a whole. They like having small arthropods and nectar as their food. Their sting releases poneratoxin, a paralyzing neurotoxic peptide that results in intense muscle spasm, irritation, and severe pain. 

Bullet Ants

Black ants

These are usually common household insects. They typically resemble the red ants (fire ants) apart from their color, though these ants aren’t very dangerous. They bite, but they don’t sting. Their pincers can penetrate the skin pretty gravely. Besides simply irritating, the black ant’s bite can inject a tiny amount of formic acid, leading to a burning sensation.

Black Ants

Symptoms Of Ant Bites On Dogs

Numerous insects, like ants, maybe a nuisance to our pets. Depending on the type, ants can either bite, sting, or even do both. Most dogs are attacked on the paws and nose. But you’ll likewise notice your Dog biting or licking their bellies or rear legs, especially if they love to spend most of their time outdoors.

Recognizing the symptoms of ant bites on your Dog is the first step to treating them. Some general symptoms are:

  • Discomfort
  • Licking on the affected part
  • Swelling and itchiness
  • Bite wounds or hives
  • Vocalization

Also, pay attention to these severe symptoms:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Agitation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Swollen tongue or throat
  • Confusion

Symptoms of Ant Bites on Dogs

Anaphylactic Shock

Often, ant bites will merely cause discomfort and inflammation, though, in rare situations, your Dog may be sensitive to the injected toxin. If this occurs, the best solution to treat a dog is to take them to the vet immediately. There are several signs to watch out for:

  • Alarming weakness – You might have observed your Dog being frail if the bite is on his legs or paws. But, if it is something else like laziness and the likes, that could be regarded as a severe vulnerability. If that is the problem, you will have to seek help.
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Cardiovascular arrest 

If you witness some of those signs, do not just wait for your Dog to go into anaphylactic shock. Take them to the vet right away.

What to Do When A Red Ant has bitten your Dog?

Suppose any of those ants mentioned above has bitten your Dog; what do you need to do? Well, you need to act quickly and calmly by removing him from the area to prevent further injury. 

Next, get rid of any ants that you see clinging to your Dog’s fur. Use a brush to remove those that have already latched onto the Dog’s skin.

Throughout the process, reassure your pet that everything’s going to be okay. Keep him from biting or scratching the affected areas. 

Inspect and double-check your pet; see to it that you have gotten rid of the ants. They will probably be within areas with little to no fur like their belly, privates, paw pads, eyes, ears, and nose. 

One mistake that dog parents do is bathe their dogs to kill the ants. While ants hate water, this method will only trigger those ants to go deeper into the skin and bite harder.

How to Treat Ant Bites on a Dog

When your Dog rolls over or steps into an anthill, you have to move fast. If your dog was attacked, give a home remedy to alleviate your pet and reduce the pain and inflammation.

Apply an ice pack

Carefully apply an ice pack covered with a damp tea cloth for about 5-10 minutes. Remove it every couple of minutes to prevent hypothermia. Reapply the cold compress every two hours. This method can help to decrease discomfort and soreness.

OTC Benadryl

Benadryl is safe for dogs, provided you don’t get carried away. The recommended dosage is 1mg per pound. Apply this to the infected part three times for 24 hours (waiting every six hours). Always ask your vet before administering any medication, as some medicines can hurt your dog.

Baking soda remedy

Baking soda is a natural home remedy that helps to alleviate pain and reduce soreness. Make a paste by combining 50% baking soda and 50% water. Mix until you have a smooth, thick paste. Apply the paste to the itchy area and let it dry for 20 minutes. You can repeat it as often as you need to.

Oatmeal Bath

Prepare a calming oatmeal bath by filling your tub with warm water, and add grind oatmeal. Carefully lift your dog into the tub. Then, gradually pour the solution into their body. Massage the mixture gently in a circular motion across the dog’s coat. Leave him for about 10 minutes. Rinse the dog and wipe him dry.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can also apply a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to the itchy part. Use a cotton ball up to three times a day for several days. This works excellently as apple cider vinegar has been verified to help with itching.

Prevention: How To Repel Ants From Dogs?

Check your Yard

Before anything else, you must examine your surroundings. Several insects could pose threats, either in the ground or in the air, especially during summer. To avoid such infestation, you can call an exterminator. Remember to use dog-friendly chemicals. 

Bug Repellants

You can utilize OTC and dog-prescribed insect repellants if your pet is predisposed to bites or spends most of its day outdoors. Alternatively, you can use essential oils as a more organic treatment. Citronella, Cinnamon, and Lemongrass are some of the oils that may repel ants. 

Do not apply them straight on the dog’s skin. They can be diluted with some carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. Then massage gently on the bites. It is crucial to note that dogs are bound to lick themselves.

How To Repel Ants From Dogs

Ant proof the Dog’s bowl

To ant-proof thee dog’s bowl, make a moat barrier. Place dog dishes in a pan loaded with water. You can also purchase ant-proof dog bowls intended to provide dogs with ready access to their meal while reducing the probability of ants. Most importantly, maintain the cleanliness of your surroundings or the area where you place your dog’s bowls.

How long do ant bites last on dogs?

Bring your dog to the vet if itching and swelling persists. Within 1-2 days, the bitten areas should heal. The vet will prescribe some medications with the correct dosage depending on the Dog’s age and weight.

Are fire ant stings dangerous to dogs?

They can be. If a dog is attacked or bitten by several ants simultaneously, the toxin delivered can cause a severe reaction. Some dogs might suffer from anaphylactic shock from just one sting on rare occasions.

Symptoms of this may include difficulty breathing, unresponsiveness, convulsions, bruising and pale skin. If you notice these symptoms, take him to a vet without delay. 


You can’t always prevent your dogs from being attacked by ants, particularly if they are fond of sniffing along the ground or going to areas where ants thrive. 

Bear in mind that house dogs also face the risk of ant bites. Hence, the best thing you can do as a pet parent is to know about ant bites and the possible symptoms so you can help your dog.

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