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Apr 22

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The Fascination With Bugs

Dog with ButterflyIt seems that my Bailey girl is quite curious about insects.  If it flies, she wants to catch it; if it crawls, she follows it; and if it lands in the pool, we’re in trouble.  Although most cases of insect bites are not too concerning, you should know that some can lead to serious canine allergies.  As our companions are covered in hair, it’s difficult to see anything on their skin.  Mosquito bites tend to swell up pretty quickly so you may notice a raised red bump and the dog will want to relieve the itching by chewing at the spot or scratching.  Flea bites also produce raised swelling on the dog’s skin and is distinguished by a red halo around the bump.  Flea bites are the most common to cause allergic reactions as these bites can result in rashes, swelling and skin thickening.  A flea infestation can also lead to anemia in your pooch.  Bee stings and spider bites also result in large inflamed bumps.  Being stung by a bee or hornet is quite painful for your pup and once the stinger has been removed, a cold compress (not ice) should be applied for relief.  You can try to remove the stinger with a credit card by scraping it across the dog’s skin to “flick” the stinger out.  Do not use tweezers however as this may increase the amount of venom that is disbursed.  Spider bites are a little trickier.  In addition to leaving a swollen, itchy bump on the skin they can lead to shivering and even vomiting.  If you suspect your friend has been bitten by a spider, contact your veterinarian.

To help get a little relief from the itchiness of insect bites, baking soda mixed with water to create a paste can bring some relief to your dog.  The alkaline in the baking soda will help to alleviate the discomfort.  The Aloe Vera plant is also helpful with skin irritations.  A portion of the plant can be cut off and applied directly on your dog’s skin.  You can also purchase Aloe Vera gel if it’s 100% natural.  The most common place for your dog to be stung by a bee or hornet is around the face.  These bites can be tricky to treat and cause swelling around the mouth or nose.  You should seek the assistance of your veterinarian as soon as possible as swelling anywhere around these areas may hinder breathing.

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