What are these marks:
This picture reveals bug bites – yes these red welts are bug bites and at this time of year…it is from black flies. Later in the season, they could be from mosquitoes as well. They often make people think of Ringworm as the marks can be the size of a pencil eraser and up to 1-2 cm in size. Size does not correlate with itchiness but the number of spots could cause discomfort.
Who is most affected:
The most affected dogs are young dogs. But any dog can be affected. The belly which is hairless is the most affected area although other parts of the body can be affected – any area with little or no hair is possible such as ears, face, armpits or thinly hair coat.
What you should do about bug bites:
This picture reveals a moderate amount of spots. In some cases, there are only a few or can completely cover the belly (and sometimes other areas such as the face, ears, armpits etc – generally any hairless area could become affected).
IF only a few spots are present and your dog is not bothered by them then nothing needs to be done except for you his pet parent to monitor that the spots go away. They generally disappear in 1-3 days depending on how bad they are.
IF the area is kind of medium affected then keep the area clean and maybe apply some cortisone cream or polysporin – ONLY for 1-2 treatments and if not gone in 24-48 hrs then get assistance!
IF the area is very red and your dog is lethargic or itchy then a visit to the hospital is best as your furry friend may need some sort of help (each case may be different or need different medication so self-doctoring is not the best way to go!).
IF your pet gets itchy or the spots turn scabby then they may have become infected and a skin infection can follow. This is time to get professional help as soon as possible.
How to prevent this problem:
The best is ‘Prevention’ of course! Don’t leave or take your dog outside for extended periods of time when the black flies are active. If the black flies are bothering you, then they are bothering your dog!
If you need to exercise or put your dog outdoors during active black fly times then using a proper pet approved spray (some flea sprays are also labeled against bug bites) in areas to be most affected prior to going outside).
In the past some people have had good success with Skin So Soft applied to the belly or ear flaps in a light application may also be helpful. If you use any people products be careful and be sure to wash the product off when you come back indoors. Generally, most people products are not recommended as your dog may lick and ingest so please be very careful. If you truly need to use something maybe try a baby product or a natural remedy – these ‘may’ be helpful but use with ultimate care and wash the area when you return indoors.
So Pet Parents…we hope this is helpful and enjoy your summer along with your furry best friend.
If you have questions or concerns ALWAYS contact our veterinary care centre to discuss how we can help you.
From the Doctors and Staff at Middle Sackville Veterinary Care Centre