Did you know your pet is not immune to mosquito bites?

Mosquito bites on dogs

Mosquito bites are not only annoying but can cause serious allergic reactions and infections, as well as the added risk of transmitting serious diseases.

Allergic reactions and infections

Your dog could suffer an allergic reaction to mosquito bites. You might see your dog suddenly licking, chewing or scratching himself. Mosquito bites can cause swelling, redness and hives in a dog. A single mosquito bite can cause enough itch and irritation to result in excessive scratching or chewing at the skin. Although such an allergy often remains a local skin irritation, it could also, in severe cases, lead to a skin infection.

Symptoms of Mosquito Bite Allergies in Dogs

The allergic reaction to mosquito bites can range from mild to critical. 

Mild reactions

  • Bumps
  • Obsessive Licking
  • Pawing at the face
  • Localized swelling
  • Vocalizations

Moderate reactions

  • Chewing of feet
  • Fever
  • Hives
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pronounced localized swelling
  • Rash on the face or paws
  • Swelling of the face

Critical reaction (anaphylactic shock) 

  • Cold limbs
  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive drooling
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale gums
  • Seizures
  • Sudden diarrhoea
  • Sudden vomiting

If your pet’s symptoms progress from mild to moderate, contact your veterinarian and take your dog to the nearest veterinarian or emergency animal clinic right away. In some cases, symptoms of insect allergy can move from moderate to lethal in less than five minutes. 

Diseases transmitted by mosquitos

There have been reports of dogs contracting the West Nile virus through mosquito bites. The symptoms are generally confined to a light fever and lethargy.

Horses are more susceptible to illness from West Nile virus and, though most horses recover from the virus, it can be deadly in some cases. The virus invades horses’ central nervous systems and may cause inflammation of the brain.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus in horses may include a general loss of appetite and depression. The following are also possible symptoms of infection in horses:

  • Fever
  • Weakness or paralysis of hind limbs
  • Impaired vision
  • General weakness
  • Head pressing
  • Aimless wandering
  • Convulsions/seizures
  • Inability to swallow
  • Walking in circles
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Coma

Fortunately, there is a West Nile virus vaccine for horses, so talk to your vet about getting your horse immunized. 

Protecting your pets from Mosquitos

  • Stay inside (and keep your pets with you) around sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are often most active.
  • Avoid swamps, lakes and other areas infested with mosquitoes.
  • When spending time outdoors with your dog, avoid wearing floral scents as these attract mosquitoes.
  • Install window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes access to your home. Repair any holes in screens.
  • Certain plants (like Basil, Lemongrass, Chrysanthemums, Mint, Rosemary, Lavender, Catnip) around your garden can keep the mosquitoes at bay.
  • Eliminate standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Never use human insect repellent on your pets – Pets’ grooming habits can cause them to ingest this repellant which can be toxic. Never use products specifically designed for dogs on cats, or for cats on dogs. Speak to your vet today about a suitable product for your pet to safely repel insects.
  • Keep your horse stabled around dawn and dusk.
  • Use fly sheets, masks and leg wraps as well as equine-approved mosquito repellants on your horses.
  • Avoid lighting incandescent lamps inside the stall area at night because they attract mosquitoes. Burning an incandescent lamp away from the stalls may help draw mosquitoes away.
  • Place fans in stalls. Mosquitoes are somewhat repelled by air movement.

Links to natural homemade DIY mosquito repellants for your pets: