Being a pet parent, among other necessary responsibilities like training, meals, vet visits, etc. is also essential to keep a regular check on their daily activities. Anomaly in their behavior may be the result of some underlying issues. Regular grooming of the coat and skin is a requirement for every breed as it also helps to identify if there are any sort of infections, cuts, or abrasions. Dogs often suffer from bites from insects and mosquitoes and scratching on a wound tends to infect the area.
Are dogs victims of midge bites? Dogs often are bitten by midges, and these bites may initiate from mild itching. It may also turn to severe infection without treatment. It is necessary to identify the symptoms at the right time. Treating these bites will prevent further damage and keep the skin surface smooth and healthy. However, it is also vital to take precautionary steps to avoid such bites from midges.
Midges are kind of small insects that are known to suck blood from the host organisms like dogs as well as humans. They are tiny in size and may often miss the visibility of humans. Studies say that there are more than 6000 species within the same family of midges. Some interesting points on biting midges are as follows, which will help you understand their nature and characteristics.
- According to recent studies, there is a sudden rise of lesions in dogs mostly caused by midge bites.
- Midges are tiny in size ranging from 1 mm to 3 mm. Thus, unable to observe unless seen very minutely.
- They breed in areas with stagnant water, damp and moist areas, compost pit, and rotten wood not disturbed for a few days.
- They move from one organism to another one and carry the disease-causing pathogens along with it.
Identifying Midge bites in Dogs
Itching and scratching:
Often, a midge bite follows itching and scratching on the skin surface. Dogs who have sensitive skin may also suffer from allergy. The irritation in the bitten area makes the dogs scratch with their paws. If your dog has long nails, itching with it may further deepen the bite causing infections.
If you notice your pet dog frequently licking a specific area, check out for midge bites. Sometimes, if itching and scratching do not relieve the irritating skin, they tend to touch the area by licking. The saliva from the mouth soothes the affected portion and provides temporary relief.
Rubbing the body:
Due to the inability to reach the bitten areas with their mouth and paws, you may also notice rubbing their body against the wall. Most brachycephalic animals, like the French Bulldog, have flat faces as well as a nose. So, they cannot reach behind their back like other dogs who have a longer face. Thus, they often rub their body against furniture or walls to relieve themselves from the itching.
Fear from bathing:
If your dog is fond of water, and suddenly if you notice that they are showing unnatural behavior or are scared of entering the bathing area, you may look out for skin infections. Using a shampoo might further irritate the skin, so your dog is probably terrified of bathing or splashing water on its body.
Midges bite the skin surface and suck the blood from the host organism. The penetration deep into the skin causes redness in the area. While brushing or cuddling your dog, if he squeaks suddenly, examines the area. Redness and pain on the skin can be due to midge bites.
Before you brush or comb your dog during regular grooming sessions, examine the entire body before using a brush on the coat. Midge bites may lead to blood clotting in the bitten area. It may also cause the formation of red bumps, which are mostly painful. Thus, while brushing or combing the coat, your canine may jump suddenly due to the use of comb bristles.
In some cases, the midge bites can also cause swelling in the surrounding area. Swelling may indicate deep bite and infection in the interior side. Pain turns from mild to severe at the swelling site.
In most severe cases, when the site of bite turns to infection or allergy, you may also notice vomiting or diarrhea. Those who cannot cope up with the itchiness and scratching often show unusual behavior. Well-behaved dogs may suddenly start showing aggression even towards beloved companions. Destructive chewing, in most cases, is common due to internal pain or distress.
Treating a midge bite
Although there are no such specific medications to treat a midge bite instantly, in cases where the affected site shows abnormalities, specific treatments may be necessary. Below are some treating tips that you may apply when you notice midge bites on your canine.
If you notice the minute midge still embedded on the skin surface, carefully remove it. You can either use a cotton cloth or a pair of sterilized forceps. Gently remove the insect and wipe the wound with a cloth. But make sure not to disturb the injury further.
Apply a piece of ice or an ice pack, whichever is available at that moment. It will help in minimizing the swelling and the pain. The ice pack will reduce further bleeding in the tissues and lessen the irritation too.
Many pet owners apply home-made paste-like baking soda and water. It relieves the pain and soothes the site. If you have an aloe vera plant in your garden, you may also apply its gel on the wound.
Use a topical antihistamine ointment in case of mild bites by insects like midges. If there is an allergy reaction, which is itchy and continues for a longer time, such creams will be helpful.
If the wound has deepened in due course of time, and there is no minimization of swelling or pain, visit a doctor without further delay. In severe cases, a simple midge bite may turn to other reactions and affect the surrounding cells. Veterinary doctors will use better and specific remedies, which may include dressing and antibiotics.
Prevention of midge bites
If you are among those parents, whose pet dogs have still not suffered from any kind of insect bites, you will surely not want any such incident to occur with your beloved pet. On the other hand, if your dog has recently faced a midge bite, ensure that it does not happen again. Following preventive measures will protect you as well as your pets from these sufferings.
As already mentioned, midges breed in damp and moist areas, especially in stagnant water bodies. Thus, ensuring that both indoors and outdoors are clean will avoid their natural multiplication.
- Do not let water stand in any area after rainfall.
- Check regularly if the drains and sanitary outlets are clean.
- Dispose of the biodegradable waste should immediately as microbes and insects multiply on it faster.
- If you have a compost-pit in your backyard, make sure it is covered. Open it only when required and then close it back again without any delay.
- Contact the local authorities to use disinfectants while cleaning the streets after every rainfall.
Some pet parents also use insect repellents to keep midges and other bugs away, especially mosquitoes. Use those products which are safe for using on pe dogs. If your dog is allergic to specific products, ask a doctor to prescribe one. Never use any ointment or medicine on your dog that is beneficial for humans. Both humans and dogs have different skin texture. The product suitable for a human may not necessarily be ideal for gods as well.
Maintaining the regular health of your pet dogs is the utmost necessity. Make sure they have a neat and tidy space for themselves.
- If your dog has his dog bed, make sure to clean it every day.
- Most dog beds are readily washable, wash, and dry it thoroughly before further usage. Using a damp bed may serve as a breeding spot for midges.
- If the dog bed is not washable, use a waterproof cover. Change the cover and wash it daily. Keep at least two-three sheets handy to use it if your dog pees on one.
- Clean the removable tray of the dog crate too. Dog crates have detachable and sliding shelves, which makes it easier to remove and clean. Puppies who are still under training, may not use the bathroom for every nature’s call. Wash it off properly with disinfectants.
- Along with these, maintaining physical hygiene is also vital. Bathe your dog at specific time intervals as per your breed’s necessity.
- Use a mild shampoo with fragrance to keep mosquitoes, germs away. Use the ones that do not interfere with the ongoing tick and flea treatment.
- Make sure to dry up your canine immediately after a bath. Moist surfaces may also attract midges to lay their eggs on it, and you may not even notice it.
- If there is mud all over the body while playing outdoors, use a damp cotton cloth to get rid of it. Contaminated soil and dirt may have parasites on them.
The areas are known as hotspots for midges and other insects, avoid visiting those with your pet during outdoor walks. However, if you reside close to the area, make sure to keep yourself and your pet indoors when you notice a swarm of flies.
If your neighbor’s dog is suffering from midge bites, ensure that the surroundings are clean as there is a high possibility that midges have recently bred.
Regular health check-ups are a must when you have a pet at home. Doctors will diagnose deeper than human parents, which will help in identifying any abnormal situations. Although no such medication is available to keep midges away from attacking but specifically, regular vaccinations will help in developing the immune system.
As a pet parent, keeping a close watch on your pet dog’s normal behavior is also vital. Any changes in their daily activities or excessive licking and scratching may be due to other reasons. Keeping surroundings clean and hygienic will solve most problems concerning midge, mosquitoes, or bites from other insects.