Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dogs can have allergic reactions to bug bites too

“Honey, did you see his eye?” my husband said to me last night, waving me over to the kitchen where he was kneeling and looking at our dog.
I walked over and much to my chagrin, saw exactly what he saw — a huge welt in the corner of our dog’s eye.
“Ouch — that’s a horsefly bite,” I said. “Time for Benadryl!”
We discovered long ago that in addition to being allergic to many kinds of foods, Sensi is also allergic to bug bites. Exactly which bug bites he is allergic to is a bit of a mystery, but I think we’ve pieced together the puzzle pretty well.
It’s actually the deer flies — which I commonly and incorrectly refer to as horseflies — which cause Sensi some misery. The bites will blow up into huge welts depending on the severity of the bite.
Bees, we think, cause an even greater and dangerous reaction in our dog. One time, we had to rush him to the emergency vet after he appeared to have been stung around his mouth. He swelled up to the point that he looked like a Shar Pei and the scariest of it all was that, like a person, his throat began swelling and closing up and his tongue was turning blue.
It was after that incident that we found out Benadryl can be used for dogs. The veterinarian at the emergency clinic gave him a shot of Benadryl and a steriod for that reaction, then recommended we give him two tablets of over-the-counter Benadryl every four hours until the swelling was gone.
She also recommended we keep Benadryl handy and, if any such reactions came about in the future, immediately give him Benadryl to stem the swelling and then seek professional medical treatment.
Since then, we’ve found Benadryl to be very helpful in treating the deer fly bites. It helps him to not be itchy and keeps the swelling to a minimum.
Keep in mind that Sensi is an 80-lb. dog. To find out how much Benadryl is safe to administer to your dog, call your veterinarian and ask. Never guess.
Check out this video of the welt on Sensi’s eye and how we administer the Benadryl to him in a way that he likes very much!


  1. poor sensi,i hope he ate that fly!

  2. this was a very, very helpful and informative blog, thanks for sharing the video!

    My dog thankfully hasn't experienced any bug bites, bee stings or anything of that nature (he is only 3 though! and doesn't spend a lot of time outside, he thinks he is a cat lol) But I thank you for sharing this because I will be on the look out and I know where to come to if I have any questions should this occur.

    I hope Sensi feels better soon!

  3. Thank you Caren! Some pet stores also sell bug spray for dogs, but deer flies aren't easily deterred by any type of bug spray.

    Sensi is feeling much better — the swelling was practically all gone by the time I got home yesterday!

  4. You are welcome!!!

    Hmmm...I have a Sheltie, I don't think bug spray would be good with all of the fur that he has.

    Yay!! So glad to hear that Sensi is feeling better!!

  5. Karen, the peanut butter trick is great. I use it to give Bubba aspirin each night. The aspirin was recommended by our vet for his arthritic hips and really seems to help him get up and moving in the morning. Besides, he thinks he's getting a tasty treat with the peanut butter!

  6. Agreed; nothing works quite as well as peanut butter! Glad to hear Bubba is finding some relief with aspirin — another one of those household products that can benefit our dogs too. Just don't mix it up with Tylenol or a non-aspirin painkiller, which can be fatal if ingested by a dog.

  7. My Pit Bull looks just like that one and is highly allergic to bugs, spiders, but to take her to the emergency vet cost my $800 dollars and they thought she would have a heart attack if they kept her overnight so they sent me home with Benadryl
    and something for her diarrhea. Poor little girl. Big bad Pitbull right. LOL