Fire ant treatment for dogs


Treating fire ant stings in dogsFire ants can be a menace to pet owners here in Austin. These aggressive insects will attack even if a dog walks within a few feet of a fire ant nest, biting and stinging in defense and causing an intense burning, itching and swelling. In some cases it can cause infection or a potentially deadly reaction. That’s why it’s important for pet owners to know how to administer treatment right away.

Fire ant bites first aid for dogs

After an attack, first move the dog to a different location to prevent further bites. Next, remove the ants by brushing them off the dog’s body using short, fast strokes from top to bottom. If you can, use a towel, sleeve or gloves. Pet owners should never use water or a hose because it causes the ants to clamp down in response.  Focus on the face, paws, legs and belly first as these are the areas that will most likely sustain bites and stings.

After the ants are removed, provide the following aid:

  1. Apply after-bite liquid or moisten a cotton ball with pure ammonia and dab onto the ant bites to relieve itch.
  2. Mix baking soda and water (or meat tenderizer and water) into a paste and apply to the affected areas for 20 minutes.
  3. Wash the ant bites with antibacterial soap.
  4. Apply anti-itch cream or spray.
  5. Apply a cold compress to reduce itching and swelling.

For longer-haired dogs, you may want to trim the affected areas to find the bite marks.

Make sure the dog is supervised during step two to prevent licking. It’s also important not to leave the dog unattended so that the dog can be observed for allergic reactions.

Ongoing treatment

Continue to provide treatment over the next few days to prevent infection and help with discomfort.

  • Wash the bites with antibacterial soap twice a day.
  • Apply betadine with a cotton ball to disinfect bites and prevent infection.
  • Apply a cold compress as needed to reduce swelling and itching.

At any time after the attack if you notice signs of infection or an allergic reaction, take your dog to the vet immediately. For severe allergic reactions you can provide Benadryl at a dosage of 1 mg/per each pound of body weight every 8-12 hours until veterinarian help is available (consult with a veterinarian prior to giving any medication to a pet).

Dog walking, potty breaks, companion visits

Gusto Dogs dog walking logo Austin, Texas

Is your busy lifestyle causing your dog to give you the big, sad, puppy eyes? Gusto Dogs provides professional dog walkers in the Austin, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Riverplace and surrounding Austin areas. We exercise both your dog’s body and mind to make sure you come home to one happy pooch. We also offer quick potty breaks and companion visits. Learn more about our services.

Signs of an allergic reaction:

  • Pale gums
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hives
  • Swelling (often involving the face and/or paws)
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Refusal to eat and/or drink
  • Lethargy


  • You may also use calamine lotion on the bite.
  • Be sure all ice or cold packs are wrapped in a towel before applying to sting site

Do you walk your dog every day? A daily structured walk is the most important thing you can do for your dog to satisfy his strongest instinct. It will make him a happier, more balanced companion. Busy schedule? Gusto Dogs dog walkers cover downtown Austin, Lakeway, Steiner Ranch and surrounds. Contact us to set up a free meet-and-greet.

View more Gusto Dogs resources and training tips

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About Kristen West

Kristen started Gusto Dogs in Austin after running a pet sitting and walking business for two years in Sydney, Australia. After discovering that the dogs benefited much more from incorporating enrichment into their daily walks, Kristen decided to make it a part of every Gusto dog walk with the aim to provide a more fulfilling experience for Austin's dogs and their owners.