Dog Won’t Stop Licking Bug Bite: Causes and Solutions

When your dog can’t seem to stop licking a bug bite, it can be frustrating for both of you. Not only can the licking cause irritation, but it can also lead to infection, making the situation even worse.

It’s crucial, however, to understand why your dog is licking and how to properly treat the bug bite to ensure a speedy recovery.

Dogs may lick bug bites for various reasons, such as boredom, anxiety, allergies, pain, or even nausea. Identifying the underlying cause is key to addressing the issue and preventing your dog from further aggravating the bite.

Additionally, knowing the proper way to treat the bite can help reduce your furry friend’s discomfort and promote healing. In the following text, we will explore common causes of excessive licking and provide you with valuable tips on how to treat bug bites on your dog.

Dogs + Bug Bites

dog won't stop licking bug bite

If your dog has been licking a bug bite incessantly, it’s important to understand what’s causing the behavior and how to address it. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Identifying the type of bug isn’t crucial: While it’s helpful to know what type of bug may have bitten your dog, it’s not essential to treating the symptoms. Most bug bites on dogs look similar and can cause similar reactions, such as itching, redness, and swelling.
  • Common bug bites on dogs: Some of the most common types of bug bites that dogs may experience include flea bites, mosquito bites, tick bites, and spider bites. Each of these bites may cause different symptoms and require different treatment methods.
  • Symptoms of bug bites on dogs: In addition to excessive licking, some other signs that your dog may have a bug bite include redness, swelling, itching, and skin irritation. Your dog may also appear restless or uncomfortable.
  • Treating bug bites on dogs: The treatment for a bug bite on your dog will depend on the type of bite and the severity of the symptoms. Some ways to treat bug bites on dogs include:
    • Cleaning the affected area with mild soap and water
    • Applying a cold compress to reduce swelling and itching
    • Administering over-the-counter antihistamines or topical creams as recommended by your vet
    • Using flea and tick preventatives to reduce the risk of future bites

By understanding the common types of bug bites that dogs may experience and how to treat them, you can help your dog feel more comfortable and alleviate their symptoms.

Why Dogs Lick Their Bug Bites

dog won't leave bug bite alone

If your dog is constantly licking their bug bites, you may be wondering why they do this. There are several reasons why dogs lick their bug bites, including pain relief, self-healing, and stress relief.

Pain Relief

When a dog has a bug bite, the area can become inflamed and painful. Licking the bite can help to provide temporary relief by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Additionally, the moisture from the dog’s saliva can help to soothe the skin and reduce itching.

Self Healing

Dogs have a natural instinct to lick their wounds, including bug bites. This is because saliva contains enzymes that can help to break down bacteria and promote healing. Licking the bite can also help to remove any irritants that may be present, such as dirt or debris.

Stress Relief

Licking can be a self-soothing behavior for dogs, similar to how humans may bite their nails or fidget when feeling anxious. If your dog is stressed or anxious, they may turn to licking their bug bites as a way to calm themselves down.

It is important to note that excessive licking can actually make the bug bite worse and lead to further irritation or infection. If you notice your dog is constantly licking their bug bites, it may be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

Dangers of Excessive Licking

dangers of excessive bug bite licking

If your dog won’t stop licking a bug bite, it’s important to keep an eye on them. While licking can help soothe the itch, excessive licking can lead to various health problems. Here are some of the dangers of excessive licking:

Skin Infection

When your dog licks excessively, it can break down the skin’s natural barrier, making it easier for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. Signs of a skin infection include redness, swelling, discharge, and a foul odor. If left untreated, skin infections can spread and become more serious.


Excessive licking can also cause inflammation, which can lead to pain, discomfort, and further itching. Inflammation can be localized to the area of the bug bite or can spread to other parts of the body. Chronic inflammation can also weaken the immune system, making your dog more susceptible to other health problems.

Allergic Reaction

Some dogs may have an allergic reaction to bug bites, which can cause excessive licking. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can include symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction, seek veterinary care immediately.

To prevent the dangers of excessive licking, it’s important to address the underlying cause of the behavior. This may include treating the bug bite, providing your dog with a distraction or toy to redirect their attention, or seeking veterinary care for any underlying health problems.

How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Bug Bites

how to stop a dog from licking bug bites

If your dog won’t stop licking their bug bites, it can lead to further irritation and infection. Here are some ways to prevent your dog from licking their bug bites:

Use of E-Collar

An E-collar, also known as an Elizabethan collar, is a cone-shaped collar that fits around your dog’s neck and prevents them from reaching their bug bites. This can be a helpful tool to prevent your dog from licking their bug bites, but it may take some time for your dog to adjust to wearing it.

Applying Bitter Tasting Topicals

There are many bitter-tasting topicals available that can be applied to your dog’s bug bites to deter them from licking. These topicals are safe for dogs and can be found at most pet stores. However, it’s important to make sure that the topical is specifically designed for dogs and that you follow the instructions on the packaging carefully.

Distracting Your Dog

Distracting your dog with toys or treats can be an effective way to prevent them from licking their bug bites. Providing your dog with something else to focus on can help redirect their attention away from their bug bites. Puzzle toys or frozen treats can be a great way to keep your dog occupied.

Remember, it’s important to monitor your dog’s bug bites and seek veterinary care if they become infected or show signs of an allergic reaction. With a little patience and effort, you can help your dog stop licking their bug bites and prevent further irritation.

Consulting a Vet

If your dog won’t stop licking a bug bite, it’s important to consult a vet to ensure that your dog is properly treated. Here’s what you need to know about consulting a vet for bug bites:

When to Consult a Vet

  • If the bug bite is causing severe swelling or pain, it’s important to consult a vet immediately.
  • If the bite is on the face, throat, or neck, it can cause respiratory issues and should be treated by a vet.
  • If your dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or vomiting, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

What to Expect at the Vet

When you take your dog to the vet for a bug bite, here’s what you can expect:

  • The vet will examine the bite to determine the severity of the reaction.
  • The vet may recommend an antihistamine or other medication to reduce swelling and itching.
  • If your dog has an allergic reaction, the vet may administer epinephrine to prevent anaphylaxis.
  • In some cases, the vet may need to remove the stinger or venom sac from the bite.
  • The vet may also recommend ways to prevent future bug bites, such as using flea and tick preventatives or avoiding areas with high insect activity.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health. If you’re unsure whether your dog needs medical attention for a bug bite, it’s always best to consult a vet.

Preventing Bug Bites

If your dog won’t stop licking their bug bite, it’s important to take steps to prevent future bug bites. Here are some tips to help prevent bug bites on your dog:

Bug Repellent for Dogs

Using bug repellent on your dog can help prevent bug bites. However, not all bug repellents are safe for dogs, so it’s important to choose a product that is specifically formulated for use on dogs. Look for a product that contains natural ingredients like citronella, lemongrass, or peppermint oil, as these are generally safe for dogs.

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming can help prevent bug bites by removing any insects that may be hiding in your dog’s fur. Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove any debris or insects that may be present. You can also use a flea comb to remove any fleas or ticks that may be present.

Proper Vaccination

Proper vaccination can also help prevent bug bites. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccinations are recommended for your dog based on their lifestyle and location. Vaccinations can help protect your dog against diseases like Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent bug bites on your dog and keep them healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I soothe my dog’s bug bite?

  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Use a topical cream or ointment recommended by your vet to alleviate itching and discomfort.
  • Give your dog a soothing bath with a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo to help relieve itching.

What are some treatments for insect bites on dogs?

  • Antihistamines can help reduce swelling and itching.
  • Steroid medications can be prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Antibiotics may be necessary if the bite becomes infected.
  • In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

What are the symptoms of a bug bite on a dog?

  • Redness and swelling around the bite area.
  • Intense itching or scratching.
  • Pain or discomfort.
  • Lumps or bumps on the skin.
  • In some cases, vomiting or diarrhea may occur.

Can a bug bite on a dog cause a lump?

  • Yes, bug bites can cause lumps or bumps on the skin.
  • These lumps are usually harmless and will go away on their own.
  • However, if the lump is large, painful, or doesn’t go away, it’s important to have your dog examined by a vet.

What are some ways to prevent bug bites on dogs?

  • Use flea and tick prevention products recommended by your vet.
  • Keep your yard and home clean and free of pests.
  • Avoid walking your dog in areas with high insect populations.
  • Use insect repellent sprays or collars designed for dogs.

Is it safe for my dog to lick their bug bite?

  • In general, it’s safe for your dog to lick their bug bite.
  • However, excessive licking can lead to further irritation and infection.
  • If your dog is constantly licking their bite, it’s important to keep the area clean and dry and consider using a cone to prevent further irritation.