Tino and the Red Ants

Share Button

I haven’t told a Tino story in awhile and this one is a doozy. This dates back probably 11 years ago, when we lived in Pasadena and Tino was probably about 5 or 6, so he was in his prime. We frequently ran and hiked in Cherry Canyon, a nearby open space area with miles and miles of trails.
One Sunday, Tino and I went for a run. It was just the two of us, I’m not sure where Sally was – she might have been recovering from her elbow surgery and unable to go with us. But Tino and I were on our own.
We were out a little later than usual, maybe around 10am and it was warm. We were doing a loop where we hiked up a pretty steep trail, looped around along the side of the mountain and then came down a more gentle slope back to the car. Tino was reliable enough that I let him run off lead throughout the park. We were running along enjoying the day and all of a sudden he just stopped. Refused to move. Dead stop. We were about half-way through the run – on the flat trail along the side of the mountain and I had no idea what was wrong.
Then he sat down. I thought maybe he had twisted his ankle or something and fear shot through me. How would I get him down from here? How would I get back to the car? I tried coaxing, pulling, pleading. Nothing worked. I checked him over and saw red ants all over his back legs. He had stepped right on a red ant hill and probably got bit and probably multiple times.
I knew I had to get him away from the ants and down the hill. I brushed all the ants off of him and pushed him away from the nest, but he still wouldn’t walk.
My last resort was to carry him. Did I mention this was when he was 5 or 6 and in his prime? He weighed about 70-75lbs. Now, I workout and I lift weights, but carrying a 70lb dog down a mountain trail for about a mile or more was not likely to go smoothly or end well, but I had no other choice.
I picked him up and off we went. I had to stop and set him down frequently and then finally about 3/4 of the way down he started to walk on his own. We made it down the rest of the hill and into the car and by the time we got home he was fine.
The moral of this story? Well, there’s a couple:

  1. When hiking in remote areas, always carry a cell phone so if you or your dog become incapacitated, you can call someone.
  2. Have a plan – make it now so you know what you will do if something similar happens to you.
  3. Take emergency supplies, water, benedryl, quick wipes. I always carried pepper spray for the coyotes too.
  4. If you have a big dog, take up weight-lifting.

fireantsrunningAnd the red ants? Luckily, Tino didn’t have an allergic reaction, although I think he did sustain multiple bites. They can be quite dangerous though and you should take immediate action, particularly if your dog shows any signs of an allergic reaction. While red ants, or fire ants are much more prevalent in the southeast portion of the US, we do have them here in CA. Their nests are underground, so you can barely tell they are there. This is what the nest that Tino stepped in looked like. Doesn’t look like anything does it. Be careful & be prepared.

Have any of you had a run in with red ants?


Here’s a few additional resources on dealing with red ants:

Fire ant treatment for dogs
How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog



We are joining up with the Monday Mischief Blog Hop, hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog and My Brown Newfies



Share Button


  1. I’ve seen red ants in our neighborhood. I always ring the doorbell and tell the people what is going on and offer to help get rid of them. So far they aren’t in our yard, but I’m afraid it is a matter of time. They are the stuff of nightmares and this post certainly didn’t help. 🙁
    jan recently posted…Police dog put to death by authorities because he looked like a Pit BullMy Profile

  2. I’m so glad I’m not in Florida anymore, luckily in Michigan the only odd color ants I’ve seen are Citronella ones and they’re harmless compared to those darn red ants.

    I’m glad he was OK, I couldn’t imagine having to carry my dog who weighs about 70 lbs… “if you have a big dog, take up weight lifting” is perfect 🙂
    Jen Jelly recently posted…Comment on You Can Help Animal Shelters Without Leaving Home by Jen JellyMy Profile

    • I’d be screwed if I had to carry Jack…he’s weighing in about 82lbs nowadays.
      mkob recently posted…Tino and the Red AntsMy Profile

  3. I have always been afraid of having to pack one of my pups out but I have learned several ways to make stretchers in various pet first aid classes! I would add always keep you dog on a leash to your moral list; Tino was less likely to have stepped on that ant hill with you closer my to watch where he stepped. We have had several near misses with red ants and if not for the leash they would not have been misses!
    (Thank you for another Tino story, by the way. You know I love them!)
    Bethany recently posted…A Parrot At A Parade: Marching Bands, Clowns, Feathers and FunMy Profile

    • You’re probably right, but this was a narrow one-lane path and it was always just easier to let him off. Lesson learned. We just avoided that path from then on.
      mkob recently posted…Tino and the Red AntsMy Profile

  4. Yikes, that sounds nasty! I was stung by a bee once. Mom had Katie on leash and had to carry me about a mile home because it stung my paw pad and I refused to walk. My 38lbs was heavy enough! So glad Tino was alright. Bad ants!
    Emma recently posted…The PlaygroundMy Profile

  5. We have fire-ant nests in our yard, so we have to put stuff on their nests every now and then. But we also have termite treatment done quarterly and that seems to keep them under control as well. So far none of the dogs — even Ducky — have been bothered by them.
    Sue recently posted…Ducky’s Newest ChallengeMy Profile

    • That’s good – we’ve only run into them in that one park, so now that we don’t live there anymore…no more red ants.
      mkob recently posted…Tino and the Red AntsMy Profile

  6. Oh my poor tino and poor you. I would of done the same by carrying him. Great advice on things to bring alone. Who knew one would need a back pack to go for a walk. And yes I had a run in with ants when I was laying in a field with my boyfriend! 😉
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monday Mischief~Solvit Bag Takes A Lickin Cuz Of The Jones ChewsMy Profile

  7. poor Tino, that sounds like a horror-movie. Think in such situation we all would like to have a chihuahua to carry him home. we tried to carry Easy shoulder high ( we saw that once in a video for police dogs), it works with his dad, but not with me, I’m a shrimp :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog THE GREAT WRITING PROCESS TOURMy Profile

  8. Love your tips, especially #4. Thankfully, I’ve never had any experience with fire ants or red ants (knock wood) AND everything turned out alright for you and Tino.
    Sue recently posted…July #Giveaway at For Love of a Dog Jewelry | Monday MischiefMy Profile

  9. That was a tough lesson, we hate reading about you guys out hiking all alone. Glad it all worked out! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…How Pets Help Seniors’ LivesMy Profile

    • Well, I don’t do it too much anymore – stay in more populated areas.
      mkob recently posted…Tino and the Red AntsMy Profile

  10. I love Tino stories, but I hate fire ants. Grew up south of New Orleans, then spent eleven years in Orlando. They were always a reality. My BIL, a plumber, dealt with them regularly and carried a small bottle of bleach at his waist, and cotton balls. He swore than wiping bleach on the bites immediately would kill the reaction to the bite.
    Flea recently posted…Cute Sleepy Pets, FBM 81My Profile

  11. Oh wow! Red ants!!! OUCH!!!! Good for you for carrying him like that!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Oh My Dog! Mondays – Amazing dog birthdayMy Profile

  12. Poor Tino! And poor you! Having to carry Barley back to the car is my biggest fear when we’re adventuring! She has only seen fire ants at her grandparents’ house in Alabama and for some reason she thinks the big, red clay mounds are the perfect spot to stop to potty! I have to watch her really closely to prevent that on our walks.
    Beth recently posted…Sibling BondingMy Profile

  13. Ouch!! We have fire ants in our yard and it is a constant battle. Bentley got into them as a puppy and I was frantic. If you get one on you, then you have fifty or more in a split second. They are vicious and apparently angry at the world, because they love to inflict pain.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…National Ice Cream DayMy Profile

    • I know – they multiple like crazy – hidden magnetic fields or something!
      mkob recently posted…Tino and the Red AntsMy Profile

  14. Eeeeek red ants?! We have never run into them and if we do let’s hope its not on a mountain, mom is a total wimp. Three of us and only one of her, we’d be carrying her down that mountain! BOL!!
    Miley recently posted…The Tale of the TailMy Profile

  15. “If you have a big dog, take up weight-lifting” LOL
    Ouch! Fire ants are the worst!

  16. No ant encounters but Mr. N is allergic to bee stings. Nothing has happened while we’ve had him (knock on wood) but he got stung pretty badly when his foster had him.

  17. Yikes! Never had a run-in with those before! Don’t think I’ve ever seen them! Man… carrying a 70lb dog! Reminds me of a time we took Bailey, our 32lb beagle, on a way-too-hot hike. (We were stupid.) It was the rare hike that’s in reverse – downhill on the way in, uphill on the way out. Well, since it was downhill on the way in, she was doing great. But on the way out, it was hot, it was uphill, she was beat! She laid down and wouldn’t budge. We had to take turns carrying her out of there. Oh my gosh, my arms were burning. I do weights too – but even just 32 lbs of dog going uphill starts to burn! Luckily I had the hubs to trade off with! Can’t imaging carrying 70lbs on my own! (I had to carry Abby – 47lbs! – many times too. I seriously thought about getting a small dog that would be easy to carry in an emergency, but Rita is 42lbs. Not *super* light!)
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Monday Mischief: Wrongfully ConvictedMy Profile

  18. Yikes. I’m so glad we have yet to have a run in with those nasty ants.
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…It Was Her IdeaMy Profile

  19. Hate red ants. We don’t have them in MI but I remember them from the time I spent in FL. Very good advice about having a plan before you need it. Glad you both made it down the hill.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–DistractedMy Profile

  20. We would be in alot of trouble if that happened to me because there is no way I could carry Prince. I do carry my cell phone at all times but I should probably have more emergency supplies on me when we walk. Planning ahead of times is always good advice!
    Stacey recently posted…Review of The Dogs Bark Bakery Dessert TreatsMy Profile

  21. I get some red ants in my yard, but they usually don’t cause a lot of trouble and the black ants often win the battle for yard space. Blueberry did get bitten by a large black ant while on a hike. That sucker really held on and I ended up having to crush him and pull his head off of her leg. It must have really stung her because she wouldn’t put weight on her leg. I had to stop often and douse her leg with ice water until the sting finally passed enough for her to continue with the rest of the hike. She’s only around 43 pounds – but I’m a weakling and I am not sure I could have carried her if I had to…
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…AvoidanceMy Profile

Comments are now closed on this post.