Pet First Aid: what to do if your dog has been stung
During the warmer months, a favourite pastime for many four-legged creatures is to chase insects. This is fine until they bother a wasp or bee. The results of a wasp or bee sting can be similar to human reactions. Everything from localised pain and swelling through to severe allergic reactions.
How will I know my dog has been stung?
In most cases, your dog will be stung on or around their face. Often dogs will investigate a buzzing insect by exploring flower beds or undergrowth with their faces and will most likely be stung on the snout! While it may be amusing to see your dog with a swollen nose, it will understandably be very painful.
So, save the Instagram posts for later and monitor for any allergic signs from the sting or that they haven’t been stung on their tongue or inside of the mouth – swelling of the throat can block the airway and have fatal consequences. It’s also common for bees or wasp to be on the ground, resulting in stingers ending up getting stuck inside pooch’s paws. Some signs to look out for include:
It’s important that a sting isn’t overlooked. As soon as you notice your dog with the symptoms listed above, or possibly more severe symptoms like swelling around the neck, weakness, difficulty breathing or collapsing – immediately take them to the vets for treatment.
How should I treat the stung area?
- It’s important to remain calm, your dog will probably be in considerable pain so try and comfort them as much as you can.
- To soothe the sting, apply ice or a damp cloth. To neutralise a bee sting, you can apply a paste of baking soda and water. For wasp stings, it is recommended to soak a small amount of vinegar on a cotton pad which will soothe and disinfect the area.
- If the offender was a bee, the sting could still be visible so try and pull it out.
- If your dog shows any signs of having been stung inside the mouth or throat, has any signs of breathing difficulty or has displayed any signs of anaphylactic shock – contact your vet immediately.
How else can I treat a sting?
If the reaction still hasn’t gone down, your vet may prescribe an antihistamine like Piriton. This can only be prescribed by your vet. Never, give your dog human medicines from your cabinet at home.
This article is for guidance only and if you have any concerns about your pet you should always seek the advice of a qualified vet.
If in doubt contact your veterinary practice
And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!