Summer is just beginning, bringing us sunshine, long days and warm weather to enjoy for the next few months. Unfortunately summer also means insects, bees and wasps, which can be a nuisance both to us and our pets.
Dogs, especially young ones, love to chase insects, and this means that they are prone to getting occasionally stung when they are outdoors. This article explains what to do if your dog is stung by a wasp or a bee. It gives advice on how to reduce the pain and what treatments are recommended to help them recover.
Bee stings and insect bites are generally not very serious for dogs. Among the common symptoms that might make you aware that your dog has been stung are localised redness, swelling and sensitivity around the affected area.
However, some symptoms can be more acute. If your dog starts to develop breathing problems, or the swelling spreads beyond the localised stung area, then this may be a sign that they have had an allergic reaction to the sting or bite. Other signals of a bad reaction to the venom can include fever, white gums and a rapid heartbeat. These symptoms can be highly distressing to a dog owner, so if you are worried about a serious reaction, then it may be a sensible idea to contact your vet for advice, as a rapid treatment response may be required.
Removing The Stinger
In the case of bee stings, it is possible to remove the sting from a dog yourself, but it requires a great deal of calm and patience to first set the animal at ease. If they are extremely agitated you may want to restrain and muzzle the dog for your own safety and theirs.
It is common for dogs to bite and scratch around the stung area, so this can be useful to help you determine where the sting is. Stingers are not always easy to see, so look for a raised bump where the skin has become swollen. Once the stinger has been identified, use a credit card, tweezers or knife to scrape it away cautiously, taking care not to squeeze or break the stinger, as this can cause it to release more toxins. If you are having too much difficulty locating and removing the stinger, you can leave it for a vet to do.
Treating The Affected Area
Once the stinger has been removed, you can clean and soothe the affected area to help it heal and relieve the pain. Garlic juice is particularly effective for this because of its natural purifying properties. It can be purchased from natural food shops or pet medicine suppliers online, and should be applied to the entire swollen area. Once the pain starts to subside, your dog will be less prone to scratching and biting the wound, thus making it more likely to heal cleanly and without infection.
After following these steps, your dog should be on their way to making a quick recovery. Above all, it is important to monitor them closely for the 24 hours after you remove the sting, to ensure no further serious symptoms develop.