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Bee & Wasp Stings

Bee & Wasp Stings — What to look out for if your dog has been stung

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 8.44.35 PMDogs are very curious creatures and love chasing all sorts of “flying” insects, bees and wasps which they come across when playing outside or sniffing about in their gardens or at the parks.

In many instances when chasing these wasps and bees the insects protect themselves by actually stinging the dogs.

Multiple stings can be dangerous. Normally, and generally speaking though these stings are mostly more of an irritation to your dog.

However getting stung several times or being stung inside the mouth or throat or eating a wasp or bee and swallowing it is likely to be dangerous and the dog needs to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

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The severity of any dogs or animals reaction to a sting is difficult to predict as well as highly variable. So it is better to be aware of what to look for in case it happens to your pet.

The two most common types of stinging insects are bees and wasps. It is not the small puncture wound that causes the sting’s pain but the small amount of poison that is injected.

  • A bee’s stinger is barbed and designed to lodge in the skin, killing the bee when the stinger detaches from the body
  • Wasp stingers are not barbed but are more painful, and if provoked these insects can sting multiple times
  • As mentioned above most of the time dogs get stung on their faces from investigating a stinging insect too closely. A sting on your dog’s sensitive nose is particularly painful. Some dogs may get stung on the tongue or inside their mouth or throat if they try to bite or catch an insect. These stings can be dangerous as the subsequent swelling can close your dog’s throat and block his airway.
  • It is vital to watch for allergic reactions. A severe reaction can be caused by a large number of stings or by an allergic reaction. Signs of a reaction include: General weakness, Difficulty breathing, A large amount of swelling extending away from the sting site
  • If your dog is having a severe reaction, you need to take the dog to a vet immediately.
  • Simple stings can be safely left alone and are really only bothersome temporarily. Should a stinger still be attached to the dog, try to remove it by scraping it off with a fingernail or a rigid piece of cardboard. Even a credit card can work. Try to avoid using tweezers or forceps to remove the stinger as it may force more venom out of it.
  • To help relieve the pain and from your observation it’s just mild itchiness or swelling that you are aware of you can treat your dog at home. But ensure that your dog is not too uncomfortable with it and there is nothing on or around their face you can wrap ice or an icepack in a towel and apply it to the wound to reduce the swelling and pain. Should you have any baking soda, make a weak mixture of baking soda and water and apply to the affected area to help reduce the pain. But if in any doubt whatsoever or you are uncertain of the number of stings or the amount of swelling is increasing do not hesitate but rather take your dog directly to your vet for the correct professional assistance – never leave it to chance.
  • Always maintain a watchful eye on your dog. Keep a close observation on him or her after the stinging incident to ensure an allergic reaction doesn’t develop even if several days have past. Similarly if the swelling hasn’t gone down notify your veterinarian. Again do not leave it and hope that the symptoms decrease always keep in contact with your veterinarian.

By Joanna, Trainer

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