What to do if Your Dog is Stung by a Bee or Other Insect

What to do if your dog is stung by a bee or other insect

Summer walks with your dog are a joy, but with the warmer weather also comes bees, wasps, and other insects, which curious noses might just find a little too interesting. If your dog likes a beach day, jellyfish stings can also pose a risk. A dog stung by a bee or wasp will not usually suffer any serious problems, so it is not generally a cause for concern. The same goes for insect bites on dogs. However, we know it’s never nice to see your furry friend in discomfort, and there are some situations where your dog may need treatment. So read on to find out what to do if your dog gets stung by a wasp, bee, other insect or a jellyfish.

How to Tell if Your Dog Got Stung by a Bee

Bee stings in dogs are not uncommon and there are signs you can look out for to determine whether this is the problem. Signs that your dog has been stung by an insect include biting or pawing over the affected area, drooling and sounds of distress. You should also be able to see swelling where the insect stung.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet After a Bee Sting?

While your pet may not need to see the vet, if your dog is stung by a bee and you’re worried, you can always call your vet for advice. Like in most humans, bee stings in dogs are painful but usually don’t pose a real health threat. The only times you should be more concerned are when your dog has been stung multiple times, the bee or wasp sting is in your dog’s mouth or throat, or they show signs of an allergic reaction. Being stung in the mouth or throat can cause swelling that can restrict the airways and cause breathing problems, so you’ll need to seek urgent veterinary care. Signs that your dog may be having an allergic reaction to an insect sting include vomiting, irregular breathing, collapse, pale gums, diarrhoea, swelling around the mouth or neck, and excessive swelling that spreads away from the affected area. If your dog shows any of these symptoms within ten minutes to a few hours of being stung, consult your vet straight away.

Top tip: If you’re going on holiday with your dog, make sure you have the local vet’s contact details. Don’t leave it until you have an emergency to find a contact number in a panic!

How do You Get a Sting Out of a Dog?

If your dog gets stung by a bee, there will likely still be a sting embedded in your dog’s skin. It will look like a thin, dark strand or small dot, and there may be a bulbous tip on the top of the strand, which is the venom sac. Removing the sting as soon as possible will minimise the pain for your dog. You should remove the sting by scraping it with a credit card or something similar – never use tweezers or try to pull the sting out as squeezing it will release more venom, causing more pain and a worse reaction. Be sure to scrape from below the venom sac. You can also apply a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water to the area to neutralise the bee sting. This method also works on stinging nettles.

What to Do if Your Dog Gets Stung by a Wasp

If there is no sting to remove, which will be the case with a wasp sting and a bite from any other insect such as ants and flies, then you can go ahead and help reduce any swelling and pain. Do this by first bathing the area in water if possible. Then hold a cool, damp cloth to the area to help reduce the swelling. You can also add ice or something frozen like a bag of peas over the top of the cloth for five to ten minutes – never apply anything frozen directly to the skin, always wrap it in some form of cover first.

How Long Does a Sting Hurt for a Dog?

Bee stings in dogs are painful, but the pain should go away within a few hours. However, it can take longer to ease if it’s in a particularly sensitive area like the mouth or nose. Always contact your vet if your dog is particularly uncomfortable following an insect sting.

What Medication Can I Give My Dog for a Bee Sting?

A common question people have regarding bee stings in dogs is whether they should give their pet an antihistamine or other medication. Before you give your pet any medication you should consult your vet for the correct dosing and advice. Never give your pet medication without consulting a vet as it could pose an even higher risk to their health than the sting.

Jellyfish Stings in Dogs

With beach trips looking very appealing in the summer months, be aware that dogs can get stung by jellyfish too. Not only can dogs be stung while swimming in the sea, but dead jellyfish on land can still sting for several weeks too. Jellyfish stings in dogs can be very painful, and can be more serious than insect stings. Therefore, get your dog to a vet right away if your dog is stung by a jellyfish. You should pull any tentacles off using gloves or with a stick, and you can also wash the affected area in salty water (sea water is fine) or a mild vinegar solution to help deactivate the sting.

Wrapping Up

On your dog walks this summer, keep an eye out for buzzing insects and other stinging creatures that your furry friend might find interesting. But don’t panic if they do get stung, as most dogs will be absolutely fine, if uncomfortable for a while. However, if you ever have any cause for concern or your dog has a reaction, always speak to your vet.

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