What to do when a wasp or bee stings your dog

As dog owners, we all know that our pets are curious creatures, who love to run around and chase everything that moves. This usually includes insects, which in most cases will put up their own defence to protect themselves and react by giving the dog a sting. Dogs will investigate everything with their paws and noses, the two principal locations of insect stings.

Multiple bee and wasp stings can be dangerous

Most of the time, an insect sting for a dog will be just an irritating and painful sensation, but should he be stung several times, especially in the throat or mouth area can be very dangerous, and this needs an urgent trip to the Vet’s surgery.

Wasp and bee stings are poisons

Two of the most common stinging insects are wasps and bees. It isn’t the small puncture laceration that causes the pain from the sting, but the tiny amount of poison that has been injected into the wound.

BEES – This sting is barbed and will hook into the dog’s skin, however the bee will die when it detaches the sting from its body

TREATMENT – There will usually be tenderness and mild swelling around the sting site, but you need to act fast to remove the venom sting.  It’s best not to squeeze with your fingers or tweezers as this may rupture the venom sac, so instead scrape it out with the edge of a credit card. Monitor your dog and if the swelling remains, contact your Vet. He will most likely prescribe an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl or Piriton. You could also apply a cold compress with some bicarbonate of soda added, onto the sting location, to give some instant relief to your pet.

WASPS – With no barb, yet this sting can be even more painful. These wasps can sting several times if provoked.

TREATMENT -A wasp sting is alkaline and the best treatment you can give is to neutralise it with a diluted vinegar solution. Place an ice pack onto the affected area to soothe the skin. Try to prevent the dog from scratching or licking the sting; a good idea is to use a head cone.

More serious symptoms

Some pets may be allergic to insect stings, and if they don’t receive urgent Veterinary attention, your dog could go into anaphylactic shock. Check for vomiting within the first few minutes after being stung, and look to see if the gums have become pale. Your Vet will administer IV fluids and antihistamine injections, and with clinic monitoring should soon be healthy enough to go home.

Maintain water and food intake

Give fresh water and maintain hydration. If your dog’s mouth has been stung, he may find it too sore to chew so offer moistened food.

Try not to curtail your pet’s curious nature, but of course be prepared to act in the event of an insect sting.