Wasp and bee stings are quite common at this time of the year. Although some stings will require emergency care, most cases can be managed at home. Here's what to do if your pooch gets stung.
Is there any difference between bee and wasp stings?
Yes, there is. A bee sting is barbed and detaches from the bee’s body as it flies away. Good news is, a bee can only sting once. Bad news is, it might be quite hard to remove.
On the other hand, a wasp can sting several times which can cause more pain and increase the risk of complication.
Common signs of stings
If your dog is whining, starts swelling or developing lumps, tries to bite or scratch an area of their body, then they might have been stung.
Stings inside the mouth
Whilst stings to the paw are usually not very serious, stings on their tongue, inside their mouth or throat need immediate attention.
There is indeed a risk of internal swelling which might block their airways and cause breathing difficulties. If you suspect that your dog has been stung on these areas, contact your vet immediately.
Can dogs have an allergic reaction?
Yes and it will usually happen within the next 10 minutes following the sting. However in some cases they will only develop a reaction a few hours later.
Vomiting, diarrhoea, large swelling, weakness, disorientation and breathing issues are the main signs of an allergic reaction.
What to do when your dog is stung
When to contact your vet
Get in touch with your vet urgently if your dog seems to have an allergic reaction, has been stung inside their mouth or throat or has had multiple stings. If your dog is fine but it's been a few days and the swelling hasn't gone down, it's recommended to see your vet too.
What to do at home
If your dog doesn't show any alarming symptoms, you can manage the situation at home.
Removing a bee sting
It's important to take it out by scraping it away from their skin. You can use something thin and flat such as a credit card. Avoid using tweezers or pinching the skin as this would pump more poison into your dog's system.
Cleaning the area
Carefully wash the area around the sting with soap and cool water to prevent infections.
Reducing the swelling
Put a wet, cold towel on the area. You can also put a thin cloth on their body then place some ice onto it, avoiding to put it directly onto their skin.
Put a clean tea towel under the cold tap, squeeze it out and then hold it against the affected area. This should help to reduce the swelling and will also feel soothing to your dog. Only leave the ice for 5 minutes.
How about antihistamines?
Some human antihistamines work on dogs but if they are given the wrong dosage, it could do much more harm than good. We highly recommend checking with your vet before giving your dog any sort of medicine.
Even if your pooch seems fine, keep an eye on them for the next 24 hours in case they develop a delayed reaction or feel unwell.