If your dog is anything like mine, bees, wasps and other flying insects are to be chased! While this might look like fun and games , getting too close can result in dogs being stung. For most this is a simple case of localised pain and swelling and lots of TLC but if stung in the mouth, this can be dangerous. Multiple stings can be fatal.
Most dogs if stung, are stung on the paws, face or if they have been snapping at the bees and wasps, are more likely to be stung in the mouth or throat. This is potentially dangerous as any swelling can compromise airways making it very difficult to breathe.
SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE BEEN STUNG
Holding its paw
Licking its paw or affected area
Scratching at an affected area
Like some humans, some dogs can be hypersensitive (allergic) to insect stings. The type of reaction varies with the dogs immune system and the type of sting. Allergic reactions usually occur within 20 minutes of the sting but it can be delayed for a few hours, close monitoring is vital.
If your dog shows any of these signs, they may be having an allergic reaction. Call a vet and transport your dog straight away.
Difficulty in breathing
Swelling of the mouth/throat
Hives – these appear as lumps under the skin or as red lumps on areas with less hair like the tummy. Hives will itch a lot.
TREATMENT FOR BEE AND WASP STINGS
1) If you can still see the sting, remove it by swiping with the side of something like a credit card. Be very careful if you intend to try and use tweezers as they can squeeze venom back into the dogs body. Bees are the only insects that leave their stinger behind and the longer they are in the dogs body, the more venom they can secrete.
2) Soothe the affected area. This may just need a cool pack applied or even a frozen pack of peas! Wrap both in a towel first before applying. Apply for around 10 minutes to try and reduce any pain and swelling.
3) Some people like to use homemade remedies. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of them but I have listed them for those of you who would like to give them a go:
For a bee sting, make up a weak solution bicarbonate of soda and apply this to the affected area. Please DO NOT use if the sting is near an eye. A bee sting is acidic so, as the bicarbonate is alkaline, it is supposed to neutralise the sting.
For a wasp sting, apply a small amount of vinegar. Please DO NOT use if the sting is near an eye. The wasp sting is alkaline so, as the vinegar is acidic, it is supposed to neutralise the wasp sting.
I get asked a lot about the use of antihistamines on my dog first aid courses. I also know some dog parents keep tablet forms in their dog first aid kits. I have even seen websites recommending their use from your own supply at home for treatment for bee and wasps stings.
Some human antihistamines can be used for dogs but there are others which can make them seriously ill and in some cases, can be fatal. NEVER give any human medication to your dog unless you have been directed to do so by your own veterinary surgeon.
No dog parent wants to restrict the natural curiosity of their canine friend but being prepared will go a long way to you both being able to enjoy your time together in the big outdoors.