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Help! My Dog Has Been Stung By A Bee!
There is nothing like walking your dog on a lazy, warm summer evening. Kids are playing, the flowers are blooming, bees are stinging. Yes, you read that correctly, the bees are stinging! Ouch. Not only do humans suffer from bee stings, dogs do too! Would you know what to do if your beloved four legged friend was stung? Do you know what signs to look for? If not, it's about time you do!
First of all, dogs get stung by bees more often than cats do. They are usually stung on the face, head, or inside of the mouth. Most dogs barely react when stung by a bee; however, others have severe reactions that must be treated immediately. Most stings can be treated with basic first aid supplies that can be found in most medicine cabinets.
Routine Bee Stings (slight reactions)
Most dogs are not bothered by bee stings and have little reaction. Symptoms include minor swelling, redness and itching. If you discover that your dog has been stung, the first thing you must do is remove the stinger. Never use tweezers to do this. Tweezers will only squeeze more venom into your dog. To safely remove the stinger, simply scrape it free with a credit card, fingernail or other blunt object. If your pup appears to be bothered by the affected area or if there is swelling, use a cold washcloth and ice pack to soothe the area. Do not put the ice pack directly on your dog's skin. Place the cold washcloth on the skin first, followed by the ice. If your dog does not protest, leave the washcloth and ice on your dog's skin for 10 to 30 minutes. Frozen veggies also work well!
Benadryl also works well when it comes to reducing swelling and itching. Benadryl pills usually come in 25 milligram doses. You can safely give your dog one milligram per pound of body weight. If you are not sure how much Benadryl to give your dog, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. You can also purchase Benadryl ointment that can be applied directly to your pup's skin. This too helps with itching and swelling.
It is often difficult to treat a bee sting that is located inside of the mouth. First of all, your dog's mouth probably hurts; therefore, the last thing he wants is you poking the sensitive area. If the sting is not severe and he is not having a bad reaction, offer your pup some ice cubes or a bowl of ice water. If your dog refuses to eat his regular dog kibble due to pain, give him some wet food. Even though he hurts, he will probably appreciate the special treat (especially since he won't have to chew!). If you really want to give him a special treat, soften his kibble with warm, low-sodium chicken broth. He will be so happy he will probably forget about his pain…at least for a few minutes!
Unfortunately, some dogs have severe reactions when stung by a bee or wasp. Dogs that have severe reactions often develop severe swelling and some even go into anaphylactic shock. Though rare, anaphylactic shock is very serious and your pet should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Signs of anaphylactic shock include: difficulty breathing, fever, low body temperature, wheezing, trembling, weakness, pale gums vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing and fainting. Simple first aid can buy you some time, but as mentioned before, it is very important that you take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Anaphylactic shock is a condition in which the blood circulation shuts down and can kill your dog within 10 to 20 minutes. I cannot stress enough the importance of emergency medical attention. If you have time, wrap your dog in a blanket to keep him warm and turn on the car heater if it is cold outside. This will help to keep him comfortable as you transport him to the nearest veterinary hospital. If your pet is conscious and able to swallow, give him some Benadryl.
Overall, most dogs do not suffer severe allergic reactions when stung by a bee or wasp. Simple, over the counter medication and ice packs often do the trick and bring your beloved furry friend much needed relief from the pain and swelling. Though severe reactions are rare, it is good to know what to look for…just in case! If all else fails and you are worried about your dog, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian. If you are unsure of what to do, your vet will guide you and if nothing else, will bring you some peace of mind! Woof!