Spring is just around the corner and nature is awakening to new life. The flowers sprout everywhere and attract hungry insects. During this beautiful season, dogs love to romp across the meadows and wallow in the fresh grass. It can happen that these nosy dogs are stung by insects, for example when they step in an anthill or disturbs a wasp nest or beehive. Some insect bites are harmless, while other insect stings can be dangerous for a dog, ranging from mild irritation to life-threatening shock. In this article, you will learn how to properly provide first aid measures if your dog suffers from an insect sting.
First Aid For Insect Bites
I can still remember the situation as if it had just happened yesterday: My dog Luna is digging enthusiastically in a meadow when she suddenly throws herself on the ground and rolls around vigorously. I am amazed and take a closer look: Luna is besieged by wasps! She disturbed a wasps net while digging. Of course, the wasps don’t think that’s funny at all and attack both Luna and me.
The consequence is a bitten dog. Fortunately, this happened right around the corner from a veterinarian who came over immediately and treated Luna as a precaution with allergy drugs and then ordered her to rest.
But what do you do when a vet is not available and your dog has been stung by a wasp, hornet, bee, or bumblebee?
How to Do the Right Thing With Insect Bites In Your Dog
Some dogs are known to snap at insects. If they are stabbed in the mouth or throat in the process, it can be very dangerous for them. But a sting can also happen by chance. Some insects hang around the bowl, especially in summer, and sting your dog while eating or drinking. It can also happen that your dog accidentally steps on an insect.
In the best-case scenario, you will immediately recognize that your dog has been stung. Maybe you see or notice it because he suddenly howls, whines, paws at its face, chews at its foot, or begins to swell in some part of the body.
Other signs of an insect bite in dogs can include:
- Rattle and shortness of breath
Please remember that dogs can also be allergic to insect bites. Below you will find out more about the symptoms in the section “This is how you recognize an allergic shock”.
If you notice any unusual behavior in your dog and it is just the insect season, it is best to examine him immediately for any possible insect stings. Bees leave their stingers behind after stinging, but this can also happen with wasps. These left-behind stingers continue to secrete venom into the dog’s body. If you discover a stinger, remove it directly with tweezers or scrape it away with a credit card and flick it off the dog’s coat.
It is usually sufficient to take the following first aid measures:
- Soothe the sting site with cold water or an ice pack and press on the affected area for 10 minuets to minimize swelling. Wrap the ice pack with a thin cloth, or otherwise it will get too cold if you press it on one spot for a long time.
- Try household remedies such as vinegar or a sliced onion drizzle on the sting site.
- To prevent your dog from scratching or licking at the bite wound, use a head cone to avoid infection.
Afterwards, keep an eye on your dog, because as already mentioned, an allergic reaction can also occur. If you are unsure, it is best to take your dog to a nearby veterinary clinic.
If your dog has been bit in the face, throat, or respiratory tract, extra caution is required. This is usually associated with swelling, which can lead to shortness of breath or even suffocation.
In this case, the following measures are important:
- If possible, remove the stinger and cool the affected area intensively. Again, you can use cold water or a wrapped cool pack.
- If the bite wound is located in the mouth or throat, you can give your dog ice cubes or ice cream to lick. If your dog finds it difficult to eat, feed liquid food to him or mix the dry food with water.
It is now important to monitor your dog very closely and to take him to a veterinarian as quickly as possible when emergency occurs. Under no circumstances should you treat your pet with medication on your own, as some remedies from human medicine are dangerous for dogs.
This Is How You Recognize An Allergic Shock
An allergic shock can be caused by an insect bite, but it can also be caused by medication or food that your dog is allergic to. The degree of allergic reaction varies with dog breeds and the type of insect bites. The symptoms of an allergy are similar to us humans and can manifest themselves as follows:
- Severe itching. Your dog may roll in the grass or on the floor in an attempt to scratch at itching area.
- Rash / redness
- Severe Swelling
- Dizziness. Your dog isn’t alert to the surrounding environment or stumbles.
- Shortness of breath. If the swelling occurs in the respiratory passage,
- Weakness or even loss of consciousness
- Excessive drooling. If the swelling occurs in the throat, your dog finds it hard to swallow its saliva and drools excessively.
Even an initially mild itch can quickly result in life-threatening shortness of breath in the case of an allergy. Therefore, take any signs of an allergic reaction seriously and consult a veterinarian.
In order to keep a calm head in an emergency, it makes sense to take part in a first aid course.
This is How You Can Prevent it
By prevention, I don’t mean that you should destroy or exterminate all the insects around your house. Rather, it’s about taking a few protective measures to avoid insect bites. This includes, among other things, teaching your dog not to snap at insects, preferably from the puppy age. It may look funny, but it can be a real danger for him. For example, praise him when he behaves calmly around a flying animal. This way you reinforce this desired behavior in your dog.
By the way, catching food in the air can increase the chance of snapping at insects. Therefore, it makes sense not to teach your dog this in the first place or to stop doing it again.
Another measure is to clear away your dog’s food bowl during insect season after they have eaten. Hornets and wasps like meat and are attracted by leftovers. You should also check the drinking bowl regularly and remove insects from it.
If your dog has been stung before and you know he is allergic, you should get medication from the vet. Keep this with you so that you can access it quickly in an emergency, even when you’re on the move.
Almost every dog is stung by an insect at some point in its life. Often times, the consequences are harmless and you may not even notice the sting.
However, if your dog has been bit in the neck or throat, it can become life-threatening. An allergic reaction is also possible after an insect bite. Therefore, you should treat the sting immediately and then watch your dog carefully.
Fortunately, a few preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of a sting.