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Bee Stings How to know and What to do!

By Dr. Becker

Despite their fur-covered bodies, dogs can be stung by flying insects like bees, wasps and hornets just like people can. This is especially true for dogs who become curious or stalker-ish when they spot a stinging insect.

Unlike humans who typically dodge, weave and run away from the tiny buzzing beasts, many dogs try to move in closer for a better look, and some even snap at the insects with their mouths. If your furry family member gets stung, rest assured the bite is just as painful for her as it would be for you. Even more worrisome is the possibility of a serious or even life-threatening allergic reaction when a dog is stung.

How to Know if Your Dog Has Been Stung

The three areas of your dog’s body most likely to be stung are the nose, mouth, and less frequently, the paws. Certainly a swollen muzzle is a sign your dog may have encountered a stinging insect.

A dog who has been stung may also suddenly begin running in circles, yelping, and/or pawing at his face or rubbing it against the ground. If this is happening to your dog, chances are you’ll find evidence in the immediate area such as a beehive, wasp nest or insects buzzing around.

Like humans, dogs experience a variety of reactions to being stung, including scratching, licking and biting the area where the sting occurred. You might also notice a patch of red, inflamed skin. These are relatively benign reactions to a sting.

In more serious cases, the dog’s muzzle, head or neck area will swell noticeably. There may also be extreme pain, the appearance of hives, vomiting and difficulty breathing. This is considered a severe allergic reaction that can progress quickly to anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Like people, some dogs are more sensitive to insect stings than others. Smaller dogs often don’t fare as well as the big guys, and swarms of bees are especially dangerous — even fatal.

If Your Dog Has a Severe Reaction to a Sting

The reason dogs’ noses are so often stung is because canines go through life nose-first. And dogs who like to snap at flying insects can also be stung inside the mouth or even in the throat.

If a serious allergic reaction occurs after a bee sting to your dog’s nose, mouth or face, the resulting swelling can interfere with her ability to breathe. Needless to say, if you know or suspect your dog has been stung by an insect and her muzzle or face begins to swell, you should get her to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away. Do the same if your pet has been attacked by a swarm.

Home Care for Nonemergency Stings

If the situation isn’t an emergency, you’ll need to try to find and remove the stinger as soon as possible to reduce the amount of venom that gets into the bite. Tweezers aren’t a good tool for this job. Instead, use a credit card from your wallet to gently scrape away the stinger, ensuring the venom sac comes out with it.

After removing the stinger, you can make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply it to the area to help soothe the itch and irritation. Prevent your dog from licking the area and rinse away the paste after about 15 minutes. You can also offer Apis Mel, which I call “homeopathic Benadryl” along with quercetin (“nature’s Benadryl”) if you have it, or real Benadryl if you don’t, with a starting dose a milligram per pound of body weight.

If the diphenhydramine (Benadryl) isn’t working, it’s time to head to the closest veterinary clinic for further treatment to prevent the inflammatory response from escalating. It’s also important to remember not to let your dog back into the area where he encountered the stinging insects. If he’s stung again right after the original sting, there’s a good chance he’ll have a faster and more serious allergic reaction.



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