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By Sarah Taylor

Insect stings and what to do if your dog gets one

Springtime is here, and so are insects. Even though the thought of your dog getting stung may not cross your mind often, it's still something that we must watch out for. Especially since dogs have a curious side to them, we know they're going to want to find out if they can play with them or not. So why not be ready?

Keep an eye on them at all times for any symptoms that may not show right away. Even if the sting doesn't seem that bad, it's better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to check your pet over really well for swelling if you suspect they've been stung. Most insects won't sting them in their fur so always check their stomach and ears.

Main symptoms to watch for:

  • Swelling around the mouth or tongue; this is the most important as these may cause breathing issues.
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Constant scratching
  • Whimpering when touched
  • Licking stung area
  • Fever
  • Trembling

Check their gums, if they're pale and the dog is vomiting then you need to call your vet and take them there immediately; this is a sign of anaphylactic shock.

Treating the sting

There are a few things you can do in order to relieve your dog from as much pain as possible. Always be careful when doing these and be gentle as you can't be too sure how bad the sting may be. To help ease their pain enough for you to take further actions, get a cloth or sponge and ice cold water and put it on the wound and lightly press down for it to fully work.

  • Aloe Vera gel- great for soothing the pain
  • Baking soda and water paste – great for bumps and sores
  • Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone- calms the irritation
  • Benadryl- For pain, just be sure to check how much you're supposed to give your dog due to their body weight
  • Epsom salt and 2 cups warm water- Bathe dog to treat hotspots and itchy paws

Bees and wasps both sting but are still different. A bee loses its stinger whereas a wasp doesn't; so wasps may sting multiple times. To treat each is different but they both still release venom into your pet. For a bee: Apply baking soda and water paste to help with the pain and the venom; use a card of some sort so you can remove the stinger without releasing extra venom. For a wasp: Apply a pad soaked in vinegar to help with the venom.

You may not be able to keep your dog completely free from insect bites or stings all the time because they are such a curious bunch, but you can definitely take the best precautions possible. You should keep an eye out for any underground hives if you have some land. Always keep your plants sprayed for insects: dogs like to sniff around plants. This isn't something you will always be 100 percent free from but when it does happen, at least you can be ready and prepared for it.

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