It is bee season out in the warm summer months. Make sure your dog is safe from those nasty bee stings.
By Daniel Conmy, edited by Samantha Meyers
Many of us have been stung by bees. No one likes it. When a bee comes by, people often flail and scream and run like Godzilla is attacking the city. Luckily a bee sting is generally not too bad. It might be a little painful and then it turns itchy, but that’s about it, unless of course you are allergic (in which case, please do run and scream).
While dog’s don’t have the same fear reaction that humans have, they physical reaction to a bee sting is not that different. Often dogs will have a similar reaction: some mild irritation and itching. But just like with humans, dogs can suffer from allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings and if your dog has never been stung by a bee, you won’t know if he’s allergic until it happens.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reactions:
To be safe, the ASPCA recommends taking a dog that has been stung be a bee to your vet for treatment right away, as significant allergic reactions can become life-threatening. This becomes even more important if your dog is stung by multiple bees or stung anywhere inside the mouth. Dogs, if stung multiple times at once, can suffer damage to their kidneys and even die from the complications.
Here are some tips on keeping your dog safe from bee stings:
1. Be smart when outdoors. Bees and wasps alike spend most of their time out and about during the hottest times of the day. Plan to take your dog on walks and have playtime at either dawn or dusk, as it reduces the risk of your pup being stung.
2. Stay away from flowers. Although, this might seem self explanatory for you, dogs might not understand. It is imperative to keep your dog away from flower gardens and the like because of the amount of bees that are usually found in those areas.
3. Light on the fragrances. Bees are attracted to sweet smells. So, if you are out and about with your dog, lay off the perfume and deodorant, as it might bring some unwelcome guests during playtime or your walk.
What if your dog is stung by a bee?
One important thing to always remember is to stay calm. Your best friend cannot be helped if you are not in the right state of mind.
Once you realize that your four-legged friend has been stung, take these steps to minimize the damage:
1. Look at the area where your dog was stung and try to remove the stinger if it is still present. Note: DO NOT try to pinch and pull it out like a splinter, as that can lead to more venom in the dog’s system. Instead, try to flick it out with your finger or a sharp edge, like a credit card.
2. After removing the stinger, apply a mixture or baking soda and water to the sting area. If it is a single bee sting, monitor your dog for breathing troubles, allergic reactions, or other complications. If your dog swells up a considerable amount or has any of the previous symptoms, do not hesitate and go to your nearest veterinarian.
3. If your dog is only having mild symptoms and seems in good health, Dr. Jon Geller, reccomends using over-the-counter diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
“You can give your dog up to 1 milligram per pound of body weight. If your dog is very small, look for pediatric diphenhydramine formulations,” says Geller, who also notes that it’s important to use plain oral tablets, capsules or liquid that contain no other ingredients. “It typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the antihistamine to take effect. In some dogs, only an injection of steroids and antihistamine by your veterinarian will be effective.”
If the swelling is anything more than mild, give diphenhydramine at home, then immediately take your dog to the vet for repeat injectable drugs.
3. If your dog has been stung multiple times, go to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.
And now that we covered all that serious information that has made you all the better parent to your pet, please enjoy these photos of the only kinds of bees we do like: dog bees.