What to do if your dog or cat is stung by a bee or wasp - tips on how to keep pets safe from insects
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From early spring to late autumn, pets such as cas and dogs could be at risk of being stung by a wasp or bee. These stings often occur around the paws, when a pet accidentally treads on an insect, or on the face, if they are trying to catch a bee or wasp.
Single stings are usually painful for your pet but not life-threatening - unless they cause swelling in the mouth or throat. In most cases, a bee or wasp sting will cause some mild pain and irritation but will not need any vet treatment.
However, there can be serious consequences if your pet is stung multiple times by a wasp or bee. If this is the case, seeking vet treatment is the best cause of action.
Symptoms of a bee or wasp sting in dogs and cats
Depending on where they are stung, your pet may:
- Chew or lick paw
- Paw frantically at face
- Smack their lips
- Break out in hives (red, swollen, itchy skin)
What to do if your pet is stung
If you can see the stinger, it means that your pet was stung by a bee as bees leave their stingers behind, whereas wasps and hornets do not. Bee stings continue to inject venom for a while after they enter the skin, so remove them as soon as possible.
Look for a yellowish blob sticking out of the skin and use a credit card to scrape the stinger out, by hooking the edge of the card under the venom sac. Don’t try to remove it using your fingers or tweezers as these can squeeze the venom sac and inject more venom.
To reduce your pets pain and swelling, apply an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or a cloth soaked in cold water to the affected area.. Bathing the area using a solution of sodium bicarbonate to neutralise the acid in a bee sting, or vinegar to combat alkaline wasp venom, may also help.
If the sting is on or around the face or mouth, if there is more than one sting or if your pet is showing signs of an allergic or serious reaction, contact your vet immediately for advice.