Dogs are curious by nature, and they love to explore their environment. But what if they get into a bit of trouble while out and about? You may find yourself in need of a quick answer from Google with a ‘dog stung by wasp’ search. If that’s the case, we’ve put together exactly what to do if your dog ends up the victim of a wasp’s stinger.
Check for an Allergic Reaction
The problem with wasps is that they aren’t a one and done sting like bees. While bees lose their stinger after one sting, wasps don’t and can sting many times. But both types of sting need monitoring for potential allergic reactions fire ant bites will also cause a reaction. Reactions usually occur within the first 10-30 minutes. But you should watch your dog for at least 24 hours for any signs that might come up. If any of the following happen, call your vet right away:
- Extensive swelling at the site of the sting or in the mouth or throat
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- General weakness, dizziness, or disorientation
- Severe skin redness or hives
- Persistent vomiting
- The sting happens inside the mouth or throat
- Your dog has many wasp stings
Animals that have been stung many times can also have pale gums or a tense abdomen. Besides the dangers of anaphylactic shock from one or more wasp stings, multiple stings are also more dangerous. They can lead to what’s called envenomation or immune-mediated secondary hemolytic anemia (IMHA). Although not as common, any of these situations can lead to death and should be taken seriously.
Treating a Dog Stung by Wasps
Most wasp stings won’t mean a trip to the vet, but it’s still important to know how you can make your dog comfortable at home while they recover. When you search for ‘dog stung by wasp,’ many remedies come up, but they are often confused with bee stings. But, treatment is not always the same. Sciencing.com explains that unlike the acidic venom of a bee, wasps produce an alkaline venom. Treating the reaction itself is also key since not all dogs react the same way to a wasp sting. It’s also helpful to remember that if your dog likes to lick, you’ll want to cover the treated area with a bandage or use a dog cone while your dog is recovering.
Benadryl is an antihistamine and treats the itchiness and swelling of the sting. You should always talk to your doctor before giving your dog any human medicine because certain medicines can be deadly. Benadryl is often a recommended treatment for non-life-threatening swelling, though. Vets recommend giving 1mg per pound. Standard pills come in 25mg, so you may need to cut a pill in half or use children’s Benadryl, which comes in 12.5mg doses.
Ice is the best way to reduce any swelling that occurs and actually helps keep the wasp venom from absorbing. Be sure to wash the area with soap and water first and then wrap ice in a towel and place it on the site of the sting. You’ll only need to do this once or twice for about 10 minutes each time.
There are a few reasons that vinegar works as a treatment for wasp stings. One is that it can help reduce the pain and inflammation. It also has anti-itching and antiseptic properties, so it’s safe to use on the nose and mouth of your dog. You can soak a cotton ball in brown vinegar, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar and place it on top of the site of the sting. Slight pressure can be applied if your dog can tolerate it, and you can leave the cotton ball on for several minutes. Some dogs might even appreciate a foot soaking if the sting is on their paw.
Lemon juice is an excellent neutralizer for wasp stings, and bathing the affected area can help reduce the pain of the wasp’s venom. You can follow the same steps as with the vinegar since both work the same way.
Onion, garlic, and cucumber
Food is good for our bodies in many ways, including their healing properties. While you should never feed your dog onions and other foods, they can still help treat wasp stings. You can crush a clove of garlic and lather its juices on the site, covering it with a bandage for around 30 minutes. Or, try cutting an onion in half and placing the onion flesh side down with a little pressure for a few minutes to relieve the pain. Cucumbers also have natural astringent properties and feel cool to the skin. Rub a slice on the was sting for a minute to help ease the pain.
You can also buy aloe vera and apply it to the affected area for some skin soothing. Repeat as often as necessary to help with discomfort.
While home remedies and medicine are great for treating the symptoms, a bit of quiet distraction and good old fashioned love can do wonders too. Reducing your dog’s activity can help with healing. Give them a favorite treat or chew toy or let them enjoy a gentle petting or brushing session. Even offering some other type of calm distraction can help take their minds off the pain.
How to Tell if Your Dog has Been Stung
It’s important to note that the most common places for a dog to get stung include the nose, mouth, face, or paws. These should be the first places you check. Areas of the body that have less hair are also common, although not as much. If you’re out in the yard when your dog is stung, you’ll know they’ve been stung right away. But if you weren’t with them, there are certain ways they will act that will help you determine that they’ve been stung.
They're acting different
Your dog’s behavior is a huge indicator that something may be off. They may be agitated, whimpering, not wanting to be touched, or running in circles. They will likely not be in a calm state.
You can tell they're in pain
Pain is hard to determine since each dog is different. Some telltale signs include avoiding putting pressure on their paws or lifting their paw in the air or avoiding walking. Pawing at their face or whimpering are indicators here as well.
They are obsessively grooming
Chewing on their paws to licking an area more than usual can show that your dog may have been stung by a wasp. Some dogs that are itching one spot over and over are also telling you something is bothering them.
You see obvious physical signs
If your dog is drooling excessively or repeatedly flicking their tough as if licking the air, these may be signs. Or if you notice swelling or redness on a particular area of their body, it’s a good indicator they’ve been stung, and you should take a look.
Preventing Wasp Stings
It’s not always easy to avoid insect stings, especially from insects that are disturbed or agitated. But there are steps you can take to help reduce your chances of finding yourself or your dog in a situation that could lead to getting stung.
- Don’t swat at them. This will aggravate wasps even more and cause them to attack.
- If they are swarming or chasing, run into the wind, as this can slow them down a bit.
- If they are surrounding you or attacking, protect you and your dog’s face as best you can, as this is the most dangerous area to get stung.
- Consider special products such as those that protect the face of your dog while they are outside.
- Make sure to check for any nests – in the ground and up high – that may be home to wasps and have a professional remove them.
Wasp Nest, Image by Dianne Olivier From Pixabay
One Last Word About Wasps
Wasps are a part of nature, and you and your dog will come in contact with them at some point. And where there is one wasp, there are likely more. Because wasps can sting more than once, remembering this information can help you know what to do in an emergency. It can also prevent serious or fatal outcomes from happening to your dog. Keep in mind that most wasp stings are not life-threatening, and your furry friend will likely be okay after a bit of R&R.