Author, instructor, and pet safety guru, Denise Fleck, recently taught us how to read a dog’s pulse, respiration, temperature, capillary refill time, and more – all the vital signs that let us know when our pups are doing well, or could be in distress. Today she’s back to walk us through what we should do if our pets get stung by a bee.
Just like humans, our pets can experience allergic or inflammatory reactions if they tangle with the wrong insect and wind up getting stung. Their safest strategy is to avoid confrontations with bugs that would do them harm – though convincing them of that can be difficult. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to help keep the bees at bay.
Start in your yard by growing plants like chrysanthemums, lemongrass, or primrose, which don’t attract bees. When you and your pet are outside, burn citronella candles and don’t leave food outdoors. And train your dog to “leave it” whenever he’s tempted to put his nose where it doesn’t belong. Still, even if you take all the precautions, accidents can happen. Pets can be stung on the face, inside the mouth, on their paws, or on other parts of their bodies if they snap at, or sit or step on a bee – so it’s best to be prepared.
If you notice swelling, pawing at the face, or obsessive licking, there’s a good chance that your best friend has met business end of a stinger, and you’ll need to watch him carefully for the next few hours. Some animals, like some people, are highly sensitive to insect toxin and after being stung can go into Anaphylactic Shock, a severe allergic reaction which can cause the circulatory system to shut down.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, which usually occur within an hour of the sting, DO NOT DELAY in getting veterinary care:
1. Severe and profuse swelling (i.e. entire face as opposed to just the lip)
2. Difficulty breathing or increased respiratory effort possibly due to throat swelling
3. Very pale or blue-tinged mucous membranes (inner lips and gums)
4. Rapid and/or irregular pulse
5. Prolonged Capillary Refill Time (Refer to “Checking Your Pet’s Vital Signs,” but if gums are pale, or if it takes longer than 2 seconds for the color to return to the gum when pressed with your finger, your pet needs immediate medical care.)
Even if your pet doesn’t appear to be having a severe reaction, the site of the sting may still be painful or uncomfortable. Keep a close on him while you gather the following items:
To help your pet recover from a bee sting, you can take the following steps:
Of course, bee stings don’t always happen when you’re at home, so be sure that the first aid kit in your car and in your hiking backpack are stocked with the items you’ll need to treat your pet if he should have an unfortunate insect encounter while you’re out and about. Being prepared will allow you to give your pet the attention he needs quickly, so you can both get back to having fun.
About the Author: Denise Fleck is an award winning author and freelance writer. After extensive training and practice she developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPCR curriculum and has been teaching animal life-saving skills for 16 years. Additionally, she developed a 5-month Animal Care course for high school students in conjunction with the Burbank Unified School District and Animal Shelter. She has demonstrated animal life-saving skills on CBS –TV’s “The Doctors,” Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” and other shows and is emBARKing on a 10,000-mile Southern U.S. Pet Safety Tour this Fall. Visit www.sunnydogink.com to find out if she’ll be stopping in a city near YOU!
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