Because dogs and cats use their sniffers to investigate their surroundings bee and wasp stings are unfortunately common.
In most cases, including our recent case Oscar, a sting causes a mild reaction with swelling localised to the site of the sting. You might also see your pet pawing at the sting site as it can get quite sore and itchy.
In some cases, however, pets can have a severe reaction to a sting which can cause its airways to close and your pet to be deprived of air. In these severe cases the sting doesn’t have to be near the face for this to happen.
Signs your pet might be having a severe reaction to a sting include:
Swelling at the site of the sting
Pain at the site of the sting
Itchiness at the site of the bite or over the whole body
Pawing at the mouth
First aid for a pet with a bee or wasp sting
If you can find the stinger remove it by scraping a piece of cardboard across the site of the bite. This will help stop the spread of the toxin into your pet’s blood stream. It’s important not to use a pair of tweezers as this can cause more venom to spread by pushing the stinger further in.
Apply a cool face washer or wash the area with cool water. Alternatively, a cold pack to the site can help reduce the swelling.
Keep your pet quiet to prevent further spreading of the toxins around its body.
If your pet is scratching and pawing at the site and you have a head cone at home, use it until the irritation settles.
Keep an eye on your pet for worsening symptoms.
If your pet collapses or there is any swelling around the face or throat, trouble breathing, pale gums or pain, we advise you see a vet immediately as severe cases can worsen quickly.
Bees are a vital part of our environment and as such we would never encourage you to rid your yard of bees. You may however choose to section off any areas with flowers to try and prevent your pet from coming in contact with bees. If you are taking them for a walk also steer clear of areas with flowers.