By Jason Johnson
In my last blog I dealt with one of the most annoying pests my dogs have dealt with: fleas. While these pests were a major annoyance, they never really posed any danger to my dogs. The same can not be said for certain other pests we’ve dealt with, pests of the stinging variety.
Now if I hate pests that are essentially harmless to me or my dogs, just imagine how much I really hate something that may actually be able to cause the loss of my navy blue eyes.
My neighbours’ dog got stung by a bee a few months ago and it looked like the dog had eaten bad prawns the night before. I didn’t want my dogs looking like that because quite honestly, I’m not sure that I could love them as much if they looked like they had botched plastic surgery.
So in order to make sure that my dogs remained lovable I did some research on what to do if they get a bee or wasp sting.
This is what I came up with:
Remove the stinger
This wouldn’t apply if your pet is stung by a wasp. Wasps stingers remain intact after they have stung, thus enabling them to sting several times – pure evil I tell you.
Bee stings are an evil of a different kind. Once they have dislodged the stingers into your pets’ skin, the stinger remains active and is still able to pump venom into the dog. It is therefore very important to remove the stinger as soon as possible.
Also take care to remove the stinger in a way where you don’t agitate it and end up causing more venom to escape the stinger. Use tweezers and gently clasp the stinger at the base and slowly remove it. You can also use the edge of a credit card to flick the stinger out of your pets’ skin.
Clean the area of the wasp or bee sting
It is very important to clean the area of the wasp or bee sting to make sure that it doesn’t become infected. Use a damp cloth and a small amount of soap or disinfectant. Gently wash around the wound and rinse carefully making sure that no soap remains.
Use an ice pack to relieve the swelling
Not just good for keeping wine cool, ice packs are really helpful to reduce swelling in case of bee stings. After you have removed the bee stinger and disinfected the affected area, apply an ice pack. Be careful not to apply the ice pack for longer than 5 minutes at a time as this might do more harm than good. Applying the ice pack should aid in bring down the swelling. Once this is done, open a bottle of wine and enjoy a fruity glass full to calm your nerves.
Baking Soda Paste
No, we are not baking a cake to make the dog feel better! The baking soda mixture is to apply to the bee or wasp sting area after you’ve applied the ice. Baking soda paste or poultice is an effective pain reliever for bee or wasp stings. Simply mix the baking soda with water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the stung area to alleviate your pets’ pain.
If it seems like your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction to the bee sting, use an oral antihistamine to keep the allergic reaction under control. As a rule I always have an antihistamine in a first aid kit at home in case of any allergic reaction. You are generally able to pick these up over the counter.
Call your vet in case of a bee or wasp sting
The guidelines above are just in case of mild bee stings and to help alleviate pain and stop the swelling in most cases. If your dog or cat is ever stung by a bee or wasp it is always advisable to have a vet examine your dog. While these methods may buy you some time, they are not 100% effective.
Lastly, if you have previously experienced problems with bees or wasps on your property, you may want to consider speaking to a beekeeper for wasp or bee removal. They may be able to locate the beehive or wasp nest and remove it once and for all.
This way at least you’ll only have to worry about snakes, spiders and scorpions harming your pets. The joys of living in Africa.