Dogs love to chase anything that moves, however, sometimes those interesting moving things can give them a nasty surprise. Wasps can be particularly good fun for dogs to chase and snap at, but if you have ever seen a dog stung by a wasp, you know it isn’t pretty.
Wasp stings can cause all sorts of problems for dogs and they can be potentially life-threatening. We have put together all the information you need to know about wasp stings and what treatment methods to take below.
Facts About Wasp Stings on Dogs
Your dog is interested in pretty much everything around them and they love small flying, buzzing insects. Any insect that crosses your dog’s path could be a tasty treat for them or just a bit of a game. It might even be annoying them and they want to get rid of it.
While wasps may seem like a great bit of fun, your dog is not aware of the problems that they can cause. Wasp stings can be seriously nasty and they can even be life threatening.
Wasps sting dogs because they feel in danger. They are threatened by dogs and their natural response is to defend themselves. A wasp will usually sting a dog when they are being touched, pawed at or when their nests are in danger.
Where Do Wasps Usually Sting Dogs?
The most common areas for wasp stings are around the face, inside the mouth and on the paws. These are common places because dogs love to investigate wasp’s nests closely, or dig them up if they are in the ground.
A wasp sting can cause significant swelling, which can be potentially dangerous if it is around the throat. This is because the swelling can cause your dog’s airways to become blocked.
How Wasp Stings Work
Wasps produce venom inside the venom gland, and then store it in a sack. From here, the venom seeps out through valves to coat a smooth, barbless stinger. Wasps keep this venom coated stinger inside a sheath, ready for any potential threat or prey. Male wasps do not have stingers, however, they are known to brandish their harmless behinds in an attempt to frighten off threats.
A wasp’s venom has two aims:
- First it is used as an offensive weapon that can paralyze insects for easier transport back to the nest.
- The second aim is to use it as a defensive weapon that delivers just enough pain to convince larger animals to stay away.
Check out this article for more information about how wasps work.
Unlike bees, wasps do not leave their stinger in their victim, so you should not have to worry about removing it if your dog gets stung.
Are Wasp Stings Dangerous to Dogs?
If you have ever been stung by a wasp, you know it hurts pretty bad. Wasp stings are nasty, not because of the small puncture wound the produce, but because of the venom that is injected. Usually a dog will only experience a bit of pain and discomfort, but some dogs may have a more significant reaction.
Allergy & Anaphylaxis from Wasp Stings on Dogs
It can hard to tell if a dog is suffering from a more severe reaction, or they are just experiencing a bit of pain. Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things including wasps. All wasp stings on dogs should be monitored closely and treated as potential emergency situation.
Dogs can suffer from anaphylaxis, which is a very severe allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis can be potentially life threatening and will almost certainly require a trip to the vets. It can happen in lightning speed and you need to get treatment as soon as possible to get the best outcome for your pet.
If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, they may show signs of the following symptoms:
- General weakness and difficulty moving
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling that extends from or surrounds the area they were stung
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Fever or low body temperature
Dogs who are showing the symptoms above should be taken to a vet immediately. If you have a delayed response, the outcome can be much worse.
Pets can die in as little as 10 minutes from anaphylaxis unless they get veterinary help.
Another thing to remember is watch for any signs of delayed anaphylaxis. Sometimes reactions can occur at a later point, not immediately, so monitor your dog for an extended amount of time after the wasp sting.
Treatment for Wasp Stings on Dogs
A single wasp sting isn’t usually dangerous to dogs, unless they suffer an allergic reaction. One wasp sting should only produce a bit of pain and discomfort for your dog, which will eventually subside. Remember that wasps can sting multiple times, which can be more problematic for your dog.
If your dog is not showing signs of an allergic reaction, you will probably not have to go to the vets.
Benadryl Treatment for Dog Wasp Stings
Benadryl is commonly used by dog owners around the world to treat wasp stings. It is commonly used by vets and having some on hand will mean you won’t have to take a trip to them. Before using Benadryl, ask your vet about dosage amounts for your particular dog. Below we have given you a bit of a guide for dosages, but it is always best to check with your veterinarian.
- Dogs under 30 pounds (13kg) 10mg
- Dogs from 30 to 50 pounds (13 to 22.6kg) 25mg
- Dogs over 50 pounds (22.6kg) 50mg
Keeping Benadryl on hand is always useful, especially when you are in an area where there are no vets or when they can’t see you immediately. If you are taking your dog on a long walk or hike, we recommend keeping some Benadryl on you, just in case. Benadryl will usually reduce swelling in about 20 minutes or so.
Always remember to only use plain Benadryl formula or children’s Benadryl. Your vet should be able to recommend the best Benadryl for your dog.
Use a Cold Pack or Compress the Sting Area
A cold pack can help soothe the pain and can reduce swelling and inflammation. You can use a bag of frozen peas or corn wrapped up as a cold pack. Leave the cold pack on the swollen area for about 20 minutes.
Try a Mixture of Baking Soda and Water
A mixture of baking soda and water applied to the sting area can help soothe the pain your dog is experiencing. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste and apply it to the affected area. While this is a great way to naturalise the sting, it can be messy if applied to an area with lots of fur.
Wasp Stings Inside Your Dog’s Mouth
Stings inside your dog’s mouth can be a real pain to treat and your dog may not want you to touch them. Ice cubes can be used to help relieve pain, or you can flush their mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a pint of water. Use a squirt/water gun to reach the sting area, but avoid letting your dog swallow the liquid.
A sting inside the mouth can make your dog refuse to eat because of the pain when they chew. If your dog is refusing to eat their normal biscuits, soften their food with warm water or low-fat, chicken soup. You can also mix the food up in a blender to make it easier for your pup to eat.
Try this for a couple of days or until your dog can manage to eat their regular biscuits. If your dog is showing no signs of progress after a couple of days, you should take them to a vet.
What if My Dog Gets Another Wasp Sting?
While your dog should learn that they should keep away from wasps, there is always a chance they can get stung again. You should have a good idea of how your dog reacts to wasp stings, but dogs can develop an allergic reaction at any point in their life.
Remember to monitor your dog after the wasp sting and if you notice any worrying signs or anything different, a trip to the vets could be a good idea. If your dog is showing signs of anaphylaxis, you must take them to the vets immediately.
Summing Up Wasp Stings on Dogs
Dogs love to play and chase things and wasps are no different. They may seem interesting and exciting to your dog, but they can give them a nasty surprise. Monitoring your dog and the environment they are in can go a long way to preventing a wasp sting, however, you can never protect them 100 percent of the time.
If you notice any wasp’s nests or a large gathering of wasps, it may be best to remove your dog from that area.
Remember that the main areas a wasp will sting a dog are:
- On their face
- On and inside their mouth
- Around their paws
If your dog is showing any signs of an allergic reaction you must take them to the vets straight away. Additionally, if it is the first time your dog has been stung by a wasp it may be beneficial to take them to the vets for a check-up.