Bugs, Bite

Along with the other summer maladies such as hot spots and ear infections, bug bites are yet another unwelcomed summer subject.

While cats can certainly become victims of fleas, flies, wasps, bees and mosquitoes, our dogs tend to suffer the brunt of fly, wasp, ant and bee stings. It’s their curious nature and the fact that they are sticking their snuffles into everything.

Preventing bug bites can be a challenge, because just running through a field could dislodge a wasp’s nest. My dogs were clobbered the other day when I accidentally threw the Frisbee under the grill. Apparently wasps had set up residence and my dogs, while just trying to get their beloved fris, were bombarded by dive-bombing demons!  My male ended up with a few stings on his legs but my little girl got clobbered a few times by the eye. Into the house for the icepacks I went with two disgruntled and now painful pups in tow.

Preventing bites is its own challenge, recognizing them can be just as difficult. Often when a pet is stung or bitten by a bug they will flail around as if they are being attacked by an imaginary army. I have seen dogs get stung by a bee and for YEARS afterwards, any fly or bee-like sound throws them into an uproar. If your pet is flailing around, calm them down and check for a bite or stinger. If a stinger is present use a credit card or something with a hard edge to remove it, DO NOT use tweezers as the bulb of the stinger will have more venom which you could inadvertently squeeze into your pet’s body. Remove the stinger and watch for swelling in a period of at least an hour, ice if they will let you. If you notice any serious swelling, especially around the face or neck, remove their collar! The excessive swelling could cause ariway or circulation restrictions, switch to a harness or wrap the leash securely around their body instead. If your pet does experience swelling, you’ll want to dose them with an antihistamine.  For exact directions on amounts and how to best administer, checkout our pet first aid and CPR course. This is one of MANY topics we cover in detail.

In general, always know what pests are present in your environment, especially if you travel. Know the hazards and if your pet starts doing a jig, calm them down, find out why and be prepared to treat them. Bites and stings can be horribly uncomfortable and no one wants to spend their summer on the sidelines, or worse, at an emergency vet.

this was one of my first dogs who suffered a spider bite right next to his eye. I could literally see the two little fang marks!

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