Particularly during the summer time, insect stings and bites are common and knowing what to do if a dog gets stung or bitten will help to relieve distress as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is well worth having a basic dog first-aid kit ready for treating such situations, containing essentials such as antiseptic and antihistamine.
First Aid for Dogs with Insect Stings and Bites
In the warmer weather, bees and wasps can both cause severe pain to a dog, especially when a young puppy gets stung. It is easy to know if a dog has been stung, as the dog will likely yelp with pain and paw at the affected area. If one suspects a dog has been stung in the throat it is paramount that one seeks urgent medical attention, by getting to the vet immediately.
When a dog has been stung anywhere other than in the mouth or throat, basic first aid should be sufficient to relieve the associated pain. In Dog Basics, Davis highlights ways to deal with dogs who have received an insect sting, as follows:
- Clip the fur around the infected area
- Wash sting area with saline solution
- If bee sting is present, try to remove using tweezers
- After removing sting, wipe area using surgical spirit on cotton wool
- Neutralise wasp stings with vinegar
- Neutralise bee stings with bicarbonate of soda
- Dry area, then apply wet compress
- Other insect bites – clean and dry area, apply antihistamine
Dog First Aid – Treating Dogs with Bite Wounds
There are a few creatures from which dogs are most at risk of suffering bites; these typically include other dogs, rats and in some countries, snakes. While dog bites may be treated using basic first aid, rat bites and snake bites will require getting the dog to the vet as soon as possible for urgent medical treatment. Davis identifies how to treat dog bites, as follows:
- Clip fur away from around bite
- Clean wound thoroughly with saline solution
- Next clean with diluted antiseptic lotion
- Dry the area thoroughly but gently
- Apply dusting of antiseptic wound powder
This approach to caring for dogs who have been bitten by other dogs, should be repeated twice a day, to ensure the wound is clean and thus does not lead to an infection. Due to the fact that rats carry multiple infectious diseases, dogs with rat bites will likely need antibiotic treatment from the vet. When a dog has suffered a snake bite, Davis suggests that one ensures the dog remains as calm as possible and is prevented from moving. Urgent vet care should be sought immediately, which may involve the dog being injected with anti-venom.
As highlighted above, most bee and wasp stings can be treated with basic first aid at home, except when a dog has been stung on the throat, where urgent vet care will be required. In addition, dog bite wounds can be treated at home, while dogs who have suffered from a rat or snake bit need to be treated immediately by the vet.