Our guys got their share of bee stings. While painful and distressing, most bug stings indeed are not an emergency.
The last time when Cookie stepped on a bee, she was very unimpressed. She was limping, shaking her foot, I could see it hurt a lot. Typically, I give Benadryl, but because Cookie was showing major signs of pain, I also gave her one Deramaxx. (As much as I am not a fan, I keep renewing my stash, so I have some dog-appropriate NSAID on hand when needed.)
That time it didn’t even swell much, though some other times it did, such as when she got stung by a hornet it did swell up.
I tried an ice pack too, but Cookie hates it. I didn’t want to traumatize her more in an attempt to help her. Half an hour later she seemed back to normal. I was watching her carefully, though.
How it can become an emergency
There are times when bee or hornet stings can be an emergency.
Just like with people, in some cases, a sting can cause a violent allergic reaction and even anaphylaxis. Fortunately, this is rare, but it could happen.
Swelling itself can lead to an emergency if severe and/or mouth or throat are involved. Allergic reactions to stings can range from mild to severe and life-threatening.
If my dog showed any further signs beyond initial pain and moderate local swelling at the site, I’d see a vet quickly.
Symptoms of adverse reaction
- loss of appetite
- and mild lethargy
- swelling and redness of the lips, around the eyes and neck
A moderate reaction can present with hives or swelling and redness of the lips, around the eyes and neck, This can progress to anaphylaxis. Would you want to take a chance?
A severe reaction, then, is the anaphylaxis itself. A dire emergency.
I should note that crawling insects can be even more dangerous.
A sting may or may not lead to major trouble. Spider bites, on the other hand, depending on the species, can be a major disaster depending on the species living in your area.
Be diligent, don’t take chances.
Spider Bites in Dogs: More Creepy Crawlies
First Aid for Insect Stings in Dogs