Many of our furry family adopt a ‘sniff first, ask questions later’ approach to life. So what happens when they come across a bee? And just like people, are there dangerously allergic pets as well?
Spring seems like the perfect time to find out…
It’s probably no wonder bees and wasps sometimes deliver a stinging response to their detective work. In springtime, bees are busy collecting pollen and nectar for a hive hungry for food after a long winter of minimal flying excursions so the fear of distraction…or destruction is very real. After all, bees don’t fly (and collect food) unless it’s 18 degrees celsius or higher. Crazy huh. For that reason, noses, faces and feet are the most common site of stings.
But here’s the challenge? Since these encounters often occur out of sight, the first indication of a sting is a yelp of pain or a puffy face like this one. So here’s how you can avoid the signs from becoming more serious. This technique will also help with blue-bottle stings.
1. Try to identify where they’ve been stung. The feet and the face are the most common places. Look for either a limp (foot) or lots of head shaking (face).
2. If you can find the sting, pull it out with tweezers.
3. Apply a cold pack to the affected area. If a wasp was to blame, applying a paste of water and baking soda can neutralise the burning feeling.
4. Watch for breathing difficulties. Puffiness around the face is the most common sign. Even if they weren’t stung there.
5. If their signs deteriorate, get them to the vet. We can administer strong antihistamines or steroids to reverse the allergic reaction. Full anaphylactic reactions (like you see in people) are incredibly rare though and don’t occur at nearly the level you see in people. But technically, they can still occur but only after the second or third sting.
The best prevention is teaching dogs to stay out of flower beds. One sting will often make them more weary of a subsequent encounter. Oh and remember, Australian native bees don’t sting. That's why they're a buzz addition to backyards...
But in the meantime, this gallery of puffy faces is quite adorable when you know they're actually ok...