First aid for insect stings
- Insect stings are common in pets, especially in dogs.
- Stings are not a major problem for most pets, but some pets (just like humans) will develop an allergic reaction.
- Signs of an allergic reaction include rashes, swellings (commonly on the face) and in more severe cases, breathing difficulties.
- Get vet help ASAP if your pet is showing signs of an allergic reaction - they can be life-threatening.
What to do if your pet is stung or bitten by an insect
Step one: Check your pet
Signs of a severe allergic reaction:
- Rapid swelling of the lips, eyes, ears and face
- Cold ears, legs and feet
- Collapse/ fainting
- Breathing difficulties:
- If your pet has stopped breathing, read our CPR advice.
Other signs of a less severe allergic reaction:
- Skin rash/ bumps
- Swelling elsewhere on the body
- Vomiting or diarrhoea.
Step two: For a severe reaction
- Insect bites and stings can be life threatening and allergic reactions tend to develop quickly.
- Go straight to your vets if your pet is having difficulty breathing, or if their face is swelling up quickly.
- If possible, phone your vets on the way to let them know you are coming.
Step two: For a mild reaction
- If your pet is suffering from a mild allergic reaction (no breathing problems or rapid swelling), call your vet for advice.
- They may need medication to keep them comfortable and stop their reaction getting worse.
Published: March 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst