Bee Careful!

The sign at Phoenix’s North Mountain Visitor Center says it all: It’s bee season and with reports of dogs being stung to death in Scottsdale, it’s a good time to review how to prevent your dog from getting stung and what to do it Fido meets up with a bee.

Right now, bee-removal services say they are getting 30 to 60 calls a day for people with swarms and hive problems. Typically, bee season in Arizona runs from mid-March through late October, but it often depends on the weather.

The bad news for people with pets is that there is really no way to prevent your dog from coming in contact with a bee, short of house arrest. By their very endearing curious natures, dogs are going to investigate small flying insects zipping around in the air. In fact, dogs are at greater risk from bee stings than people. They are likely to get stung in the mouth or on the nose, face, or feet.

The good news is that dogs’ throats don’t swell up like humans. In most cases, dogs will have mild swelling and tenderness.

If you know that your dog has been stung, try to remove the stinger as quickly as possible to stop the venom from spreading. Use your credit card or fingernail to gently scrape it out.Use Be careful because you may rupture the venom sac, potentially causing more damage. And sometimes, the stinger can’t be found.

To be safe, contact your vet who will most likely advise you to give your pet Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, which dogs usually respond well to. Your vet can tell you the correct dosage based on your dog’s weight. You can also run a washcloth under some cool tap water and and press it onto the sting to help with swelling. Don’t use an ice pack as that can cause frost bite.

It’s time to see the vet immediately if your dog is vomiting, has difficulty breathing, trembling diarrhea, pale gums, weakness or unconsciousness. If any of these symptoms occur, take her to the vet ASAP. Your vet may have to administer antihistimines, steroids or other medications to help reverse the problem.

Another good practice: Have your vet’s number programmed into your speed dial and cell phone. You never know when the bees will show up!


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