With warmer weather in our future, allergies can become a concern with our pets.  Allergic reactions can be triggered by many different sources. The summer months bring a higher risk for reactions to things such as fertilizers, plants, and bug bites or stings. Bug bites and stings can have a sudden onset of symptoms, which can be quite alarming to a pet owner.

The most common signs of an insect bite reaction include:

  • Swelling and redness at the site
  • Itching
  • Swollen face or muzzle
  • Discharge from eyes and even hives

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, try to locate the source of the sting if possible (the swelling that you see may include the face and neck, even if the dog was not stung on the face). If the dog was stung by a bee, the stinger may have been left behind and should be removed. The area should then be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water. Applying a paste of baking soda and water directly to the site can help alleviate discomfort. However, applying something topically to the area may be difficult if it is in an area that can be easily licked!

An antihistamine, such as Benadryl, should be given immediately. If the correct dose for your dog is unknown, contact your veterinarian for a dose appropriate for your pet’s weight. If symptoms persist or worsen, the dog should be seen immediately. A more intensive treatment may be required.  

Dogs can have reactions to many different types of bugs, including fleas. Therefore, it is recommended that dogs have a monthly flea and tick preventative applied. Pet safe bug repellents are also available, but be sure to check with your veterinarian before combining repellents and flea and tick preventatives.

If your dog experiences an allergic reaction this summer, contact Badger Veterinary Hospital in Janesville or Cambridge.