Photo by Nandhu Kumar:

It’s called the food chain.  Dogs and cats prey on smaller creatures, and bees are no exception.  Sometimes however, the pointed end of these insects contacts Fido or Fluffy’s nose and pain ensues!  Typically, pets paw at and remove the insect’s stinger, but should you see one through your pet’s fur coat (or on his nose, lip, paw or elsewhere), scrape it away with a credit card, popsicle stick or similar stiff object.   The stinger is only about 1/16” long. Pulling the stinger with fingers or tweezers could rupture the poison sac allowing the toxin to enter your pet’s body. With your veterinarian’s blessing, administer 1 mg Benadryl (Diphenhydramine only! No pain meds or decongestion included.) per pound of your dog or cat’s body weight and apply a cold pack (a bag of frozen peas works well) to any swelling. Should severe swelling or any breathing difficulties develop, get to your Veterinarian at once.


Black Widow spiders terrify us all with their distinctive red hourglass marking, but rarely are they fatal. Smaller pets sometimes have bigger issues with the venom due to their size. Treat bites with ice and Benadryl as you would for a bee sting and get to the Vet ASAP. Symptoms such as redness, pain, difficulty breathing, or paralysis can develop. The problem with these bites is that unless we see it occur or find a dead spider, we do not know what is causing our pet’s distress. If you have toxic critters in your yard, keep your pets away from those areas or use pet-friendly insecticides to exterminate.


Brown Recluse spiders tend to hide in dark, secluded areas and their venom is known to destroy tissue surrounding the bite. Approximately  ½” – 2” long, the Brown Recluse can be identified by a distinctive fiddle-shaped mark on its back. When bitten, most dogs do not realize it, but after a while redness occurs. Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine, or povidone iodine and seek veterinary assistance. Your dog could develop lethargy, rash, fever, chills, vomiting or diarrhea and the wound will likely become larger and drain.

Talk to your veterinarian regarding the best flea & tick preventative for combating parasites in your neighborhood. Although you may not want to put chemicals on your dog or cat, the diseases ticks carry can be fatal and flea bites can be extremely unpleasant leading to lick sores. Pets that suffer from flea allergy dermatitis suffer from flea bites weeks after the flea is gone or dead, so prevent your pet from this misery. And…just because you have an indoor kitty, that does not mean she should not be protected as well. Fleas and ticks jump thresholds and come in on us, so talk to your veterinarian and develop a preventive plan.

When you have a dog or cat, you have a four-legged toddler for life, and it is your responsibility to supervise where your pet goes and what dangers he may encounter.  Sign up for a PET FIRST AID CLASS today to help you learn how to be the best pet parent you can be.