With the summer sun, our pets are at more risk of injuries from stings and bites. This article covers some basic advice on what to watch out for over this period for your pets in the UK. If you are planning on travelling abroad always consult your vet first about a suitable parasite prevention treatment. This may need to be given in advance of your travel so give yourself plenty of time before you are due to leave.
What could cause a sting or bite in the UK?
There are many things that could lead to a sting or bite in our pets. Firstly we should consider insects such as bees, wasps or ants. Our pets may try to bite or eat these insects as well as potentially getting stung anywhere else on their body. There is also the potential for tick bites to occur, especially if we are in a high risk area where there are sheep or deer nearby. Another risk could be nettles or plants causing irritation. The fur on our pet’s body may protect them to a point but often we can see irritation on the foot pads or around our pet’s back end.
What are the signs of a sting or bite?
Depending on the cause of the sting or bite the signs may differ. They can range from a small raised red area to the swelling of the animal’s head and throat area. Tick bites may be thickened areas and the tick may still be present. Nettle stings can cause severe irritation to our pets and sometimes the pet will not put their weight through the affected feet to avoid the pain.
What can I do if I think my pet has been bitten or stung? Do I need to see my vet?
If you are concerned about your pet it is best to get them checked by your vet. They may prescribe a course of antihistamines to reduce the irritation or sometimes an anti-inflammatory injection is needed to reduce the swelling. Occasionally if swallowed your pet may show signs of stomach pain or vomiting after contact with these insects. Ticks should always be removed entirely which normally requires a tick hook which your veterinary practice can provide or help you with. If swelling around the head or throat occurs following a sting this can lead to an emergency situation where your pet may not be able to breathe. You should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible if this occurs.
Do I need any preventative medication for my pet?
Whilst there is no preventative treatment for flying insects in the UK, this is not the case if you are going abroad. Try to avoid walking your pets in areas with stinging nettles to avoid a contact reaction for your pet or apply pet boots to protect your pet’s feet. If you know you are travelling to a high risk tick area then you should speak to your vet about an appropriate parasite treatment to cover your pet. These treatments can come in different forms ranging from spot-on liquid to tablets.