The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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What's the Buzz? Bee Safety and Inexpensive Bee Sting Treatments for Your Dog

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Bees are essential to our lives for the many foods they pollinate throughout the world, so protect them as well as your pets. | Photo credit: Public Domain Photos
Bees are essential to our lives for the many foods they pollinate throughout the world, so protect them as well as your pets. | Photo credit: Public Domain Photos

With warm weather comes insects of all varieties, including bees. And they're doing what they instinctively do when the weather is warm. Dogs love to romp and explore when the weather is warm. This is a recipe for potential disaster if there are bees in your neighborhood.

Like people, dogs have varying reactions to bee stings. This is influenced by how sensitive the dog is and how many bees have stung him or her. Regardless of possible allergic reaction, bee stings hurt and your dog will need your help to alleviate the pain and itching. However, a trip to the vet can be costly, and not always necessary.

A Summary of Bees

Bee trivia: Honeybees, signifying immortality and resurrection, were royal emblems of the Napoleonic Empire.

Honey bees are essential to our lives. They pollinate millions upon millions of acres of blossoms—apple, almond, peach, on and on—each year. Without them, one-third of our crops could become extinct, not to mention a loss of their manufacture of honey. But, while we need what bees contribute to our pantries and dining tables, the pain they can inflict on our beloved pets makes it a dilemma.

With the exception of the Africanized honeybees (the infamous "killer bees"), honey and bumble bees are relatively non-aggressive and sting only when threatened. Honeybees and bumblebees are much happier to go about their business of gathering pollen without bothering anyone. If they are provoked to attack, the stings they inflict are their last. Bees die soon after stinging their attacker because their barb stingers rip from their bodies and stay in their victims.

Africanized honeybees, on the other hand, have hair-trigger tempers. Although their venom is no more toxic or allergenic than that of the European honeybee's venom, they are more aggressive and will often sting ferociously without provocation. This has led to reported venom toxicity deaths. Killer bees are currently in Mexico, Central America, South Texas, Arizona, and California.

Treatments for Bee Stings

If your dog is stung by a bee, or by many bees, before rushing the poor creature to the vet, there are several things you can do to ease his or her pain and make the trip to the vet much easier. Or, not even necessary. You may be able to take care of it yourself and save yourself a huge vet bill.

If you should use the home treatments below, be sure to keep an eye on your dog to be sure he or she doesn't show signs of an allergic reaction.

Bee Precautions

Here are some suggestions to keep your dog, other pets, and your family as free as possible from bee stings:

Dogs are curious and prone to accidentally disturbing bees, so prevention is key to keeping your pet safe from being stung. | Photo credit: Kevin Miller, KM Photography

 

Dogs are curious and prone to accidentally disturbing bees, so prevention is key to keeping your pet safe from being stung/ | Photo credit: Kevin Miller, KM Photography

Common sense should prevail when it comes to bees. Prevention of attack is the best course of action, an imperative. Keeping your dog away from bees in the first place is your best defense in keeping both pooch and pollen-gatherer happy and safe.

 

Related Reading:
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Choosing a Dog: Cheaper, Healthier Dogs, Mixed-Breed Mutts Becoming More Preferred Than Purebreds
Spend Less Money Treating Your Dog's Food Allergies | Special Dog Food Recipes, Breeds Prone to Allergies
Winter Care Tips and Precautions for Pets, People, Plants, and Possessions: Less Money, More Safety
The Do's & Don't's of Making Nutritious & Delicious (for Your Cat!) Cat Food at Home
Saving Money on Feeding Your Horse: Feed Tips for Horse-At-Home (HAH) Owners
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Frugal Café Blog Zone: Feel-Good Story of the Week: Paco the Chihuahua Hailed as Tiny Hero, Attacks & Thwarts Robbers of California Store (video)

 

Sources:
Brantley, William, "Sting Operation: What's the Best Remedy for a Bee Sting?," Slate Magazine, (www.slate.com/id/2088863/), September 29, 2003.
Every Day Health; Allergy Centers: Insect Allergies website; (www.everydayhealth.com/publicsite/).
Husbandhood website, "How to Relieve the Pain of a Bee Sting in Under 30 Seconds" (http://www.husbandhood.net/how-to-relieve-the-pain-of-a-bee-sting-in-under-30-seconds/).
Ruelas, Richard, "Common Sense Suggestions Can Help You to Bee Safe," Arizona Republic, November 10, 1995.
Urban Bee Gardens website, (http://nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens/general_star.html).
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia; "Honey Bee" {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bees}.