Insect Bites And Stings

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Humans would just as soon avoid bees and other stinging insects. But to dogs and cats, they are endlessly fascinating things to chase, paw or swallow. The reward for all their efforts, of course, is likely to be a painful sting.

Bumble BeeMost stings aren’t too serious, but even small amounts of toxin can raise a painful, itchy bump. Veterinarians often recommend treating stings by applying hydrocortisone ointment, which reduces inflammation. Although hydrocortisone is safe for pets, many veterinarians prefer a more natural approach.

Solutions

Remove the stinger. Before you can treat a sting, you have to remove the stinger. If the stinger stays in your pet’s skin, there will be a stronger reaction and more likelihood of an allergic response. To remove the stinger, put your fingers at the base of the bump and squeeze upward. This will push the stinger up so that it is easier to remove with your fingers or tweezers. DO NOT push down on the bump, or you will push more of the venom into the skin.

Apply a mud patty. Mud acts like a sponge and will pull venom out of a sting. It also helps reduce inflammation. You can leave the mud on the sting until it dries out.

Apply chamomile tea. One problem with stings is that the area often gets infected. You can reduce the irritation by soaking a cotton ball or a piece of gauze in room-temperature chamomile tea and applying it to the sting. Leave the compress in place for 15 to 30 minutes and repeat three times on the first day. For the next two days, apply a fresh compress for a few minutes, three times a day.

Cover it with a tea bag. Black tea contains compounds that act as astringents, which help draw toxins out of a sting. Moisten a tea bag in warm water, squeeze it out, then hold it on the sting for 10 to 15 minutes.

Ease the irritation. For small bites from gnats, the essential oils lavender or thyme will quickly relieve irritation and itching. Mix three drops of either oil in a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and dab the solution on the bites. Vinegar by itself is also effective.

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Apply some ammonia. Another way to ease the pain of insect bites and stings is to apply ammonia. A number of commercial products use ammonia as the active ingredient.

Give an oatmeal bath. A single bite isn’t too bad, but sometimes pets — usually puppies or kittens — will lie down in a pile of ants and wind up with a rash of itchy bites on their bellies. You can stop the itching fast by soaking them in cool water mixed with oatmeal.

Put about a cup of oatmeal in a cloth (or old sock) and tie it up with a piece of string (or rubber band). Put the bag in a cool-water bath and soak your pet for about 20 minutes. You can repeat the treatment once a day until the rash and itching improve.

Stop swelling with spice. Another Indian remedy for inflammation is the spice Turmeric. You can mix the Turmeric with a little chicken broth and slip it in your pet’s food. It’s relatively bland, despite its bright yellow color. Pets under 15 pounds can take about one-half teaspoon of turmeric twice a day. Those that weigh 15 to 50 pounds can take a teaspoon twice a day, and larger pets can have two teaspoons, twice a day.

Contact your veterinarian. For some pets with insect allergies, a single sting can be deadly. If your pet has an allergic reaction (severe swelling around his head or neck, difficulty breathing, persistent pain or drowsiness, go the vet immediately. He/she may need a shot of epinephrine, a medication that blocks serious allergic reactions called anaphylaxis. You should also call your vet if your dog or cat has been bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider.

If you can’t get to a vet immediately, try the homeopathic remedy Apis, giving two or three 200C pills. It works immediately. Apis will get your pet past the danger, but you will still have to get him to a vet as quickly as possible.

Minor Injuries In Pets

Both dogs and cats often fall victim to minor cuts, scrapes, bites and stings- especially those with outdoor lifestyles and adventurous natures! Cuts and scrapes, abrasions, insect bites, fights with other animals – all can result in a miserable pet with consequent risk of infection. Like people, animals can also suffer from allergies and reactions to plants like Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. Most of these little injuries heal fairly quickly on their own and without long-term adverse effects, especially in healthy pets with strong immune systems. However, the immediate pain, discomfort and swelling can be unpleasant and debilitating for your pet and it is important to care for these wounds appropriately. Also, there may be a high risk of infection in otherwise minor wounds if they are not properly cared for.

How Can Natural Remedies Help?

Because of the risk of infection, pet wounds are often treated with antibiotics – taken internally or applied as a cream to the skin. They may also be treated with topical corticosteroid creams. While these can be effective in the short term, many holistic vets believe that they may also compromise your pet’s health by affecting immune functioning. Topical antibiotic, corticosteroid and antiseptic creams are also often licked off by pets and can contain substances that may not be good for them to ingest.

Certain herbs and homeopathic ingredients are excellent for soothing pain and reducing swelling of wounds, bites, insect stings and other minor injuries and skin allergies. Gentle promotion of natural healing, as well as prevention of infection- without antibiotics- has been practiced by herbalists for thousands of years and can be of great benefit to your pet.