This time of year, we all like to spend more time outdoors. Those of us with dogs, know they love the outdoors. Whether we go camping in the mountains or swimming at the beach, there is so much to see and smell and explore. Just as we are prone to certain health problems or injuries from outdoor activities, so are our dogs.
Dogs can get bitten by insects or stung by bees. Many dogs that spend time outdoors suffer from fly bites. This is especially true for dogs living with farm animals such as cows or horses. Deer or horse flies or black flies have painful bites and they target the dogs ears, where the skin is very thin. They will also bite the bridge of the nose. Dogs can get hundreds of bites over days or weeks and they can become infected. To treat fly bites, carefully clean the sores with warm water and antiseptic soap. Apply a topical antibiotic ointment. Insect repellents can be used on the ears and bridge of the nose to prevent fly bites. Keep your dog clean and well groomed so there is nothing to attract the insects to him.
Bees and wasps can also hurt your dog. These bites are most common on parts of your dog with the least amount of hair, such as the belly, feet, face and mouth. If you see your pet get stung, be sure to keep an eye on it because it can take 12-24 hours for a reaction. The reaction can progress from mild to severe. A sting or bite will cause inflammation and pain, but several bites could cause a more serious reaction. If your dog is allergic to the venom, he could go into anaphylactic shock. Some things to watch for are swelling and redness at the site of the sting, or around the eyelids and lips. There may be welts and itching. If there is an anaphylactic reaction, your dog will show signs of difficulty breathing. If possible, remove the stinger and make a paste of baking soda and water to put on the bite to relieve the itching. Ice can help with the swelling, if your pooch will tolerate it. If you suspect an anaphylactic reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Some other injuries that can be common while enjoying the outdoors include, cuts, sprains and eye injuries. You could even face something as unusual as broken bones or porcupine quills. The best thing you can do for your pet is to be prepared, just like you would for yourself and your human companions. Invest in a canine first aid kit, or make one up yourself. The first aid kit should contain basic items such as scissors, gauze, tape, antiseptic, cotton balls, nail clippers, paper towels and a thermometer. An ice pack, matches, hydrogen peroxide and bottled water are also important.
You and your dogs can have a great time exploring and playing outside. Chances are, you will both return from your adventures in good shape, but just to be safe, always be ready for the unexpected.
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