Wasp Warning For Gosforth Dog Walkers

Ouseburn Bridlepath region showing wasps' nest
Location of ground level wasps’ nest

Gosforth dog walkers using the bridle path at the northern end of the Ouseburn River are warned to watch out for wasps if they venture off the beaten path.

This summer a ground-based wasps’ nest has established itself close to one of the tracks into the woods on the east side of the lake. This, of course is not a right of way but it has become the habit of many Gosforth dog walkers to take their dogs through this wood. If your dogs are gambling in the undergrowth around this area it would be very easy for them to inadvertently trample the nest. This I know from bitter experience.

I would advise you to keep close control of your dogs or keep them on a lead when passing the location shown on the accompanying map.

My Dog Stood On A Wasps’ Nest!

If a dog stands on, disturbs or even gets too near to a wasps’ nest it will get stung. When that happens it is likely to react and try to alleviate the pain by rolling around on the ground. What it will NOT do is think “Ahh.. a wasps’ nest! Let’s get out of here!” It won’t think about running away. It will begin writhing as it feels another sting and another…

These first wasps will send a chemical alert to the nest and within seconds they will attack as a swarm. Soon your dog’s fur will be filled with angry female wasps.

..and by now your dog will be screaming.

You have to act immediately and decisively. Get into a position so that the dog is between you and the nest. Grab its harness or collar and drag it away as fast as you can. Expect to get stung yourself but keep dragging your dog away. Whether or not your dog can stand doesn’t matter at this point.

If there is water nearby head for it. Submerge its body. You want to do whatever you can to cool down your dog and slow the metabolisation of the wasp venom.

If you are some way from a road or your dog is a large breed, phone for help. You want your helper to bring a towel, a comb and/or a brush if you don’t already have these things, (and a tub of baking soda if possible). Also phone the vet – to pre warn them and to get their advice.

Providing your dog remains conscious you should keep it in the water until help arrives. Keep agitating the fur with your fingers to remove the dying wasps. Pluck them out, flick them out. Get rid of as many as you can.

Check inside your dog’s mouth, nose and ears, looking for swelling.

When help arrives lay your dog on the bank and brush any remaining trapped wasps away on one side. Roll your dog over, clear anything from the underbelly and then brush out the other side. If at any stage your dog loses consciousness stop what you are doing, wrap the dog in a towel and get it to the vets.

If you have it, you can make a baking soda and water paste and rub this on any obvious swollen areas. But in any case, don’t hang around. This is an emergency and you need to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible

Yes, This Happened To Me!

The dog was between 15 & 20kg. Luckily she hadn’t put her muzzle into the nest but had simply trampled it. So the wasps didn’t attack her face. After examination the vet said she had been stung nearly 400 times. She was treated with pain-killers, antihistamine, anti-inflammatories and steroids. She was kept in for observation and released to her owner after a few hours.

Her immediate risk following the swarming was from an allergic anaphylactic shock which would have manifested very soon after the attack, as general weakness, difficulty breathing and possible collapse.

A longer term risk – over the following few days – was to her kidneys as her body tried to rid itself of the large amount of venom she’d been subject to.

We were very lucky to come away from the situation as well as we did.

So to Gosforth dog walkers venturing off the beaten path – please heed my warning and control your dog around that area marked on the map.

For positive training and handling methods and one-on-one dog-walking visit: https://ukpets.co.uk/pet-sitting/dog-walking/.

See also: https://www.hillspet.co.uk/dog-care/routine-care/what-to-do-when-wasp-bee-sting-dog

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