Lucky the dog Lucky the dog

Can Dogs Get Stung By Nettles?

Read time: 4 mins

04 Oct 2023

Yes, dogs can get stung by nettles.

If you're a dog owner, you know how curious our pooches can be. They love to explore the outdoors, sniffing around in the grass and bushes. But what happens if your dog encounters a patch of nettles? Can dogs get stung by nettles, and if so, what should you do? 

In this article, we'll explore the symptoms of dogs stung by nettles, whether nettles are poisonous to dogs, and the treatment for nettle stings on dogs.

Dogs Stung By Nettles Symptoms

If you suspect that your dog may have been stung by nettles, these are the symptoms that you should look out for:

Irritation and discomfort

When a dog comes into contact with nettles, they may experience immediate irritation and discomfort. You might notice your dog scratching, licking, or pawing at the affected area. This is a sign that something is amiss.

Redness and swelling

Nettle stings can cause redness and swelling on the dog's skin. These symptoms can be particularly noticeable if the dog was stung on a less furry part of their body, like their nose or paws.

Pain and whining

Dogs in pain often vocalise their discomfort. If your dog has been stung by nettles, you may hear them whining or whimpering.

Hives or blisters

In some cases, dogs may develop hives or blisters at the site of the nettle sting. This can be a more severe reaction and may require immediate attention.

Excessive salivation

Nettle stings can sometimes lead to excessive salivation in dogs. This is their way of trying to soothe the discomfort they're feeling.

Are Nettles Poisonous to Dogs?

While nettle stings can certainly be uncomfortable and painful for dogs, it's important to note that nettles themselves are not generally considered poisonous to dogs. Nettles contain a variety of compounds, including histamines, formic acid, and acetylcholine, which are responsible for the stinging sensation when they come into contact with the skin.

In most cases, the symptoms your dog experiences after being stung by nettles are a result of their body's natural reaction to these compounds. It's similar to the way humans react when they touch nettles – an unpleasant but usually not life-threatening experience.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that some dogs may be more sensitive to nettles than others. If your dog has a severe reaction or if you're concerned about their well-being, it's always best to consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Treatment for Nettle Stings on Dogs

So, what should you do if your dog gets stung by nettles? Here are some steps you can take to alleviate their discomfort:

Remove the nettle stingers

The first thing you should do is carefully remove any nettle stingers from your dog's skin. You can use a pair of tweezers or even the edge of a credit card to scrape them away. Be gentle to avoid causing further irritation.

Wash the affected area

After removing the stingers, wash the affected area with mild soap and water. This will help remove any remaining irritants and soothe the skin. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.

Cool compress

Applying a cool, damp cloth or compress to the stung area can help reduce swelling and provide relief to your dog. Make sure the cloth is not too cold to avoid chilling their skin.

Over-the-counter antihistamines

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend giving your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine to help alleviate itching and discomfort. However, always consult your vet before giving your dog any medication.

Monitor for allergic reactions

Keep a close eye on your dog for the next few hours after a nettle sting. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, severe swelling, or a rapid heartbeat, seek immediate veterinary care.

Prevention is key

To prevent future stings, be cautious when walking your dog in areas where nettles are present. Keep your dog on a lead and avoid letting them wander into dense undergrowth.