Preventing, Identifying and Treating Jellyfish Stings in Dogs

Jellyfish sitting near human foot along ocean coast

Beach visits are a highlight for many pets. Watching your pup frolic in the waves or dig in the sand will likely bring out a belly laugh that makes you forget all your worries. While the beach is a fun place to visit with your pet, there are some dangers to consider. Jellyfish are one of those dangers that you hope never befall your furchild.

As you know, dogs are curious and will prod, bite, or sniff washed-up jellyfish. Below we'll discuss how to prevent, identify and treat jellyfish stings if your dog encounters one on your day at the beach.

Identifying a Jellyfish Sting in Your Dog

Jellyfish who have washed up on shore, or with tentacles floating in the water, can release venom for several weeks. If you see jellies on the beach and suspect your pet may have touched one, here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin reactions like blistering, hives, itching, swelling of the face, swollen and red skin
  • Numbness
  • Changed heart rhythm and high blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Hypersalivation
  • Confusion, shock
  • Acute respiratory distress

Treating Jellyfish Stings in Dogs

Dog paw prints in sand along ocean coast

If your pet has eaten jellyfish stingers, they may need antihistamine or steroid treatment from your vet. This oral exposure will be very uncomfortable and painful for your pet. 

For topical or skin stings, act fast and take the following measures:

  1. Remove any stingers:  Scraping the stingers works best, using a credit card or a beach spade. Take precautious so you don't get stung yourself.
  2. Stop the chemical reactions through rinsing: Contrary to the popular myth, urine is NOT the best option here. Instead, rinse the effected area thoroughly with seawater.
  3. Do not rub: Avoid rubbing the affected area with sand or a towel.
  4. Contact your vet: If you can identify or take a photo of the jellyfish, this could help with treatment. There are many different jellyfish types. Find out more about the jellyfish that are common in your state.

How to Prevent Jellyfish Stings in Your Pet

When planning your beach visit, find a monitored location that is clear of washed-up jellies. 

Some beaches will have signs or warning flags to signal high seasons when jellyfish are prolific in the water or on the shore. Knowing high-populated jellyfish spots can help you avoid these areas, or take extra care to keep your dog on a leash so that you can steer clear of jellyfish on the sand. If you come across a jellyfish, alert a lifeguard so it can be safely removed.

Another excellent method to protect your pet is to rub petroleum jelly on their legs, paws, belly, and exposed skin. This could act as a barrier to potential stings. You could also get your pet some special shoes to protect their paws and feet.

Happy Sting-free Beach Days With Your Pet

Now you know what to do if your pet is ever stung by a jellyfish. Go out and enjoy that beach day!

Taking care of your furry best friend is a joy. To make life easier, visit our Pets on Broadway blog to learn more about looking after your pet. You can browse products, ask for advice, and more.