Nettle Stings – treatment

Nettle Stings – treatment



We have covered various allergic reactions in previous blogs including bees, wasps, toads and caterpillars.  Don’t forget that when Spring has sprung and new growth appears throughout our countryside and hedgerows, it’s nettle season which can really irritate your dog, particularly his paws if he runs through a patch on his walk.   As with the treatment for Bees (an acidic poison) and Wasps (an alkaline poison), the key thing to remember when attempting to treat nettle stings is that the poison which makes up the nettle “venom” is made up of an acidic compound.  In order to soothe and neutralise the effect of that acid sting, you will need to apply an alkaline solution to help calm and treat the irritation.  Alkaline preparations such as bicarbonate of soda or toothpaste will certainly sooth such an irritation as the alkaline counteracts the acid in the nettle sting.

If you notice your dog has been affected while you are still on your walk, look around to see if you can see any Dock leaves.  It is very usual to find both Nettles and Dock living in close proximity to one another.

Dock contains a natural remedy for the Nettle sting.  Simply crumple and crush up the dock leaf in your hand and rub the juices it lets out over the paws. The sap is not, as people think, an alkaline but merely works because it is cool and moist and soothing on the skin.


As soon as you get back from your walk, if you think you have been in contact with nettles:-

1. Wash the area (be that the pads, the whole paw, or even if you notice raised bumps on the legs or other parts of the body) with soap and water as soon as possible to relieve the stinging sensation. Nettles are covered with tiny hairs which act like minute rods of glass which scratch the skin and deliver the acidic poison. Washing with soap and water in this way will help to remove these small glass hair filaments.

2. Make up a paste of baking soda and water and carefully apply it to the effected areas.

3. If possible, try to prevent the dog from scratching or rubbing the itchy areas as this will merely aggravate the sensation and make it itch more.

4. If your dog has been prescribed Piriton antihistamine BY YOUR VET, then it is safe to give a dose to your dog.  Should you find that the reaction goes down and then recurs, you can repeat the dose suggested by your vet six hours later should this be necessary.

5. Pay close attention to your dog’s airway and if you feel his breathing is in anyway compromised by the allergic reaction, please call your vet immediately for emergency treatment.


  1. Excellent advice, Kerry! One shall impart it to one’s humans prior to a jaunt near those nasty stingers.

    They were wondering whether your roadshow would ever reach the Orkney Isles?

    • Reply

      Well done Rebekah … make sure you keep those hoomans in line 😉
      Sadly, I doubt we will get as far as Orkney on our annual tour so unless we happen to be nipping over on our hols and rattle off a session while we are there, it’s not looking good I’m afraid 🙁

  2. Reply

    Our Harry dog was stung on the nose with stinging nettles and his muzzle started to swell so I done what you suggested and rubbed it with dock leaves. The swelling came down immediately thank goodness and as we where far from home we could not wash his nose but he had no adverse reaction he was absolutely fine . Thanks for the tip xxx

    • Reply

      Awww poor Harry! but well done you for being on the case and looking after him so well .. good guardian award to you xx

  3. Reply

    Help my 4mth old pup has ran through stingers and all 4 paws are driving him crazy, I’ve washed his feet but he’s still wining and jumping around

    • Reply

      Oh poor love!

      Bathe his feet in cold water as this will soothe the pain and discomfort.

      You can also use ice cubes in a towel to cool the pads

      Hope he is feeling better by now

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *