Can A Dog Be Stung By Nettles? Is It Painful?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Can nettle stings harm dogs? Can you train your dog to avoid this plant? Read on and discover.

Do dogs and nettle get along?

If a dog runs into nettles can you expect him to go pain-free through it, or you can expect to see the same reaction as humans have?

Being a dog owner is a serious thing. Getting a dog is super easy, but being a responsible dog owner is something that is built over time.

To be a responsible dog owner you need the right knowledge, the right mindset, and the right experience.

The right kind of knowledge will help both you and your dog to overcome many challenges, including nettles.

Not sure which plants are toxic or dangerous to dogs? Do our best to do a throughout research on poisonous plants for dogs and know how to react if your dog gets affected by some of them.

Can Dogs Feel Nettle Stings?

Children know that they should avoid nettle strings, but what about dogs?

A common scenario is that you are resting in your backyard and you hear your dog making a loud noise.

Your Fido might even run to you in distress, limping, or whimpering. If you know that stinging nettle is around, the chances are that your dog just got to know this plant from the close.

If you have ever swung your barefoot or arm through a stinging nettle, you know how painful it may be.

Spotting nettle is rare, which is why dog owners (and pet owners in general) tend to overlook this plant and its effects. However, you should know just how to react if you have a stinging nettle and dogs around.

You know that when you run into nettle stings it burns, but what about dogs?

The good news here is that your dog is covered in hair, which means that they are well-protected.

Humans are hairless, dogs aren’t. All in all, when it comes to encountering nettles dogs tend to be relatively safe, as long as we are talking about small size nettle.

All that hair might protect your dog to a certain level, but there are signs that you should look out for.

Keep on reading to understand better how dog-nettle relation works.

Signs That Your Dog Has Been Stung by a Nettle

In most cases, dogs are not heavily hit by nettle stings, but there are exceptions.

Since this is possible you should carefully examine your dog’s body.

If your dog tends to spend a lot of time running around a yard, and you know that there are stinging nettles, know that your dog might be affected by some.

How to know for sure? Dogs are non-verbal beings and you need to check their bodies for certain signs.

If your dog seems swollen in any area, you need to take a closer look and investigate.

Does your Fido have any areas on your body that are red? Or do some areas seem itchy? Or some places seem burning?

All of these are clear signs that you are going through stinging nettle exposure or stinging nettle poisoning.

In some rare cases, dogs might experience involuntary muscle twitches. When this occurs, you will see your dog having a hard time coordinating, breathing, and much more.

If you see your dog pawing at his mouth, or you notice any hard gastrointestinal issues that are followed by diarrhea or vomiting, you will want to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sings that your dog has been exposed to stinging nettles:

  • Panting
  • Scratching
  • Drooling
  • Sweaty paws
  • Twitching whiskers
  • Raspy panting

Some of the other signs that your Fido might display are:

  • Intense swelling
  • Intense itching
  • Muscles twitching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Pupils dilating

What Is Stinging Nettle Poisoning?

Did you know that stinging nettle can grow over 10 feet?

Commonly, the nettle plant is mostly found in uncultivated areas, but if you miss doing gardening right it may appear in your backyard.

Some symptoms are more dangerous than others. If you notice symptoms such as tremors and breathing difficulties you should react.

If your veterinarian isn’t available, contact Pet Poison Healthline.

If you know for sure that your dog came into contact with the stinging nettle and displays strong signs of pain or toxicity a ride to the vet’s office is a must.

What to do if your veterinarian isn’t available? In that case, find the first nearby veterinarian because some situations are alarming, and know that a few minutes can save your dog’s life.

Can A Dog Be Stung By Nettles On Their Paws?

You know that you need to put extra attention to your dog’s paws on hot days and super cold winters.

In the summertime, your dog always might suffer from too much heat and from too hot asphalt.

In wintertime, you can expect some distress due to industrial salt that is used to clean the roads, so extra paws cleaning and brushing are in order.

The same principle applies to nettles and dogs. Even if your dog’s body isn’t affected by battle signs, you should think about paws.

Paws are highly sensitive and highly needed for dogs to function properly. Paws are exposed skin that is easily affected by outdoor factors.

Dog paws may be stung by nettles and it may lead to some painful outcomes.

As expected, dogs will step on nettles or walk through them, which means that their feet will easily come into contact with these not-so-friendly plants.

Do you have an adult dog? If so, you are in a way in luck. Adult dogs have hard, calloused pads on their feet that offer some sort of protection from scratches including stings.

What does it mean? It means that adult dogs will feel stings on their toe beans as they would on more sensitive and exposed skin.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that with puppies and young dogs. At least, if your puppy or young dog hasn’t walked on pavements much they will have soft and sensitive little paw pads, so just coming nearby on a stinging nettle will hurt.

What To Do After Contacting Stinging Nettles?

Knowing that certain plants might affect your dog is just the first step. Knowing what you need to do in that case is everything.

First and most importantly – do not panic. Seeing your Fido in pain or in any kind of distress is not comfortable, but it is something that you should deal with.

That being said, do your best to react properly when your dog gets exposed to stinging nettles. Here is what you should do.

If your dog experiences lesser symptoms, such as redness and itching, search for dock leaves if possible.

Dock leaves are commonly found close to nettles and contain a natural remedy for nettle sting of various levels.

Once you find this plant what do you need to do? Once you find dock leaves, crush the leaf of the dock plant with your hand. Rub the juice onto your dog’s paws.

Once you get home and you notice your dog still suffering, you can try some of the following tips:

  • Wash affected parts
  • Use soapy water
  • If possible, stop your dog from rubbing irritated areas
  • Mix the bicarbonate of soda and water and apply to the affected areas
  • To soothe the paws use calamine lotion

Of course, if your veterinarian recommends specific practice or medicine, make sure that you follow through.

Stinging Nettles: Basics

Knowing how nettles are designed will help you understand how to react properly.

Do you really know what a stinging nettle is? Or how does it works? Or what causes the sting? Do you understand why it hurts?

According to books, stinging nettle is a plant. This plant is also known as the Urtica dioica L from the family Urticaceae.

At its core, this plant is widely spread across North America and usually goes up to 10-20 feet. They are typically set in colonies.

Nettles are covered in fine hairs on their leaves and stems that are called trisomes.

This fine hair may seem gentle and smooth, but in fact, it contains harmful chemicals that cause dermatitis in both humans and pets when touched.

Training Your Dog To Avoid And Deal With Nettle Stings

Dogs are highly trainable beings. Thanks to treats dogs can be trained to perform almost any trick and do some great things.

Since dogs are food-driven having treats around is great, and will definitely serve the cause.

To make training sessions successful, make them:

  • Fun
  • Short
  • Consistent
  • Packed with treats
  • Interactive

Since avoiding some plants isn’t possible all the time, you should do your best to teach your dog to avoid them.

In nature, you might notice your Fido approaching independently some plants that are safe for them.

After all, dogs do tend to eat grass when they have stomach issues. This is how they cure themself.

Does this mean that they will always avoid harmful plants? Sadly, no. In some cases, they may stay away, but again – dogs love to explore and accidents tend to happen.

The best way to train you to avoid stinging nettle is to take it step by step.

First, train your dog how to walk on the leash properly. This means that your dog will pull, tug, or run off.

If your dog does this and runs toward nettles make sure that you gently pull him back.

Secondly, train your dog to master basic commands. This means that your dog will listen to you when you tell him to ‘stay‘, ‘come’ or ‘sit’.

Thirdly, let your dog be territorial but teach him where the boundaries are.

Do you have a large yard? Great! Make sure that your dog knows where he is allowed to move.

Dogs should know which areas are off-limits, and which ones are safe to explore.

If your yard isn’t well-secured or isn’t fenced expect a lot of running. Plus, without any clean barriers, your dog will think that the entire nature is for him to explore.

If you have well-labeled and built yard boundaries, but your dog does respect them think about consulting a professional dog trainer.

Remember: it is up to your to mark any area where nettles might be located. If you do not do so it is you to blame if your dog runs into stinging nettle.

How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Nettle Stings

  • Always monitor carefully your dog’s play area
  • Make sure that you know if there are nettle stings around or not
  • Keep an eye on your dog when he is running freely
  • Make sure that you know what to do if your dog runs into nettle stings
  • Have your veterinarian contact
  • Keep dog’s area clear of nettles
  • If your dog is stung, contact your vet
  • Never let your dog run free in an unfamiliar area
  • Train your dog to always stay within the boundaries