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Dog Stung By A Bee? Here’s What To Do!

dog stung by a bee
Photo courtesy of @rosieredfluffhead on Instagram.

Warm weather means more time outdoors for you and your pup!  Fortunately for our flowers but unfortunately for your dog, it also means more bees buzzing around.  Dogs are curious by nature and Doodles, in particular, seem to have a tendency for putting their noses precisely where they don’t belong.  Thanks to this, the odds of having your dog stung by a bee tends to be significantly higher than you getting stung.

Like for humans, most bee stings on dogs are simply an annoyance and not critical.  In this article we’ll go over how to treat your dog for a bee sting and when you should seek medical attention from a vet.  Don’t wait until it happens to learn!

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Dog Stung By Bee Symptoms

It’s not always obvious to tell when your dog has been stung by a bee.  If you’re with your dog when the incident occurs, they will often cry out and either paw at their face or lick their paw depending on where they got stung.  In some cases it’ll be relatively easy to narrow down the cause if you see a dead bee on the ground or a lot of them flying around nearby.  You always should look at the affected area to see if a stinger is still attached.

If you’re not with your dog when it happened, symptoms to watch out for afterwards include mild swelling and red skin.  Your dog may also limp or continue to nurse the affected area.

If your dog is experiencing weakness, difficulty breathing, or a excessive amount of swelling extending away from the site of the sting, contact your vet immediately.  We’ll talk more in a bit about when and why these dangerous symptoms may occur.

Related: Veterinarians Weigh In: Should You Get Pet Insurance?

Dog Stung By Bee Treatment

The first step is to safely remove the stinger from your dog if it is still attached.  How do you get a stinger out of a dog?  The easiest way is to gently scrape it off with a fingernail, credit card, or piece of cardboard.  If possible, avoid using tweezers because if the stinger is squeezed, more poison may flow out of it and into your pet.  Here is a helpful video showing a stinger being removed:

After the stinger is removed, applying a mixture of water and a little bit of baking soda will help reduce pain for your dog.  If swelling occurs, consider wrapping some ice in a towel and applying it to the affected area for a few minutes.

Can I give my dog Benadryl for a bee sting?  Only do this if you have consulted your vet and they have informed you of the proper dose for the severity of the sting and your pet’s weight.

Related: Is Pet Insurance a Waste of Money?

When Should I Be Concerned About a Bee Sting?

Can a dog die from getting stung by a bee?  In most cases, bee stings are only a nuisance for dogs.  However, on rare occasions bee stings can require emergency medical attention from a veterinarian and potentially be fatal.  Here’s what to look out for:

Mouth or Throat Bee Stings

Thanks to our furry friends’ love of tasting everything, it is not an uncommon occurrence for a dog to get stung on the inside of the mouth or throat.  This can become very dangerous as the swelling can result in difficulty breathing.  Signs to watch out for include wheezing and excessive drooling.  Immediately take your dog to the vet if this occurs.

Multiple Bee Stings

One bee sting isn’t usually cause for worry, but if your pet has endured many stings it is definitely worth seeing a vet.  Symptoms include multiple wound marks, pain and swelling, heavy panting, increased heart rate, and sometimes muscle tremors.

Allergic Reactions

Like humans, some dogs can be highly allergic to bee stings.  Severe swelling that extends far outward from the wound site or even in a completely different location may occur.  In the most extreme circumstances, your dog may go in to anaphylactic shock.  This may result in sudden vomiting, diarrhea, or collapsing.  Obviously, it is vital to see your vet immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Dog Stung By a Wasp or Hornet?

The symptoms and treatment for wasp stings or hornet stings are not significantly different than that of typical bee stings.  While wasp and hornet stings tend to be more painful, their stingers don’t have barbs and won’t stay attached.  They can however sting multiple times if provoked so be extra cautious around them.

To provide peace of mind for pet parents when it comes to stings and other health concerns, we highly encourage all dog owners invest in pet insurance. We recommend getting a free online quote from Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.