What should you do if a bee stings your dog?
Dogs, especially inquisitive puppies, tend to follow their noses, which can easily lead them to mischief. Occasionally this mischief will have a sharp bite or sting, or be toxic. When your pup’s curious nose leads them to a bee, be prepared for a painful sting, and potentially a severe reaction. All pet owners should have a pet first-aid kit fully outfitted and ready for any emergency, such as a bee sting. If your pet first-aid kit does not include a manual for common emergency conditions, use our bee-sting guide for dogs.
How do dogs get stung by bees?
During warm weather, your pooch is likely to be outside enjoying the summer sun and cool breeze. Insects also become more active with warmer temperatures, and a curious pup may be enticed by an intriguing creature, such as a bee buzzing from flower to flower. They may be tempted to discover the source of that odd vibrating noise and end up too close for comfort. Older dogs have likely learned from their mistakes, but young puppies may learn this lesson the hard way. A female bee that feels threatened will react by stinging the perceived threat, leaving her stinger behind, and subsequently dying.
While protecting your four-legged friend from every potential hazard is impossible, keep an eye out for, and steer your pup clear of, possible bee habitats.
What reaction will a dog have after being stung by a bee?
If your curious dog gets stung by a bee, they will likely react in some form. Bee-sting reactions most commonly appear around the head or face, as your pet sniffs a buzzing insect with their nose, and the angry bee warns her off. But, bees can also sting in the mouth if your pooch snaps at one, or on the paws or legs if they step on a stinging insect.
If your pet reacts normally to a sting, you may notice a local skin inflammation that appears as a circular swelling. The skin will be white in the center, changing to red and irritated as the inflammation spreads from the stinger. The site of the sting will be painful to the touch and feel warmer than the surrounding area.
If your pet is allergic to a bee sting, you will notice a more severe, systemic reaction, rather than only localized inflammation. If your pet has an allergic reaction to the sting, you may also see fever, shortness of breath, lethargy, and excessive inflammation and swelling.
Most dogs get stung on the face, the lips, muzzle, and eyelids may swell, so facial hives may pop up, and your pet may drool or paw their face and mouth, because sting sites are often itchy.
Can dogs be allergic to bees like people?
Like people, dogs can develop anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, to bee stings, and within minutes of the sting, you may see signs of an anaphylactic reaction, which include:
- Significant swelling
- Trouble breathing
If you know your dog is allergic to bees, take special precautions to keep them safe outdoors, but be prepared by developing a sting-treatment plan with your veterinarian. You may need to rush your pet to an emergency veterinary clinic at the first sign of a reaction.
What should I do if my dog is stung by a bee?
If your pooch is stung by a bee, follow these first-aid steps:
- Remove the stinger — Remove the stinger promptly to minimize inflammation, but do so carefully. Avoid squeezing the stinger with tweezers and releasing more venom. Instead, scrape the stinger out with a credit card or stiff piece of paper.
- Wash and calm the sting site — After you’ve removed the stinger, cleanse the area with a gentle soap. Don’t scrub, as this can further irritate the spot and increase inflammation. To help calm and soothe the area, apply a cold compress for 15 minutes to reduce inflammation and associated pain.
- Consult your veterinarian — As they may need to inspect your pet to see whether or not medication will be required.
When should I seek veterinary care for my dog’s bee sting?
If your pet seems painful or itchy, and you cannot control her reaction at home despite following veterinary advice, they may need steroid and antihistamine injections from her veterinarian. Monitor your dog for an anaphylactic reaction, and immediately rush her to your veterinarian if you notice a swollen muzzle, difficulty breathing, or lethargy.
What other insects sting dogs?
Bees are not the only insects capable of stinging your pup—wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can also attack and sting multiple times, as their stingers remain attached after stinging and they do not die.
How can I prevent my dog from being stung by a bee?
Although not necessarily beneficial for the environment, keeping bees out of your yard may be desirable to protect your pooch. Since it’s difficult to prevent flying insects in your yard, instead focus on making a less-hospitable area by mowing your grass short and hiring a pest-control specialist to remove hornet nests or bee hives.
Inspect your home and yard for signs of stinging insects to prevent your pup from wandering into dangerous territory. But, if they stick their nose in the wrong spot, be prepared to react quickly to thwart a potentially dangerous anaphylactic reaction. You can help budget for the unexpected costs of care such as bee stings by insuring your pooch with accident and illness coverage.