What To Do if Your Dog Encounters a Bee

Published: August 29, 2021
Home / Health / What To Do if Your Dog Encounters a Bee

Bees and even wasps are excellent for the environment, but that doesn't mean they're fun for you or your dog to be around. Bee stings hurt a little and wasp stings hurt even more, so it is important to know what to do if your dog encounters a bee on his walk or while playing in the yard. This quick guide will help you take action to protect your pet and hopefully prevent further stings.

Signs Your Dog May Have Been Stung By a Bee

Typically, your dog will have the same symptoms that you would if you were stung by a bee. The area may become swollen and he may get hives and try to scratch the area. He may also lick the area more. If your dog tried to eat a bee, you may notice he is whining, drooling, or pawing at his mouth. If he stepped on a bee, your dog may limp due to the stinger still being embedded in his paw pad.

Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to bees in the same way that humans are. This means that in rare cases, your dog may experience more serious symptoms, such as vomiting or seizures. Other signs that your dog may be having an allergic reaction include severe swelling in the head or neck, even if that isn't where he was stung, wheezing or having trouble breathing, or seeming to be dizzy and disoriented. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction, take him to an emergency vet immediately.

What To Do Immediately After a Bee Stings Your Dog

The first thing you should do if you suspect your dog was stung by a bee is to find the stinger. Once you locate it, gently push it out of his skin. Use the edge of a butter knife, your fingernail, or a credit card. Contrary to popular belief, you should not use tweezers to grasp and remove a stinger. This is because it may release more venom into the wound, which is especially dangerous if your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction.

If the sting isn't near the mouth or neck and your dog isn't showing any signs of an allergic reaction, you can probably treat it on your own at home. However, if your dog was stung near his mouth or neck, take him to the vet even if he isn't allergic. The swelling can cause his airways to constrict and make it harder for him to breathe.

How To Treat a Bee Sting on Your Dog

Once you remove the stinger from your dog's wound, you can create a paste using baking soda and water or use a cold washcloth on the injury. This will help to ease the pain and provide some relief. After you soothe the area, you can give your dog Benadryl or another safe antihistamine to relieve the swelling and keep him from having too much pain. However, too much Benadryl can cause your dog to get sick, so always contact your vet first to ensure you give him the proper dose. Typically, your dog will feel better within a few hours. If he doesn't seem to be feeling better or if you notice the swelling isn't going down, take him to the vet to ensure everything is okay.

If your dog was stung by multiple bees at once, do not try to treat him at home. Multiple stings can be dangerous even if your pet is not allergic. Put a cone on him to prevent him from licking or biting, load him into his travel crate , and take him to your vet or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately.

What To Do if You Come Across an Entire Hive

If you and your dog are on a walk and come across a beehive or wasp nest, you need to get as far away from it as possible as quickly as possible. It is important to keep calm and avoid shouting, as the vibrations in your voice can further agitate them. Never disturb a nest or swat at the bees or wasps, as this will only further anger them.

If you have a small dog, pick him up and run. If you have a large one, keep hold of his leash and start running. Typically, if there are only a few, you will be able to outrun them. If it is windy outside, run into the wind, as the gusts will make it harder for the insects to fly after you. Keep your face and your dog shielded as much as possible.

Run until you are sure you're no longer being chased by the insects. However, don't be tempted to do what they do in movies. Running into the water to escape is actually a bad idea, as bees and wasps will often swarm around the shore waiting for you to come back out of the water. This means you could be stranded, which is particularly dangerous if it's cold or if you and your dog are not good swimmers.

How To Prevent Stings in the Future

If you notice lots of stinging insects around your home, call a pest control expert to see what your options are. Remove piles of wood, clean any debris from your property, and get rid of any old outbuildings you are no longer using.

If you are taking your dog for walks, don't allow him to sniff too close to flowerbeds or flowering plants and trees. These are where he is most likely to have a run-in with a bee and receive a sting. Keep him on a 6- to 8-foot leash to ensure better control of where he is sniffing and for how long.

Bee stings can be scary for you and your dog. Knowing what to look for, how to treat it, and when to see the vet ensures your pet is more likely to be okay.

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