What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

Dog happily running through flower field

Dogs and Bee Stings: What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

Taking the time to stop and smell the roses (or any flowers) can lead to a painful experience for your dog if a bee happens to be hovering nearby. Although bee stings certainly aren't comfortable, they usually don't cause severe allergic reactions in dogs. If your pooch does encounter a stinging bee or wasp this spring or summer, these steps can help soothe the pain.

Remove the Stinger

Honeybees leave their stingers behind when they sting. In fact, venom continues to enter your pet's body for several minutes after a sting unless you remove the stinger. Don't use your fingers to pull out the stinger, as you may accidentally force more venom into your pet's skin. Instead, gently scrape the stinger off with the edge of a credit card and wash the skin with warm soapy water.

If you can't locate the stinger, give your furry friend a bath instead. Bathing can help dislodge the stinger and help soothe the skin.

Treat Pain and Swelling

Cold compresses offer a simple way to reduce pain, redness, or swelling. Cold washcloths, freezer gel packs, ice in a resealable bag, or bags of frozen vegetables make good compresses. If you use a frozen compress, be sure to wrap it in a towel to prevent frostbite. Leave the compress in place as long as your dog will allow but for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

After a few minutes of cold compress therapy, most dogs will feel much better and won't require additional treatment.

Oral Benadryl can also be helpful in reducing swelling. Before you offer your furry friend the over-the-counter medication, ask the veterinarian if it's a good idea. Since pets require different dosages than humans, you'll want to be sure to give the veterinarian a call.

Recognize Danger Signs

Signs of a possible allergic reaction may include:

  • Pale Gums
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Lack of Energy
  • Severe Swelling
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Collapse

If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Visit your local emergency clinic if the vet's office happens to be closed when the sting occurs.

Once your dog arrives at the office or clinic, he or she may be treated with injected Benadryl, fluids, and steroids. Your pet may need to stay at the vet's office for a few days while he or she recovers.

Problems can also occur if your dog is stung by a bee or wasp in the nose, mouth, or throat. Although your pet may not be allergic to bees or wasps, stings in these sensitive areas can cause swelling that partially or fully blocks airways, making breathing difficult. Severe swelling in the mouth, nose, throat or neck warrants an emergency trip to the veterinarian.

How to Prevent Bee Stings

You may not be able to prevent all stings, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the chance your dog will get stung. We suggest:

  • Checking for Hives and Nests: Dogs are curious by nature and don't understand it's not a good idea to poke their noses in beehives or wasps' nests. Even if your pet isn't usually allergic to stings, being stung many times can expose him or her to large amounts of venom that can cause a severe reaction. Check the nooks and crannies of your property weekly for signs of hive or nest building. If you do notice hives or nests, remove them promptly or ask a professional exterminator for help.
  • Limiting Exposure: If your dog can't reach flowering plants, he or she is less likely to be stung. Keep flowering plants in your yard behind fences and dissuade your pet from sniffing plants when you're out for a walk.
  • Removing Food Promptly: After you enjoy a meal on your deck or patio, cover or remove leftovers as soon as possible. Since bees are particularly attracted to sugary foods and beverages, keeping them out-of-reach can help protect your family and your pets from painful stings.

Bee or wasp stings are little more than a minor, but temporarily painful, nuisance for most dogs. If your pet displays any of the signs mentioned above, or you're concerned about his or her symptoms, call us immediately.

Sources:

PetMD: So Your Dog Has Been Stung by a Honeybee

https://www.petmd.com/dog/so-your-dog-has-been-stung-honeybee

Texas A&M University: Protecting Your Pets from Killer Bees, 7/16/15

http://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/protecting-your-pets-from-killer-bees

Hills: How to Handle Your Dogs Bee or Wasp Sting

https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/routine-care/what-to-do-when-wasp-bee-sting-dog

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-7:00 pm

Thursday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-7:00 pm

Friday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

4:00 pm-7:00 pm

Saturday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

4:30 pm-6:00 pm

* Sunday is for pick-up and drop-off of boarders ONLY

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I want to thank the staff at Occoquan Animal Hospital, especially Dr. Morse and Dr. Farge for the care you provided to my dog, Cocoa, for the past 13 years. From the day we brought him in for his first check up when he was only about 4 to 6 months old, until that final breath he took under the loving hands of Dr. Farge, we will always value the exceptional care he received by the staff at Occoquan Animal Hospital during these 13 years."
    Karen G.
  • "I love this place. The doctors and staff really show they care about the health of your pets. They are honest and will not try to make you pay for unnecessary treatments just to make money. I've trusted them with all my animals for as long as I can remember. I won't go anywhere else."
    Vicki S.
  • "This is the first Vet hospital that I have ever been to that really cares about the animals and the owners more than the amount of money they can charge. I love the way they treat my dogs as if they are the only animals on earth. I come from Fairfax for their good service. This will be where my little buddies will go as long as we are in VA. The best."
    Theresa B.