Dogs are notorious for getting into curious situations, and they can’t resist a good chase. If there are bees around, you may end up searching Google for ‘dog stung by bee’ in a pinch for what to do. We’ve got you covered! Here’s what to do if your dog gets stung by a bee.
The most important thing to do is to watch your dog closely for any signs or symptoms of anaphylactic shock. These reactions can be fatal, so it’s essential to act quickly.
Allergic reactions will usually occur within the first 30 minutes. If you see any of the following, call your vet immediately:
- Excessive drooling: this can happen when there is swelling in the throat or difficulty swallowing
- Pale gums: gums that are more pale than usual or get paler over time
- Wheezing or trouble breathing: from swelling in the throat or closure of respiratory passages
- Hives: red or raised bumps on the hairless areas of the body may indicate an allergic reaction
- Severe swelling: even if the sting didn’t occur in the facial area, swelling around the head or neck can affect breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhea: this will usually happen within 5-10 minutes after the sting when the body is trying to expel the venom
- Disorientation: a dog that isn’t alert or that stumbles around is having a more severe reaction that needs attention
- Seizures: dogs can become overly anxious, agitated, or suddenly aggressive. Which can be a sign the venom has affected the nervous symptom, but seizures are a definite sign
Dog With Anaphylactic Shock
Check Your Dog for the Bees Stinger
However not all dogs will have such severe reactions, and if your dog is one of the lucky ones, you can treat the bee sting at home. Do this after you have determined there is no allergic reaction.
First, you’ll need to identify the location of the bee sting to see if your dog still has the stinger, which will need to be removed. There are a few ways you can tell where your dog has been stung, including:
- Any puffy or sensitive areas or small rashes or batches of hives
- Where the dog is scratching, biting, licking or pawing at on themselves; common areas include the face and feet
Bee stings hurt, so your dog will feel it, just like humans do. But there’s a reason they sting, and bees are essential for the Earth, so they’re not all bad.
Removing the Stinger From Your Dog
If the stinger is still inside the dog’s skin, it’s important to remove it. Even after the initial sting when venom is released, the venom sack is still releasing venom into your dog.
The most important thing to remember is never to use tweezers or pull it directly out. The stinger is barbed on the end and essentially hooks into the skin of the victim. But there are several ways you can safely remove the stinger from your dog.
While this isn’t the best of the options, it’s helpful in a pinch. Just be careful not to poke yourself as you remove the stinger. Here, you are not pulling, but instead forcing it out in a flicking manner by getting underneath it.
Bank card or hard cardboard
Using one of these items will do the same as your fingernail but without any danger to you. You’re also less likely to try and grab and pull at the stinger. Place the card between the stinger and the skin and scrape to flick the stinger off.
A dull knife, such as a butter knife, can also work to remove your dog’s stinger, as it is a flat, hard surface. You’ll do the same method as the bank card to flick the stinger off.
Dog Stung By Bee Treatment
When the fear of an allergic reaction has subsided, you can help your dog be more comfortable. Many searches for ‘dog stung by bee’ don’t always provide information on bee stings specifically, but lump wasp and other stings into the mix.
The issue with this is that they are not the same and require different treatments. According to VeterinaryPlace.com, bee stings are acidic and need to have the acid neutralized, while wasp venom is alkaline.
It is also commonly suggested by vets to treat the reaction itself, as it will determine which remedy to use. For dogs that like to lick, you’ll want to cover any treatments with a bandage of some sort or put a dog cone on them.
This treatment option seems to be one of the most effective. Mixed with water to make a thick paste and then slathered onto the affected area, it neutralizes the acid from the bee venom.
Because of this, the pain and other effects of the venom will subside faster. You should leave the paste on for about 15 min to give it time to work, then rinse it off. Reapply as needed to treat the symptoms.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before giving your dog any human medicines. Most vets do recommend this treatment if there is any non-life-threatening swelling.
Benadryl is a safe and effective treatment. As an antihistamine, it treats the itchiness and swelling caused by the venom.
The proper dosing for dogs is 1mg per pound. Since the standard pill is usually 25mg, you may need to use children’s Benadryl for smaller dogs, which comes in 12.5mg doses.
Another common way to treat bee stings is to wrap ice in a towel and apply it to the site to help reduce swelling. It is also the most effective way to keep the venom from absorbing. Do this after you wash the area with soap and water. This method should only need to be done once, maybe twice, for about 5-10 minutes.
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar is another option that may also help neutralize bee venom. Mix 3/4 part apple cider vinegar with 1/4 part water. Soak a cloth in the mixture and apply it to the site for 5 minutes to reduce pain.
You can continue this method up to 3 times a day for 2-3 days to help with swelling and inflammation. You don’t have to keep it on for 5 minutes for that long after the first day, just give it a good soaking.
Apple cider vinegar has anti-itching and antiseptic properties, it can safely be used on the nose and mouth of your dog. You can also choose to soak the site if the sting occurred on a site such as your dog’s paw.
Brown vinegar works the same as apple cider vinegar and may be more readily accessible in your cupboard. Follow the same method and measurements of the above apple cider vinegar recipe.
Humans have used honey to treat bee stings for years, as it is thought to help with healing the sting site. It can also reduce pain and itching. You’ll apply a small amount to the affected area and cover with a loose bandage for up to an hour.
Who would have known? There’s an enzyme in meat tenderizer called papain that can help break down the proteins in the venom that cause the pain and itching. The solution is made from four parts water and one part tenderizer and applied to the area for up to 30 minutes.
People use toothpaste for just about everything, from reducing the appearance of pimples to helping with bee stings.
Because toothpaste is alkaline (and sometimes even has baking soda in it), it helps neutralize the bee venom. Dab it on the affected area as needed, leaving it on for about 15 minutes and then rinsing it off.
Aloe Vera gel is very soothing and calming to the skin. You can buy a pet-friendly brand or use aloe vera directly from the plant if you have one handy. Squeeze a small amount onto the skin and gently rub it in. Repeat as necessary to help with any discomfort.
Not Sure Your Dog Has Been Stung By A Bee?
Aside from wondering what to do if your dog gets stung by a bee, you might also wonder how you’ll know. The most common areas a sting will occur are the mouth, face, and paws.
Dogs can even swallow a bee! Most likely, a bee sting is going to happen outside, so keep that in mind and watch your dog’s behavior if they have recently been outside.
A change in temperament after a bee sting
If your dog is acting differently, this is one of the telltale signs something is up. For a bee sting, it might mean running in circles, general agitation, whimpering, or even not wanting to be touched or pet in a particular area.
Keeping the weight off the paw
For stings that occur in an area like a paw, you’ll see them being gentle when they walk or lifting their paw in the air for extended periods of time.
This also coincides with their behavior related to not wanting to be touched in a particular area – it’s painful.
Obsessive grooming-type behavior by the dog after a bee sting
Telltale signs the area in question is bothering them and they may have been stung.
Constant licking of a particular area to aggressive chewing or scratching at the spot of irritation.
Is It Possible To Prevent Bee Stings On A Dog?
There are some things you can do to help avoid bee stings that don’t involve keeping your dog locked up inside. If you have a garden, putting a fence around it to keep the dog out can help or consider bee traps.
Plant flowers that attract butterflies instead of bees, such as jasmine and zinnias. Crimson colored flowers can also deter bees, as can Citronella candles. You should also walk your dog on a leash and avoid ground cover with flowers on your walk.
Use Caution, But Don't Stress
We need bees to pollinate flowers and trees, so try not to kill them if you can help it.
Bee stings occur every day, and while they can be severe and even fatal due to allergic reactions, this is very rare. The most serious side effect of bee stings in dogs is kidney injury.
Some vets often report they may see as many as two dogs a week with severe reactions, which is minimal considering the number of patients they see. Most likely, your best furry friend will be back to normal in no time.
If you have any tips or cures for a bee sting on your furry friend we would invite you to leave a comment below, or share with other dog owners to help their dogs recover quickly. For any articles on a wasp sting or a bite from a fire ant check out our others posts.