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Your dog might be playing outdoors, having a wonderful time, when they suddenly yelp in pain. The culprit could be a pesky insect like a bee or a wasp, which decided to sting your beloved pet.
Bee and wasp stings can be painful and frightening for a dog, even if they were chasing the insect just a few minutes before. A single bee sting will produce pain, swelling, redness, and inflammation. Here’s what to do if your dog is stung by a bee or wasp.
How to Deal With Your Dog’s Bee or Wasp Sting
If your dog is stung, follow these steps:
- Carefully remove the stinger with tweezers.
- Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the site of the sting.
- Apply an ice pack to relieve swelling and pain.
- Ask your vet about giving your dog a dose of oral antihistamine.
- Give your dog fresh water and watch them carefully.
Allergic reactions usually occur within 20 minutes, but they can be delayed for hours. If a honeybee is the culprit and leaves behind a stinger, you will need to take it out. Don’t pinch and pull at it. Instead, you can gently scrape out the stinger by placing a credit card on your dog’s skin and sliding it one way to ease out the stinger.
What if the Dog is Stung on the Head, Mouth, or Nose?
If the sting is on the nose, mouth, or around the head, observe your dog for several hours to make sure that any swelling does not interfere with breathing or swallowing. If the swelling increases dramatically after a few minutes after the sting, see a veterinarian immediately.
If your dog disturbs a hive, call them to you and put distance between your dog and the swarm immediately. Then, take your dog to the closest veterinarian. Treatment for massive amounts of stings needs to occur quickly to prevent shock and circulatory collapse and to minimize possible damage to organ systems.
Anaphylactic Bee Reactions in Dogs
Have you ever heard of someone having to inject themselves after being stung by a bee? These are anaphylactic reactions, which are the scariest and most lethal allergic reactions we see.
In dogs, we see major reactions like this if they are bitten by an insect (bee or wasp) or if they have an injection of medication (like a vaccine) they’re allergic to. Antibodies produced by the host react to the substance, dropping blood pressure and sending the body into shock.
If a dog has had a past incident and survived, the owner may carry an epipen, but sometimes the first occurrence can lead to death. Fortunately, these reactions are very rare in dogs.
If you notice any unusual changes or symptoms in your dog (such as struggling to breathe, lethargy, collapsing, coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea), call your vet right away. Also contact your vet immediately if your dog is allergic to bees and gets stung.