Updated: Nov 4
Dogs are curious creatures. They love to explore, run and chase things outdoors, including bees. However, a curious nature can sometimes lead to a dog being stung by a bee and in some cases being too inquisitive can result in dogs eating the bee!
Are bee stings dangerous?
Bee stings can be dangerous not just from the poison bee's carry but also from the allergic reactions they can cause.
With bee stings it's not the wound left by the bite that causes pain, it's actually the small amount of poison the bee injects. Bees have a barbed stinger that detaches from the bee and remains in your dog's skin. After the initial sting, the venom sack remains in the skin and will continue to inject more venom, so it is best it is removed as soon as possible. There have been cases resulting in death from the amount of venom injected from being stung multiple times.
Should your dog be stung in their mouth this can be particularly dangerous as the swelling from the sting can block their airways preventing them being able to breathe.
It is also common for our dog's paws to become stung by a bee as they often step on them or swat them away. Stings to this area often go unnoticed and undiagnosed as their owners often think they've just torn a nail or cut themselves as it can be hard to see the affected area.
What are the signs your dog has been stung by a bee?
Dogs that have been stung by bees can experience very mild allergic reactions to very severe anaphylactic reactions.
Mild reactions include:
Sudden onset of yelping, whining or limping, Licking, chewing, pawing, or scratching at the bite site, Redness and swelling, Painful when touched, Visible sting, Hives or welts, Swelling, Drooling
A severe reaction includes:
Severe swelling, Vomiting, Diarrhea , Pale gums, Dizziness or disorientation, Difficulty breathing, Collapse, Loss of consciousness
Allergic reactions from bee stings usually happen within 5 minutes of being stung, but reactions can still be delayed until hours later.
What should you do if your dog is stung by a bee?
If your dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis from a bee sting, take them straight to the vet. While seeking veterinary care you can also follow these steps to help your dog:
Do your best to keep your animal calm on the trip to the vet
Try to stop them licking/scratching at the site
A cold wet towel placed over the site may help reduce some of the swelling and pain
Don't give your dog any medications, such as antihistamines, without consulting with your vet first as the wrong dosage can prove fatal
What can you do to prevent bee stings?
Prevent access to areas in your yard known to be frequented by bees
When out walking your dog stay clear of areas with flowers
Keep your dog out and away from flower beds
Teach your dog to come when called, so as if you see them chasing or snapping at bees you can divert their attention
Keep your lawns mowed short
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