What to do if your dog is stung by a wasp or a bee

bee stings, dog first aid, dog health, dogs, summer, wasp stings -

What to do if your dog is stung by a wasp or a bee

As the weather warms up it is good to get outside more with our pets and enjoy the sunshine - but the warm weather can also bring some hazards too. Park authorities nationwide have reported an unprecedented amount of littering and it is important to make sure that your pup is not chewing on discarded cigarette ends or fast food wrappings on your daily walk as these can be extremely harmful.

The increase in litter has also brought an increase in insects, including wasps which also pose a danger to your pet. But do you know what to do if your dog is stung by a wasp or a bee?

Puppy Photo by Hendo Wang on UnsplashPuppy Photo by Hendo Wang on Unsplash

The effects of a sting

In most cases, wasp and bee stings are mostly harmless. Your dog may experience some swelling around the site of the sting with pain or discomfort in that area. They may behave in a distressed way when they are stung but the sensation should subside fairly rapidly and all you will notice is the swelling.

However - as with humans. - for some dogs, a bee or wasp sting can be very serious. If they are allergic to the venom from the sting, they may have a severe reaction which – if not treated – could be fatal. In addition to this, if your dog is not allergic but is stung in the mouth or throat - possibly from chewing a wasp or bee - this can restrict their airways and they may need urgent medical attention.

Bee Photo by Dmitry Grigoriev on UnsplashBee Photo by Dmitry Grigoriev on Unsplash

Normally a bee can only sting once – and it usually dies after doing so - when the barbed end of its sting becomes lodged in your dog’s skin. A wasp or a group of bees can sting multiple times and this can also pose a threat to your dog depending on how big they are and how many times they have been stung. If you’re not certain what to do, then it’s advisable to call your vet as soon as you can to get some advice and they may ask you to bring your dog in for emergency treatment

Sometimes it isn’t always easy to tell right away if your dog has been stung as they may tend to soldier on and keep running around if they are engrossed in a game or enjoying their walk.

Wasp Photo by soufiane koraichi on UnsplashWasp Photo by soufiane koraichi on Unsplash

How to tell if your dog has been stung by a wasp or a bee

If you suspect that your dog may have been stung by a wasp or a bee, look for the following signs of unusual behaviour:

  • They are biting or licking the part of their body where they may have been stung
  • They are whining or yelping
  • There are signs of swelling in a certain area
  • If they have stung their leg or paw, they may be holding it up
  • If they have been stung in the face, mouth or throat they may be repeatedly pawing at this area

Collie Photo by Minnie Zhou on UnsplashCollie Photo by Minnie Zhou on Unsplash

How to tell if your dog has had an allergic reaction to a wasp or a bee sting

If you think that your dog has been stung and they start exhibiting any of the following behaviours in addition to those listed above, then it is possible that they may be experiencing an allergic reaction to the sting and you should consult your vet for advice as soon as possible:

  • They are being sick
  • They are breathing rapidly or struggling to breathe
  • They have difficulty in standing or collapsing
  • They have pale gums
  • They have diarrhoea
  • There is a lot of swelling around the sting and it appears to be getting worse 

Vizsla Photo by Liesbeth Koopmans on PexelsVizsla Photo by Liesbeth Koopmans on Pexels

How to treat wasp or bee stings on your dog

If you can see the sting sticking out of your dog’s skin, use a credit card or something similar to scrape it out. Don’t squeeze or pull at the sting with your fingers as this may inject more venom into your dog and make it worse. 

Get a cloth and run it under the cold tap (or if you are out with your dog, use a sock or similar item and find some clean cold water to dip it in, such as a stream or water trough). Use the cloth as a cold pack and hold it against the site of the sting to reduce the swelling. If you can get hold of some ice this can be good for soothing stings too – but be careful not to shock your dog with too much ice and wrap it in some cloth to reduce the risk of shock. 

Your dog may be upset and agitated by the sting so lead by example and stay calm, in order to keep your dog as calm as possible too. Keep them cool and continue to observe for any signs of an allergic reaction (detailed above). This is most likely to develop in the first couple of hours after your dog is stung.

Don’t give your dog any over-the-counter antihistamines intended for humans. If you think your dog requires medication for their sting, then consult a vet for advice.

We hope that you and your dog stay safe this summer. We’ve got some more tips on the blog on how to keep your dog cool during a heatwave and we’ve just had a very exciting new addition to the Gravitis Pet Supplies range delivered to Gravitis HQ – our brand new doggy paddling pool – available in two sizes: large and extra large. We’ll be adding this to our online shop very soon and blogging about it next week.

Have you got any tips for treating wasp or bee stings in dogs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Main Photo by Natasa Mirkovic on Unsplash

1 comment

  • James Harding

    Thank you. Very helpful Post. My Bichon is auto-immune so reacts to all sorts of environmental triggers.

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