What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung By A Bee Or Wasp

It’s important to keep an eye out for bees and wasps while your pet is exploring the outdoors. Although your pet may think it’s fun to chase a flying insect, being stung by a bee or wasp can be very painful and, in some cases, lead to a severe anaphylactic reaction.

The most common places for a dog to be stung include the face, mouth, lips, nose and paws and can take 10 minutes to several hours to show a reaction.

Here we can help you recognise the signs of a sting, what to do if your pet has been stung and how to keep your pet away from bees and wasps. Please note this is not a substitute for vet advice.

Symptoms of a mild reaction

  • Licking, chewing, pawing, or scratching at the sting site
  • Sudden yelping, whining or limping
  • Redness and swelling around the sting site with the skin feeling quite tender
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitivity and pain
  • Visible sting
  • Lethargy

Mild reaction management

If the reaction to the sting is mild, there are several things you can do at home to help your dog and ease their pain. As well as calling your vet for advice, you can:

  • Remove the stinger. Gently scrape the stinger off using a fingernail or edge of a card. Do not use tweezers as they can squeeze more venom into the area
  • Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the sting area to reduce swelling and pain
  • Stop your dog from scratching the sting area. Scratching may cause an infection
  • Continue monitoring your dog to ensure their symptoms do not worsen

Symptoms of a severe reaction

If a severe reaction occurs, take your dog to the vet immediately as anaphylactic reactions can be life threatening. A severe reaction can include:

  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • Trouble breathing/wheezing (this could be because of swelling of the airway)
  • Swelling around the mouth/head/neck
  • Excessive drooling indicating that your dog’s throat is swollen, and they are having trouble swallowing
  • Agitation as the result of pain, itching, or trouble breathing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Pale gums
  • Collapsing

What can you do to prevent bee or wasp stings?

  • Limit your dog’s exposure to bees and wasps. Watch them carefully while they are outdoors and ensure they stay clear of areas with flowers
  • Make sure your dog knows to come when called so you can easily direct them away from bees, wasps or flowers areas
  • Use clothing items such as doggy booties or light shirts to help protect your pet
  • Use pet-safe diluted essential oils to spray on your dog’s coat to help keep bees and wasps at a distance. This includes clove oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil which can all be mixed with coconut oil
  • Use dog bug spray
  • If your dog is allergic, make sure you always carry around their prescribed EpiPen whenever you are out on a walk.

Bees and wasps are a vital part of our ecosystem so keeping our pets away is keeping them safe too.

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