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My Dog Got Stung By A Bee: What Should I Do?

Written by: Jackie Brown

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

funny Corgi puppy tries to catch a dangerous striped insect wasp with its nose in the garden

My Dog Got Stung By A Bee: What Should I Do?

Was your dog stung by a bee? Find out what’s normal, what you can manage at home, and when to seek veterinary attention.

Some swelling is normal when it comes to a dog bee sting.

With bee stings, dogs typically have some swelling at the site of the sting, but it’s rarely life-threatening.

True allergic reactions are not common, but they can be life-threatening.

If you know your dog was stung by a bee, keep a close eye on him for a few hours. “Facial swelling, hives, and generalized itching would be considered an emergency,” says Jamie Mays, DVM, the medical director of VCA Pets First in Richmond, Virginia. “If a dog has a history of life-threatening reactions, we can prescribe EpiPens, so owners have some at-home emergency care they can do.”

Dogs are most commonly stung by bees on the face or feet.

Dogs are frequently stung by bees when they step on a bee or when they sniff at a bee to investigate. Pups who are unfamiliar with bees (and don’t know that they can sting) might even try to bite a bee as it buzzes around. “Occasionally, you’ll see dogs that bite at them, and they’ll have stings to the inside of their mouth, which can be really uncomfortable, and the swelling can potentially interfere with their airways,” Dr. Mays explains. “For those guys, I would probably bring them in sooner rather than later.”

dog get stung by bee
Image Credit: Madcat_Madlove, Shutterstock

Multiple bee stings cause more problems.

The swelling can be more concerning when dogs get more than one sting. “If they get into a hive and they have lots of stings, especially to the face, the swelling is the thing that’s the most concerning,” Mays says. “We can arrest a lot of the swelling with an antihistamine injection. It kicks in in about 20 minutes, so it’s really fast and effective.”

You might not even realize your dog has been stung by a bee.

If you don’t see the bee and your dog doesn’t yelp, you might not realize he was stung by a bee unless you notice swelling. See facial swelling or notice your dog breaking out in hives? Rush your pup to the veterinarian immediately.

Some treatments for a dog bee sting provide quick relief.

Whether your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction or is just uncomfortable due to swelling at the sting site, your vet can help. “Depending on the level of the reaction, they probably would be administered an injectable antihistamine and possibly a steroid,” Dr. Mays says. “Typically, we have the owner and the dog stay in the hospital for the next 30 minutes to an hour until the reaction starts to reverse and the swelling starts to recede. After that, it’s usually at-home care with Benadryl tablets to keep it under control for a couple of days.”

If you see the stinger still lodged in your dog’s skin, don’t pull it out with tweezers.

This can squeeze more venom into your dog. Scrape the stinger with the edge of a credit card to pop it out instead.

Read more about dog health on Dogster.com:


Featured Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

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