What To Do When a Dog Gets Stung By a Bee

Most people know to give bees a wide berth in order to avoid being stung. Especially if they’re allergic. But did you know that your dog or cat is just as likely as humans to be stung? Did you know that your dog or cat can have an allergic reaction to bee stings, too? Do you know what to do if your curious cat or dog stumbles on a bee or wasp and gets stung? Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’re discussing today. We’ll take a look at what may cause pets to be more likely to get stung by bees, the most common areas your pet may be stung in, and what you can do to treat your pet in the case of a bee sting (or worse, an allergic reaction)! We’ll even take a look at what you can do to help prevent bee stings as well

The main reason that dogs and cats are sometimes more likely to be stung by a bee than humans is their natural curiosity. Sniffing around in flower beds greatly increases the chance of your pet being stung. Dogs and cats often explore areas that we would not think to stick our heads into…. that could mean a hollowed-out log on a hiking trail, or possibly rolling in a field or grassy area where bees are present and looking for pollen… bees have even been known to establish a hive inside dog houses before!

Most Common Spots For Dogs to Be Stung

The spot that dogs and cats are most often stung on is their nose – or if they’re unfortunate enough to “nip” at the flying insect playfully, they may even get stung inside their mouth! Perhaps the second most likely place to get stung for pets would be their paws, especially if they’re running or playing and moving too quickly to notice that bee that’s about to be underfoot. Unfortunately, both of these spots are very tender areas, so it can cause quite a bit of discomfort for your pet!

Stings in these places are often sensitive, but much like humans, bee stings will usually only cause mild discomfort in pets and perhaps a little bit of swelling. As we stated before, they’re most likely to get stung on the mouth, nose, or paws, so if you notice them favoring one of these spots, they may have been stung! On rare occasions, however, pets can have severe allergic reactions to bee stings, just like humans! Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t know if their pet is allergic to bee stings… and that can be life-threatening for “Man’s Best Friend!”

Remember, multiple stings can be dangerous. It’s not so much the sting itself that is dangerous and painful; it’s the small amount of poison that is injected. Multiple stings cause this poison to accumulate and cause more severe reactions in your pet. So while one sting may not trigger a severe reaction, getting stung several times or being stung inside the throat or mouth can be very dangerous and requires an immediate trip to a veterinarian for safety.

So how exactly can you tell if your pet has been stung? After all, your pet can’t speak to you to tell you exactly what’s wrong, so what signs should you look for?

Typical signs of a bee sting may include crying out, running in circles, itching, scratching (or chewing at the sting) and general discomfort. All of these signs are relatively minor and are to be expected with any sort of bee sting.

More severe symptoms of bee stings include swelling of the throat or neck, and general weakness or lethargy. These could be signs of escalating allergic reactions and are cause to monitor your pet closely for further complications or symptoms. Best practices suggest that if your pet’s symptoms start to escalate to this level it is time to take him or her into your friendly veterinarian for a check-up to make sure that any needed treatment is administered before symptoms can escalate to the next phase.

Dog Bee Stings Can Cause Severe Reactions

The most severe allergic reactions to bee stings in pets include difficulty swallowing or breathing, severe salivating, vomiting, and diarrhea. These signs are immediate indicators that you should see a vet right away, as reactions this severe can be life-threatening, especially if your dog or cat goes into anaphylactic shock! Immediate medical attention is an absolute must in these scenarios!

So now that you’ve identified whether or not your dog or cat has been stung, what should you do?

First of all, if your dog or cat suffers a bee sting, do your best to remain calm. Take a few breaths to settle your own nerves. No doubt your pet is in discomfort, but pets can pick up on the emotions of their owners, and if you’re stressed, it can add to your pet’s distress. A simple sting (with no severe reactions) can be bothersome but fortunately is only temporary. You can usually leave these alone (provided the stinger is already out) and the pain and swelling will go away in time.

If you see that the stinger is still embedded in your pet’s paw, muzzle, or body, and think you can remove the stinger, then do so to reduce the amount of venom injected. Never squeeze the stinger, it could increase the amount of venom injected! The best way to remove a bee sting from your cat or dog is to scrape a credit card across the bee sting to “flick” the stinger out.  Do NOT use tweezers, as these will most definitely inject more poison from the sting into the wound. Remember, honeybees will leave a stinger, but wasps won’t – though your pet is more likely to receive multiple stings if wasps are involved.

Bee Sting Treatments for Dogs

Sting treatments for pets are much the same as bee sting treatment for humans. Many people suggest applying a cold compress to reduce any swelling in the area, and to remedy the pain. Another method of pain remedy is to apply a weak mixture of water and baking soda to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.

After initial first aid has been administered, continue to monitor your dog or cat after the stinging incident to ensure that further reactions don’t develop. The onset of some symptoms isn’t always immediate, and if symptoms persist then it is a good indicator that something may be amiss. Pain and swelling should go down relatively shortly, but if there is still swelling or tenderness after a few days, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to see what may be causing the delayed recovery. They will be able to look at the symptoms more closely and give an in-depth analysis of what exactly is the best remedy for your ailing pet.

Though many people may not realize it, monitoring your dog or cat after it is stung by a bee is very important. Sometimes anaphylactic reactions can be delayed, and if you are not alert your pet can suffer. The longer medical treatment is withheld from being administered, the more severe reactions can become. Some experts actually recommend that you continue to monitor your pet for 2-3 days after the stinging incident just to make sure that you’re aware of any complications (no matter how slight) that may develop.

The best remedy, of course, is to prevent the bee sting in the first place… but keeping your pet away from bees can be extremely difficult. As we’ve said before, dogs and cats are naturally curious animals, and while we may shy away at something buzzing near us, the motivation to investigate is ingrained deeply into your pet’s psyche. A simple stroll through the park or stopping to sniff a flower can end up becoming a painful experience for your pet!

Conclusion: How To Train Your Dog To Avoid Bee Stings

So what are some simple things you can do to help your pet avoid bee stings? First of all, disciplined training can be a great method to help your pet avoid stings. Train your pet to avoid flower beds and other “bee hot spots” to minimize risk. If you’re also able to “fence” the flower bed off, then do so – that way your pet won’t be tempted. You should also monitor your property… bees and wasps love to build nests in voids – eaves of homes, under porches and even inside dog houses! Make sure to keep debris off of your property, so that scout swarms won’t seek to establish a hive inside. Construction materials and unfinished projects often end up being safe-havens for bees to set up shop in – and unless you’ve been diligent about checking these areas (most homeowners aren’t) you most likely will not know that bees have moved in until it’s too late and your pet is in pain!

If you find a hive, it’s best to have a professional remove it to reduce danger to you and your pet. Fortunately, Pro Pacific Pest Control has the experience and expertise to get the hive removed quickly and safely! So protect your fur-baby and call us now!