What I Learned When My Dog Got Stung By A Bee

What I Learned When My Dog Got Stung By A Bee


My dogs and I recently moved from the desert of El Paso, Texas to the very green Charlotte, North Carolina. While my canine kids are loving their new home, one day when we went outside for a quick potty break, they ran into our new not-so-friendly neighbors. By that, I mean the bugs! Sure, there were bugs in the desert. But, in the four years that I lived there, I never really noticed many flying things! This particular afternoon, my little Diego got stung by a bee. While everyone will tell you to keep calm, I must admit, I internally freaked out! That’s probably because I didn’t realize he was stung during our walk, and it wasn’t until 10 minutes later when I was plugging away on the computer that I looked down and saw this face:

Stings Happen

Dogs are curious creatures that love to explore the world with their face and paws. So if they stumble across a flying bee or wasp, they’re likely going to want to check it out. Since bees view our dogs as threats, they go into attack mode and sting. The most common areas for a dog to get stung is their face, mouth, or paws. 

Symptoms 

Typically when a bee stings, their barbed stinger, as well as their venom sac, lodges into the skin and detaches from the bee’s body. This ultimately leads to the bee’s death (which I’m sure your dog considered karma)

Much like with humans, if your dog is stung by a bee he may experience: 

  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Itchiness/Biting/Agitation
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty Breathing 
  • Anaphylactic Shock (which can be deadly)

As a pet parent, you’ll immediately question whether your dog is allergic and if he can breathe. A slight itching and burning sensation with minimal swelling are signs of a mild reaction. If your pooch is exhibiting signs of pain, extreme swelling that extends away from the sting site, and difficulty breathing then he’s having a severe reaction. 

Regardless of how severe, call your vet immediately and get down to the office for a check-up. For some dogs, simply removing the stinger and applying a cold press will be fine. Others may need a Benadryl shot and steroids. While I’m not a huge fan of pumping medicine into my dog’s little body, Diego did need two shots. 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Stung By A Bee

1) Stay Calm

Your dog can sense your nervousness and panic, so try to remain as calm as possible. Your dog is already worried enough, you don’t need to stress him out even more. I know – easier said than done!

2) Call Your Vet

Immediately let your vet know that your dog was stung by a bee, describe his symptoms, and let then know that you’re on your way for a visit. Since it’s an emergency visit, your vet will probably charge a little more than a normal appointment. I know it’s not ideal, but your fur kid’s health is worth the few extra dollars!

3) Look For The Stinger

The longer the stinger is lodged in your dog’s skin, the more poison or venom can drip into their body. Try to locate the stinger and remove it by scraping it with your fingernail, a credit card, or a coin. Tweezers should be a last resort because when you squeeze the stinger venom can release.

4) Try To Alleviate Pain and Swelling

While you’re on your way to the vet’s office, applying a little ice pack or an ice cube wrapped in a clean cloth can help with swelling. Additionally, once the stinger is removed, some people swear by rubbing a mixture of baking soda and water onto the area. It’s said to help with pain. I did not try this on my little Diego, but figured I would mention it.

5) Medications

Expect your vet to give your pooch a shot or two to stop the reaction and reduce the swelling. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a huge fan of Diego taking meds. However, I am a huge fan of him breathing. So in this case, I was okay with it. My vet also recommended that I give Diego a dose of baby Benadryl before bed that night as an extra precaution. The dosage is based on your dog’s weight – normally, it’s 1 mg per 1 pound of body weight. Talk to your vet before giving your pup any medications, though. 

6) Monitor Your Pup Closely

If your dog doesn’t have an immediate reaction to a bee sting that doesn’t mean he won’t develop one. Anaphylactic shock may occur within 24 hours of the sting so it’s important to monitor your dog closely. Also, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your dog after his vet visit until everything is back to normal.