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Dog Bee Stings

Bee stings can result in painful swelling and redness in dogs. In severe cases, the dog may suffer from an acute allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock which can be life-threatening if untreated. Read on and learn more about the symptoms and treatment of bee stings in dogs.

Dog Smelling Flower
The stings of bees and wasps cause localized pain, swelling and mild redness to the site of the sting. Understandably, common sites are parts of the dog's body not covered by hair, such as the nose or the paws. Sometimes, even if the site of the sting is not the dog's face, swelling may still occur on the face (and the neck).

Depending on the location of the sting, and how many times the dog is stung, dog bee stings can be serious and may require prompt veterinary attention.

For example, swelling of the neck may result in constriction of the airway, leading to breathing difficulties. Also, a dog may go into shock if stung repeatedly. Sometimes, a dog who has previously been stung may go into anaphylactic shock (an immediate serious allergic reaction) if stung a second time.

Dog Bee Stings - What to Do?

When your dog is stung, he will likely yelp at the time of the sting, and you may see him pawing the stung area, or trying to rub his head on the grass in an attempt to relieve the pain. A swollen muzzle or face is usually a clear sign of a sting.

Here is what you can do to help your dog:
  • If possible, identify the stinging insect.
  • If you can find the stinger, use your fingernail or, if available, a card such as a credit card, to try to scrape it out from the site. DO NOT try to squeeze the site or use tweezers to remove the stinger as this can cause it to break, pushing more venom into the skin.
  • Immediately put an ice cube on the site for a few minutes to relieve the pain.
  • Mix baking soda with water into a paste and put it directly on to the site of the sting to help neutralize pain and swelling. Leave it on for about 30 minutes. You may want to wrap some cloth around the area to prevent your dog from licking the area.

When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Attention?

If you notice that your dog has been stung by a bee, observe him carefully for any allergic reaction. Seek immediate veterinary treatment if your dog exhibits hypersensitivity to the sting, showing some or all of the following signs:
  • Excessive drooling
  • Face scratching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the head and neck area
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Collapse or seizures
If your dog has a severe reaction to a bee sting, your veterinarian may give him an injection of antihistamine, steroid, or adrenaline.

Also, if your dog has a history of previous hypersensitive reactions to bee stings, ask your veterinarian about an Epi Pen kit which you can keep in your doggie first aid kit. Ask him for proper dosage and instructions for use. The Epi Pen is an epinephrine (adrenaline) autoinjector that can counteract an anaphylactic reaction.
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