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. Observe him carefully for any other more severe allergic reactions.
If your dog has experienced bee stings before and has shown minor reactions (e.g. swollen face), talk to your vet to see if your dog is OK to be given some Benadryl to reduce the allergic reactions.
Assuming that your dog does not shown severe reactions (see signs below), 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.
- Alternatively, if you have 100% pure aloe vera gel, you can put some of the gel on the site of the sting to soothe the pain and reduce the swelling. Aloe vera is very soothing and antiseptic, so it is a useful addition to your dog’s first aid kit.
You may also consider adding this natural healing cream to your dog’s first aid kit – it contains healing herbs and natural ingredients that help soothe and heal bug bites and stings, as well as minor cuts, scratches, etc.:
When to Seek Immediate Veterinary Attention?
Seek immediate veterinary treatment if your dog exhibits hypersensitivity to the sting, showing some or all of the following signs:
- Excessive drooling
- Face scratching
- 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.