Bee Stings for Dogs and Cats- What You Need To Know


dog stung by beeSpring has sprung and with it Mother Nature has released all of her creepy crawlies.

Do you know what to do if your curious and inquisitive cat or dog stumbles upon a bee or wasp and is stung?

Bee and wasp stings can range from mild symptoms to potentially life threatening. Keep reading so you’ll know what to do if your furry friend has such an encounter.

Our pets explore the world and make their learned observations by using their senses with their mouths and paws. This is why stings are usually seen around the mouth, nose, throat and paws.

One of the best ways to prevent stings is to teach your dog the “come” and “leave it” commands so you can safely direct them out of harm’s way.

But there are times when no matter how careful we are, our pets may learn some painful lessons.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs your pet has been stung:

  • Whining/Pacing/Agitation
  • Discomfort or Pain – such as a sudden lameness
  • Swelling at the sting site
  • Disorientation *
  • Drooling*
  • Vomiting*
  • Hives*
  • Difficulty breathing/swallowing*
  • Pale Gums*
  • Collapse*

It’s important to note that bees will lose their barbed stingers and can usually only sting once. Wasp on the other hand can sting repeatedly if provoked enough. While the puncture of the sting is painful, it is the venom that is injected that can cause an anaphylactic reaction. *If your pet has been stung previously or receives many stings at one time the chances for an anaphylactic reaction are greater. An anaphylactic reaction is potentially life threatening and will require immediate veterinary treatment.*

What are the steps you should take if you believe your pet has been stung?

  • Try not to panic. Remain calm and assess the situation.
  • If your pet is having symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction call your veterinarian or closest Animal Emergency Clinic to let them know you will be arriving shortly. Sometimes anaphylactic reactions can be delayed. If your pet develops any of the above symptoms at any point after being stung please don’t delay medical treatment. Your pet may need a heavy dose of Benadryl and steroids along with IV fluids and monitoring hospitalization.

If your pet does not appear to be having an allergic reaction:

    • Try to visualize the stinger. It will appear as a brown/black splinter. Sometimes you can still see the venom sac attached if dealing with a bee sting.
    • Try to remove the stinger by scraping or brushing parallel to the skin surface with your fingernail, credit card or other stiff-edged object. Some experts advise to use caution if using tweezers as this may push more venom into the sting site from the venom sacs still attached to the stinger.
    • If your pet will tolerate an ice pack on the sting site, gently apply for up to 10-15 minutes at regular intervals.
    • A paste of water and baking soda can also be applied to relieve inflammation.
    • You can also contact your veterinarian who can give you the proper dosing of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for your pet.


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