What to do when your dog is stung by a wasp or bee

Dogs find fun in the simple things – like chasing and snapping at flying critters. However, playing with wasps or bees could quickly end with a painful sting if they’re not careful. While in most cases the pain and irritation are minor and short-lived, some stings may require veterinary attention. Here’s what to look out for and what you should do if your dog gets stung.

Dog stung by wasp symptoms

We all want to keep our dogs safe from harm. So it pays to be on the lookout when bees and wasps are about in summer. Below are some typical signs your dog may have been stung.

  • Whining
  • Biting at the affected area
  • Pawing at the face (if dog stung by wasp in mouth)
  • Holding up a paw (if dog stung by wasp on paw)
  • Swelling

When is it time to see a vet?

Vet visit

In most cases a simple wasp or bee sting can be treated at home. However, always contact your vet for advice if your dog was stung on the mouth, tongue or throat. This can be particularly dangerous as the swelling could block your dog’s airway. You should also seek advice if your dog was stung multiple times anywhere on their body, or if your dog has an allergic reaction.

Signs of an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe swelling extending away from the sting
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

If your dog shows any of the above symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately for emergency treatment.

What to do if your dog is stung by a wasp or bee

Keep calm

We know it’s worrying, but try to remain calm. Your dog may pick up on your panic and could become even more agitated. You’ll need a clear head and may need to act fast if your dog has an allergic reaction.

Remove the sting

Ideally, use a credit card to try and scrape the sting away from underneath the venom sack. Never try to pull or squeeze the sting. This can release more venom into your dog’s body and cause further irritation.

Ease the swelling

To ease the pain and swelling, wrap ice or an ice pack in a clean tea towel and hold it against the area. You can also help neutralise the venom by mixing a paste of water and baking soda. Apply to the affected area for around 15 minutes. Then cover with a bandage to prevent your dog from licking at the mixture.

Keep a close eye

Monitor your dog closely for any signs of an allergic reaction. If your dog starts showing severe symptoms, or if swelling persists for more than a few days, always see your vet.

Can I give my dog antihistamines?

You’ll find lots of conflicting advice across the internet. Where some may recommend giving your dog human antihistamines. Before you go down this route, always check with your vet first. Some antihistamines contain certain ingredients that can make your dog seriously unwell. So always check the brand is safe for animals first. Your vet will also advise the correct dosage for your dog’s size and weight.

3 comments

  1. Good advice but a couple of weeks late for me. My 18 month old GR disturbed a nest or swarm of bees while sniffing in a hedgerow. He ran to me for help, bringing the attack to me, only to run off again leaving me to be stung. I was afraid he would run onto the road but training/habit on a known route clicked in and he sat to wait at the open gate. He had many stings under his ear flap, around his muzzle and eyes.
    A kind passing motorist saw we we were in trouble and gave us a lift home despite CV19 so I could jump in my car to take him to the vet after taking my antihistamine. A phone call to the vet agreed the immediate use of the same human medicine and an immediate appointment. Removing the stings was a problem particularly as he has not yet got used to handling and inspection, or visits to the vets, made worse by being in distress.
    Lessons learned. The importance of getting your dog used to handling and inspection; we now have a routine rub down and check at the end of each walk. Antihistamine added to my canine first aid kit, but brand and dosage needs to be agreed with the vet unless I can find one approved for dogs.

  2. Fantastic advice , me and archie we’re walking and he found a wasps nest they attacked I was stung multiple times so was archie ,we managed to get away , I’m 6ft ex pro athlete even tho I’m 64 I can still run , we still had a few chasing us after 800 yards , why I’d advise even tho I don’t like killing anything is Carry a fly spray this will ward them
    Off , if we hadn’t got away I dread to think what would have happened .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *