Bee Stings and Dogs

Photo: Maureen M.

What to do for Bee Stings

Dogs and cats are curious by nature, so it stands to reason that keeping them away from bees may be difficult. If you are a cat or dog owner, it is likely that someday your pet will encounter a bee who stings. What you should do if your dog or cat does suffer an unfortunate sting, and how you can reduce the risk of a bite in your backyard?

Handling a Bee Sting

  • Locate the spot where the sting has occurred. There may be a large swelling on the snout; however, your pet may have also stepped on a bee. They will not take kindly to you poking around their sore spots, but try to find all affected areas.
  • Remove the stinger. To stop the venom from spreading, try to remove the stinger as quickly as possible.
  • Scrape the skin with the edge of a credit card or piece of cardboard to lift it out. You can also gently remove it with tweezers, but try not to squeeze the stinger too tightly, as that may empty out whatever is left in the venom sac.
  • Treat the area by applying a cold compress.  An antihistamine, like a Benadryl Stick, can also be applied topically to minimize your pet’s reaction to the poison.
  • Monitor your pet to see if the problem worsens with significant swelling, hives, increased pain or signs of anaphylactic shock, like having trouble breathing. Call your primary or emergency veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. 

In the summertime bees and wasps might be unavoidable, but you can minimize your dog’s chances of running into one by steering him away from certain spots where bees are more commonly found. Since it is difficult to avoid bees in the summer, it is good to be prepared. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations to prepare for the future.


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