Dogs and Bees and Wasps

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When our pup Sally was just about 3 months old, she had a run-in with a bee. It was a Saturday morning and I was out somewhere and Steve was at home. I get a frantic call saying that Sally’s face is all swollen and he is on the way to the vet. By the time I got there, her face was almost normal, she was fine and they were wrapping it up. That’s really the only time any of our dogs have reacted to a bee sting, probably not the only time they’ve been stung, but the only reaction.
 
Tino used to eat bees – he’d just snap at them and they’d be gone. I don’t know if they are able to sting the inside of a stomach after being swallowed? I’ve never seen Jack or Maggie pay them any attention.

dogs and bees

Anyways, just as with humans, bee (or wasp) stings can be dangerous if your dog has any kind of allergy or if they get stung multiple times. They will usually get stung on the face, so proximity to eyes and mouth can present a problem and a sting to the nose can be particularly painful.
 
A bee stinger is barbed and dislodges into the skin, but one wasp can sting over and over again. It’s not the stinger, but rather the poison released that causes the reaction.
 

    Danger signs to watch for if your dog has been bit:

  • Swelling beyond the sting site
  • Constant itching or hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • General weakness

 
If your dog exhibits any of those signs, it’s worth a trip to the vet for treatment. Your vet will remove the stingers and provide medication to ease the swelling and discomfort.
 
Be aware that dogs may suffer from anaphylactic shock which can kill a dog within ten minutes. The symptoms of anaphylactic shock include fainting, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, weakness, and trembling. Get your dog to the vet immediately if they display any of these signs.
 
If it is not a severe sting, you can treat the bite at home:

  • Remove the stinger by carefully scraping it out of their skin – use your fingernail or credit card and be careful not to break it off as that may release more venom into the bite.
  • Bathe the area with warm water mixed with baking soda and leave a little paste on the site to help reduce the pain.
  • Apply ice to the swelling (if your pup allows).
  • Administer a dose of Benadryl (see below for dosing information).

 
The amount of Benadryl you should give your dog is directly proportional to the dog’s weight; give him 1mg of Benadryl per pound of body weight three times a day until he gets better. If he weighs 25 pounds then one tablet will do as each dose is 25mg. If you do not know the weight of your dog, then you should measure it before you start it on the treatment. BENADRYL Website
 

The best cure for bee stings is prevention, so take a look at your garden and see if there are any changes you want to make to your plantings. Teaching a dog to avoid certain plants may help. Wasps may build their nests in the ground, so it’s always good to investigate if your dog is digging. Keep your vet’s phone number handy just in case.
 

Additional Readings:

What to do if your dog is stung by a bee

Bee Stings in Dogs

How Much Benadryl Can I Give My Dog For A Bee Sting
 

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28 Comments

  1. Katie got stung on the paw as a pup. Mom watched her for a time, put ice on it and it was forgotten. I stepped on and was stung by one a couple years ago on a walk. Mom carried me almost a mile home since I was crying and refusing to walk. She put ice on it and watched me and luckily I had no reaction either, but Mom was not happy about carrying my 38 lbs. She kept putting me down but I would refuse to walk.
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  2. Thank you for this post, Kate! We have had to have our Terminix guy come out and treat an area around our front door already this Spring. Thankfully, I’ve only seen bumble bees out in the back — and they won’t sting if you leave them alone but they can be a nuisance — but at least I know what to do if one of the girls gets stung.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Captions and Other ThingsMy Profile

    • We have a lot of bees around here too, but they really do leave you alone, so we figure we’ll live in peace.
      mkob recently posted…Dogs and Bees and WaspsMy Profile

  3. Easy stepped on a wasp and got stung… I’m always on alert if this guys fly around when we are in our garden …
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  4. Where were you last week? Jax got stung on his paw, it was so sad. He yelled, screamed, barked, and rolled all over the grass. He’s fine, I examined him thoroughly and was never able to find the stinger. PAWhaps it came out when he rolled around. Timely post!

  5. We ♥ Benadryl in our pack ~ we have it in our dog first aid kits at home & in the car, and take it along on hikes! Missy had a case of hives a few years ago, and Benadryl took care of it 100%!
    Thankfully, neither Missy nor Buzz have been stung by a bee (at least that we know of!).
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  6. Great info to share. Benadryl can be a life saver in many instances. On a side note, I’m cracking up at Tino enjoying bees as a summer delicacy. Dogs are weird.

    • Well, in sunny CA, they are actually a year round delicacy…maybe that’s why he liked his backyard so much!
      mkob recently posted…Dogs and Bees and WaspsMy Profile

  7. We once had a Beagle that loved to eat bees. We were sure they were going to kill her, but nothing bothered her.
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  8. My dog is deathly afraid of bees, he is a bit of a wimp when it comes to that stuff. He has been stung a couple times that I know of. If there is a beehive along one of our usually routes, he knows excatly where it is and gives a very wide berth.
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  9. I had heard of using Benadryl (’cause I frantically called my vet once when Zack’s face got all lumpy with swells years ago), but not the baking soda paste solution. I like that, I imagine it would be almost instant relief for a dog. We have lots of bees in the garden, but I think they fly around slow enough to be too boring to chase.
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  10. It’s only by the grace of god that Sam hasn’t been stung I suspect. He’d definitely do the snap and swallow routine and because we hang out in the garden so much, I try to make sure it’s not when there are bees around. I’ve got wasp traps because I sure as heck don’t want to be stung by one of those bad boys either!
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  11. Eek! I hate bees!!! Luckily my huskies have never been stung!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  12. Great information! A bee was hoovering around Leroy this afternoon and it made me nervous because as far as I know he’s never been stung before and with our luck he would have a reaction.

    • Glad it didn’t get him…it would be hard to get through all that hair 🙂
      mkob recently posted…Dogs and Bees and WaspsMy Profile

  13. Thanks for sharing how important it is to be careful about bees and wasp stings. Haley had a severe reaction to something at the beach in the Outer Banks a few years ago. After talking to some locals, they thought she probably got stuck by some yellow jackets that nest in the sand. We had no idea what caused her reaction, but most likely that\’s what it was. We always travel with Benadryl now.
    Elaine recently posted…Do You Have a Dog That Doesn’t Like to Play?My Profile

  14. With Cookie willing to chase and hunt everything that moves, including bigs, I always worry she might catch one of these things. Trying to teach her not to but her driveis so strong.
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  15. This will be us some day – our dogs (especially Mort) think bees are flying mini squirrels :/ The Benedryl in our cupboard is on standby just for them!
    Jen recently posted…Walking your dog with a cold: true story, yoMy Profile

  16. Great post on the awareness of bee’s and wasps. Bites are not fun. Glory got bit once and she looked like a shar pei. I gave her benedryl and it subsided but sometimes need something stronger.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…G$ Down The Drain~Monday MischiefMy Profile

  17. Bentley has eaten bees since he was a puppy. We do all that we can to prevent it but he usually snags one each year. He has been stung and his face swells up. I keep Benadryl to give him and it helps. He still does not learn! LOL!
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  18. Excellent information. It seems like whenever I have heard of a reaction to stings it is in puppies. Regardless, we always have Benadryl in our first aid kit.
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