If you’re reading this post right now, it’s likely because your dog was just stung by a wasp or bee. About a week ago Archie woke me up in the middle of the night crying and pacing around the room. Once I turned the lights on, I saw he was covered in hives. After previous sting experiences with Cali, I knew what to look out for and what steps to take. Today I will be teaching you (from a dog mom perspective) what to do when your dog gets stung by a bee.
Note: I am just a dog mom, not a veterinarian! This post is based on my own experiences with 2 different dogs being stung in the past. Always call your vet before giving any medication to your dog!
The first thing you need to do when your dog gets stung by a bee or wasp is remain calm.
Your anxiety is going to spike when you see your dog in pain, but you need to keep in mind they are looking to you for help.
If you’re both panicking, not much will get done. It is important to know that many dogs get stung by bees, wasps, hornets, etc and easily recover with the proper steps taken.
Get The Stinger Out
Once you take a few breaths, the next step is to locate where your dog was stung and get the stinger out.
If your dog was stung by a bee, you can usually find the stinger pretty easily as this is where most of the swelling comes from. Bees typically die right after they sting.
However, if your dog was stung by a hornet or a wasp, it is likely they kept their stinger after terrorizing your dog and are still flying around. So be sure to look out for them, especially if your dog was stung inside your house or tent.
If you locate the stinger, do not try to squeeze it out like a splinter!
This can cause additional venom to enter your dog’s bloodstream and make everything worse.
Instead, you can try pulling it out with a tweezer. You can also make a paste with water and baking soda to naturally suck out the stinger and venom.
Watch for Serious Allergic Reactions
The first 2 hours after your dog is stung are the most critical. This is when they would have the most severe reaction to the sting.
Depending on how allergic your dog is to the insect, they can have mild to severe reactions.
Mild reactions are symptoms such as:
- Swollen/puffy face
- Pain/swelling in stung area
- Swelling/redness around the eyes
- Lumps/hives all over body
- Red skin
- Head shaking
Severe reactions are symptoms such as:
- Staggering/trouble walking
- Pale gums
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden Collapse
If your dog gets stung by a bee and has a severe reaction, they are at risk of anaphylactic shock. This is where your dog’s breathing pathways close up and they can suffocate.
If you see any of the severe reactions from the list above, I would recommend going to the animal hospital ASAP.
The animal hospital will likely give your dog a steroid shot along with a regular antihistamine and fluids to stop the reaction.
After your dog is stung, you can slow the reaction by giving them human Benadryl. Typically 1mg per pound of body weight up to 3 times a day is normal for dogs.
Most tablets are 25mg, so I was giving 3 tablets to my 75lb pitbull every 8 hours.
However, it is important to always call your vet before giving your dog medication in case they have a condition where benadryl would be dangerous for their health. (Low blood pressure, pregnancy, etc.)
After about 2 days I noticed that Archie’s hives were slowly coming back and spreading across his body, even with the benadryl. He was still quite itchy but was still eating and playing normally.
I decided to take him to the vet where they gave him a steroid shot. Turns out he was having a little bit more of a reaction than the benadryl could usually handle.
I couldn’t find anything online about delayed reactions like this, so if this happens to your dog, you should also make an appointment with your vet.
Bee stings can be a scary experience for dogs and owners alike. However by staying calm and taking the proper steps your dog should fully recover within a few days.
Your dog will likely have some “PTSD” for a few weeks afterwards so it’s important to make them feel safe, especially in the area that they were stung like the backyard or their crate.
With a little time and love, your dog will be back to themselves in no time! And in the future, you’ll know what to do if your dog gets stung by a bee. 🙂
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