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

  • Most insect stings will simply cause your dog pain and irritation, but multiple stings can be fatal
  • Some dogs are allergic to bee and wasp stings, so watch out for signs of allergic reaction, including swelling and difficulty breathing
  • Bee or wasp stings in your dog’s mouth can be more hazardous as swelling can block the airway

Dogs love to chase buzzing insects, but getting too close can be dangerous. It’s better to get your dog to leave bees and wasps alone as stings can cause allergic reactions. Teaching a solid recall will help to protect your dog.

Most insect stings will simply be painful or irritating for your dog, but being stung multiple times can be fatal.

Many dogs are stung on the paws or the face or mouth, as they go to investigate the insect using this part of their bodies. When dogs snap at bees and wasps, they are more likely to be stung in the mouth or throat. Stings in these areas, particularly inside the mouth, are hazardous because any swelling can block your pet’s airway. If your dog is stung in the mouth, contact your vet quickly for further advice.

Signs that your dog has been stung

  • Whining
  • Holding up a paw (if stung on the paw)
  • Biting or nibbling at the site of the sting
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Swelling
  • Hives

Signs that your dog is having an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the mouth and/or throat
  • Collapse

If you notice one or more of these signs when your dog has been stung, take them to the vet immediately for treatment.

What to do if your dog has been stung

Remain calm.

Pull out, or better still, scrape out the sting using a credit card or similar below the poison sac, then bathe the area in water. Don’t try to squeeze the sting as this could force more of the poison into your dog’s body.

Applying ice will help to soothe the sting.

If the sting is in the mouth or throat, contact the vet as it may swell and interfere with breathing.

If your dog shows and signs of allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock, contact your vet immediately as this is a medical emergency.

Can I give my dog antihistamines?

Many websites recommend giving dogs antihistamines from your own medicine cabinet to treat a bee or wasp sting. Some human antihistamines are ok for dogs but others can make them seriously ill and can even be fatal, so please don’t give this to your dog without first speaking to your vet to check the specific drug is safe for your dog, and that the quantity is ok for the size and weight of your pet.

— Page last updated 19/07/2018

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