Dogs are curious animals who enjoy looking for a new adventure. This is part of what makes us love them so much, the fun they bring to our lives.
But, what happens when a dog’s curious nature gets them into a dangerous situation? Bee stings are common for dogs because they use their paws and snouts to explore new things. Bees like their personal space, and when a dog comes into their area, they sting.
Though bee stings are common, they can cause serious injury to dogs who are allergic to bees. If your dog is stung by a bee, follow the steps below to provide the best help.
When a bee sting occurs, it’s important to investigate right away. Use your eyes and hands to scan over your dog’s body to find the exact area he or she was stung.
You’ll probably be able to find the location of the sting easily. Bee stings usually cause swelling, redness, and pain, so looking for these changes can lead you to the sting.
If the bee sting is on one of your dog’s paws, there’s a good chance that the animal won't need medical attention. If the sting is near your dog’s face or neck, pay close attention for the next few hours to check for any serious changes.
First Aid Steps
If your dog was stung by a bee, there are a few things you should do to take care of the site of the sting.
If you can, remove the stinger from your dog’s skin with a pair of tweezers. The dog may be scared and stressed, so you might need a family member to help hold him still.
Once the stinger is removed, clean the area with baking soda and warm water. You might also use a mild soap if the sting isn’t near the eyes or mouth. Be sure to thoroughly wash away any leftover soap.
When the wound is clean, place an ice pack on the area to reduce swelling. If your dog’s skin is still wet from being washed, wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth before placing it on your dog.
Call your veterinarian and explain to him or her what happened. Ask if you should give your dog oral Benadryl or a generic antihistamine.
Keep a close eye on your dog. Allergic reactions usually start 10-20 minutes after a sting, but they can take hours to show up.
If the sting site starts swelling right away, you might need to take your dog to the vet for emergency treatment. This is especially true when the sting site is around the mouth, nose, or throat. Enough swelling can make it hard for a dog to breathe or swallow, and this creates a serious situation.
When the sting has been taken care of either by yourself or your vet, encourage your dog to rest. Offer him or her fresh water and have the animal take it easy for the rest of the day.
Keep an eye on the sting site over the next couple of days to make sure the swelling goes away.
Preventing Future Stings
Bee stings can be scary for both you and your pet. If your dog has been stung by a bee and you want to avoid future stings, try a couple of these safety techniques.
Before you let your dog outside, take a look around your yard for any sign of bees. If you notice bees near your home, accompany your pet outside. This way, he or she can go to the bathroom, and you can prevent them from chasing the bees.
Avoid using poisons or sprays to get rid of the bees.
When you take your dog for a walk, keep him or her in a harness. A high-quality harness will keep your dog feeling comfortable and safe while out on a walk. The added security will make walks more enjoyable without the risk of the dog running into more bees.
If you notice bees while you’re on a walk, use the harness to steer your dog away from them. Bees rarely sting unless they feel threatened, so staying away from them will usually do the trick.
There’s a good chance that your dog will be just fine after a bee sting. After a day or two, the swelling will go away and your dog will be good as new. However, if something worries you during your dog’s healing, reach out for help. Don’t hesitate to call or visit your veterinarian. Your pet’s health and safety are important and if you feel that the sting is serious, seek medical attention.