My Dog has been stung by a bee, what can I do?

What to do if your dog has been stung by a bee?

Firstly, how do you know if your dog has been stung by a bee? What are the symptoms of a bee sting in a dog? What happens if your dog is stung by a bee?

Here is what a dog looks like if it has been stung by a bee (image below)

dog bee sting

The face is swollen. The lips are swollen and very hard. The eyes are puffy, red and swollen. Bee stings are very painful so your dog may be very sad.

The venom of the honey bee causes severe pain. Your dog may lick profusely at the area if it is possible to lick the site. Bee stings are common on the foot for example so there will be an acute lameness where the dog lifts up the foot and then starts licking excessively at the area. The foot may be wet, swollen and red also.

It is common for a dog to vomit after a bee sting.

It is also common for a dog to have diarrhoea after a bee sting also.

It is possible for your dog to have a severe allergic reaction. Your dog may collapse due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. The normal pink colour of the lips may appear white or very pale. This is a serious anaphyllactic reaction. You need to call your veterinarian immediately. Your dog may need adrenaline urgently. Anaphyllaxis can be a life threatening situation.

Another common and serious symptom of a bee sting in a dog is swelling of the larynx and throat. This can cause airway obstruction. If your dog cannot breath, it is a serious problem. Swelling of the larynx can be fatal. You need to get your pet to a vet urgently if you think your dog has swelling of the throat and is having trouble breathing. Yes this is serious. Do not wait to see what happens.

If your dog has severe swelling of the face, swelling of the larynx and difficulty breathing, or collapses and the gums are white or pale, you need to contact your veterinarian urgently.

If your dog yelps and holds the foot up and you find a bee sting, you can scrape it off with your finger. Bee stings keep pumping venom into the victim for a few seconds so the sooner you remove the sting the less venom is injected and the less pain will occur. Bee venom contains collagenases which dissolve the connective tissue under your skin and activate pain receptors and can trigger an allergic reaction.

What does a severe allergic reaction from a bee sting look like in a dog?

  • severe facial swelling
  • severe swelling of the throat and larynx causing breathing difficulty
  • your dog collapses
  • your dog has pale gums or white gums from a drop in blood pressure
  • vomiting and diarrhoea and your dog is “sad”

You must get your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Adrenaline may be required. Your veterinarian may also give injections of antihistamine and dexamethasone.

What does a mild allergic reaction from a bee sting look like in a dog.

  • There may be some swelling of the face
  • Your dog will seem very bright and happy with a waggy tail despite the swelling
  • Sometimes there is some other areas that are swolen on the body “whelts”
  • Your dog may be licking intensely at the area where the sting occurred but have no other symptoms or mild swelling of the toe/foot for example

Here is what whelts can look like on a dog.

pet bee sting reaction

If your dog has a mild skin reaction as above, a cold bath may be helpful. You can give a small dose of human antihistamine to help. If your dog has a sore foot, you can put something cold like ice on the area.

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