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Dogs and bee stings

Updated on March 24, 2008

What to do and what to watch for

As spring and summer approaches dogs spend more times outdoors in yards and parks. Unfortunately, dogs and people are not the only ones fond of the nice mild weather, relaxing green grasses and blooming flowers.

Bees, wasps and others stinger bugs start thriving in these seasons as well and become very active. Dogs are the most prone of pets to insect bites because of their inquisitive nature and because of the fact that they are most likely to run about.

If you notice your puppy or dog yelp all at a sudden and then rub the affected area on the ground very likely he/ she has been bitten by some nasty insect. At a closer look you may notice a swollen area, this area is where you want to keep a close eye on.

First aid for bee stings requires a few ingredients that can be easily be found at home. You will need:

A card such as a playing card or credit card

Baking soda


Ice pack

Plain Benadryl

The credit card or playing card is used to scrape the skin where you suspect your dog has been bit. Scraping the skin carefully may help getting the stinger out if you believe it is still stuck in the skin. This prevents further poison from being released.

Next you may want to make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area.

If the dog appears to be in pain an ice pack may help reduce pain and swelling. Never apply ice directly to the skin, rather wrap it in cloth first.

Plain Benadryl (make sure it is plain) is an antihistamine and may prevent allergic reactions. As with any medication however, Benadryl may cause side effects and is preferably given under the advice of a veterinarian especially if your dog has health conditions or is on other medications.

Most dogs do just fine after the first minutes of "stinging" sensation in the skin. However, some dogs may develop severe reactions to such an extent that they need immediate emergency care. Any time you notice any of these symptoms: excessive swelling, hives, trouble breathing, vomiting, lethargy, seizures, wheezing, fever, pale gums seek emergency attention at once. The dog may be experiencing an anaphylactic shock which can turn out life threatening pretty quickly.

If your dog just doesn't seem right after the sting the better safe than sorry approach turns out to be the most savy. 'When in doubt get on route" bring your dog to the closest vet and have him evaluated promptly.


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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Call your vet and provide your dog's weight and ask them if you can give plain Benadryl and how much. You should always consult with a vet before giving OTC meds (they will check your dog's records for history of allergies), also ask if this warrants a vet visit. Best wishes!

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      pebbles12167 4 years ago

      My Doberman got stung above the eye and now it's swollen, red and has puss coming out. What can I do for her?

    • ellahall2011 profile image

      ellahall2011 6 years ago

      Interesting and very informative article. Glad I read this.

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      Gloria 8 years ago

      Our Schnauzer was stung by a wasp in early August and had a horrible reaction (hives all over, very agitated and panting). We gave her benydryl and after many hours it calmed her down and she was much better.

      Since then she has had a chronic bumpy rash near her backside - could this be related to the wasp stings. We didn't find the stinger and am not sure how many times she was actually stung so we're unsure if this could be the culprit? Please help.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      Your pup is surely a lucky one for having caring owners like you! Hope he will be much better tomorrow, it might be he is just worn out by the long day, pups sleep a lot, but better safe than sorry! best wishes, and keep me updated if you wish!

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      Lori 8 years ago

      I'm not sure - I was in such a state of panic, and the statement the vet's office gave me only lists it as an injection of antibiotic and an injection of anti-inflammatory. I am going to go in first thing tomorrow because, although he will play if coaxed for a very long time, he just isn't the lively little thing who drove me to distraction a few days ago. He has had an upset tummy, and he has been going to the park and running - a lot - so it may be that he's just worn out with all that's happened. But still, being a new puppy "mom" any change in his behavior is going to set of an alert with me.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      Well, the antibiotics may make his tummy a bit upset which may explain a bit why he is not feeling too well. But if he is too lethargic I would be a bit concerned. Check if his gums are nice and bubble gum pink, a puppy with pales gums may require to be seen right away. If you pass some pancake syrup, honey or karo syrup on his gums this may give him a nice energy boost. What anti-inflammatories was he given?

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      Lori 8 years ago

      My Min-Pin puppy was stung by a bee yesterday - went to the vet and had stinger removed from mouth. Was given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory. Now puppy sleeps constantly and is very legarthic. He is eating, but not the energetic puppy he was prior to all this activity. Is this legarthy a normal reaction to the medications?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 9 years ago from USA

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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      Brad Baker 9 years ago

      With the beginning of summer comes the blooming of trees, gardens and flowers, which in turn attracts bees and wasps of all kinds. But that is not the end of the worry of a sting. Many stings take place during the fall months. Reason being, bees and wasps are cold blooded insects and they linger around people in order to absorb the body heat of humans, therefore increasing the chances of getting stung. Last week, I witnessed a 4 year old girl with her hand and forearm swollen to her elbow, from a wasp sting that she received to her fingertip the day before. The sight of her hand and arm brought tears to my eyes because I knew that if she had had Baker's Venom Cleanser available when see was stung, none of her discomfort would have elevated to that extreme point of swelling and discomfort. Our web site has under gone some new additions worth taking a look at. Old news commentary video footage from 1988 has been added to and the link is available at our site.