BEE Careful: The Dangers of Bee Stings and Dogs

Chihuahua dressed with t-shirt,  straw hat and sun glassesSpring is in the air and summer is finally within reach! With the glorious sunshine and flowers in bloom it’s time to prepare ourselves for the summer dangers for our dogs: heat and bugs.

Curious dogs, particularly those who have never encountered a bee before, are at a higher risk for bee stings. Just think of all the places they stick their nose! So be particularly careful before you stop and let your dog smell the roses (figuratively and literally).

It’s important to watch for warning signs that your dog may have been stung by a bee including:

  • leaping up and crying out
  • running in circles
  • rubbing or scratching at eyes, nose or holding paws up
  • swelling or scratching/chewing at the sting site
  • sting site will be painful to the touch

Bee’s generally sting in the least hairy spots on a dog, so check the underbelly or around the house. They can also sting in hair areas and even remain in the undercoating, so check your dog over thoroughly if you suspect a bee sting. Signs of a severe reaction to a bee sting generally show within 5 minutes but could take up to 30 minutes.

Signs of a more serious reaction include:

  • Excessive salivation/drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling
  • Collapse/fainting
  • Pale gums, hives
  • Mental change (change in behavior)

Dogs can have allergies to a bees venom, just like people. Benadryl is recommend by most veterinarians to treat mild cases of bee stings, you should always consult with your vet before administering medication but the general rule of thumb is 1mg of Benadryl per pound of dog weight, every eight hours. The average benadryl tablet is 25mg, so a small dog would get ⅓ of a tablet, however most vets do not give more than 2 benadryl tablets to a large dog.

If your dog has been stung:

  • use a credit card to remove the stinger, tweezers may squeeze more venom into the sting
  • administer benadryl as recommended bg your vet
  • use a cold pack to help soothe swelling and reduce inflammation
  • apply baking soda paste (mix baking soda with water) to create a paste
  • contact your vet if you feel that your dog is having a severe or allergic reaction

Beware of fragrant shampoos that may attract bees to your dogs and use caution whenever you’re outside in the summer! BEE safe!

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