We’ve all seen pictures of dogs that have been stung by bees. However, bee and wasp stings can be just as painful and serious for your pet as they are for you. Check out these tips for preventing bee, wasp and hornet stings, and learn what to do if your dog gets stung.
How to Prevent Bee, Wasp and Hornet Stings
The best way to treat bee stings is to prevent them from happening. Bees rarely sting people and animals unprovoked. Bees, wasps and hornets sting out of instinct to defend themselves when they feel threatened. Avoid startling or disturbing a stinging insect by:
- Keeping a Close Eye on Your Dog: Most of the time, dogs get stung on their muzzle because they were overzealous in their investigation of a stinging insect. Keep an eye on your pup when you’re out in nature to prevent them from getting into something they shouldn’t. If you have a bee or wasp in your home, take care of it immediately so your dog doesn’t get hurt.
- Staying Out of Buzzing Flowerbeds: Planning on taking your dog for a walk or a long hike? While it’s fun to explore gardens and wildflowers, make sure your dog doesn’t wander into a buzzing flowerbed. Especially during spring and summer months, avoid spaces where bees and wasps like to hover.
- Being Proactive: Wasp nests can grow quickly if left unchecked. Be on the lookout for developing hives, and do your best to remove them before they get out of hand. Make sure your pet is indoors and away from the beehive or wasp nest when you remove it.
- Consulting Professionals: If you’re not sure how to handle a wasp or hornet nest on your own, don’t be afraid to call in a professional exterminator. However, if you come across a beehive, contact a local beekeeper to safely rehome the bees without harming them.
What to Do if Your Dog Gets Stung
Bee stings are unpleasant, and they also can be life threatening if your dog is allergic to bees. If you suspect your dog has been stung by a bee, keep a close eye on them for a couple hours, and look for symptoms, such as a swollen muzzle or paw. Swelling and irritation are the most common signs of a sting, but there are other, more serious reactions to be aware of.
Tip: Sometimes dogs will eat a stinging insect, leading to a sting inside of the mouth or throat. If this happens, immediately seek veterinary help as any swelling could inhibit their breathing.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
If your dog has an allergic reaction, they might exhibit the following symptoms:
- Unusual weakness or lethargy
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme swelling
Contact your local veterinarian or emergency vet right away for treatment.
Do Not Give Pets Human Medication
Ibuprofen, Benadryl or your EpiPen are all big no-no’s and can cause your dog serious harm. Do not give your dog any medication until you’ve talked to a veterinarian. Giving human medications to dogs (or any pet) without guidance from a vet can be very dangerous, as it’s hard to regulate the dosage, especially in small dogs.
Beware Multiple Stings
While your dog may find a single sting to be an inconvenience, there’s a greater risk of a medical emergency if they suffer multiple stings from bees, wasps or hornets. Visit your local veterinarian or an emergency vet right away if you dog is stung multiple times.
Remember the Differences Between Bees and Wasps
Bees have a barbed stinger that detaches from their body once they sting. This means your dog likely won’t be stung more than once by a bee. Wasps, on the other hand, can sting multiple times, making them potentially more dangerous to your pup. With a good understanding of the different kinds of stinging bugs, you can help better protect your dog from a potential medical emergency.