The official first day of summer is fast approaching, and chances are you’ve already started spending more time outside with your dog. Perhaps you’ve started noticing more flowers blooming too, and with them, more bees buzzing. No one likes getting stung by a bee, but for most people it’s only an annoyance unless you’re allergic.
Dogs, on the other hand, can suffer serious kidney problems from bee stings if they are stung by multiple bees at once.
So what if your dog is stung by a bee?
There are even cases of dogs dying from multiple bee stings, so it’s a good idea to know how to keep your dog safe and what you should do if your dog is ever stung.
Bees vs. Wasps
Both bee and wasp stings can be poisonous to dogs, and if you end up needing to take your dog to the veterinarian following a sting, you’ll want to be able to tell the vet just what type of insect stung your pup.
Worker bees are rounder and smaller than wasps. Worker bees have barbed stingers that are designed to lodge into the skin, killing the bee when the stinger detaches from the body.
Bumblebees have a “fuzzy” appearance. Bumblebees have smooth stingers that can actually sting multiple times and the bee will not die as a result.
Wasps have longer, smoother bodies. Wasp stingers are not barbed, but they do tend to be more painful, and if provoked, a wasp may sting multiple times.
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Avoiding Bee Stings
Here are some useful tips for avoiding bee stings:
- Most dogs get stung on the face while poking around near flowers or investigating or chasing an insect that’s capable of stinging. While it’s not possible to avoid every flower, you can keep your dog away from high risk areas on walks and hikes and discourage them from playing in your garden.
- Keep your yard clean and clear to avoid attracting bees and wasps. Put away leftover food, clean the grill after BBQing, and make sure all garbage cans are secure.
- Check your yard regularly for bee and hornet nests. If you find one, call a professional to safely remove it.
- If you plan to go on a walk or hike with your dog, avoid wearing strong smelling perfumes, lotions, or deodorants. Bees are attracted to strong, sweet smells, and your dog may end up suffering the consequences of your fragrance.
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What to Do if Your Dog Is Stung
Regardless of how safe you are, bee stings can still sometimes happen, and it’s important to know what to do if the situation ever comes up.
- Stay calm and move your dog away from the area, as there may be other stinging insects or their nest nearby.
- Examine the sting area. If you see a stinger, you can try to remove it to reduce the amount of venom that is injected into your dog’s system. Do not squeeze a stinger or try to remove it like you would a splinter. Instead, flick it with your finger or the edge of a rigid object like a credit card.
- In the case of a single sting, you should be able to manage symptoms at home. Apply a mixture of water and baking soda to reduce the pain, and use an icepack to minimize swelling and inflammation.
- Keep an eye on your dog’s sting. If it begins swelling up, go to your veterinarian or an emergency clinic right away.
- If your dog has been stung multiple times, go to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Treatment typically involves fluid therapy, corticosteroids, and close monitoring of your dog’s vital signs.