Many dogs are the curious sort. If they see something moving, they head over to investigate. Unfortunately, sometimes the moving thing they go over to look at is a bee — and sometimes that bee stings them. Many dogs will get stung at some point in their life, so it's important to know how to take care of a dog who has been stung and when you should call a veterinarian about a sting.
What to Do After a Sting
The first thing you should do after your dog is stung is looked for a stinger. It is often left behind when a bee stings, and since the venom sack remains attached to it, the stinger can continue releasing venom into the dog's skin and cause ongoing irritation for days. If you do locate the stinger, pull it out with tweezers.
Next, give your dog a dose of Benadryl, or diphenhydramine. This over-the-counter medication is quite safe for dogs. The dose is one 25-mg pill per 25 pounds of weight. The Benadryl will help minimize the swelling and itching your dog experiences after the sting.
Once your dog has eaten the Benadryl, start holding an ice pack on the sting. You can use a bag of frozen peas if that's easier. In most cases, the swelling should dissipate within a few hours after the treatment with ice and Benadryl, and your dog will be feeling like themselves again by the next day.
Signs Your Dog Should See a Vet
Most bee stings do not require vet care, but there are a few situations in which your dog should see the vet for a bee sting. If your dog begins sneezing, wheezing, or struggling to breathe after the sting, this indicates they may be having an anaphylactic reaction. Take them to the vet immediately; head to the emergency vet if your regular vet's office is closed.
You should also take your dog to the vet if they start drooling, vomiting, or becoming really agitated after the bee sting, as these can be other signs of an allergic reaction.
If your dog's swelling and itching do not clear up within 24 hours of the sting, that is another reason to call the vet. The bee's stinger may still be lodged in your dog's skin, leading to this ongoing swelling, and a vet can find and remove it.
Bee stings are unfortunately common in dogs, but thankfully, they usually resolve well. Now you know what to do if your canine companion decides to mess with a buzzing bee.