Spring and summer months call for more outdoor time. This means frolicking in the sun and having fun with your family and furry friend at the park. On the downside, the seasons bring out loads of bees, and with your dog playing in the flower garden, you might end up with a disaster.
Out of curiosity, dogs tend to smell and taste random things. While at it, they may end up eating a bee or two. As a dog owner, this can leave you in shock, with no idea what your next move should be.
Today, we are here to help you answer the question, what should I do if my dog ate a bee?
Signs of Bee Stings
Bee stings are as painful to humans as they are to dogs. The sting is even more painful when the bee is older (young bees have a little venom which is not as painful).
Related: What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?
One of the most telling signs of a bee sting in your dog will be their agonizing cries. This is more so if the bee stings your dog inside the mouth, where it is quite sensitive.
Other signs include:
- Redness and swelling
- Drooling or salivating
- Running in circles
- Chewing or biting
- Rubbing themselves on the ground or against other surfaces
Your dog cannot process the sting for what it is, so they might try biting or clawing at the spot to get rid of the pain.
These signs do not cover all the symptoms of bee stings. There can be even more threatening and problematic reactions that you should be aware of, but more on that later.
What Should You Do?
Keep calm if you think your pup has eaten or gotten stung by a bee. Talk to it in an even, soft tone that will not alarm it more. Try to help your pup relax so that you can inspect the damage. Look for any swelling or redness in or around the mouth.
You should also check its face and entire head as the bee might have stung the dog a couple of times before he swallowed it. Don’t forget to look inside the ears and their muzzle as well; there might be multiple stings, and identifying them is essential.
Note any changes in their behavior; this involves far more than just biting or scratching. Look for symptoms of distress and note how long it took for them to kick in.
Try to see if your dog has allergic reactions, such as throat swelling. You can identify this if they have trouble breathing or are drooling a lot. Their throat might also swell rapidly, increasing the chances of blocking the airways.
Identify if there are any stingers in the stung areas. Do not remove them yourself; leave that to the vet. Trying to squeeze or pull the stingers out without enough practice risks pushing the venom into the wound further, thereby risking your dog’s life. These attempts can also make matters worse and hurt your pup even more.
Risks Associated with Bee Stings/Dog Eating a Bee
The severity of the risk of your dog swallowing a bee depends on:
- Where they were stung
- The number of times they were stung
- Whether they have allergic reactions
You must be vigilant and keep track of changes in their mannerisms and appearance after the bee attack. The smallest of changes could be an indication of a potentially severe reaction.
Bee stings inside the mouth, especially the tongue and throat, are excruciating whether your dog is allergic to bees or not. You should seek veterinary assistance once you see signs indicating your dog ate and was stung by a bee.
Some dogs can have dangerous allergic reactions, sending them into anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening reaction needs quick action to save your dog’s life.
To save them from anaphylaxis, you must identify the associated risks and symptoms. The first sign can set in within minutes after a bee sting. Your ability to recognize the symptoms and quick action can help stave off breathing problems, passing out, or even death.
Symptoms that can indicate anaphylaxis include:
- Itchiness- mostly around the face and neck
- Hives or welts- focused on the face and neck
With anaphylactic shock, the symptoms progress very quickly, making it important to get emergency treatment right away. Rush to the vet’s if your dog starts showing these symptoms:
- Excessive diarrhea
- Pale gums
- Swollen eyes
- Weak pulse
- Widespread swelling
- Rapid heart rate
- Breathing difficulties
- Changes in mental awareness
- Throat swelling
- Cold legs and paws
The symptoms can set in within minutes of the initial attack, so you need to quickly take action, to save your pup’s life.
Plan in Advance
Having your vet check any allergies your dog might have is important. Not only is this necessary to avoid feeding them allergy-inducing foods, but it also helps you be proactive.
If you find out that your dog is allergic to bees, hornets, or wasp stings, you can ask your vet about the preventive measures you can take. If possible, ask your vet to get you an Epipen which is crucial for dogs with many allergies.
Carry the Epipen with you wherever you go; it can buy you the needed time in case of an emergency.
After seeking treatment from a vet, you should still observe your dog over the following hours. While at it, you may notice swellings that you missed the first time.
If your dog only has mild swelling and itching, provided it is not around the face or mouth, you can treat them at home. Use Benadryl or any generic medicine with diphenhydramine to control the swelling.
To avoid overdosing your pup, look for the correct dose on PreventativeVet or ask your vet for help. Keep your dog in a comfortable setting and check on them every few minutes. Take note of any worsening symptoms over a 24-hour period.
If you have to go to work, leave them with someone who is aware of the situation and knows the necessary precautions to take. Do not leave them alone. If your pup’s conditions worsen, take them back to the vet.
You can avoid bee sting instances or cases where your dog eats a bee by staying away from their inhabited areas. Try as much as you can not to attract them. Bees are attracted to different things, but these tips can help you and your furry friend stay safe from them:
- Avoid wearing aromatic, flowery, or sweet-smelling antiperspirants or deodorants
- Don’t carry food and drinks with you; leave them in the car or at home
- Avoid brightly colored clothes and floral patterns. Stick to light-colored clothing instead
- Don’t go near nests
- Stay away from flowers
- Don’t swat at bees
Avoid provoking bees as much as possible, as it can make them more aggressive. Bees are relentless and can attack you in hives. Some bees are more poisonous and get ferocious when you mess with them, leaving you vulnerable to multiple attacks.
You should especially steer clear of areas with ground-nesting bees. These are those who make their nests underground in structures resembling ant mounds. They are more relentless, and their stings more painful.
If your dog still eats or is stung by a bee despite taking all possible measures, try to determine the type of bee that attacked them. This can prove helpful to your vet, enabling them to find the best treatment route.
Don’t take bee stings lightly. If your dog swallowed a bee, try to find out if it got stung. If they did, find the areas they were stung and look for any inflammation or swelling. You can treat milder symptoms at home, but if their throat swells or they have an allergic reaction, taking your pup to the vet’s is your best chance at keeping them alive.