It’s a fact! Dogs hate buzzing, flying things in their personal space, and they will chase them. Whether it’s bees, wasps, flies, etc., most dogs just want to stop the nuisance by snapping, batting at it with a paw, or running away. Sometimes however, they take it just a little further and end up eating it.
So, if your dog ate a bee, what should you do?
Well, it’s also a fact that the only real danger to your dog, if it eats a bee is the sting. That goes for wasps, hornets, and any other stinging insect too.
On rare occasions, however, dogs, like people, can react badly to bee stings. Read on to take a look at some of the actions you can take to reduce the risk of harm to your dog from a bee sting and possibly even save your pet’s life.
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My Dog Ate a Bee! What Should I Do?
Chances are, if there are bees around, then the weather is warm. Ensure your dog is in tip-top condition by ensuring plenty of fresh water is available to keep them well-hydrated and take walks in the early mornings or evenings when it’s cooler.
A healthy, happy dog gives you a better starting place if things go wrong.
If your dog has eaten a bee, then it’s probably been stung inside its mouth. A bee sting releases a small amount of venom into the skin.
What happens next depends entirely on how your dog’s body responds to the sting.
Minor reactions: No action required
Your dog may experience some mild discomfort in the sting area, which can last for a few hours. Other than that, the bee will be digested in the usual way without any further problems. Monitor your dog for any delayed allergic reaction for the next 12-24 hours. If you are concerned, speak to your vet for advice.
Moderate reactions: Some action required
There may be some localized redness and swelling around your dog’s face and muzzle. The dog may scratch a lot because its skin is itchy. Seek advice from your vet, who may prescribe an antihistamine at home or arrange an appointment to examine your pet. Monitor your dog closely for the next 12-24 hours for any developments in the symptoms.
Major reactions: Seek immediate veterinary intervention
Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction to a bee sting (or another allergen). Seek immediate emergency veterinary assistance.
What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis, also known as Anaphylactic Shock, is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to an allergen, like a bee sting. If your dog ate a bee, being aware of the symptoms could save your pet’s life!
Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, Anaphylaxis, in your pet are –
- Reddening of the skin in the area of the sting
- Swelling of the face, muzzle and site of the sting
- Hives (raised itchy red lumps on the skin)
- Intense itching resulting in constant scratching
- Sickness and diarrhea
- Lethargy and weakness
- Breathing problems
If your pet shows any signs of distress following a bee sting, seek immediate medical assistance from a veterinary surgeon.
There can be a short delay in the onset of symptoms, so make sure you monitor your pet for 12-24 hours after the bee sting for your dog’s safety and your peace of mind.
Suggestions to Keep Your Pet Safe from Stings
If it is the first time your dog has eaten a bee, then you won’t know whether it is allergic and what the reaction will be.
However, if you know that your dog is severely allergic to bee stings, although it is impossible to avoid bees altogether, you can take some precautions to protect your pet.
Avoid planting bee-friendly plants in your garden or yard.
We all know the importance of bees in nature. However, limit bee-friendly plants in your garden and keep it a safer space for your dog. You can easily find lists of bee-friendly plants to avoid online.
- Avoid walking your dogs in areas where bees commonly congregate like wildflower meadows, clover fields, and orchards in bloom, etc.
- Keep your dog under control. If there are bees in the vicinity, remove your dog to avoid any attempts to interact with them.
- Your vet may be able to provide you with suitable antihistamines for your dog’s use in the event of a bee sting.
- Check for bees’ nests on your property, and ask for specialist help to remove them if necessary.
- Use bee-safe methods to keep bees away. For example, burn citronella candles, use mothballs, and spray vinegar in the area.
- Plant peppermint, artemisia, and other plants in your garden that will naturally repel bees.
- Activities like hedge or grass cutting can disturb bees, so keep dogs indoors if these activities are happening nearby.
- Certain vines, such a the common trumpet vine actually attract bees. Typically the type of vines to attract them will be the kinds that flower, and since they are typically right by the house they are common sources of bee stings for dogs.
If your dog ate a bee then thankfully, it will probably be a non-event. The dog may be sore on the site of the sting, and a little sorry for itself for a few hours, then it will be forgotten.
For a dog with a severe allergic reaction however, it’s a different story altogether. The sting can result in a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical intervention from your veterinary surgeon.
Important: If your dog doesn’t suffer from anaphylaxis the first time it eats and is stung by a bee, don’t assume that it is safe the next time. Anaphylaxis can develop over time as the immune response to the allergen gets stronger.
Be aware of the symptoms, remain alert to any changes in your dog’s behavior, monitor for 12-24 hours after the sting, and act immediately if your dog shows any signs of anaphylaxis.