As soon as spring arrives and warm days come, we all tend to crawl out of our homes and look for beautiful places under the sun where we can spend some time enjoying the wonderful weather that we’ve been waiting for so long. Then the days get warmer, and with all the blossoms around, little insects such as bees and wasps get proactive in collecting pollen from flower to a flower.
The primal hunting instincts that most dogs have, will probably make your dog notice these small creatures jumping from one plant to another, and that’s a completely normal thing. Your pup might also start chasing that butterfly or a fly just out of pure curiosity (although they might also annoy him, just like they do to us). You can train your dog not to react to these moments, but sometimes it is simply fine when dogs just behave like dogs.
Knowing that your dog’s reflexes are quite amazing, it is no wonder that your dog might eat an insect while trying to catch it. There have been surely numerous times your pup swallowed a butterfly, mosquito or a housefly without you even realizing it. However, some insects have painful stings and the outcome after the ingestion might be quite different. So what happens if a dog eats a bee, a wasp, a hornet or a yellow jacket?
The situation isn’t all roses, but still, panic won’t help you or your dog get through it easier. Keep your calm and know what to do. But, first, let’s get to the basics and learn a thing or two about dogs and bees.
Are Bees Deadly To Dogs?
Unless your dog is allergic to bees or wasps, eating these insects shouldn’t be harmful to him. What can be dangerous is when your dog is stung by a bee he has ingested. In that case, your dog might need a vet’s help, or the sting might simply go away on its own without big harm.
So, bees aren’t deadly to dogs. When eaten without them stinging our dogs, they shouldn’t cause any trouble. Your pup will simply digest the insect and that’s it. However, if a dog is stung, the situation can change a lot and can be mild or can get serious and require immediate vet intervention.
You have to react immediately and bring your dog to the vet if some of these situations occur:
- If you suspect your dog was stung at the back of his tongue, or down his throat.
- If you suspect there might have been multiple stings. (These are usually wasps, bees can only sting once)
- If your dog has allergic reactions to insects in general.
It is difficult to tell where your dog has been stung, but if you can’t see the sting on the top of his tongue or at the inside of his mouth, then you might want to consult your vet. Bee and wasp stings are not really benign because of the swelling their venom causes. When stung at the wrong place, the swelling may block the airways, causing serious and potentially fatal repercussions.
Therefore, unless you can confirm that your dog wasn’t stung or if you can clearly see the sting in the front part of the mouth and be able to monitor the amount of swelling, it is a much wiser thing to bring your dog to the vet. If you can localize the sting in the front, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of ways you can help your dog and help him recover as soon as possible.
Is Eating A Bee Going To Hurt My Dog?
Nothing bad will happen if your dog ingests a bug or two, and the same stands for bees or wasps. The thing is that these insects aren’t poisonous, but they are venomous.
The difference between venoms and poisons is in the way their toxic substances harm others. For instance, poison in poisonous mushrooms works passively, or, you just need to ingest it to feel its consequences. Poisons can cause bad effects when they are touched, inhaled or ingested.
On the other hand, in order to be dangerous, venom has to be actively administered through a sting or another type of syringe-like anatomical structure. So this actually means that if you ingest, touch or inhale venom, it won’t cause any harm. But, if you get stung, the situation might get really nightmare-ish depending on the type of venom and severity of the side effects.
The same is true for your dog. Digesting the venom from the actual bee, shouldn’t do anything bad to your dog. A bee or wasp sting, however, may have more severe consequences.
Minor Bee Stings – What To Do And How To Cure Them
If your dog is not allergic, the symptoms after the stung should be mild. Bee or wasp stings should usually come with some swelling and localized pain in the stung area and that’s it. However, be aware that bee stings can be extremely painful to dogs, and that depending on the intensity of the venom, the symptoms may worsen.
If you’re not sure whether your dog was bitten or not, a strong sign something happened might be excessive licking, chewing, biting or rubbing the stung area. Your dog will also probably have an immediate reaction to a bee sting, so he will probably change his behavior and might start crying, salivating or even running in circles. When these are the only symptoms you see and it looks like your dog got stung just once and in a safe place (away from the airways), then there’s no need to worry as you can easily help your dog out.
Step 1 – Remove The Stinger
When your dog gets stung by a bee, you should remove the stinger. Remember that only honeybees leave a stinger behind (and die after it), while wasps and other bees don’t lose it after the sting. The proper way to remove the stinger is to scrape it out, not to “pinch and pull” with tweezers because squeezing the stinger can release more venom into the wound. Instead, take a credit card and start scraping the stinger out of the wound.
Here’s a video of how you should properly remove the stinger. The example is on the human skin, but it will work the same with dogs too.
Step 2 – Apply A Cool Compress
In order to help your dog manage pain and reduce swelling use cool compresses and place them gently on the wound.
The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that applying baking soda and water might also help with some kinds of stings. For example, bee stings are acidic and can be neutralized with baking soda, while wasp stings should be treated with diluted apple cider vinegar.
Serious Bee Stings – What To Do And How To Cure Them
In case your dog is allergic to bees or has been stung multiple times or at the wrong place, then we’re talking about a serious bee sting. If your dog started behaving all fuzzy and started crying out of pain, then look his muzzle, inside of the mouth and ears to rule out multiple stings.
Sometimes it might be hard to know whether your dog has been stung several times, so you will have to use your best judgement in order to determine whether the immediate vet check-up is necessary or not.
Some dogs that are allergic can suffer from a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction after being stung which can stop their breathing.
Therefore, if you notice some of the anaphylactic reaction symptoms after you caught your dog “fighting” a wasp outdoor and now the insect is gone, it will be necessary to bring your pooch immediately to the vet’s. However, bear in mind that the anaphylactic reaction worsens with time, so its symptoms may change, which is exactly why it is crucial to recognize it on time and bring your dog to the vets before it is too late.
Recognizing early signs of it could mean saving a dog’s life. Here are the most common ones:
- Excessive swelling of the mouth or nose area – The swelling can be very painful and can block your dog’s airways. In this case, your veterinarian will have to give your dog medications that will reduce the swelling and decrease the allergic reaction.
- Dog is having troubles breathing – Difficult breathing is a definitive sign of an allergic reaction. Call the vet’s and tell him you’re on your way.
- Your dog is behaving strangely – There’s noone that knows your dog better than you do. So you will surely be able to read even his minor body language changes. If you feel that he isn’t feeling well and you believe you see it in the way he behaves, don’t wait and head to the vet.
If you notice any of these, you now what to do. Straight to the vets! When not treated on time, this reaction can turn into an anaphylactic shock whose symptoms will progress quickly, so you shouldn’t waste your time. When other symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, pale gums, swollen eyes, rapid heart rate or drooling occur, the reaction to the bee sting has gone too far and might have severe consequences on your dog’s health.
Bee Sting Cure – Benadryl
Not all stings are equally painful, and not all dogs have severe reactions to them. However, your dog could experience a lot of pain. You will easily notice that because dogs tend to show they are in pain through their changed behavior. Your pooch might cry more than usual, lick or bite the stung area more frequently, in any case, he will find ways to tell you something is bothering him.
One thing you can do to help him, apart from the cold compresses and baking soda, is to give him an appropriate dosage of Benadryl that will ease the pain and make your dog more comfortable. Always consult your vet first about how much Benadryl you should give because the dosage varies from dog to dog.
Bee and wasp stings don’t have to be dangerous experiences, but they are always quite unpleasant. The swelling and the pain are always there to remind you of the sting, and if you’re lucky everything will stay there. If not, allergic reactions in your pup might become quite risky for your dog’s health.
Therefore, if you see bees or wasps around when you’re with your dog, find a way to avoid them until they attack. Also, your dog might swallow them out of pure boredom, which could potentially end up in fatal outcomes. Find ways to make sure bees and wasps don’t get into your home, and pay attention to your dog’s movements when you’re outside and in the presence of bees or other similar insects.