HOW TO Treat Your Dog After a Bee Sting

Last Week: HOW TO Treat Your Dog’s Parasitic Blood Infection

irish setter bee waspIt’s a beautiful spring day and you’ve decided to take your dog to the park for some fun in the sun. Things are going great – you’re playing, laughing and running around with your pooch – when suddenly he yelps out in pain and begins to paw frantically at his nose. You notice one bee and then a couple more – oh no, your dog has been stung.

According to, “While most [bee stings] are innocuous, with some irritation and swelling accompanied by redness, others can cause severe problems for your dog. This is especially true if the sting is in the head and neck area or if the bee sting is causing swelling which can block airways.”

What are the Signs that My Dog is Having an Allergic Reaction?

While most dogs will feel nothing more than irritated after being stung by a bee – with no allergic reaction at all – some may have one, and it could be deadly if not treated right away. says, “Fortunately, most dogs react in a mild way and experience only slight pain at the onset of a bee sting; as the owner, you can usually help to address the situation and deal with the problem entirely on your own. However, you should also recognize the symptoms of a severe bee sting allergy in dogs and know how to address this type of situation as well, as a bee sting can be very damaging to some dogs and may even be fatal if left untreated.”

Your dog is having an allergic reaction if you see these symptoms:

i Love Dogs Signs of pain

i Love Dogs Slight swelling around the site of the sting

i Love Dogs Redness and sensitivity to the touch at the area of the sting

i Love Dogs Vomiting or diarrhea

i Love Dogs Difficulty breathing or swallowing, in extreme cases

i Love Dogs Loss of consciousness

i Love Dogs Seizures

i Love Dogs Asthma

i Love Dogs Extreme barking

If your dog shows any of these signs, take him to the vet as soon as possible.
How Do I Treat My Dog’s Mild Reaction to a Bee Sting?

If your dog is having a mild allergic reaction, you or your vet can treat him with a couple of things: Benadryl or an EpiPen. writes, “Benadryl (Diphengydramine), a medicine used to treat allergies in people, is often used by veterinarians in treating bee stings in dogs. If a dog is showing signs of an allergic reaction, an injectable form of Benadryl is often used by the vet because it will act faster than the oral form. The vet will often prescribe a follow-up dose or two of oral Benadryl once the dog is home.” adds, “While at the vet, ask about acquiring an EpiPen kit. This kit helps counteract an anaphylactic attack caused by bee stings and can be used if your dog is ever stung again. It is important that you learn how to administer the drug correctly in order to avoid misuse of the drug.”

If you’ve determined that your dog is not having any sort of allergic reaction, then you can begin to treat the sting at home before you call your vet.

1. Begin by locating the stinger and carefully removing it. says, “The stinger will be a black barb in the middle of the sting. To remove it, scrape a credit card or fingernail along the surface of the skin. Avoid squeezing the stinger; it will release more toxins.”

2. The next thing you’ll need to do is identify what exactly stung your dog – a bee or a wasp. From, “This is important because they produce different types of venom. A wasp has an alkaline-based venom, while a bee has an acidic venom.”

3. After you have located the stinger and identified the culprit, you may begin treatment. “To treat a wasp sting, soak a pad or compress in vinegar and place it on the sting. If it is a bee sting, make a paste out of baking soda and water and place it on the irritation,” according to

Don’t worry if you could not identify the little bugger that stung your dog – you can still administer treatment using the same items previously mentioned, along with a cold compress to help reduce swelling and pain.
What Should I Do if My Dog is Stung By a Swarm of Bees?

It is unlikely that your dog will be stung by a swarm of bees, but it can happen. Swarms of bees killed dogs last year in Tennessee and Arizona, and, earlier this month, in California. If your dog is stung by a swarm of bees, do not pull out the stingers, and get your dog to the emergency hospital right away.

Veterinarian Jonnie Quantz of the Animal Emergency Referral Center in Torrance, Calif., told the Daily Breeze, “When an animal is stung, pulling stingers out only releases more venom.”

A few weeks ago, a 6-year-old Jindo dog was found with hundreds of bee stingers in her, most of which were on her face, neck and head. Unfortunately, the 40-pound dog died within 15 to 30 minutes after being stung. Although her pet parents pulled out many of the stingers, Quantz said there was little they could do to save their dog after such a massive attack.

Don Sorensen, of Bee n’ Wasp Nest Removal, told the Daily Breeze that most of the time, bees will not bother humans or canines, but if they feel threatened in any way, like by a dog barking at them, they will attack.

“What they do is if you’re getting too close to the nest, they’ll come up and bump on you,” he said. “If bees are bumping on you, get out of there.”


Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.

Next Week: HOW TO Treat Your Dog’s Roundworm

Sonya Simpkins

Sonya Simpkins is a contributing writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. In her spare time, she loves to take her dogs for long hikes and treks to the beach, out to eat and on long road trips across the county. She then turns those adventures into useful advice for other dog parents who also love to take their dogs with them wherever they go.

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  1. [...] or nonseasonal environmental allergens, hypersensitivity reaction (to an insect sting or bite, for example), food allergy, [...]

  2. [...] medication: If your dog has allergies, especially to things like bee stings, you’ll want to include something to help combat this. Consult your vet on what’s best for your [...]

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