My Dog Ate a Bee! Now What?

August 19th is Honeybee Awareness Day and summer is in full swing! Warm sunshine and beautiful blossoms inspire us as we venture out with our pups in the yards and parks all over Austin. These sunny days are filled with romps in the park and digging in the flower garden followed by a pesky bee that just doesn’t seem to want to leave ‘Rocky’ alone. Taunting him, the bee buzzes over his backside, belly and head – darting and dodging your pups efforts to defend himself. Rocky has finally had enough. The next thing you know, ‘CHOMP!’ -followed by a yip and staggered gulp. My dog ate a bee! Now what?

What are the risks?

As much as Rocky might have thought he had the last word, the bee may have the last laugh. Each case varies depending on if your dog was stung, where he was stung, the amount of stings, and if your dog has an allergic reaction. Take notice to any changes, even they’re only slight ones. Bee stings should be taken seriously, as it may be a matter of life or death for your dog.

In the event you’ve ever been stung by a bee, then you can attest they are relentless – stinging several times in row. So while Rocky chomps down, the bee can sting the inside of his mouth and throat several times causing the throat to swell rapidly from the amount of stings – posing dangerous risks like the swelling and blockage of airways. In extreme cases some dogs – as with humans – may have a severe life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock’ which causes breathing problems, collapse and death. Get your dog to a vet immediately!

Other symptoms that are indicative of a severe reaction requiring immediate veterinary assistance may include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Swollen Eyes

  • Itching – Localized on the face and neck

  • Hives/welts – Localized on the face and neck

  • Widespread swelling – Particularly of the face and neck

  • Breathing difficulties – Shallow or gasping breaths and/or collapse

  • Swelling of the throat – Interfere with breathing and blocks airways

What to do next?

Don’t panic and remain calm. Carefully examine the area to access the amount of stings and if any stingers visible. We do not recommend pulling out a stinger as attempts can actually worsen matters. If they have mild itching and swelling (as long as it’s not on the head, face or mouth) you might get away with treating them at home with Benadryl® – or the generic version with the active ingredient of diphenhydramine. To determine the dose of Benadryl® you should give them, check out PreventativeVet. When in doubt, always call your vet.

Make them as comfortable as possible and keep a close watch over them to notice any worsening of symptoms over the next 24 hours. If you have to leave, either bring your dog with you or leave them with a responsible adult aware of the incident and can take appropriate precautions. If conditions worsen, be prepared to respond with prompt veterinary intervention.

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