What to do if your dog or cat is stung by a bee

It’s spring and as a professional dog walker in Austin, TX I’ve been seeing lots of bees busy pollinating the flowers. I’ve also noticed that dogs and cats are spending more time outside playing and investigating, so it is not uncommon for them to meet and be stung by bees.

Dogs and cats explore the world primarily with their noses and their paws. Consequently that is where they are most likely to be stung.

Signs your dog or cat got stung

When a dog or cat is stung by a bee there will be a few telltale signs. The area that was stung will be:

  • red
  • there will be some minor swelling
  • the area will be tender or itchy

What happens during a bee sting with your pet

When a bee stings it’s stinger and venom sac usually separates from the bee and is left behind at the sting site.  It is important to quickly locate the stinger and remove it because the stinger can continue to release more venom into the dog or cat for up to three minutes after being separated from the bee.

Pet stung – how to help your pet

To remove the stinger, scrape the stinger with a flat surface like a credit card, your finger nail or a butter knife. Do this until it is fully removed from the skin. Do NOT squeeze the stinger with tweezers or your fingers. Trying to get it out in this way will cause more venom to be released into your pet.

Thank you, LittleThings for sharing your experience

Reduce the swelling by using an ice pack covered in a wash cloth, or a package of frozen peas covered in a dish towel and gently hold the cold compress to the area that was stung.

Follow up help

Call your pet’s vet immediately. The veterinarian will probably prescribe Benadryl to help reduce the swelling and itching if there is no allergic reaction to the bee sting.

Continue to monitor your pet.

If your dog or cat is allergic to the bee sting he will need emergency veterinary care immediately. This is a life threatening event (anaphylactic shock) and will happen quickly. Signs of an allergic reaction are:

  • drooling
  • fainting
  • rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • urinating
  • pale gums/bluish color to the tongue and gums
  • weakness
  • trembling
  • an increase or decrease in body temperature

If your pet does experience anaphylactic shock, his vet will need to treat him with IV fluids to prevent shock and the vet may give the dog or cat steroids, epinephrine, and/or an antihistamine. Your dog or cat will need
to stay with his vet overnight.