Has your dog ever came back inside the house looking like a cartoon character with a huge puffy face? Or had a large swollen welt on their body? When my dog, Milo, was a puppy he loved to chase all sorts of flying insects in the yard. And if one landed on his paw, they were always fair game to be eaten. However, sometimes those flying critters have stingers and there are consequences for messing with those black and yellow stinging insects. Here is what to do if your dog is stung by a bee.
If a dog is going to be stung by a bee, most likely it is going to be because they ate the bee.
Although a sting on the back can happen, most meetings with a stinger happen will happen in a dog’s mouth. Hence the dog looking like he was remade into a cartoon character with a swollen face.
First, stay calm as possible and ensure your dog is breathing properly and the swelling isn’t causing airway constriction. Hopefully, the swelling is just in the face and not down the neck. Do this by counting your dog’s respiratory rate. Preferably while they are resting. A resting respiratory rate of a healthy dog is between 15 to 30 breaths per minute. If your dog’s respiratory rate is in this range after being stung by a bee, that is great. Next, check your dog’s mucous membrane color to ensure his body is getting enough oxygen. This can simply be done by lifting your dog’s lip and checking his gum color. The gums should be nice and pink. If your dog has pigmented gums, simply find a spot on the inside of their jowls that is pink.
If your dog is having a hard time breathing and his gums are not pink, but a bluish-purple color. Stop reading this article and drive to the nearest emergency clinic now. This means your dog is not getting enough oxygen.
If the swelling from the bee sting is localized to just your dog’s face or a welt and he is breathing normally and gum color looks good, bee stings can be treated at home.
Benadryl is going to be the drug of choice for your dog in this situation. The standard dose is 1mg per pound of body weight. Benadryl can be given every 6 to 8 hours for treating the swelling from the bee sting. See “Can I Give My Dog Benadryl?” for instructions and tips about giving your dog Benadryl.
An approved anti-inflammatory for dogs can be administered if the welt is painful. Carprofen or Rimadyl is usually the drug of choice for many veterinary clinics. However, these are prescribed by veterinarians only. Do not give Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Usually, the Benadryl takes care of the problem after a day or two.
If you live in an area where rattlesnakes call home as well, be sure to look for bite marks as a rattlesnake bite can mimic a bee sting. If this is the case, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Next time the bees are around, keep an eye on your dog. And make sure there is Benadryl in the house, just in care.