Bee and Wasp Stings in Dogs – Symptoms and Treatment.

In the summer season, bee and wasp stings in dogs are quite common, but should happen, would you know what to do? Holidays4Dogs provides some hints on what to do in the even of bee and wasp stings in dogs.

Most dogs are curious creatures and will often chase things that move including small insects. My Labrador can get quite agitated with bees and wasps during the summer months. He seems to get very excited by their ‘buzzing’, especially if they dare to ‘buzz’ around his ears. If they do he will jump up and give chase, snapping at them as he goes.

While this might seem an amusing spectacle, it can also be quite hazardous if the dog receives a sting from a bee, or wasp.  Teaching your dog the ‘leave it’ cue, can be a useful tip in these circumstances.

Most stings are not life threatening, in people, or dogs. However, they can cause various bodily responses, including allergic reactions.


If you see your dog being stung, keep a close eye on him and watch out for any signs of swelling, especially if this is around the neck or face. Some dogs may break out in bumps, (hives) all over their body. More severe signs to watch for are;-

  • severe hives all over the body,
  • difficulty in breathing,
  • sudden diarrhoea,
  • vomiting, drooling,
  • weakness, or pale gums.

It is essential you get your dog to the vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.


If possible, try and establish where on the body the dog has been stung. Stings to the face and throat can be potentially more serious. Therefore, it would be advisable to take your dog to the vet to be monitored just in case.

Benadryl – frequently used to treat human allergies, – is often used to treat insect bites in dogs too. The vet may inject this for faster action and can be administered as a precautionary measure for dogs that have been stung in the mouth, head, or neck.

Additional measures may also be introduced depending on the severity of the dog’s reaction. Dogs which have gone into anaphylactic shock will receive respiratory support and intravenous fluids.

If you can still see a barbed bee sting in your dogs skin, you can try to carefully remove. Do this by dragging a piece of card across the area, to dislodge it. If using tweezers, be careful not to ‘pump’ more of the sting into the dog.

Apply ice, wrapped in a tea towel, to help soothe the area affected and reduce any swelling. It is not usually necessary to try and remove wasp stings.

Because bee stings are acidic, you can try the application of a mild alkali such as Bicarbonate of Soda – diluted, and applied to the affected area.

Generally, bee stings should not be ignored and should be closely monitored. If you witness your dog being stung, you may wish to take your dog to the vet as a precautionary measure. This is very important, especially if the dog has been stung in the mouth, or around the head and neck.

Further general first aid advice can be found on the following pages Click here to view