When an insect flies near our dogs, their hunting instincts kicks-in making them chase it. What may seem funny, can turn into something more serious if it is a bee or a wasp. In Gublog, we want to educate you on what you should do if a bee or wasp stings your dog.

The presence of bees and wasps is very common during the summer months. We come across them during a walk, eating on a terrace, or sometimes in our own homes. Although humans know the dangers that entail from a bee or wasp sting, our dogs simply give in to their instincts and try hunting them. At the first glance, they may look the same, but wasps and bees are two very different insects in terms of their life cycle and their behavior. Bees collect pollen from flowers and sting only to defend themselves. When a bee stings, it loses its stinger and dies, hence, they sting only when they are in danger. Wasps on the other hand are predators and more aggressive. They are carnivorous, hence, they are attracted to food when we eat outdoors, especially meat. Wasps can sting for no reason at all. The venom of both these insects is potentially dangerous, especially if you are allergic or you get stung multiple times at a go. In the case of a wasp or bee sting, the severity of the situation will depend on the specific area where your dog has been stung.

Difference between a bee (on the left) and a wasp (on the right)
Photo: Salinas Treatment

Anticipate and prevent the sting

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If you notice your pooch chasing an insect, you can save a lot of trouble by intervening and preventing your dog from getting stung.

The first thing you can do is remove things that attract these insects. Proteins and sugars in food are what attract wasps the most, so, if eating outdoors, cover the food with a film or with a glass/plastic food cover. Similarly, it is also advised not to leave your dog’s food bowl outside and to keep an eye when they eat, as the smell of dog food also attracts these insects. Incense also helps keep these insects away as the smell makes them very uncomfortable. Burning some incense sticks while eating in the garden or preparing a barbeque might help keep them at bay.

If you notice that your dog is chasing an insect, you can distract him/her by shifting their focus to something else. It could be something as simple as their favourite game. Positive training techniques can be of great help in such situations, where you reward your dog when you ask them to move away rather than disciplining for not listening.

Wasp or bee sting on the fur

If the insect stings your dog’s fur and he/she not allergic, a slight inflammation may develop in the area making them want to scratch. The first thing to do is remove the sting very carefully and clean the area with soap and water to prevent an infection. You must keep calm so your pooch also stays calm. Observe your dog for a few hours to make sure things don’t worsen. If our dog is not allergic to insect bites, he/she will simply get a slight inflammation in the area which is not something to be worried about. However, it is important to be cautious as allergies can act up at any time and cause a reaction, even if it never happened in the past. In case of an allergic reaction, things can worsen very quickly and your dog can also reach get an anaphylactic shock that could lead to death. Hence, in such a situation it is necessary to go to the vet without wasting time.

Wasp or bee sting on the face, neck, inside the mouth, or on the muzzle

Even if your dog does not have an allergy, it is important to go to the vet so they can assess the condition and act if the situation turns for the worse. If the inflammation caused by the sting occurs in an area of air passage (mouth, throat, nose), the swelling could close the airway and your dog could suffocate. In case of a sting in these areas, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Observe your dog’s behaviour in the following hours

Even if your dog seems to feel fine, it is very important to monitor its behaviour for several hours after the sting. If your dog suddenly starts to feel unwell, dizzy or if the inflammation gets worse, you must go to the vet immediately. Special care should be taken with very small dogs whose metabolism cannot process the amount of venom that the wasp or bee injects into them.

In case of an emergency, every minute counts. You might want to learn how to perform first aid techniques on your pooch.

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